Intellectual background of Stuart England was rooted in medieval concept of a hierarchical, ordered universe: God/Angels/Mankind/Animals/Plants/Stones

Most people believed the world was composed of four elements; the body, four humors.  Each had related characteristics:
 Earth/melancholy/cold and dry
 Water/phlegm/cold and moist
 Air/blood/hot and moist
 Fire/choler/hot and dry

King was “personification of the state, the anointed of God, a being of sanctity and a legend.”  Was fountain of justice, supreme governor of Church, director of foreign policy, dispenser of patronage

Privy Council was administrative organization of the King, responsible for foreign and domestic affairs
Ministers of State – Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord President of the Privy Council, Lord Privy Seal, Secretaries of State, Lord Chamberlain, Lord High Admiral

Parliament assisted king in devising legislation and raising revenue. House of Commons had approximately 440 members; the House of Lords, 80

Church of England was compromise between Catholicism and Reformed Protestantism; Parish was basic unit of English church and state (approximately 8000 parishes in 1603)

Justices of the Peace (JPs) were responsible for local law and government (approximately 40 per shire)

Sheriffs (one per shire) gathered rents, annuities, and fees from crown lands and carried out policies of Council in shire

Most of revenue for central government came from custom and excise duties and sales taxes (only 8 percent of royal revenues came from direct taxation).