Edward IV

Strengths and weaknesses of Edward IV's reigns.

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Edward IV - Financial Policy

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  • Died solvent in 1483 where as Henry VI had died £372,000 in debt. This meant he wasn't reliant on Parliament, he had full control over his finances.
  • Customs revenues - Increased them by 40% through his reign, from £25,000 to £35,000. In 1466,73,74 he appointed special commissioners to investigate the collection of custom duties and stamp out corruption and abuses.
  • Trade treaties with the Hanseatic League in 1473, France in 1475 and Burgundy in 1478. This brought in more money to the crown lands.
  • Benevolences - collected £100,000 from the Laity and £77,000 from the Church after 1471.
  • Taxation - Between 1472-75 he collected more money Per Annum than any King since Henry V.
  • French Pension - Agreed in 1475 and resulted in £85,000 Per Annum from France in the last 7 years of his reign.
  • Crown Lands - Brought in around £30,000 Per Annum through forfeitures, Wardship, Judicial fines, and 113 Acts of Attainder. In 1478 he confiscated Clarences Land.
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Edward IV - Woodville's

Links to Foreign Policy and Nobility.

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Woodville's - In 1464 Edward revealed he was already married to Elizabeth Woodville despite Warwick having spent months in negotiations with France. Elizabeth Woodville was a Lancastrian widow and was not of aristocratic rank. She already had 2 children from her previous marriage and a quick succession of marriages amongst her siblings left the Woodville's connected to some of the most powerful families in the country. If Edward had followed Warwick's advice and married the French Princess, they would have gained a more secure Kingdom as he would have had an alliance with one of his most threatening enemies. He also would not have given power to the Woodville's who grew in power throughout his reign.

Foreign Policy - Could have created a marriage alliance with France.

Nobility - Made Warwick feel left out and pushed away as well as undervalued as his advice and work was ignored. It was also hated amongst his general Government.

1466 - Earl Rivers became treasurer of England in the place of Lord Mountjoy, Warwick's uncle.

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Edward IV - Foreign Policy

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French or Burgundian alliance - Edward decided to ally with Burgundy and this alliance was later secured with the marriage of Edward's sister to Duke Charles the Bold. This meant Edward was now preparing for war with France. However, after Warwick's rebellion in 1469 - which was spurred on by Edwards mistreatment of Warwick and the rising power of the Woodville's and Neville's, as well as Henry VI once more gaining the throne - he was instead forced to battle with Warwick in the Battle of Barnet 1471 in which Edward rose to victory and Warwick was killed.

This meant Edward's government was much weaker - Warwick's ability to put Henry VI back on the throne showed Edward was weak, however the Battle of Barnet helped him to gain back some of his previous image of a good warrior. It also affected his finances as going to war is always expensive, however his effective handling of expenses meant this did not impact the second half of his reign too severely.

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Edward IV - Nobility

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Woodville Faction - instead of marrying the French Princess he married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464. This was unwise as not only would a French marriage alliance have been extremely beneficial, but it also meant a previously unknown and powerless family were given new positions such as chancellor.

Warwick - He was continuously pushed out and ignored by Edward IV. He had spent months organising a French truce but Edward went behind his back anyway and married Elizabeth Woodville. This lead to him revolting in 1469 and helping to restore Henry VI to the throne, as well as allying with Margaret of Anjou and Louis XI.

Others - Gave Richard of Gloucester control of the North and was allowed to raise an army without the Kings permission. Gray brothers ruled the South/West and Prince of Wales/Earl Rivers ruled the West Marches. Woodville power!

Second Reign - By this point Edward IV had learned from his mistakes. He was no longer being too lenient or trusting with the wrong people. This meant his Government was more successful as he had loyalty to himself, rather than to the crown.

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Edward IV - Administration of Government

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Gave power to certain people - Richard Duke of Gloucester was in charge of the North, however this allowed him to collect a power base and eventually lead to his ability to kill the Woodville's after Edward IV died.

Lived off his own - he was not reliant on Parliament, unlike Henry VI. This independence allowed him to make his own decisions about his own Kingdom.

Personally active in Imports and Exports - made sure his money was going to the right places and the right people. This meant he had more control over his money and Government.

Gave opportunities to redeem yourself - Earl of Oxford was restored to his land, showing him to be kind and therefore secured him more loyalty. However, it did lead to his nobles being able to take advantage of his kind nature.

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Edward IV - Battles and Treaties

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1462 - Margaret of Anjou attacked from Scotland. She had French approval, therefore she lost her support in England. In 1463 they made a treaty with France which meant they had to withdraw support from the Lancastrian's. This also meant Margaret of Anjou lost their support.

1464 - Battle of Hexham. This was a Yorkist victory and many prominent Lancastrian supporters were killed (Duke of Somerset), during or after the battle.

1465 - Henry VI was captured after spending a year on the run. He was locked in the Tower of London, however Edward did not want Henry killed. This solidified Edwards role as it turned the public against Henry.

1469 - Battle of Edgecoat. This was a Lancastrian victory as Edward ordered his soldiers to flee the Battle which led to his capture and imprisonment.

1470 - Warwick's rebellion. Warwick defeated Edward and he fled abroad. This led to the restoration of Henry VI and showed Edward to be weak.

1471 - Battle of Barnet. Warwick and Henry defeated and killed, MoA captured.

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