Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This work unpacks James’s representational performance and the issues he faced in assimilating himself into English identity during him time on the English throne. He implemented tropes he previously utilized in Scotland, presenting himself as Solomon, David, Constantine, a philosopher-king, and Rex Pacificus. James relied upon print for his public representation, he was an avid writer and seems to have thought of himself as something of a theologian, for he frequently commented upon religious doctrine and paid acute attention to sermons. This dissertation explores his entrance to England, the union debates, the Gunpowder Plot and its remembrance, James’s religious representation, his struggles with Parliament over prerogative, the Thirty Years War, and the representation of his first-born son, Henry Frederick. This project addresses a gap in historiography, as James’s reign often falls into the shadow of the English Civil War, and his reign is frequently depicted as failing to live up to the standard that Elizabeth left behind, as in her death remembrance of her was mythologized. There has been little done which addresses James’s struggle to make himself more English and his representational performance in the manner which is done so here. The contours of Englishness explored in this work are patriotism, providence, and identity. This work argues the English Reformations and proceeding years heavily influenced English conceptions of who they were as a country and popular consciousness as it expressed itself through a variety of print mediums, plays, songs, essays, and other forms of cultural expressions. In addressing these issues, we gain a further sense of how the English conceptualized of themselves, and what they wished to see from their king. This work addresses how successful James was at making himself English, and the tactics he deployed in his quest to do so.

Date

3-10-2020

Committee Chair

Stater, Victor

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