Causes of the Wars of the Roses

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Causes of the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses was caused by:

  • The effects of the Hundred Years' War (french Wars)
  • Financial And Society Problems
  • Dynastic Problems
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The Effects of the Hundred Years' War (French Wars

The Wars of the roses was caused by the effects of the Hundred Years' War:

  • The English had suffered their final defeat in this war because:
    • Maine surrendered in 1448.
    • Normandy was lost in 1450
    • Bordeaux was also lost in 1453.
  • This final lost caused great upset to the population. 
  • Land owners lost their French holdings, therefore their financial loss was considerable. 
  • The complaints put forward by the rebels in 1450 harps on the losses in France. 
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Financial and Society Problems

The Wars of the Roses was also caused by financial and society problems in England:

  • The Black Plague returned a couple of times, which caused an enormous loss in the population. 
  • It also caused a dearth of the labour force who tended to crops:
    • This caused a shortage in food and starvation as there was severe inflation in the prices of labor and agriculture products. 
    • 'Grave famine'
  • The Black Plague had caused a great shiftin the social order:
    • Minor landowners had grew wealthy and took over lands owned by owners who died. 
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Financial and Society Problems Part 2

'Livery Maintenance':

  • This system meant that the great peers of the kingdom could call upon minor Lords to fight their side, under 1 banner.
  • These minor lords. combined with career soldiers, turned mercenaries. 
    • This meant that the peers could rouse large armies for themselves easily, or more easily, than the King. 
  • Fighting a common enemy for a century was no longer an option, so it would be just a matter of time until the great warriros began to fight each other. 
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Dynastic Problems

The Wars of the Roses was caused by Dynastic problems:

  • Henry VI was a dissappointment to the people, as he was weak and placid (the complete opposite to Henry V).
  • The King's favourites, Suffolk and Somerset, were loathed for their undue and unwise weilding of power.
  • Many of the nobles who had been superseded in France, such as York, had personal resentments and grudges against Henry's ministers for lacks of preferment. 
  • Suffolk was impeached on a trumped up charge of treason and was exiled by Parliament, for the losses of France, which was largely due to Somerset's inability.
  • Henry VI was unable to create a strong central govt and upset them by ignoring their request that Somerset would be exile too.
  • There was peace in 1450-53 because the nobles liked the fact that there was a strong successor, Duke of York, if Henry VI was to die. 
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Dynastic Problems Part 2

  • York had saved Henry VI as he possessed an unbroken legitimate male descent from King Edward.
  • However, the birth of an heir in 1453 had complicated matters, as if the King was to die, the kingdom would fall to an infant prince who would be governed by the loathed Somerset.
  • In 1453, Henry VI became incapacitated, where he didn't understand his son had been born.
  • Therefore, York took over as Protector.
  • However, a year later, the King regained his sanity, which restored power for Somerset and the Yorkists were thrown out.
  • As a result there was the First Battle of St Albans 1455 (the first battle of the WoR).
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