Triumph of Elizabeth; Crown, Government and Parliament

Notes from the AQA A2 textbook Chapter 5: Crown, Government and Parliament covering the political authority of Elizabeth I

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Rachel Jones 1
Chapter 5
Defending against internal and external enemies, 157188: Crown, government and
The political authority of Elizabeth I
The role of ministers and factions
Lord Burghley
William Cecil remained the most influential of Elizabeth's ministers
Becoming Lord Treasurer made it easier no longer had to deal with the bureaucratic pressures
o Still had a vital important role: coordinate the Privy Council, manage Parliament and supervise the
Exchequer and the Court of Wards
Adopted a conservative approach to royal expenditure
o Paid off from mid 80s when it became necessary to spend more money on war in the Netherlands and
defence of England against the Armada
Failure to reform the Crown's systems of raising revenue led to issues later on in the reign
o Queen was major obstacle so not all Burghley's fault
o MacCaffrey: `major deficiencies in the crown's fiscal administration went unchecked or grew
Caused immense problems later with the financial pressures created by the war against Spain
The Privy Council
Some reshaping took place in the 1570s
Influence of the traditional conservative aristocracy was reduced with the downfall and execution of Norfolk
and the death of Lord Treasurer Winchester
A nucleus of firmly Protestant councillors was appointed: Walsingham, Mildmay, Sadler, Smith, Sidney and the
Earl of Warwick
o Advancement was balanced by the promotion of more conservative figures: Hatton and Crofts
John Guy: these changes resulted in an `inner ring' of eight councillors
o Militant Protestants: Walsingham, Leicester, Mildmay, Earl of Bedford
o Conservative: Sussex and Hatton
Little changed in effectiveness of the Privy Council
John Guy/Penry Williams: the Council offered cohesive decision making
Simon Adams: the Council demonstrated a `political homogeneity previously unknown'
Religious conservatives appear to have been marginalised following the fall of Norfolk
MacCaffrey: in refusing to endorse the Queen's French marriage plans in 1579 the Council was
successfully demonstrating its latent power
There was a breakdown in relations between Elizabeth and Privy Council brought about by the execution of
Mary Queen of Scots in 1587
The Problem of Succession
Parliament were careful to not risk the Queen's anger in the 1570s
Burghley was determined to exclude Mary Queen of Scots from the succession
Privy Council was worried about the prospect of a child succeeding the throne Edward

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Chapter 5
Problem of succession became critical in 1579 when Elizabeth was contemplating marriage to Francois, Duke
of Anjou
o Elizabeth declared capable of having a child
o The failure of these negotiations removed this possibility
Problem still remained
Relations between Crown and Parliament
Dates Reason (s) called What happened?
8 May 1572 ­ 30 June 1572 MPs called for the execution of
MPs were prompted by Privy
the Duke of Norfolk and Mary
Council members to ask for
their executions
Queen…read more

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Chapter 5
Regional government and border administration
Regional government was only in the North and the Welsh border
o Arose due to distance from London
o Perception that these were lawless areas which needed more governing to be in control
The Council of Wales and the Marches
Politically less important than the Council of the North
o Wales had long been pacified
Put on a proper basis in statute law in 1542 and was answerable to the Privy Council
Political bases never…read more

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Chapter 5
o Exercises supervision over county government
o Had power to fine JPs for neglecting their duties
Important communication between the Crown and leaders of county government
o Privy Council used the assize judges to pass on instructions and advice
Lords Lieutenant
Person responsible under the Crown for military organisation within each county
o Originated under Duke of Northumberland to prop up his political authority
They were appointed occasionally not regularly
During the deterioration in relations with Spain from 1585, the…read more

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Rachel Jones 5
Chapter 5
Link between county and parish government was the high constable responsible for a division of a county,
had powers of arrest and executing writes sent to him by JPs and sheriffs
Parish constable elected by peers for a year
o Could arrest suspected criminals
o Supervise the running of alehouses
o Maintain the village stock of weapons
o Muster troops
Genuine representatives of the community within the chain of administrative command
Corporate boroughs were selfgoverning towns
o Precise powers…read more


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