Crown revenue and the political culture of early Stuart England

Healy, Simon Mark (2015) Crown revenue and the political culture of early Stuart England. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

Economic historians conventionally date the origins of the English fiscal state to the foundation of the Bank of England in 1694. By European standards this was a belated innovation; the Spanish, Dutch and French had developed effective methods of debt service around a century earlier, based upon high tax revenues and borrowing. This study will explore the reasons why the English lagged behind their rivals in developing a fiscal state. England was not a poor country, and the reasons for its low tax base and poor creditworthiness were largely political. However, political historians, accustomed to analysing texts, rarely appreciate the significance of figures. This study will use financial data to contextualise debates about Crown finances, showing that a significant proportion of the political nation was dissatisfied with important areas of domestic and foreign policy. However, a political culture which sought to establish a consensus encouraged them to subvert, rather than confront the regime; keeping the Crown underfunded was an effective way of achieving this goal. The 'power of the purse' is usually interpreted as Parliament's propensity to vote inadequate sums of direct taxation; but it included the ability to block attempts at financial reform, often portrayed as arbitrary government. When King Charles implemented significant reforms despite widespread criticism, he raised sufficient revenue to govern without recourse to Parliament. However, this undermined the consensus on which his regime relied, and became a key factor in its abrupt collapse in 1640.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > History, Classics & Archaeology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 13:51
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2015 11:38
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/125

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