Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Statecraft and the English Reformation

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Overview

Thomas Cromwell, chief architect of the English Reformation, served as minister of Henry VIII from 1531 to 1540, the period during which more political and religious reform was accomplished than at any other time in Henry's thirty-seven-year reign. Thus the momentous events of the 1530s are generally (but not universally) attributed to Cromwell's agency. Cromwell has been the subject of close and continuous attention for the last half century, with positive appraisal of his work and achievements as the scholarly norm. In this classroom biography_the first in a generation and the only one now in print_that judgment is largely accepted, though it is combined with earlier and more critical assessments that view Cromwell as a disciple of Machiavelli. One distinguishing feature of this study is its overview of Machiavellian thought, along with its overview of Marsilian thought. Marsilius of Padua, fourteenth-century political philosopher and author of Defensor Pacis, is widely recognized as the source of Cromwell's reformation ideas; but nowhere is Marsilius explicated. The same is true of Machiavelli_never explicated though said to be (by Reginald Pole, cousin of Henry and cardinal of the church) the source of Cromwell's ideas on statecraft. A second distinguishing feature of the book is its inclusion of an introductory chapter that situates Cromwell in the sixteenth century and shows his connection to important events, characters, and ideas. Thus, while the book is a biography, its focus is broader and its uses more various.

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Editorial Reviews

Sixteenth Century Journal
A series of though-provoking points of reference as Coby recounts Cromwell's rise and maintenance of his position as chief minister to Henry VIII in the 1530s, as the king's 'great matter' made that transcendent leap into the jurisdictional phase of the English Reformation…. An engaging and enjoyable study, ideal for both undergraduates and more casual students of Tudor history in its succinct description of 1530s England.
Sixteenth-Century Journal
A series of though-provoking points of reference as Coby recounts Cromwell's rise and maintenance of his position as chief minister to Henry VIII in the 1530s, as the king's 'great matter' made that transcendent leap into the jurisdictional phase of the English Reformation…. An engaging and enjoyable study, ideal for both undergraduates and more casual students of Tudor history in its succinct description of 1530s England.
January 2010 CHOICE
Well-organized introductory work...Recommended.
The Journal Of The Review Of Politics
Coby's work in contextualizing the rich and complicated story of Cromwell's life cannot be praised enough….Coby ably depicts how Cromwell worked with and against his fellow courtiers…. Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Statecraft and the English Reformation will revitalize the study of Cromwell.
Larry Carver
This is at once a compelling, much needed biography and a massively well-informed intellectual history of the sixteenth century. J. Patrick Coby artfully tells the story of the man born to middling circumstances who helped transform England into a modern state. At the same time, he provides a lively account of the intellectual, religious, and political ideas and movements roiling the sixteenth century, showing how they influenced Cromwell and how Cromwell in turn helped to shape them. Coby focuses on events—biographical, historical, intellectual—of the 1530s, and students of the period will find particularly valuable his assessment of the seven sessions of the Reformation Parliament.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739134047
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Patrick Coby is chair of the Department of Government at Smith College.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Cromwell Timeline Chapter 3 I. Introduction: Thomas Cromwell and the Sixteenth Century Chapter 4 II. Sources: Marsilius and Machiavelli Chapter 5 III. The Pre-Ministerial Years Chapter 6 IV. Henrician England Chapter 7 V. To Parliament and the Court Chapter 8 VI. The Reformation Parliament Chapter 9 VII. The Fall of Anne Boleyn Chapter 10 VIII. Rebellion Chapter 11 IX. Henrician Protestantism and the Return to Orthodoxy Chapter 12 X. Matrimonial Diplomacy Chapter 13 XI. The Fall of Thomas Cromwell Chapter 14 XII. Conclusion: Cromwell, the Man, and the Record

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