Elizabethan Government

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  • Elizabethan Government
    • Privy council
      • Discussed matters of state and give policy advice
      • Managed crown finances with Lord treasurer and exchequer
      • Oversee the operation of and receive appeals from regional councils
      • Enforce laws and regulations
      • Enforced the 1559 religious settlement
        • Privy council only consisted of nineteen members instead of 40 members as seen in his fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sister's reigns
          • Effectively, having small umbers, as Christopher Neale argues, is unrepresentative of the ruling thus undermining its advisory purpose and preventing an advancement in Government efficiency
          • Also having such small members of the council meant that she could control what is discussed and debated in meetings. Having such  cooperative body meant that there was little room for her councillors to challenge her policies and authority
          • Small meant that there was little factionalism as they met three days a week to discuss issues regarding the country and they all had the same ambitions and perspectives, therefore, factional rivalry was limited
          • As no single minister was in charge of patronage (not even Cecil) this meant that the issues in Government that happened in Henry VIII's reign did not exist. Wolsey ran the day to day government, isolated and manipulated Henry for his own personal gain but this didn't happen with Elizabeth
            • Elizabeth was able to keep authority centred around her
    • Ministers
      • Elizabeth's ministers were part of the privy council but she met with them individually
        • Christopher Haigh argues that Elizabeth appointed her politicians as courtiers and her courtiers as politicians
        • Individuals such as Hatton were brought it because they charmed Elizabeth and this can be seen as Elizabeth being taken by their charm and masculinity but such attribute's were excellent for courtiers
          • Having men such as Hatton and Essex was a political move for Elizabeth. They would hold feasts and entertain foreign guests with tournaments and dancing. Having these men promoted England's Prestige
      • William Cecil was Elizabeth's key minister.
        • In 1561, Cecil was appointed to the position 'master of the court of wards and liveries' and 1572, Lord treasurer
        • Cecil had enemies such as the Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Sussex but Cecil disregarded them with grace tact and with a humble nature
        • The Value Cecil had for Elizabeth is shown in the positions she gave him. If the others were dispensable, Cecil was not
      • Robert Dudley, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Christopher Hatton
    • Prliament
      • Functions: 1. Grant taxation 2. Give advice (although Elizabeth felt like certain matters fell under the royal prerogative e.g marriage) 3. Law making (passing acts such as the 1559 act of supremacy and uniformity
      • Elizabeth did not class parliament as important as her privy council and only called them for their primary function.
        • Parliamentary functions were limited and this led to a bitter relationship with crown and parliament as a result especially on matters that Elizabeth saw as part of the royal preogative
          • The fact parliament challenged her on the issue of marriage just shows how strained their relationship was. It showed that Elizabeth's authority was challenged by parliament and she was losing to an extent authority over it
      • Professor Neale argued that there was conflict between the crown and parliament. E.g Peter Wentwill
        • He was challenged by Geoffrey Elton who says that disagreements between the crown and parliament were infrequent and never posed a serious threat to Elizabeth's authority. Disagreements were to resolve issues not cause conflict as Neale suggests
          • It can be argued that Elizabeth had poor relations with parliament. Period. But an argument against this is that she still preserved her royal authority by disciplining her parliaments and parliament was not a serious threat.
            • For example, in the succession crisis, Elizabeth; as a reaction Elizabeth banished Leicester and the Earl of Pembroke and publicly rebuked members of her council. Elizabeth disciplined her parliaments and reasserted the view that marriage was a royal prerogative
              • This is evidence to support that Elizabeth maintained her royal authority. Elizabeth did not struggle to control her parliaments


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