Why was it that whenever the Tudor-Stuart regime most loudly trumpeted its moderation, that regime was at its most vicious? This groundbreaking book argues that the ideal of moderation, so central to English history and identity, functioned as a tool of social, religious and political power. Thus The Rule of Moderation rewrites the history of early modern England, showing that many of its key developments - the via media of Anglicanism, political liberty, the development of empire and even religious toleration - were defined and defended as instances of coercive moderation, producing the 'middle way' through the forcible restraint of apparently dangerous excesses in Church, state and society. By showing that the quintessentially English quality of moderation was at heart an ideology of control, Ethan Shagan illuminates the subtle violence of English history and explains how, paradoxically, England came to represent reason, civility and moderation to a world it slowly conquered.
Ethan H. Shagan is Associate Professor of History and Director for the Center for British Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge University Press, 2002) which won numerous prizes including the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize and the American Historical Association's Morris Forkosch Prize, and is editor of Catholics and the 'Protestant Nation': Religious Politics and Identity in Early Modern England (2005).
Winner of North American Conference on British Studies John Ben Snow Prize 2012.