Loyal or Rebellious? Protestant Associations in England 1584-1696

Vallance, Edward
April 2002
Seventeenth Century;Spring2002, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Historians have mainly focused on the associations produced in 1584 and 1696 to Elizabeth I and William III, ostensibly to protect them from assassination attempts. These associations, with their resort to ‘lynch law’, have been seen as exceptional responses to moments of crisis. However, Patrick Collinson, Ann Hughes and Mark Knights have shown that oaths of association were promoted and imposed throughout the seventeenth century and that they were not, first and foremost designed to protect the person of the monarch but secure the Protestant state. This article unravels the radical implications of oaths of association, demonstrating that during the 1640s, Protestant associations became intertwined with the idea of a national covenant. This had important ramifications for political allegiance, making obedience conditional on the monarch's readiness to defend the faith. Even in 1696, contrary to William III's intentions, oaths of association continue to be invested with radical potential.


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