A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've taken about 15 Great Cs over the last year... and almost all have been outstanding. But this one is the best. Bucholz is a gem. His lectures are informative, well-paced, learned, and he has a wicked sense of humor. I hold a BA in history from another institution, but if I could do it over again I would have gone to Loyola to study under Dr. Bucholz. He is that good. Highly recommended. If you don't like this course, you just don't like history.
Date published: 2020-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good Information and Presentation! I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was highly-informative to me, and spurred me to do some reading on my own about the subject. The level of detail was right for this type of course; I wasn't looking for, or expecting an in-depth study of the broad topic; I found it to be very engaging and appropriate.
Date published: 2020-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting and a great presentation This course really requires you to pay attention and keep track of family trees and personalities during this period. Bucholz does a great job of presenting each character and keeps us in line of all those around. It could get confusing, but the professor makes it manageable and very enjoyable.
Date published: 2020-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good course with a good prof. Initially a bit boring with this king, that war then that king. Typical history especially of England. But then he turns more o explaining the times, lives of it's citizens other than kings and a broader more complete history of England for this time period. The professor is good with a clear and engaging presentation. My lectures had a bit of an audio problem with muffled speech but I still found him a pleasant relief from the textbook-reading delivery so common today.
Date published: 2020-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative course I watched this course on great courses plus and enjoyed it very much. It's probably a bit longer than needed but quite engaging overall.
Date published: 2020-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent thorough, informative, with an engaging presentation
Date published: 2020-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Queen Anne Made Easy For me, the strength of this lecture series was the last third of the course that dealt with the Restoration of the Stuart Monarchy (1660), the "Glorious Revolution" (1688), and the complicated and shifting politics of an era that culminated in the arrival of the Hanoverian King George I (1714). Professor Bucholz is a respected authority on the reigns of William and Mary as well as that of the tragic, vulnerable, but underestimated Queen Anne. We are fortunate to hear from a scholar of that era who is able to make the complicated and shifting politics of that time clear and understandable. Anyone who enjoyed the recent movie "The Favourite" (or at least enjoys that period of history) will benefit from taking this course. I recommend this course highly to better understand and appreciate the politics and culture of early modern England / Britain. This course should be mandatory for anyone who wants a better grasp of Tory and Whig politics: their origins, their differences, and their later evolution. I have patiently waited, however, for a future lecture series by Professor Bucholz on the world of Georgian Britain (1714 to 1830-37). I would ask that The Great Courses take advantage of having this expert to also share his insight and knowledge on this important period. I know lots of folks will take this course for the history of the Tudors and that randy Henry VIII. Sure, that part of the course was solid and educational. But it's Professor Bucholz's insight and explanation of the convoluted and confusing late Stuart period (which includes Charles II, James II, William and Mary, and Queen Anne) that makes this lecture series truly one of the best. He fills his lectures with his insights about this period's rich culture and personalities. Sorry, but I have to run. I have an evening of revelry planned with my friends of the "Whig Junto" at the Kit-Cat club. Enjoy! guy also known as gaius
Date published: 2020-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Bucholz presents a particularly consequential era of English history. A period where England grew from an unimportant backwater to the leading world power. A period that started with several recurring problems of governance to their eventual resolution. While he describes the goings on of the kings and top advisers, and he does so in great detail, Bucholz also takes time to elaborate on the lives of the people of England, from nobles down to paupers, describing what amounts to an informal caste system as the great chain of being. One of his themes is the evolution away from a rigid social order to one in which the people gained a large share of freedom. The freedom that would eventually be enshrined by the US in its constitution. Including the activities of the common folk adds richness in itself, but also deepens the understanding of the pressures that swayed the Kings, and eventually parliament's decisions. The course starts with context for the ascension of the Tudors, then evenly describes each of the Monarchs through to Queen Ann of the Stuarts, finishing off with a discussion of the subsequent rise of British power into the 19th century. I leave the course with a good scaffold on which to understand the activities of England and Europe when I explore their histories in greater detail.
Date published: 2020-03-13
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A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
Course Trailer
England 1485-1714, the First Modern Country
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
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.


Oxford University


Loyola University Chicago

About Robert Bucholz

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.

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