The professions in Early Modern England, 1450-1800: servants of the commonweal

O'Day, Rosemary (2000). The professions in Early Modern England, 1450-1800: servants of the commonweal. Themes In British Social History. London: Longman / Pearson Education.

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Abstract

This new history examines the development of the professions in England, centering on churchmen, lawyers, physicians, and teachers. Rosemary O'Day also offers a comparative perspective looking at the experience of Scotland and Ireland and Colonial Virginia. This fascinating study charts the early history of the professions in England - concentrating on those associated with the Church, medicine and the law. It analyses the development of an educated 'class' falling between the non-working leisured classes and the merchants, traders, craftsmen and labourers who comprised the working population of the country. The increasing professionalisation of England and the other powerful nations of Europe was a major factor in the development of a recognisably modern world. This new study traces the origins of the movement, not to industrialisation, but to the growth in the period 1500-1800 of groups of men, engaged in the law, the church and medicine, with a common educational background and steeped in an ideology of service to the 'commonweal'. This study combines the author's new research and a synthesis of the best recent scholarship in a clear and original interpretation, making it an excellent survey upon which to draw for teaching or student use.

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