Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Chris Kyle
Dr. Alan Allport
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
European History | History | History of Religion | Political History
This project looks at the Fifth Monarchy Men, a radical religious and political group in early modern England. Two quotes from the historian Bernard Capp formed the foundation for this project. The quotes both stated that the Fifth Monarchy Men’s millenarian ideology changed based on the hopes and fears of the common people. Two components made up my analysis of the topic. The first was to find out what were the hopes and fears of the common people. The case studies used for this piece involved Nehemiah Wallington and the townspeople of Dorchester. Even though they were the hotter sort of Protestant, there are limited records of common people from this time. From this, it was found that the common people had an interconnected mixture of spiritual and practical concerns. The cases came from the most religiously minded, yet even they were concerned with the spiritual when it was connected to practical or personal concerns.
The second component of the analysis was to examine the Fifth Monarchy Men’s millenarian ideology. This was done by using a combination of primary sources and text written by historians. For the primary sources, there were a number of tracts used. There was a more detailed discussion of tracts written by four leading members: Anna Trapnel, Mary Cary, Vavasor Powell, and Christopher Feake. There were a variety of topics discussed in these sources, with a few common themes. One can see that the Fifth Monarchists were most concerned with religious issues, not the practical or personal issues of most concern to common people. The secondary sources show that the group lacked centralized leadership and cohesion. Thus, changes that did occur happened to individual preachers, not to the movement as a whole. This showed that for the Fifth Monarchy Men, the changes that did occur to their ideology were due to political pressures and individual preacher's preferences, not the hopes and fears of the common people.
Feiner, Christina Ann, "The End of the World Changes? The Fifth Monarchy Men's Millenarian Vision" (2013). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 32.
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