Abstract

Until recently, King James VI and I suffered from an excessively unforgiving reputation: Sir Anthony Weldon's hostile accounts and the English Civil War that erupted less than two decades after his death led many historians to assume James was an incompetent monarch. These Traditional, or Whig, historians believe that constitutional conflict escalated from the moment James ascended the English throne. Pauline Croft explains the Whiggish logic concisely when she says that the "catastrophic fall of the Stuart dynasty by 1649 seemed more easily explicable if the first Stuart to occupy the English throne could be ridiculed as drunken, homosexual, timid, and duplicitous.'' Revisionists, on the other hand, do not believe opposition between the Crown and Parliament was inherent. Because of revisionists' work during the last decades of the twentieth century, James is now more fully recognized and appreciated as "one of the most learned and intellectually curious men ever to sit on any throne." With that understanding comes, or at least should come, another look at James's reign.

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