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The History of the University of Oxford: Volume IV Seventeenth-Century Oxford$
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Nicholas Tyacke

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780199510146

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199510146.001.0001

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James II and the Catholic Challenge

James II and the Catholic Challenge

(p.906) (p.907) 19 James II and the Catholic Challenge
The History of the University of Oxford: Volume IV Seventeenth-Century Oxford

R. A. Beddard

Oxford University Press

At the death of Charles II in 1685, Oxford University was solidly Anglican, predominantly high church and imperturbably Tory in its religion and politics. Indeed, it remained so well beyond the revolution of 1688, in which the Protestant William of Orange forcibly dethroned Charles's successor, the Catholic James II. Yet in the brief interval between the demise of one Stuart king and the deposition of another, the university saw such a challenge to the monopoly of the Church of England and to the academically ordered, religiously uniform, and financially secure way of life which the Protestant establishment guaranteed to churchmen, that the political behaviour of the dons, normally submissive, if not actually obsequious to the government of the day, underwent a visible transformation: one which was sufficient to push them into otherwise unaccountable acts of defiance against the lord's anointed. The Catholic challenge, while it had not destroyed the university's loyalty to King James, had completely anaesthetized it.

Keywords:   Oxford University, Charles II, James II, Stuart, religion, politics, Church of England, William of Orange, Catholic challenge

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