Debating Women, Politics, and Power in Early Modern Europe by Sharon L. Jansen (auth.)

By Sharon L. Jansen (auth.)

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Therefore the safest way is to let Him do His will. . It is a plain argument that for some secret purpose He mindeth the female should reign and govern. —John Aylmer, An Harbor for Faithful and True Subjects against the Late Blown Blast concerning the Government of Women1 The publication of The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women did not go unanswered; rather quickly after Elizabeth’s succession to the throne of England, a number of responses were rushed into print.

12 Here, too, 18 Debating Women, Politics, and Power although he introduces a third point, Knox is not really adding a new argument but reinforcing the one he has already made. ” The analogy of the “natural body” of man is a familiar one. ” This argument is reinforced by Deuteronomy 17:18–20, when God tells Moses that His law about kingship must never be forgotten: “When he [a king] shall sit in the throne or seat of his THE MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN 19 kingdom,” he should remind himself of God’s law and “keep all the words of this law.

To this argument Knox replies that nothing makes something lawful that God Himself has expressly condemned. Even if it were “approved of all men by their laws,” the “odious empire of women” over men is still forbidden. ” This is the closest Knox comes to acknowledging that women had, historically, governed kingdoms, but he avoids dealing directly with historical precedents by implying that Catholic law has been responsible for the “monstrous empire” of women. He focuses on the “two vain shifts” that “the subtle wits of carnal men” have used to justify female sovereignty.

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