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Journal > Volumes > 39 (2008) / 4 (Winter)
The Case Against Thomas More
William Rockett
University of Oregon

When Thomas More resigned the office of chancellor in May of 1532, he departed from the government with the understanding that he would refrain from aiding or encouraging opponents of royal policy. This pledge was honored, but when events late in 1533 propelled Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent, into prominence, More was not able to avoid the consequences of his association with her and became suspect of treason under provisions of new legislation being drafted by Thomas Cromwell. Our best guide to the government’s case against More are letters he wrote in his own defense late in 1533 and early in 1534. In addition, More’s circumstances at this critical time in the formation of the Tudor state throw into sharp relief the clash of Romano-canonical authority and the constitutional structure being created by the Reformation Parliament. 

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