When Mary Tudor became queen of England, the succession of a woman to the throne horrified many, including the Protestant reformer John Knox. His blistering condemnation of female rule, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, was followed in print by a series of pamphlets that echoed and expanded his argument that female rule was unnatural, unlawful, and contrary to scripture. In her own variation on this "monstrous regiment," Sharon Jansen contributes to the debate about female rulers. She explores the relationships among the many women whose lives occupy a place in and perpetuate a continuing, though largely unrecognized, tradition of political rule. The "story" of early modern European political history looks very different if we focus on successive generations of powerful women and view the shifting political alliances of the period from their perspective.

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