Edward IV's First Reign (foreign Policy)

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Edward IV's Foreign Policy

Edward IV was an usurper, there it was vitally important that Edward's foreign policy legitimised his rule an international stage, and would prevent outsiders assisting a Lancastrian invasion:

  • Edward IV allowed Warwick to deal with Lancastrians who backed Scottish incursions in the north. 
  • Although Edward can be criticised for not going north himself, however Warwick's actions allowed Edward to focus on strengthening the machinery of government and secure his rule in London.
  • In 1463, Edward signed a truce with France, in which the French promised not to support Henry VI. 
  • In 1465, Edward IV captured Henry VI, whilst the French stuck to their agreement, despite Henry's heir was in exile in France, until Warwick's rebellion. 
  • In 1464, a 15 year truce was agreed with Scotland which brought peace to the border regions. 
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Edward IV's Foreign Policy Part 2

  • Edward's aims in foreign policy (to secure peace and gain foreign acceptance) in this period were limited. 
  • Edward was keen to open up negotiations, in Burgandy,, with the powerful Duke of Burgandy.
    • He did this to expolit trading opportunities and secure an ally to counter balance France.
  • Warwick favoured a French alliance and was negotiating for Edward to marry the French king's daughter. 
  • However, Edward ignored his advice and married Elizabeth Woodville in secret. 
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The Hanseatic League

The Hanseatic League:

  • Merchants from German city ports on Battic and North Sea, who were joined in a trading union and dominated North European trade. 
  • Edward failed to persuade the League to agree to his request for trading concessions.
  • These concessions had the potential to increase trade and customs revenue for the King.
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Conclusion

Conclusion on Foreign policy:

  • Edward's early attempts into foreign policy were relatively successful. 
  • However, he showed his naivety in foreign policy, in the events leading up to Warwick's rebellion. 
  • Edward IV failed to grasp the implications his choice of wife would have on foreign relations. 
  • Edward IV did not appreciate the williness demostrated by Louis in offering his support to Warwick.
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Elizabeth Woodville

By 1464, Edward was well established, until he made his first major mistakes:

  • On the 1st May 1464, Edward IV secretly married Elizabeth Woodville and kept it a secret until September, because he knew that Warwick (his most powerful supporter), would be furious by this. 
  • Warwick had been negotiating with the French for a bride for Edward, only to find he is already married. 
  • Elizabeth Woodville was a widow, and made enemies at court. 

Why was their marriage a problem:

  • Woodville wasn't an ideal choice, as she was not of aristocratic rank. 
  • Her siblings got advantageous marriages. 
  • The Woodville marriage was seen as the start of disagreement between him and Warwick. 
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