Edward IV's First Reign (foreign Policy)


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 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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