A Freeborn People: Politics and the Nation in Seventeenth-Century England

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Written by one of the world's most distinguished historians of early modern history, A Freeborn People is a provocative exploration of the ways in which the political cultures of the elite and of the common people intersected during the seventeenth century.
David Underdown shows that the two worlds were not as separate as historians have often thought them to be; English men and women of all social levels had similar expectations about good government and about the traditional liberties available to them under the "Ancient Constitution". Throughout the century, both levels of politics were also powerfully influenced by prevailing assumptions about gender roles, and, especially in the years before the civil wars, by fears that the country was threatened by evil forces of satanic inversion.
This dramatic reinterpretation of the Stuart period, based on the author's acclaimed 1992 Ford Lectures, begins a new chapter in the continuing debate over the historical meaning of Britain's seventeenth-century revolutions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A Freeborn People is an interesting study of seventeenth-century England which challenges scholars to rethink their approaches to political and social history and to consider the connections to be found among all levels of the social hierarchy."—Sixteenth Century Journal

"In elegant and lucid prose, [Underdown] presents compelling arguments against fashionable modern views about central questions in seventeenth-century English history and outlines his own interesting interpretation....This is an excellent brief analysis of Stuart political life and its links with the social, cultural, and regional history of the period."—American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198206125
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.87 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

David Underdown is George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University. His books include Revel, Riot, and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660, reissued in May 1996 in Oxford Paperbacks.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Competing Narratives of the Stuart Period 1
2 'Itching after popularitie': Gentry Politics Before 1640 19
3 Custom and Inversion: Popular Politics Before 1640 45
4 Liberty and Property: The Political Nation and the English Revolution 68
5 The Man in the Moon: Loyalty and Libel in Popular Politics, 1640-1660 90
6 The Political Nation After the Restoration 112
Notes 133
Index 167
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