Managing early modern England was difficult because the state was weak. Although Queen Elizabeth was the supreme ruler, she had little bureaucracy, standing army, and police force. This meant that her chief manager, Lord Burghley, had to work with the gentlemen of the magisterial classes in order to keep the peace and defend the realm. He did this successfully by employing the shared value systems of the ruling classes, an improved information system, and gentle coercion. Using Burghley's archive, Governing by Virtue explores how he ran a state whose employees were venal, who owned their jobs for life, or whose power derived from birth and possession, t allegiance, even during national crises like that of the Spanish Armada.
Norman Jones studied under G. R. Elton, and his first book, Faith by Statute: Parliament and the Settlement of Religion 1559 (1982), won the Whitefield Prize from the Royal Historical Society. His other books include God and the Moneylenders: Usury and the Law in Early Modern England (1989); The Birth of the Elizabethan Age: England in the 1560s (1993), and The English Reformation: Religion and Cultural Adaptation (2002). He has co-edited a number of volumes with David Dean, Robert Tittler, Susan Doran, and Daniel Woolf. He has held a number of fellowships, including Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, where much of the work for this book was done.