Was Richard II a precocious tyrant? (III)

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  • Was Richard II a precocious tyrant? (III)
    • The North
      • Richard's persistent efforts to break independent power of Percies in the north
        • The north knew 'no king but a Percy'
      • The truce with France also brought an official end to hostilities with Scotland and so destroyed raison d'etre of semi-autonomous power of northern earls
        • they no longer needed to maintain armies to defend frontier and Richard began to insert new men into northern marches
          • his half-brother John, Earl of Huntingdon, was appointed to wardenship of west march in 1397
      • Aumerle, the son of Duke of York, succeeded John, Earl of Huntingdon, and in July 1398, John of Gaunt was appointed as lieutenant over wardens of both east and west marches
      • Exclusion of northern magnates (the Percies and the Nevilles) from their traditional spheres of influence was to provoke Percy's support of Bolingbroke in 1399
      • Tyrant by taking control of land or simply being a good king by attempting to control territory?
      • Richard was first king for many years really to attempt to govern the north
        • He  may have even have considered moving his capital to York but his efforts to rule as well as reign in north of England foreshadow policies of Yorkist Council of the North in spirit, if not in detail
    • Several of Richard's methods in 1390s
      • Smacked of that element of fear which was inescapable feature of Yorkist or Tudor government
      • Events indicative of the ruthlessness which was to become characteristic of English renaissance monarchy
        • 'trials' and executions of Warwick and Arundel in 1397
        • likely murder of Gloucester in 1397
        • Use of court of Chivalry to deal with cases normally concern of common law
      • Events of 1387-8 may not justify Richard's actions but they certainly influenced him to remove speedily and summarily all those who might threaten security of throne
        • Yorkists and Tudors were to use Acts of Attainder and court of the Constable
          • the means may have been different but ends were the same
        • To later generations this is unacceptable face of strong royal government
        • To contemporaries it was necessary price to be paid to avoid civil strife
          • Could suggest Richard was a tyrant, a progressive king concerned with keeping peace or out of touch autocrat?

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