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A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

Learn how England transformed itself from a medieval backwater into the first modern state in this sweeping course on one of the most interesting periods in history.
A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 176.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An essential building block in the procession As Robert Bucholz summarizes, it is worth learning more about the Tudors and Stuarts if for no other reason than the entertainment value. I certainly enjoy the docudramas about the era that I've watched and the novels I've read, even when I've intuited the authors may have taken liberties with the facts. Then again, because of the way history is written, we know that alternative viewpoints lead to different theories and rationalizations. In the present day, anyone who sees something unfold and then reads about it may find that the reporter totally missed what happened from our perspective. If you don't believe this, watch a live speech (if you can sit through all the BS politicians spout) on C-Span and truly think about what is being said and the demeanor of that speaker, as free of your personal bias as you can. Reading transcripts --- which, let's face it, is the best that historical writers could offer 500 years ago, much less before the printing press and a generally literate audience --- won't be the same, because there can be irony and laughter that changes meaning. Then flip to one of the "news" channels like CNN and listen as they pick the speech apart based on their personal biases. How could history help but be any different? I think Bucholz and other professors who truly love their subjects enough to delve into what is known about history provide a valuable service in refining a digestible hash from assorted ingredients. However, we should never assume they have all the answers or even know all the questions, even if they had access to perfect information. It still helps to filter down history into rational, holistic perspective in as far a manner as possible, and I think Bucholz succeeds at this. The Tudor/Stuart era was a significant building block in the procession of Western Civilization that brought about the United States in which I was raised. Interestingly, the chunk of history for the Tudor and Stuarts closely corresponds with the time frame of the United States from the time we became an independent republic and the end of the 20th century. Regardless of what future is unfolding for the 21st century and beyond, my own peculiar way of looking at this history is that England and the entire Age of Reason and Enlightenment set the stage for handing the baton at the forefront of human development to the United States. In my peculiar way of seeing the world based on my personal collection of trivial elements that came into my consciousness, I am reminded of George Harrison saying that Monty Python inherited the spirit of the Beatles, which may seem odd but I do remember being introduced to Python as the Beatles broke up, and there seems to be some esoteric lesson in that shared happy feeling that many of us carry with us to this day, no matter who happens to be President or Prime Minister. I think that bubbled forward from some British pub from long ago. Perhaps less off the wall, I recently watched an interview on "Mogg the Week" in which historian David Starkey responded to Greta Thunberg's blaming the United Kingdom for being the biggest villain in global warming. Starkey simply reframes the teenager's accusation as really an indictment of the modern era as something for which the British can rightly take credit. Only historical perspective allows us to rightly interpret the world around us. Otherwise, we will find ourselves living in a world where teen-agers with no personal worldly experience or historical reference will move us away from advancement. However, it is not simply childlike ways of viewing the world, in which increasingly dumb people believing anything programmed into their smartphones. In learning more about the Stuarts and Tudors, we can see the foibles that all leaders have which may not be as obvious when we see them in their tailored suits reading off teleprompters and the responsibility of knowledgeable citizens to stand up and be counted. We must understand that these leaders do not necessarily know what is best, even if we find them more likeable than an obnoxious character who happened to come up with better solutions. In any case, take the time to watch this course, and if like a handful of reviewers always seem to say, it seems that you missed something because it unfolded too fast, watch it again. That's the great thing about recordings versus live: you can always rewind to clarify. However, most people won't find this moves too quickly unless you happen to also be playing Bridge or Poker online at the same time, diverting your attention. And if you feel like you learned nothing new, then perhaps you know everything, but it doesn't hurt to review with an expert with a slightly or significantly differentperspective.
Date published: 2021-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A magisterial review Professor Buchholz takes the viewer on a 48 lesson overview of Britain, showing a remarkable mastery of the material, including exact quotations, spoken with the feeling with which they were spoken or written centuries earlier, apparently with almost no reference to notes or teleprompter. The professor shows a good understanding of the power dynamic and personalities involved in the power dynamic of the landed gentry, Parliament, the Crown, foreign powers, and the church, the variously conciliatory and military suppression of the Scots and the more brutal and genocidal crushing of the Irish, and the continual shifts in the economics, and international politics and wars. He does this with admirable attention to, and appreciation for, the evolution for western political thought and the fitful rise of more democratic forms of government, of Mercantilism and nascent Capitalism, Colonialism and a definite, if incomplete nod to the development of colonial wealth built on slavery and subjugation of colonial populations (much of it admittedly emerging only at the end of the scope of his lectures). He also gives due, and by traditional historian standards, uncommon attention to the life of ordinary men and women of the time, and of the continued disenfranchisement of all but a minority of males and of all females and sometimes religious dissenters. Much appreciated also was his uncommon degree (at least on this side of the pond) of appreciation for the majesty of the language and the use of it, and his ability to quote it with feeling and understanding. I came to the course as an omnivorous but sometimes undiscriminating reader with an an above-average grounding in English/American political theory and a haphazard knowledge of the history of Britain at the time. For me, the level of instruction was just about perfect. For someone newer to the subject matter, it's a lot to digest in one pass (though like one reviewer did, well worth a second viewing). For someone with deep knowledge of British history, a narrower, more focused course might be preferred, but for someone like me, it's difficult to imagine it done better.
Date published: 2021-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Passionate Historian and Teacher I have a degree in history and I love the subject. Of all my previous professors, none of them was as erudite and passionate about their subject as Dr. Bucholz. I am so fortunate to be have been able to sit through these 48 lectures and I now have a much better understanding of the importance of English history and culture during the reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts. I truly enjoyed this course and I highly recommend it to my fellow anglophiles.
Date published: 2021-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Lectures But Difficult Subject Professor Bucholz makes this series of historical lectures very interesting. He presents the subject at the level of an under graduate college course. He has an obvious deep understanding of English history. The only problem is that the subject is very difficult if you have had no previous background information on the subject, which I did not. Kings, Queens, Bishops and Dukes begin to become blurred after only a brief listen. Therefore I had to listen to many of the lectures twice. However, the second time around the subjects were even more interesting. Overall the lectures are excellent and the subject fascinating though difficult.
Date published: 2021-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent!! This is an unexpectedly great course for me. If it were possible, it would rate more than five stars. I came to this in search of a refresher on the period, though daunted by the prospect of forty-eight lectures. As it turned out, Professor Bucholz’s lectures move along at a good pace, enlivened by insights and occasional humor and irony. I especially appreciate his giving us a sense of the conditions of life for the common folk of that period, as well as the doings of the high and the mighty. The biographical details Professor Bucholz provides are particularly useful. While there are some politically correct observations in this 2003 course, I find them appropriate and useful. Among the many positive aspects of this course is Professor Bucholz’s referencing some of our own experiences to help us understand those of far-off times. For instance, comparing the questioning of authority in its many forms in the in the early 1600s to that in the 1960s. There is much here about the struggles of the Catholics and Puritans (and a caution spelled out by the latter’s ascendency in the mid-1600s); much about Ireland, Wales, and Scotland; and, not least, England’s relations with other countries. Professor Bucholz begins with considerable background and context, going back into the fourteenth century, and emphasizes throughout the prevailing conception of “the great chain of being”, which breaks down irretrievably by the late seventeenth century. The course bristles with perspective and insights. For instance, national heroes against Spain, Drake and Hawkins, are better understood as “terrorists” to the Spanish and “barbarians and war criminals” to Africans (Lecture 18); Tudor success can be attributed, in good part, to being better propagandists than the Stuarts; how political parties emerged from the seventeenth century turmoil; and Queen Anne has been maligned by sexist assessments, with Professor Bucholz rating her the best of the Stuarts. And, so much more. Professor Bucholz’s summing up of the period is worth noting: “This is the story of how the English people stumbled into a constitutional monarchy and religious toleration that would evolve into the freest, most participatory state in Europe, if not yet a democracy.” (Course Guidebook, Page 226). This is definitely a course I will return to for its wealth of information and insight about the period. Though the video lectures are fine, the course will work well in audio, as the video does not have many illustrative materials. There are many screen shots, however, repeating/highlighting important points and information. The course is accompanied by an excellent 277-page course guidebook. It contains not only fine lecture summaries, enlivened by some illustrative material, but also a helpful timeline, glossary, biographical notes, annotated bibliography, a map, and charts of the Tudors and Stuarts. This is one the finest TC course guidebooks of the more than one hundred TC courses I have taken. Very highly recommended!
Date published: 2021-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Among the best of the Great Courses Having taught introductory courses for decades, I value the ability to put facts and ideas in perspective. This course excels in exactly that. Only the expert can do it well. As many have commented, the professor's expertise is evident at every turn, delivered with clarity and good humor. The triviality of my disappointments witnesses to the excellence of the course: key terms are occasionally passed over too quickly or too softly, and the professor might profitably review the use of who/whom. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2021-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Forget Netflix! This is simply one of the best Great Courses.. I couldn't wait to 'binge' on this. Dr. Bucholz delivery and information has you on the edge of your seat. His sense of humor sneaks in every so often making me laugh out loud and his compassion ( when Charles I is beheaded) makes for hours well-spent. Even if you aren't into that period (yet), you will be after listening to this.
Date published: 2021-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First rate! The professor knows his stuff and presents it at a level not requiring either extensive knowledge of military history or a hatred of "dull facts". Absolutely first rate!
Date published: 2021-06-11
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Explore the Tudor-Stuart era: a captivating examination of the 229-year period from 1485√1714 during which England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called the first modern society. In making that transformation, England became the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. Award-winning Professor Robert Bucholz of Loyola University of Chicago presents a sweeping, 48-lecture course on one of the most intriguing times in modern history..


Robert Bucholz
Robert Bucholz

This course is much more than a way to pass the time. It is, rather, a toolkit for any citizen of the West, a survival kit for any citizen of the world.


Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Robert Bucholz is Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago, where he has taught since 1988. He earned his B.A. in History from Cornell University and his D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University. Before joining the faculty at Loyola University, Professor Bucholz taught at numerous universities, including Cornell University; California State University, Long Beach; and Loyola, Marymount University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Among Professor Bucholz's numerous teaching awards are the Sujack Award for Teaching Excellence, the highest such award presented by the Loyola College of Arts and Sciences. On two occasions, he received the Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year Award. At Loyola University, Professor Bucholz teaches courses on Early Modern London, Early Modern England, and English Social History. He is the author or coauthor of books on English history, including Early Modern England: A Narrative History and The Augustan Court: Queen Anne and the Decline of Court Culture. Professor Bucholz is also the project director of the Database of Court Officers, which contains the career facts of every person who served in the British royal household from the Restoration to the death of Queen Victoria.

By This Professor

A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World
A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts


England 1485-1714, the First Modern Country

01: England 1485-1714, the First Modern Country

A look at the scope of the course, the significance of English history, and why this Early-Modern period was crucial not only to the development of England, but to transatlantic civilization itself.

32 min
The Land and Its People in 1485-I

02: The Land and Its People in 1485-I

This lecture examines England's so-called "island mentality" and its complicated relationship to both Europe and the Celtic lands of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

30 min
The Land and Its People in 1485-II

03: The Land and Its People in 1485-II

The discussion of the physical world of the English people in 1485 continues with this look at the material and social topography of the English town, manor, and village, from the wealthiest residents to the poorest.

30 min
The Land and Its People in 1485-III

04: The Land and Its People in 1485-III

The focus switches to the mental landscape of the English people, and especially to the concept of the "Great Chain of Being" and the unyielding social hierarchy it implied....

30 min
Medieval Prelude-1377-1455

05: Medieval Prelude-1377-1455

Beginning with the end of the reign of Edward III, the English monarchy and constitution undergoes more than a century of instability prior to the accession of the Tudors. This lecture begins the explanation of why this happened.

30 min
Medieval Prelude-1455-85

06: Medieval Prelude-1455-85

Over a 30-year period, the Lancastrian and Yorkist claimants to the throne fight three different Wars of the Roses and produce a short-lived line of Yorkist kings, including Richard III, whose reign ends in the successful rebellion that begins the Tudor Dynasty.

30 min
Establishing the Tudor Dynasty-1485-97

07: Establishing the Tudor Dynasty-1485-97

This lecture examines the steps taken by Henry VII to secure the crown after his victory over Richard III, the failed Yorkist rebellions that follow, and Henry's subsequent efforts to secure alliances that will deprive future rebels of allies or secure bases.

30 min
Establishing the Tudor Dynasty-1497-1509

08: Establishing the Tudor Dynasty-1497-1509

This lecture examines Henry's efforts to make England's government more efficient, less expensive, and more responsive to his wishes by following three old principles of medieval kingship: the king must be strong, he must govern with consent, and he must live "of his own" (within a budget).

30 min
Young King Hal-1509-27

09: Young King Hal-1509-27

A look at the larger-than-life personality of Henry VIII and the early years of his reign, years dominated by Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, one of the most hated government officials in English history.

30 min
The King's Great Matter-1527-30

10: The King's Great Matter-1527-30

This lecture examines Henry VIII's attempts to secure from the Roman Catholic Church a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the complex implications that surround it.

30 min
The Break from Rome-1529-36

11: The Break from Rome-1529-36

With the Catholic Church weak and divided at the top, Henry and his new leading minister, Thomas Cromwell, are able to break England's allegiance to the Pope, secure the king's divorce, and initiate the Reformation in England.

30 min
A Tudor Revolution-1536-47

12: A Tudor Revolution-1536-47

An examination of what some historians have seen as a Tudor plan to increase the power and efficiency of the monarchy, not only in religion, but in all areas of English life.

30 min
The Last Years of Henry VIII-1540-47

13: The Last Years of Henry VIII-1540-47

An aging king attempts to avoid invasion by the Catholic powers, balancing the demands of Protestant reformers with his own desire for a traditional Church-under his command-that would retain many Catholic practices....

31 min
Edward VI-1547-53

14: Edward VI-1547-53

Two successive advisors to the boy-king (only nine when he takes the throne) increasingly push the country toward Protestantism, including an attempt to alter the succession. But when Edward dies, the country still rallies to the Catholic heir, Mary Tudor.

30 min
Mary I-1553-58

15: Mary I-1553-58

Failing to realize that her people have rallied to her only because she is the rightful heir and not because she is Catholic, "Bloody Mary" attempts to ally with the Spanish Empire and undo the Reformation-at tremendous human cost.

30 min
Young Elizabeth-1558

16: Young Elizabeth-1558

As Queen, Elizabeth uses her superb political skills to balance off both competing court factions and potential suitors. Rejecting marriage, she cultivates the image of "Gloriana," the Virgin Queen symbolically wed to the people of England.

30 min
The Elizabethan Settlement-1558-68

17: The Elizabethan Settlement-1558-68

Bitter religious divisions are tearing at England as Elizabeth takes the throne. This lecture examines those divisions and how the Scottish Reformation, the rebellion against Mary Queen of Scots, and Mary's flight into Elizabeth's protection place in grave peril not only both women, but also the prospects for peace in the British Isles.

30 min
Set in a Dangerous World-1568-88

18: Set in a Dangerous World-1568-88

Increasing tensions between England and Spain over trade and the Protestant Revolt in the Netherlands mark a period of plots against Elizabeth, the assembling of the Spanish Armada, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and the defeat of the Armada by a newly strengthened Royal Navy.

31 min
Heart and Stomach of a Queen-1588-1603

19: Heart and Stomach of a Queen-1588-1603

The beginning of a world war with Spain has a devastating effect on England's economy and makes for a stormy relationship with Parliament. In the end, it is the cult of "Gloriana" that keeps Parliament and the people loyal and allows the smooth succession of the Stuarts to the throne.

30 min
The Land and Its People in 1603

20: The Land and Its People in 1603

The start of an eight-lecture intermission from the political narrative to address the economic and social changes experienced by the English people since 1485-beginning with unprecedented stresses on the Great Chain of Being.

30 min
Private Life-The Elite

21: Private Life-The Elite

An examination of how members of the landed aristocracy (i.e., nobles and gentry) lived their lives circa 1603....

31 min
Private Life-The Commoners

22: Private Life-The Commoners

The same topics dealt with in the previous lecture-education, courtship, marriage and day-to-day living-are dealt with as they are experienced at the other end of the "Chain."

31 min
The Ties that Bound

23: The Ties that Bound

A look at the institutions, habits, and attitudes designed to promote meaning and community in England, including popular religion, paternalism, extended family ties, and the support of one's neighbors.

30 min
Order and Disorder

24: Order and Disorder

Toward the end of the sixteenth century, English men and women are convinced that disorder, poverty, and crime are on the rise. This lecture examines whether they were right and how the system functioned to address these issues.

31 min
Towns, Trade, and Colonization

25: Towns, Trade, and Colonization

England begins its movement out of the countryside-not only into towns, but to fledgling colonies that form an alternative for those who cannot make a go of it in England or conform to its rigid religious and social structure.

31 min

26: London

A guided walk through what is, by far, the largest city in the realm, as well as its capital, greatest port, and center of culture and fashion.

31 min
The Elizabethan and Jacobean Age

27: The Elizabethan and Jacobean Age

A look at the tremendous flowering of English culture at the turn into the seventeenth century, including what is possibly the greatest achievement of the age-the development of the English language itself-and the reaction of authorities to this powerful and thus dangerous tool.

30 min
Establishing the Stuart Dynasty-1603-25

28: Establishing the Stuart Dynasty-1603-25

The problems that James I inherits from the Tudors will eventually overwhelm the early Stuart state and produce the British Civil Wars. This lecture introduces five enduring areas of tension-sovereignty, financing the government, war and foreign policy, religion, and local control-with a focus on the first two.

30 min
The Ascendancy of Buckingham-1614-28

29: The Ascendancy of Buckingham-1614-28

A look at the 14-year dominance over English politics and government of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who rises to be the principal favorite of both James I and his son, Charles I.

30 min
Religion and Local Control-1628-37

30: Religion and Local Control-1628-37

This lecture examines the impact of the different and problematic religious settlements reached in each of the three kingdoms ruled by the Stuarts: England, Scotland, and Ireland.

30 min
Crisis of the Three Kingdoms-1637-42

31: Crisis of the Three Kingdoms-1637-42

In 1637, Charles I attempts to impose an Anglican liturgy on Presbyterian Scotland, unleashing a chain of crises that ultimately leads to the complete breakdown of understanding between king and Parliament and a resulting declaration of civil war in England.

30 min
The Civil Wars-1642-49

32: The Civil Wars-1642-49

A look at how the wealth controlled by Parliament eventually wears away Charles I's advantage in experienced fighting men and leads to an event unprecedented in English history: the execution of a king on a charge of high treason against the people of England....

30 min
The Search for a Settlement-1649-53

33: The Search for a Settlement-1649-53

This lecture examines the first part of England's 11-year period without a king, including the flowering of a period of relative political, social, and religious freedom, and the conquests of Ireland and Scotland.

30 min
Cromwellian England-1653-60

34: Cromwellian England-1653-60

Parliament and the army ask Cromwell to administer England as Lord Protector of the realm. But after five years of effective rule, Cromwell dies-unleashing a period of instability that leads to the negotiated restoration of the Stuart monarchy.

30 min
The Restoration Settlement-1660-70

35: The Restoration Settlement-1660-70

The restoration settlements in Church and State seem to turn the clock back, with the king dependent on Parliament, the Church of England reestablished and Puritans made outlaws, and defeat at the hands of the Dutch plunging the nation into crisis.

31 min
The Failure of the Restoration-1670-78

36: The Failure of the Restoration-1670-78

Charles II and his new ministry-the Cabal-begin a bold attempt to solve all of his problems by signing the Treaty of Dover with France, England's ancestral enemy.

31 min
The Popish Plot and Exclusion-1678-85

37: The Popish Plot and Exclusion-1678-85

An alleged "Popish plot" to kill the king and establish his Catholic brother, James, Duke of York, on the throne leads to the rise of the Whig and Tory parties, a failed effort to bar James, and the pursuit by Charles of what comes to be known as the Tory Revenge. The Revenge culminates in a deathbed conversion to Catholicism and the peaceful succession of James.

30 min
A Catholic Restoration? 1685-88

38: A Catholic Restoration? 1685-88

A look at the short and unpopular reign of James II and his attempts to restore toleration for Catholics. Unpopular though he is, no one contemplates rebellion, until the surprise birth of a Catholic heir leads seven prominent noblemen to invite invasion by the Protestant William, Prince of Orange....

31 min
The Glorious Revolution-1688-89

39: The Glorious Revolution-1688-89

James flees in the face of William's invasion, and a compromising Parliament declares his abdication, placing William on the throne and marking England's final break with the Great Chain and her entry into the modern world.

31 min
King William's War-1689-92

40: King William's War-1689-92

The necessities of the war with France bring about a fundamental shift in the respective roles of England's two political parties, and irrevocably extend the reach of Parliament's power and role in the constitution.

31 min
King William's War-1692-1702

41: King William's War-1692-1702

An examination of the economic strategy that enabled victory over France; the Act of Settlement that solved England's succession question-at least on paper-and moved the nation closer to constitutional monarchy, and the two royal deaths that brought England to the brink of yet another war with France. It is a war that will have to be fought by a new ruler after a hunting accident claims William's ...

30 min
Queen Anne and the Rage of Party-1702

42: Queen Anne and the Rage of Party-1702

A close look at a Queen greatly underestimated in both her own time and by historians, yet whose strong common sense and identification with her people's hopes and dreams would make her the most successful of the Stuarts.

30 min
Queen Anne's War-1702-10

43: Queen Anne's War-1702-10

The War of the Spanish Succession decides the thrones of Spain and Britain and settles the balance of power in Europe and North America for a generation. But even after a series of major victories, it is the queen's subtle political maneuvering that paves the way for peace.

30 min
Queen Anne's Peace-1710-14

44: Queen Anne's Peace-1710-14

Though the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 ends the war and lays the groundwork for the British Empire and England's commercial and military dominance of Europe for the rest of the century, issues of religion and succession are still in play when Queen Anne's lifelong fragile health finally fails, and the last of the Stuart monarchs dies.

30 min
Hanoverian Epilogue-1714-30

45: Hanoverian Epilogue-1714-30

A look at how the peaceful accession of George I, combined with Britain's victory in the War of the Spanish Succession, solves or pacifies most of the tensions that have wracked England under the Stuarts, and allows Great Britain to become the richest and most powerful country in Europe during the eighteenth century.

30 min
The Land and Its People in 1714-I

46: The Land and Its People in 1714-I

An examination of the social and economic state of the country as the reign of the Stuarts ends.

31 min
The Land and Its People in 1714-II

47: The Land and Its People in 1714-II

As England turns into the eighteenth century, the face of artistic and intellectual life is changing as primary patronage of the arts passes from the Church and court, replaced by noble and popular sponsorship of architecture, literature, music, and painting.

31 min
The Meaning of English History-1485-1714

48: The Meaning of English History-1485-1714

A summary of what twenty-first-century Americans should take from English history under the Tudors and Stuarts: a time when ideas and concepts that still lie at the heart of our notion of democratic civilization were pioneered.

31 min