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The Tudors - Thomas Cromwell, 1485-1540

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor John Patrick Coby (Smith College) looks at the life and career of Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540). In the first module, we provide an introduction to Cromwell’s career through the lens of his and Thomas Wolsey’s involvement in the King’s Great Matter (Henry VIII’s inability to produce a male heir while married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon). In the second module, we go back in time a little to look at Cromwell’s rise to power, looking at potential influences that contributed towards his later success. In the third module, we turn to look specifically at Cromwell’s numerous roles as an advisor and legislator of Henry VIII’s government, before in the fourth module surveying the extent to which Cromwell’s political influence brought about what the historian G. R. Elton labeled a ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’. In the fifth module, we turn from politics to religion, considering Cromwell’s role in the English Reformation, before in the sixth and final module looking at Cromwell’s decline and fall in the last years of his career.

About the Lecturer

Professor John Patrick Coby is a Professor Emeritus of Government at Smith College. He is an expert on political theory and political thought, and has written a number of monographs on Tudor Government. His recent publications include, Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Statecraft and the English Reformation (2009), Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament (2006), and Machiavelli's Romans (1999).