- Created by: cieran32
- Created on: 08-11-18 23:15
Elizabeth I and her Parliament
Elizabeth I and her Parliament
Parliament's power increased over the 16th century. A historical debate has developed over whether conflict between Crown and parliament increased during Elizabeth’s reign.
Neale's 'Puritan Choir' Thesis
A historian called Neale developed a thesis on the role of Parliament:
- Parliament’s increasing importance, especially in religious matters, increasingly encouraged factionalism and opposition to royal authority in the Commons.
- A group of Puritans (the ‘Puritan Choir’) demanded more Protestant reforms for the Church of England.
- The Puritan Choir is evidence of a more organised Commons that was prepared to contest Elizabeth’s policies.
Evidence to support Neale's Thesis
- The Commons angered Elizabeth I by discussing the succession in 1566 and religious reform in 1593.
- There were conflicts between the Commons and Queen over monopolies in 1601. The Queen granted the Common's demands.
- Between 1563 and 1566, at least 40 MPs (working together) pressed for more strongly Protestant religious reform.
- The Commons asserted their rights:
- To have free speech in 1576 and 1593.
- To settle an election dispute in a Norfolk constituency in 1586.
- Historians such as Elton interpreted the Parliament differently to Neale. This different view is called revisionism.
- There was more cooperation than conflict. Any opposition was infrequent, not organised, and never a serious challenge to Elizabeth I.
- Any disagreements were usually working out policies, not actual conflicts.
- There were only 13 parliaments, on average 10 weeks each, in a 45-year reign. The rest of the time Elizabeth ruled through the Privy Council and its machinery.
evidence to support the revisionist thesis
- Most of the time, the Commons gave Elizabeth what she wanted.
- Elizabeth forbade both the Commons and the Privy Council from discussing her marriage and succession.
- Parliament was effectively under the control of the Privy Council and nobility. At least a third of MPs were nominated by a noble patron, not elected.
- The Commons conceded to the Lord Chancellor over the 1586 Norfolk election.
- There was no general, concerted support for freedom of speech.
Regional Government During Elizabeth I's Reign
Under the Tudors, and especially from the break with Rome, central government interference in local communities increased.
justice of the peace (JPs)
- JPs implemented a range of government policies. The poor laws greatly increased their responsibilities.
- Under Elizabeth I, the trend towards increasing the number of JPs continued. By 1600, there was an average of 50 per county.
- JPs were unpaid. Even though their workload increased, there were always volunteers because of the prestige of the role locally.
- Lord Lieutenants became permanent in the latter half of Elizabeth’ reign. England was at war with Spain from 1585 until after Elizabeth’s death.
- They were usually members of the nobility.
- They raised local militias, oversaw the work of JPs, managed food supplies during times of war or famine, collected forced loans and reported local events to the Privy Council.
- Originally supported by sheriffs, deputy Lords Lieutenant were also appointed.
- The Council of the North continued operating.
- From 1572, it was led by the Earl of Huntingdon, a committed Protestant. He took over from the Earl of Sussex.
- Huntingdon took over after the Northern Rebellion and Ridolfi plot. He made sure increasingly harsh measures suppressing Catholics were implemented.
- The Council of the Marches also continued operating during Elizabeth’s reign.