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"To Promote a Woman to Beare Rule": Talking of Queens in Mid-Tudor England

Judith M. Richards
The Sixteenth Century Journal
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 101-121
DOI: 10.2307/2543225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2543225
Page Count: 21
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Abstract

The onslaughts against Mary Tudor's rule by such Protestant clerics as John Knox and Christopher Goodman, made on grounds of her sex, did not sit well with the more usual English views on female power in the mid-sixteenth century. Inherited traditions and contemporary retellings of the history of such a mighty if mythical queen as Semiramis were much more ambivalent than that and easily invoked by both detractors and defenders of women's rule to shore up their respective arguments. In brief, there was no simply dominant preferred position on that question in England. There was, unsurprisingly, a preference for male-exercised authority, but the contemporary social realities ensured that a clear-cut exclusion of women from the exercise of all authority over all men was not a practical proposition.

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