Science, Politics, Economics, and Religion
in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and
Absolute Monarchy in England
- Internet access
- Rules for a mock trial
- Copy of the English Bill of Rights
NOTE: The following Web resources may be helpful in teaching this session:
• English Bill of Rights.
• “Oliver Cromwell.”
• “Restoration of Charles II.” <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-RestorEng.html>.
• “William III and Mary II.”
- As a class discuss the development of absolutism under the Stuart monarchy. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4, and instruct them to list things they think made them absolute. Possible responses may include the following:
• Ruled for many years without parliament
• Often dismissed parliament
• Illegally imposed taxes on the people in violation to the Magna Carta
• Denied habeas corpus to the nobility
- Search the Internet for the comment of James I about the divine rights of kings.
- Discuss how Cromwell came to power and the reasons for the execution of Charles. Suggested activities include the following:
• Conduct a mock trial of Charles I and have students research their roles.
• Assign groups of students to prepare an indictment of Charles I.
- Explain how political parties came into existence during this time period. Explain that the Tory party supported the king's policies and the Whig party supported Parliament.
- Ask students to share two reasons they might have supported the Tories at this time and two reasons they might have supported the Whig party.
Possible reasons for support of the Tories
• Clergy and military income came from the monarchy.
• It initially appeared as though the king would win.
Possible reasons for support of the Whigs:
• Illegal taxation
• Strong support of the rule of law
- Discuss with students reasons for the Restoration, such as the following:
• Cromwell had no true successor.
• Cromwell's rule had also been dictatorial.
• Charles's children may have learned a lesson.
- Explain the reasons for the Glorious Revolution, such as the following:
• Charles II proclaimed he was a Catholic and could not be head of the Church of England (the Anglican Church).
• Charles was ruling dictatorially.
• Charles violated the agreement that he would not be an absolute monarch.
- Discuss how William and Mary’s rise to power established a constitutional monarchy in England as the powers of Parliament increased with the signing of the English Bill of Rights.
- Obtain a copy or summary of the English Bill of Rights. (NOTE: One is available at the following Web site: <http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/england.htm>.) Instruct student to explain in a brief essay how the various points lessened absolutism in England.