4. Sovereignty and divine right

  • Etymology of the word “state.”
  • The notion of “sovereignty.” Its implications in early modern Europe and today.
  • The notion of “divine right of kings.” The magic of the “royal touch.”
  • The rituals and rhetoric of kingship.
  • Critics of divine right and absolute sovereignty — Levellers and Monarchomachs.

Required readings:

  • Daniel Philpott, “Sovereignty,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Charles Tilly, “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime.” In Bringing the State Back, ed Theda Skocpol, 169–91. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • John Lilburne, “The 150 Page,” in The English Levellers, ed. Andrew Sharp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Stephen Brogan, “The Tudors: Revival and Reform of Royal Therapeutics, 1485–1603,” The Royal Touch in Early Modern England Politics, Medicine and Sin. Boydell Press, 2015.

Additional material:

Seminar notes: