Elizabeth I

When Henry's daughter Elizabeth I gained the throne, she too both consulted and controlled Parliament. In theory, the monarch called Parliament for advice. In practice, Elizabeth rarely asked for its view. During her 45-year reign, she summoned Parliament only 13 times. All but one time, she asked for money.

When Parliament met, the queen's advisers conveyed her wishes. Certain subjects, such as foreign policy or the queen's marriage, were forbidden. Her skill in handling Parliament helped make “Good Queen Bess” a popular and successful ruler.

Painting of a man in royal robes and a stiff high collar, seated next to a table holding a velvet feathered hat.

James I, the first Stuart king of England, ruled England from 1603 to 1625.

Stuart Monarchs Clash with Parliament

Elizabeth died childless in 1603. The throne passed to her relatives the Stuarts, the ruling family of Scotland. The Stuarts were neither as popular as the Tudors nor as skillful in dealing with Parliament. They also inherited problems that Henry and Elizabeth had long suppressed. The result was a “century of revolution” that pitted the Stuart monarchs against Parliament.

James I Asserts Divine Right

When the first Stuart monarch, James I, took the throne, he agreed to rule according to English laws and customs. Soon, however, he was lecturing Parliament about divine right. In 1610, the king made a speech in Parliament.

The state of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. … Kings are justly called gods for that they exercise a manner or resemblance of Divine power on earth … And to the King is due both the affection of the soul and the service of the body of his subjects.…

—King James I

Decorated cover of a bible, with portraits of various religious figures.
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King James gave Greek and Hebrew scholars specific instructions for translating the Christian Bible into English. The King James Bible is considered a literary masterpiece.

Parliament was not impressed with the king's claim to rule by divine right. Instead, James faced repeated clashes with Parliament, mostly over money and foreign policy that involved the king's wars in Europe.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments