The Act of Settlement and the condition of the monarchy and the Church of England in 1702

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  • The Act of Settlement and the condition of the monarchy and the Church of England in 1702
    • The Hanoverian succession
      • the final major piece of constitutional legislation passed during William's reign was the Act of Settlement in 1701.
      • The future succession would be vested in the House of Hanover, a German royal dynasty, to avoid potential Catholic heirs.
      • Sophia, the granddaughter of James I,  was married to Ernst Augustus, Elector of Hanover, and when she died the succession was passed to her son, George I.
    • The terms of the Act
      • Catholics, and those married to Catholics, were barred from the succession.
      • All future monarchs were required to be members of the Church of England.
      • Judges could no longer be dismissed without the consent of Parliament.
      • Royal pardons were declared void in cases of impeachment.
      • The monarch was unable to leave Britain without the consent of Parliament.
      • The clause that stated that royal pardons were irrelevant in cases of impeachment was only included because the Tories hoped to impeach William's Whig advisers.
      • The clause concerning the religion of the monarch reflected concerns over William's Calvinism as much as fear of Catholicism.
      • No future monarch was allowed to enter England into a war to defend the monarch's home country without the consent of Parliament, which served as a clear response to the risk of appointing a foreign monarch.
      • No foreign-born man was allowed to join the Privy Council, sit in either House of Parliament, have a military command or be granted land and titles.
    • The Rage of Party
      • The period from 1690-1715 has been referred to be historians as the Rage of the Party, characterised by the instability caused by frequent elections.
      • With more regular elections came a renewed interest in politics from those outside the immediate Political Nation.
      • The electorate were better informed than they had ever been as a result of the lapsing of the Licensing Act of 1695.
    • How far did Parliament and monarchy become partners?
      • Partners
        • William needed parliamentary taxes in order to fight the French and this resulted in Parliament gaining increased control over government finance.
        • The Triennial Act made Parliament an institution William could not ignore.
        • William was forced to appoint men he loathed to senior positions as a result of parliamentary pressure.
        • William was forced to reduce the size of the army as a result of parliamentary decision.
        • The Bill of Rights stated that parliamentary approval needed to be sought for the approval of a standing army in peacetime and outlawed taxation without parliamentary consent.
      • Power still in the hands of the monarch
        • There was still a desire among many of the political class to join the royal court, particularly as a result of the uncertainty caused by regular elections.
        • Much of the royal prerogative was left intact, such as the monarch's power to declare war, dissolve Parliament and veto legislation.
        • William had more financial independence than previous monarchs because of the financial revolution and the establishmenta system of long-term borrowing.


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