Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England

Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England

Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England

Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England

Synopsis

During the reign of Elizabeth I, large numbers of aliens immigrated into England for various reasons, most notably to escape religious persecution and the wars that wrecked the Continent in the sixteenth century. Much like governments facing immigration issues today, England's governors struggled to strike a balance between the potentially beneficial and the potentially dangerous aspects of the aliens' presence. Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us focuses on the link between the aliens, native English and the central government. It explores policies and attitudes, bringing new perspectives to familiar documents as well as introducing documents rarely seen in the subject's scholarship.

Excerpt

Almost innumerable works have been written about Elizabeth I and England in the ‘Elizabethan Age.’ Such a proliferation would seem to preclude the need for more books on the same. Nevertheless, I have written this one to investigate in more depth one facet of Elizabeth’s reign which intrigued me during my graduate career—the issue of immigration into England and how the Crown dealt with that issue. After having worked on a project transcribing the letters sent back home by Irish immigrants to the United States, I began drawing comparisons with the issues and concerns regarding immigration into the United States in our own era. From there I sought ways to apply these questions to the Tudor period, my particular area of interest, and my doctoral advisor introduced me to the famous late sixteenth-century immigration into England.

After sifting through the seeming mountains of documents still extant concerning the strangers, and likewise as many secondary works as I could examine, the area which seemed to be the most lightly treated would be that of the triangular relationship between the aliens, the native English, and the central government, mostly because of the substantial numbers of the first, and the conscious policy decisions of the last. As the title of this book indicates, I believe that these three groups were inextricably linked, influencing one another for better or worse. It is this link that has not been deeply explored, and that forms the principal focus of this work.

Thousands of Continental aliens came to the island kingdom in the early decades of Elizabeth’s reign. This influx has been examined in many books and articles, but most usually in the form of analyzing the religious motives of the strangers and/or their technological contributions to the Elizabethan economy. Conversely, studies of the Elizabethan government’s decision-making . . .

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