Resistance and Compromise: The Political Thought of the Elizabethan Catholics

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The plight of Catholics in Elizabethan England has long attracted the interest of historians and it has long been appreciated that the key to understanding their position lies partly in the voluminous polemical literature which they published. Nearly three hundred tracts were printed in English and Latin and more circulated in manuscript. The purpose of this book is to use such material as a source for understanding the political ideas of this religious minority in the age of the Wars of Religion. Dr Holmes concentrates on the two principal dilemmas which faced Catholics: whether they should remain loyal to the Queen or might resist her government and how far, if loyal, they might accommodate themselves to the religious laws she imposed on all Englishmen. He sees the Catholic response to both these problems as being in essence an interplay between the desire to resist and the need to find compromise or some means of peaceful accommodation with the political and religious status quo.