In his latest book, Daring Dynasty: Custom, Conflict and Control in Early-Tudor England, historian and Tulane alumnus Mark Horowitz illuminates the legacy of the first Tudor king: Henry VII. A compilation of works derived from nearly 30 years of research, Horowitz’s book covers the reign and royal policy of Henry VII but also draws parallels between the past and present.
“Studying history is about finding relevance in the past,” he said. “We can use history as a mentor—a consultant. I can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I’ve got options.”
The Chicago native originally planned to pursue a medical career but decided to change his major to history after receiving guidance from several Tulane mentors, like former professor Francis Godwin James.
“Studying history is about finding relevance in the past.”
“James brought history to life by personalizing it,” said Horowitz.
After graduating, he was awarded a fellowship by Joseph Gordon, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The opportunity ultimately led Horowitz to earn a PhD at the University of Chicago and to become a visiting professor at the University of Illinois–Chicago, where he taught a course called “The Tudor Kings” for four years.
Horowitz considers Henry VII to be a master politician and one of history’s greatest businessmen.
“He took a nation that was in the throes of intermittent civil wars, called The Wars of the Roses, and turned it into a stable country that he could hand over to his larger-than-life son, Henry VIII,” he said.
Prior to defeating Richard III in battle, Henry VII had the most anemic claim to the British monarchy since William the Conqueror in 1066.
“At 28 years old, he wasn’t in line for the throne, and he had been living in exile for 14 years,” added Horowitz.
Horowitz’s book delves into the incredible story of how the monarch reigned for almost 24 years.
“He became king at a very dangerous time,” he said. “Of the last nine kings, five of them had been murdered and replaced, and he could have been the next to meet an untimely death.”
Daring Dynasty also creates connections to current events, as the first chapter concerns the “war of words” between Richard III and Henry VII that cost the former his crown. Those words included “fake news,” as Henry led the courts of Europe and the pope to believe that he was not usurping the throne but reclaiming it from an imposter who had rebelled against the nation’s rightful ruler.
“Clearly, Henry got the upper hand,” said Horowitz.
Editor’s note: This article appeared first in the June 2018 issue of Tulane magazine.