This book is a study of popular responses to the English Reformation. It takes as its subject not the conversion of English subjects to a new religion but rather their political responses to a Reformation perceived as an act of state and hence, like all early modern acts of state, negotiated between government and people.
These responses included not only resistance but also significant levels of accommodation, cooperation and collaboration as people attempted to co-opt state power for their own purposes. This study argues, then, that the English Reformation was not done to people, it was done with them in a dynamic process of engagement between government and people. As such, it answers the twenty-year-old scholarly dilemma of how the English Reformation could have succeeded despite the inherent conservatism of the English people, and it presents the first genuinely post-revisionist account of one of the central events of English history.
ETHAN H. SHAGAN is Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2000 and was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows. He has published articles in the English Historical Review, the Journal of British Studies, the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and in numerous edited collections. This is his first book.