Research Publication Title

The Heart and Stomach of a Queen: Elizabethan Politics and the Gender Question*

Major

History

Faculty Mentor(s)

Aran S. MacKinnon

Keywords

coplac, history, queen elizabeth, gender

Abstract

The Tudor monarchy (1485-1603), can be understood as the beginning of the early modern era of English history drawn from its transformation of the political, cultural, legal, and language system of England. A select period of this time that continues to have profound influence on aspects of modern life, particularly socio-political gender structures, is the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Elizabeth, a monarch who by cunning, luck, and sheer force of will, defined absolutely an era of English history in ways that are scarcely touched by both her predecessors and successors on the throne. Beginning under the reign of her successor, James I (1603-1625), and continuing to the present, Elizabeth is viewed as a monarch who was able to expertly traverse the tightrope of competing interests from the church, parliament, her ministers, the aristocracy, and the desire of her people, under the pressure of an intensely male-dominated and in many ways misogynistic political structure. However, this judgment obfuscates the intense, and at times overwhelming, pressures Elizabeth faced when she assumed the reins of governance in November 1558. No greater challenge presented itself to the new queen than that of the issue of her gender, and the seemingly irreconcilable crisis of having a woman occupy a position that, out of a historical and political need, must be held by a man.

Start Date

10-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

10-4-2015 10:00 AM

Location

HSB 202

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The Heart and Stomach of a Queen: Elizabethan Politics and the Gender Question*

HSB 202

The Tudor monarchy (1485-1603), can be understood as the beginning of the early modern era of English history drawn from its transformation of the political, cultural, legal, and language system of England. A select period of this time that continues to have profound influence on aspects of modern life, particularly socio-political gender structures, is the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Elizabeth, a monarch who by cunning, luck, and sheer force of will, defined absolutely an era of English history in ways that are scarcely touched by both her predecessors and successors on the throne. Beginning under the reign of her successor, James I (1603-1625), and continuing to the present, Elizabeth is viewed as a monarch who was able to expertly traverse the tightrope of competing interests from the church, parliament, her ministers, the aristocracy, and the desire of her people, under the pressure of an intensely male-dominated and in many ways misogynistic political structure. However, this judgment obfuscates the intense, and at times overwhelming, pressures Elizabeth faced when she assumed the reins of governance in November 1558. No greater challenge presented itself to the new queen than that of the issue of her gender, and the seemingly irreconcilable crisis of having a woman occupy a position that, out of a historical and political need, must be held by a man.