Recent government proposals are merely the latest in a long history of hostility.
Sedition could cost you your life in Tudor England, but by the 18th century the monarch was fair game, writes David Cressy.
'In the beginning, America was in the way'. Only slowly did 16th-century Englishmen turn from the chimera of a short-cut to Asia's riches to the vision of precious metals to be mined and colonies planted in the New World.
The transition of Henry VIII from Renaissance monarch to the Reformation patriarch, supreme head of the Church of England can be charted through the visual images of spectacle and power emanating from the royal court.
Why was Francis Drake in the Pacific in the 1570s? Was the Golden Hind bound on a trade voyage or was there a deeper political motive? The documents are lost, but David Cressy feels the historian can still speculate.