conflicting views of Elizabethan Parliament

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  • Elizabethan Parliament - Historical theories
    • Orthodox
      • Elizabeth sees Parliament as a forum which she can use to maintain contact with loyal subjects
        • verbatim accounts of speeches
        • memoirs of mps
      • weak institution dominated by powerful monarchs
      • John Foxe and Edward Camden: protestant heroine strongly supported by protestant house of commons
    • Neale
      • "New Orthodoxy"
      • Elizabeth is unwilling to call Parliament -> doesn't like opposition
        • 12/13 times = subsidy
        • eager to make sessions short
          • Longest session = 5 months
          • said this at the beginning of Parls. opening
      • Puritan choir of 46 (out of 462...) members
        • focus on reforming churches
          • unable to change within because of bishops
        • force queen to accept changes -> When did this work?
        • growing number of gentry sitting for borough seats
      • political skills
        • use subsidy as a bargaining tool...
          • in 1567 try to delay subsidy - Elizabeth remits 1/3
      • Increased confidence meant more willing to challenge Q's authority
      • HoLs ignored and dismissed because assumed its decline
      • Importance of lesser men on a great scale
    • Revisionist
      • more moderate -> No evidence E ever thought about not having Parliament
        • short session doesn't = just for money (money introduced late)
      • Norman Jones: Marian Exiles where neither numerous/organised enough to act influence parls
      • Geoffrey Elton: Parliament evidenced cooperation
      • Elton:power lay with King in parliament - she was heart of political system
      • Graves : Parliament was swamped with imnumeral private bills
      • focus on what was achieved
      • Big difference came from refocusing how looked at Parliament  - Elton primarily looked at function
    • Post Revisionist
      • inconvenient necessity
        • E = likes maintaining traditions
        • brought up to believe needed community of interest between governors and governed
        • no reason not to believe genuinely wanted to help subjects.
      • Led by John Guy and Patrick Collinson
      • Opposition = Privy Council - when E ignored/refused advice persuaded her to call Parliament
        • Individual influence to summon support.
          • Cecil (Burghley) and Leciester
            • Edward Norton (believed to be a member of Puritan Choir) was Cecil's 'man of business' in HoCs
    • Sir Thomas Smith: "The most high and absolute power in the realm consistent in the Parliament"
    • Obey "godly" prince or resist "ungodly prince" ?


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