Tacitean history
Francis Bacon’s History of the Reign of King Henry VII
in Commerce, finance and statecraft

This chapter is concerned with the approach to commerce and finance employed in Francis Bacon's History of the Reign of King Henry VII (1622). Bacon's account, it is shown, was shaped by his reading of legal records, classical history (particularly Tacitus) and the writing of Machiavelli and his various critics. Through drawing on these sources, Bacon developed a detailed commentary on Henry's achievements as a manager of England's commercial interests and, more generally, a neo-Machiavellian analysis of the relationship between government and trade. The result was a highly original work, which offered a new approach to England's economic history.

Commerce, finance and statecraft

Histories of England, 1600–1780


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