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Popery vs Whiggery: Religious Violence and Revolution in the Late English Renais


One king executed, another exiled, and religiously motivated political violence, England’s “century of revolution,” is one of the most dramatic epochs in history. Between the ascension of James I in 1603 and the Glorious Revolution in 1689, English politics had developed from a divine right monarchy, where theoretically the king’s whim was law, to a constitutional monarchy in which the authority of the king was carefully proscribed by act of parliament.

What is remarkable about this era is that despite religious intolerance and political anarchy, eighteenth-century England emerged as the most politically stable and religiously tolerant state in Europe—poised to spread its influence and notions of “English liberty” the world over. This talk examines some of the watershed events in English constitutional history with attention to how religious violence produced not only the first political parties (Whigs and Tories) but also the first modern government—based on ideas of religious toleration and contractual government.

Chris Petrakos comes to the University of Toronto from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) where he earned his PhD in History (2011). His dissertation, entitled Representing the Reformation: Historical Polemic and Political Behavior in Late Stuart England,[masked], examines how Protestant reformation historiography influenced the development of partisan politics and the rise of the first political parties in England. Petrakos' research interests vary widely. He is currently working on papers in late seventeenth-century English as well as Spanish borderlands history. While at Purdue University Petrakos taught courses in European and English history and went to the United Kingdom to teach a study abroad course in British history. This course was co-taught with the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture departments and looked at British history through the landscape architecture. In 2009, Dr. Petrakos was hired as a Lecturer at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. While at Michigan he taught courses in European history in the University Honors Program as well as courses in Latin American and World History.

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