Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Annette Finley-Croswhite

Committee Member

Douglas Greene

Committee Member

Kathy Pearson


The thesis explores James Stuart's distinct style of kingship as a self-proclaimed absolute monarch whose writings, speeches and public image belied his intention to rule moderately for the welfare of his subjects. The king's reign is analyzed with regard to his ideas on monarchy and government, ecclesiastical policies, problems with clientage, relations with favourites and court culture. Both in Scotland and England, James' writings reveal his static approach to governing key institutions of church and state. The Jacobean court served as the locus of state political power as well as royal patronage, thus drawing many suitors for public offices and the king's favour. Life at court was also characterized by artistic vitality, motivated in part by the king's desire to cultivate a magnanimous image for the crown. By examining James' political writings, private letters, published proceedings of Parliament, various political tracts, contemporary histories and secondary source literature the king's style and practice of kingship, or his “Kingcraft,” is revealed.


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