2nd Reign of Edward IV

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Historian Quotes

  • 'He had an almost perfect 2nd reign for the vital kingly balance between justice and mercy' (Carpenter) 
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  • Just prior to his second reign, major noble threats were defeated including Warwick and his brother at the battle of Barnet in 1471, virtually all Lancastrian male heirs at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 (most notably the son of Henry VI, Edward prince of Wales) and on the same night Henry VI was killed himself. In addition to this Margaret of Anjou fled. However he did not get rid of Henry Tudor who lived in Brittany. 
  • Initially Edward pardoned his brother George Duke of Clarence, however after Clarence’s actions threatened Edward’s role as king (i.e. taking the law into his own hands by killing someone and suspicions of him plotting against Edward again), Clarence was executed in 1478.
  • However, there was a failure to address the ongoing disputes between Clarence and Glouchester over land before Clarence's execution. 
  • However, Edward was now evidently more sucessful in controlling the nobility. E.g Knight John Paston didnt come to court when summoned. Edward then issued a second notice saying that if he did not come now 'he shall be hanged'. 
  • Lessons learned from his 1st reign, no overmighty subjects and no alternative kings. However, it could be argued that he almost built Glouchester up to be an overmighty subject, who only took effect after the King's death at the expense of his inheriting children. 
  • Woodville faction was also present, with an increasing rivalry with Glouchester. 
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  • Lands in Lancashire yielding £885 in 1483.
  • Customs brining in £35,000 in 2nd reign, that’s a 40% increase from 1461.
  • Special Commissioners appointed to investigate the collection of customs duties and stamp out corruption and abuses in 1473 and 1474.
  • Trade treaties with Hanseatic League in 1473, France in 1475 (Treaty of Picquigney, 75,000 crowns awarded to Edward with a yearly pension of 50,000 crowns) and Burgundy in 1478.
  •  Benevolences: £100,000 from laity, £77,000 from church.
  • Confiscation of Clarence’s lands in 1478.
  • Taxation between 1472 and 1475 became more efficient, Edward collects more taxes per year than any king since Henry V.
  • Reversed 86/120 Acts of Attainder issued.
  • First king since 13th century to die solvent. 
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Foreign Policy

  • Hanseatic league treaty in 1473
  • Preoccupied with French relations. Typical of 15th century kings. Huge army landed in France in 1475, partly paid for by benevolence. Duke of Burgandy failed to provide much support. Within weeks, the campaign was terminated by the Treaty of Picquigny in August. Edward gained an annual pension of £10,000 to prevent Edward's returning to France. However, this caused contreversy with Glouchester who thought this un-noble and that the King should fight. 
  • However, this temporary good relation with France was wrecked by England's involvement with the French-Burgundian conflict in 1477. 
  • Scottish intercursions into England in 1477 and resulted in Edward capturing Edinburgh and James III. Poor planning and leadership just left Berwick upon Tweed in English hands. 
  • Trade treaty with Burgandy in 1478
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Government and Law

  • Persecution of Clarence.
  • Council made up of around 125 members, who were the key coordinating body for England. 
  • Unlike other Kings of the time, Edward wasn't prepared to appoint members of the nobility to serve on the council just because of their status and titles. For example, Edward's cousin (Duke of Norfolk) and his brother in law (Duke of Suffolk were never appointed on the council. Unlike Henry VI, Edward rarely used positions of the council as a reward for his supporters and favorites, preferring to grant lands and titles instead. Edward was also able to reduce the corruption which had been present during Henry's reign within the council. 
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