John Callow The Making of King James II

ISBN 13: 9780750923989

The Making of King James II

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9780750923989: The Making of King James II

This revisionist account of a controversial figure provides a reappraisal of James' career prior to 1685, examining his roles as soldier, administrator, imperialist and entrepreneur. It shows how he held many of the most important positions in the kingdom, including Governor and Proprietor of New York, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and Viceroy of Scotland, and exercised a degree of power and patronage second only to that of the King. However, James' failure to harness political support, or to present an acceptable public image to his brother's subjects, both examined here, effectively destabilized English politics for a generation. John Callow shows how James' obstinacy and authoritarianism truly rendered him, as one contemporary pamphleteer had it, an impolitic prince. Based on archive material, this study dissolves the traditional contrast which has been seen between James as Duke and James as King, demonstrating that the weaknesses of the latter were already manifest in the former.

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James II has often been portrayed as one of British history's most hapless royal losers. His blatant favoritism toward his Cathloic subjects outraged the Protestant majority, leading to the Glorious Revolution and the final supremacy of Parliament. While his Jacobite (Latin for James) followers would fight on sporadically for decades, he ended his life in ignominious exile in France. Callow is a research associate in the history department at Lancaster University. In this revisionist history, he examines James' earlier successful career as governor of New York, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and viceroy of Scotland. While giving James his due, Callow makes it clear that his personal defects were evident even in those positions and those defects would doom his kingship. James is revealed as obstinate, petty, and tone-deaf to the demands of cordial relations with other power brokers and with his subjects. This well-researched, detailed work assumes a prior knowledge of the historical period; some general readers may get lost, but specialists should find this both informative and stimulating. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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John Callow
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