UNIT FIVE: STUART ENGLAND AND THE EARLY ATTEMPTS AT COLONIZATION
Essential question: How did the changing political landscape of 17th Century England influence the development of the American colonies and eventually, our nation?
Focus Questions for this unit:
- What were the major political events that occurred during the Stuart dynasty?
- What was the cause of the worsening economic conditions in England?
- How did “the Divine Right of Kings” govern the actions of Stuart rulers?
- How did the English Civil War begin and how did the results change English society?
- What caused the political weakening of monarchs during the Stuart reign over England?
- How did events in Stuart England influence the development of the colonies in North America?
- How did the political decisions or Stuart England impact the economy of England?
- How did the weakening of royal power in England create different attitudes towards the monarchy here in America?
- What advances in Science and medicine came from Stuart England and how did these contribute to how people lived?
- How are the freedoms we cherish a result of the events of this century?
Curriculum of Practice
- How are the components, practices and procedures of our Constitutional government a by-product of the events of Stuart England?
Curriculum of Identity
- What freedoms do you have today that define you as a citizen of our country?
- Which of these freedoms do you value the most and why?
- If you had lived in England in the 17th Century, would you have stayed in England or given the chance, would you have left England for America?Why?
Without a clear successor to Elizabeth, the English looked to Scotland for their new leader. The Stuart Dynasty began in 1603 with the ascension of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England. Though James was willing to compromise with the existing Parliament, he began the Stuart tendency to insult Parliamentary sensibilities by insisting on his elevated status as a divine right monarch, one who was above the law. Many Members of Parliament, judges, and lawyers began opposing these royal claims by arguing that the king was under the law and could not abrogate English liberties. These “rights,” they claimed, were part of an age-old constitution that went back to Magna Carta. This debate, at first largely theoretical and technical, set the terms for the constitutional struggles that lasted for most of the century and eventually found its way to the shores of North America.
The reign of James and Charles brought into focus, the rising tension between Puritan forces in England and the entrenched power of traditional 'divine right' philosophy. While many Puritans stayed in England to work toward a new vision of English politics, others voyaged across the sea to establish a 'new' England, and thus, the American experiment in republican governance got under way. This unit traces this history of 17th Century England, and the interests that led to the establishment of the Jamestown, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Bay.
Time: approximately 2 weeks (4-5 blocks)
Individual lessons for this unit:
Swing for the Fence
Warts and All
King James (biography)
King James and Tobacco
The Gunpowder Plot
King Charles (biography)
The English Civil War
Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum
King Charles II (biography)
The Great Plague
The Great Fire of London
King James II (biography)
The Glorious Revolution
William and Mary (biography)
Queen Anne (biography)
The Enclosure Movement
England in the Seventeenth Century
Excerpts from James’ Essay of Tobacco (Counterblast on Tobacco
Excerpts from James’ Divine Right of Kings
Gunpowder Plot Monteagle letter
The Petition of Right (1628)
Sentence of the High Court of Charles I
Death Warrant of Charles I
Execution of Charles I Primary Sources
Excerpts from the Bible (KJV)
The English Bill of Rights (1689)
Running with the Big Dogs
Extension Activities and Resources
Reading: What was life like in Stuart Britain?
Reading: Stuart England Timeline
Reading: How did the Glorious Revolution Affect the Colonies?