: Political Problems and Legal Resolutions Allegiance, that basis of loyalty to any government, has always been a quality more invoked than defined. This has been so not least because, in most societies, to discuss the nature of allegiance has been to bring under scrutiny the most basic political fundamentals - an enterprise fraught with subversive implications in any era. This paper explores one rare m o m e n t when, in 1608, a group of English lawyers did undertake a comprehensive definition of that most nebulous political value. What they concluded was admirably clear, and (perhaps consequentially) politically divisive in unprecedented w a y s in the decades of debate which preceded the mid seventeenth-century English civil wars. The argument of this paper is that the 1603 transition from 'natural-born' English queen to Scottish king on the English throne led to a significant, and significantly legal, redefinition of English understandings about the nature and extent of allegiance. T h e imperative for such a redefinition arose from the accession of James V I of Scotland to the throne of England in 1603. H e had long held the ambition to effect a 'complete' union between his
Parergon – Australian & New Zealand Association of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Inc. (ANAZAMEMS, Inc.)
Published: Apr 3, 2001
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