The politics of religion and the religion of politics in Elizabethan England

Patrick Collinson

in This England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084423
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702031 | DOI:
The politics of religion and the religion of politics in Elizabethan England

Show Summary Details


This chapter notes that religion and politics are two distinct substances; but it is not at all clear that that is what they were in Elizabethan England. As for Western Europe in the sixteenth century, historians endlessly debate whether its many wars should be called wars of religion, and what was religious and what was political in its violent uprisings and rebellions. In the American and many other modern constitutions there is a formal separation of church and state. In Elizabethan England, the monarch was more than a commander. Elizabeth was head of the church, or more properly its supreme governor, which contemporaries said amounted to the same thing. Elizabethan England was a confessional state. In some parts of Europe, it was also the case that religion is a form of dissent, and divided states in France and Scotland to the extent of civil war.

Keywords: Elizabethan England; wars of religion; monarch; Elizabeth; confessional state

Chapter.  12484 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.