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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Eric H. Ash

Second Advisor

Hans Hummer



Violence, (Dis)Loyalties, and the Emergent English Subject-Citizen, 1569 - 1588


Renee A. Bricker

May 2010

Advisor: Dr. Eric H. Ash

Major: History

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

This dissertation examines how late Tudor government strove toward national cohesion amid religio-political diversity. Strategies of fear and love galvanized resistance and security amongst groups. The 1584 Bond of Association was the apogee of an effort to create unity through identity and loyalty in order to realize a specific national objective: an English Protestant succession. A rejoinder to international and domestic events, the Bond used law and legal precedent. It applied political fear and love to forge allegiance to a fused religio-political identity. It is evidence of collisions between authorities, intersections of resistance and allegiance, and emergence of subject-citizenship.

The main argument rests upon two assumptions. The first is rooted in Aristotle, as well as in basic Christian theological tenets (Catholic and Protestant), that civil war was the worst possible fate for the commonwealth. The second might have puzzled Aristotle, if not medieval and early modern theo-political writers. Eternal damnation was the worst possible fate awaiting the individual soul in any commonwealth. Early modern political theory, for both Catholics and Protestants, articulated the conviction that it was the sacred duty of the monarch, or magistrate, to ensure that eternal damnation could not happen, to safeguard the means for salvation. This was to be accomplished through establishing the right religion while protecting it through domestic conformity, and from external threat. In a society unfettered by choices, or diversity, meeting either of these goals might be more easily realized. In an early modern world of pluralities marked by ethnic variety, microchristianities, and diversity of governments where monarchy was not its only manifestation--as in Geneva or Venice--the twinned goals of civil peace and salvation were no mean feat to achieve.

By the mid-seventeenth century, civil peace and salvation would look more like the chimeras of Don Quixote. However, Queen Elizabeth I's chief counselors saw their way through the tangled woods of both a muddled religious settlement and a threatening monarchical succession to make a bold attempt--perhaps even last-ditch effort--in late October 1584 to achieve both civil peace, and salvation. The 1584 Bond of Association was the instrument they developed which, for a mere moment, made effective use of law and legal precedents, as David Cressy said, to bind the nation--or, at least one segment of it. The bond was not only an organizational accomplishment, given the communication and transportation constraints of the day, it was a sublime synthesis of political objective with affective emotiveness through fear and love. It did not succeed. Yet, it led to a spectacular legal event: the regicide of one queen to ensure continuity of dearer goals--civil peace, and right religion.

The self-declared stakeholders in the national destiny understood their collective duty as actors whose direction of that national destiny was an imperative. In late Tudor England there is evidence of a nascent development of the hybrid category subject-citizen. Concepts of fear and love, little studied in early modern political theory, recur repeatedly in sixteenth century religio-political discourses. In the transitive political environment of late Tudor England a category of subject-citizen emerged in the ambiguous interstices of national, religious identities and loyalties. This project contributes to, and advances our understanding, of early modern political theory and of the relationship between monarch, council, episcopacy, parliament, and subject-citizen, each as components of shaping and enforcing official policy.

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