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Source Exercise 6: The Divine Right of Kings 4

Source 2

King James VI and I, Speech to Parliament (1610)

James was king of Scotland and then of England (hence 'VI and I'). As well as being a ruler, he was also a writer, who penned books and speeches in defence of kingly authority. He had been hectored in Scotland by Calvinists who had deposed his own mother, Mary Queen of Scots; and he narrowly escaped assassination in England by Catholics in the Gunpowder Plot.

The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth. For kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. There be three principal similitudes that illustrate the state of monarchy. One taken out of the word of God, and the two other out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families, for a king is truly parens patriae, the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man.


1. Explain the three kinds of argument to which James appeals.

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