Personal Rule

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  • Created on: 02-06-13 15:39
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To what extent was the Personal Rule a success?
Increased the amount of government income.
There were no great protests against the move - peace reigned throughout the majority
of the period.
Not an unusual move - had been done by many other monarchs before Charles.
The King was entitled to do it , raise some of these taxes.
No real threat of absolutism because Charles had a long line of local government.
The religious reform achieved by Charles and Laud was successful in sorting out long
running problems in the church such as the state of many of the churches.
Why could the personal rule be considered a success?
Charles's personal rule was nothing new; he had every right to not call Parliament and rule
by himself. During the period Charles did have some success. The religious reforms of
Laud are often seen as controversial but the truth is that Laud was only really looking for
unity in a country where many churches were crumbling and falling apart. His move to try
and unite the country under the Church of England was a sensible reaction to the long
going religious problems of the time and was completely permissible under the
Elizabethan Act of Uniformity. Laud was trying to unite the country not split it further.
Charles's government also had considerable success in the field of finance. Without
Parliament Charles was now financing himself; his revived taxes of the Distraint of
Knighthood and Forrest Fines were both legal and not widely maligned as most people
paid. Charles with the help of Weston , his Lord Treasurer managed to reduce his own
personal expenditure and by the end of the period Crown Income was actually on the rise.
His government became more efficient in some areas thanks to the policy of Thorough
instigated by Thomas Wentworth , the Earl of Strafford. His local government reforms
were simple but effective especially helping Charles increase the amount of power he had
in the countryside. The time was one of considerable peace; Charles ended his wars in
France and Spain and did not join the Thirty Years War; very sensible moves considering
the state of his own army. It was only later on that the Personal Rule went of the rails.
When was the turning point in the success of the Personal Rule?
As far as I am concerned the turning point in the success of the Personal Rule came in the
year 1637. 1637 was the year when everything changed; firstly in religion the Prayer Book
was introduced into Scotland leading to riots and the need for armed priests in Edinburgh.
Scottish troubles were to plague Charles for the rest of his Personal Rule and beyond
ultimately leading to the Bishops Wars. Scottish troubles started to get serious in 1637.
Also in religion the case of Prynne, Burton and Bastwick raised the problem once again of
Catholicism in the Anglican Church and the role of Laud and his Arminian ways when he
treated gentlemen as common criminals. In finance the controversial Forest Fines were
introduced in 1637 leading to much confusion and angst as the lines of forests were put
back to medieval times. In addition the case of the John Hampden came to light in 1637
and provoked the fall in the amount of Ship Money collected by the government which
continued to fall from 98% in 1634 to 25% in 1640. Not only showing public contempt for
the taxes he imposed but showing the lack of control he had over the judges he had hand
picked.

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