Do you agree with the view that the main cause of the English Reformation was the character and influence of Anne Boleyn

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Do you agree with the view that the main cause of the English Reformation was the character and
influence of Anne Boleyn?
The English Reformation was when Henry broke away from Catholicism and formed the Church of England,
with him taking all the power in the title Supreme Head and Protector. Henry's stubbornness and insistent
pestering towards Pope Clement VII for an annulment from Catherine of Aragon infamously sparked this
reformation, however there is a whole plethora of other reasons as to why the break from Rome and
English convention occurred. Foremost is the small matter of Anne Boleyn whom had captured the vast
majority of Henry's attention. Other contributing factors include the corruption of the Church and Henry's
desire for a European-dominant military, emulating Henry V.
Anne Boleyn's influence was far increased when Catherine bore Henry a daughter; failing to provide the
king with the male heir he so scrupulously desired. Furthermore, Anne Boleyn's friends influenced Henry
through their work, as they supported his idea of a break from Rome: Source 9 "a group of reformist
writers, including Tyndale and Simon Fish, whose ideas clearly suited his purposes." Henry's purposes were
clearly that of divorce however Source 9 also shows some of his arrogance towards the Pope: "in his view
that he was well within his rights to reject the authority of the Pope."
The friction Henry and the Pope shared is also clear in Source 8; Henry believed that God had spoken to him
about his situation and by divorcing Catherine he would be rewarded with a son. Both Source 8 and 9 hint
that it was in fact Henry's arrogance towards the Pope that caused the English Reformation. But Source 9
brings in another factor, the corruption of the Church: "hostility to Churchmen was widespread and often
bitter." However, the source claims that this could have merely been a scape goat that Henry used to justify
his break from Rome: "a break from the power of the Pope was at least conceivable." Unfortunately,
Source 9 doesn't give the real reason, assuming this was a scape goat, as to why Henry truly began the
English Reformation. On the other hand, the corruption of the Church may have been the real reason that
Henry broke from Rome. As if it wasn't apparent already, Henry desired to emulate Henry V's military
prowess. But as he had found out in the previous decade, war requires money. Henry could find that money
within the Church, and so the Disillusion of the Monasteries began, first by Wolsey, who destroyed every
monastery worth less than £200. Maybe this was the reason for the English Reformation; money and
Source 7 is the only source that agrees with the view that the English Reformation was caused by Anne
Boleyn's character and influence. However, unlike Sources 8 & 9 it isn't written by modern historians but by
Cardinal Campeggio writing to contacts within Rome. Campeggio was sent to England to supposedly deal
with the Great Matter, however before leaving Rome he'd been given strict orders not to award the
annulment. At this point, Charles V had released the Pope and the Pope had vowed to live and imperialistic
life just like Charles, effectively washing his hands of the Great Matter. Furthermore, Source 7 considers the
implications of Anne's influence upon Henry: "the destruction or survival of this kingdom." Interestingly,
Campeggio puts the word "destructive" before "survival" suggesting that his intentions are to weaken
English influence within Europe, and he is subtly conveying this back to Rome.
In conclusion I think Anne Boleyn was a big influencer of the reformation in England. She educated herself on
the matters and helped Henry see life from a different perspective, allowing him to tighten his grip on
ultimate power. However she may have been the most imminent cause but other factors still contributed to
the English Reformation: the corruption of the Church and Henry's thirst for money, and Henry's arrogance
and conflict with the Papal system.


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