"Most Excellent Majesties, Blest Guardians of Our Church and State" - A Comparison of Religious and Secular Discourse on England’s Monarchs ruling after the Glorious Revolution, 1689, 1702 and 1714.
Zelm, D.R.M. van
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Incentive for this thesis has been the historigraphic debate between Steve Pincus, author of the book '1688, The First Modern Revolution', who casts the Glorious Revolution as the first modern revolution and essentially not a religiously based conflict, and Tony Claydon who argues religion was an essential part of late seventeenth century identity. The research of this thesis focusses on the following question: In how far did religion remain, or not remain, an important part of the image of English monarchs ruling after the Glorious Revolution. For three consecutive coronations, William III and Mary II in 1689, Queen Anne in 1702 and George I in 1714, the patterns and trends in religious and secular discourse in 180 contemporary sources such as pamphlets, sermons and poems, are analysed. The research shows that whilst religious discourse remained an essential constituent of the image of the monarchs, the use of nationalist and ‘other secular’ keywords increased greatly between 1689 and 1714; these trends are observed in both the quantitative and qualitative parts of the research. It calls for a more nuanced view of the arguments of the scholars Tony Claydon, on the one hand, and Steve Pincus on the other hand. Religious language remained inextricably interwoven with secular language but unquestionably, nationalist and ‘other secular’ languages were featuring much more prominently in the discourse in 1714. Thus, if we were to look for a truly pivotal moment in the nationalist discourse, more fitting than the Glorious Revolution would be 1714, the year of George I’s accession.