Three Kingdom's Approach to the 17th Century

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Some historians have focused on a Three Kingdoms Approach in the 17th century. Explain how this has contributed to our understanding of the mid 17th century crisis. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach? The Three Kingdoms approach has strengths such as a wide variety of areas that can be used as sources as well as weaknesses such as a possibility to be more focused on Scotland and Ireland. However, it seems that the approach may also not be very useful depending on your focus of study. For example, if you wish to research the overall European state during the 17th century, this method may not be useful as its focus is too narrow. It has contributed to our understanding of the 17th Century by widening our area of study thus a wider spatial perspective, giving us a wider understanding, as well as giving us a viewpoint from different religions rather than one.

The Three Kingdoms approach is an approach used by empirical and revisionist historians such as Conrad Russell and Peter Gaunt. This approach to history focuses on the 17th century crisis from the angle of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. It attributes the causes for main events during this period, such as the British Civil War as due to events in these three kingdoms. Conrad Russell supports the Three Kingdoms Approach as he states ‘When three Kingdoms under one ruler all take to armed resistance within three years, it seems sensible to investigate the possibility that their actions may have had a common cause’.

This approach has the benefit of having a wider spatial view, rather than a local one. This means that the area of study is wider, and so conclusions drawn from research using this approach will be generalisable to a wider area rather than a locality. This can be a strength if the area of research requires a wide spatial view. Using this approach a historian could focus on the impact of a certain event , such as Charles II being proclaimed King in Scotland...
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