The reign of Henry VI

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What Factors undermined Henry VI's rule before 1455?
`...the conduct of the war in France and the problems of government at home were quite
inseparable to contempories and cannot be considered separately by historians.' ­ B.P Wolffe,
England was desperately engaged in a struggle to hold on to the territories
captured by Henry V and Henry VI's regency government was beginning to lose.
The situation deteriorated further, as relations with England's most important
ally, Burgundy (important dukes like Philip the Good (1419-67) and Charles the
Bold (1467-77) worsened and Philip gravitated towards a truce with France.
When Philip broke his alliance with England in 1434 there were riots in London,
and Flemish settlers, were lynched in the streets.
In 1435 the Treaty of Arras bound together the interests of Burgundy and
In April 1436 the French recaptured Paris and, by 1442, Pontoise was surrendered
too, despite 5 attempts to hold it.
By 1444. After years of expensive campaigning, Edmund Beaufort duke of
Somerset (had a feud with Richard Duke of York) and William de la Pole, duke of
Suffolk (leader of the dominant faction at Henry VI's court) rose as some of
England's most powerful men set to relieve the country of burden.
Suffolk negotiated a two-year truce with France at Tours in 1444 which included
arrangements for Henry's marriage to Margaret of Anjou, the 15 year old niece
of Charles VII.
In order to secure this valuable marriage alliance Henry promised to surrender
Maine to Charles.
Knowing how unpopular the abandonment of such hard-won territory would be,
care was taken to keep this part of the proposal carefully guarded secret until
the truce could be converted into a lasting peace.
Maine was surrendered in March 1448 but only after the French had threatened
the English garrisons with a huge army.
Between 1445 and 1449 an uneasy peace was maintained until Charles VII
brought the Hundred Years War to a finish when he launched an assault on
Normandy that destroyed English forces in 1450.
By 1453; Henry had lost virtually all the remaining French land.

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What Factors undermined Henry VI's rule before 1455?
Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, (His uncle- youngest son of Henry IV and
occasionally protector and regent during minority of Henry IV ­ supported Henry V's
aggressive foreign policy and conflicted over French affairs with Suffolk) was the most
influential supporter of the policy of conquest during the 1440s.
This brought him into conflict with the dominant Suffolk faction which endorsed the
King's policy of appeasement.…read more

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What Factors undermined Henry VI's rule before 1455?
The FEAR of reprisals against the people of Kent for the murder of
in Kent. (1450)
The rebels demands, as described in their `Complaint of the Commons
of Kent' were for the greater political equity amongst the aristocratic
elite, the justice for Gloucester's `murderers' and for financial
efficiency ­ the king should LIVE OF HIS OWN.…read more

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What Factors undermined Henry VI's rule before 1455?
Richard of York was not directly involved with Cade's revolt (due to
being absent in Ireland) but he soon returned to England in hope to
His return was greeted with huge public support and he soon rallied
an `army' several thousand strong.…read more

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What Factors undermined Henry VI's rule before 1455?
In 1453, a few days after receiving news of Charles VII's capture
of Bordeaux (marking the defeat in the Hundred Years' War),
Henry `went mad' according to his contemporaries.
For a year and a half Henry was completely incapacitated and
his recovery only partial leaving him in a catatonic
schizophrenic `useful political vegetable' famously quoted by
Charles Ross.
In October1453, Henry's Queen, (Margaret of Anjou) bore a son.…read more


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