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“Persecutors Under the Cloak of Policy”: Anti-Catholic Vengeance and the Marian Hierarchy in Elizabethan England
Robert Harkins
University of California, Berkeley

This article examines questions of retributive justice and conflict resolution in early modern England. In particular, it focuses on Protestant demands for anti-Catholic vengeance in the aftermath of the Marian persecution. Following the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, some godly critics called for the execution of the Marian leadership, whom they blamed for the deaths of the Protestant martyrs. The Elizabethan government, however, was reluctant to launch a full-scale religious persecution, and so the surviving Roman Catholic dignitaries were imprisoned, remanded to house arrest, or released. The perception that the Marian leadership had gone unpunished would become a lingering point of resentment, especially as members of the godly community were themselves increasingly targeted for prosecution by the English church and state.

Pages: 357 - 384