This chapter seeks to show how politics mattered to women, and women to politics. It begins with a narrative of four queens ruling early modern England, and continues with a survey of women's participation in the political realm in a diversity of social contexts. A case study of the years 1640–60 explores the range of women's activities during the Civil War period. Political narrative, which remains the dominant mode of historical writing for the early modern period, has been resistant to the inclusion of gender as an analytical category. At the end of the seventeenth century, despite the exclusion of female sex from liberal theories of social contract, women continued to be active in both mass and elite politics.
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