Henrician Foreign Policy

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  • Created on: 14-01-19 14:05

Basics of Henry VIII's Foreign Policy No1

Henry was keen for his legacy to be remembered through time, all the while desperately wanting to conquer France. At this time period, Germany and Italy were not unified countries, so were just states. The Germanic States heavily experimented with Protestantism, and this can be seen in future circumstances, causing trouble during Elizabeth's reign.

Scotland had an alliance with France. Henry has a significant fear of invasion from this alliance, especially as Scotland could act as a vessel to get through to England. When Henry broke from Rome in 1529, he also had fear of invasion from Staunch Catholics in different empires. James V, the nephew of Henry VIII, had Mary Queen of Scots. (very important during the Elizabethan reign).

The Holy Roman Empire and France form a Peace Treaty in 1538, and the Pope calls for a crusade against England. However, France and the Holy Roman Empire are too busy squabbling to listen to the Pope. The Act of 6 Articles for Catholicism to be brought back into England was passed in 1539, after the Act of 10 Articles was deemed unsuitably Protestant by Henry.

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Basics of Henry VIII's Foreign Policy No2

In 1544, Henry tried to invade France with Charles V. The invasion is catastrophic as hardly anyone works together, therefore leading Henry to only gain Boulogne. Henry would not let this 'prize' go, and this decision had important implications for England.

In 1542, Henry VIII attacked Scotland, which is known as the 'Rough Wooing'. This was due to the fact that Scotland had rejected his son, Edward, to marry Mary Queen of Scots. James V dies during this attack, but the English defeated the Scots at Solway Moss in 1542. After this, Scotland is left very vulnerable and the Anglo-Scottish peace treaty of 1543 was brought up, meaning that the Scottish had to agree with the marriage of Mary and Edward. The marriage was, again, declined and an invasion started again.

Henry sought protection from the Schmalkaldic League. They were both a political and religious alliance. Cromwell started negotiating the marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves, a noble daughter of the Schmalkaldic League, in an attempt to strengthen the alliance and keep the protection needed for England. This was also a chance for the League to push Protestantism into England, and Henry slightly agreed.

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Essay Answer - Invasion of England

Foreign Policy and the motivation to protect England from invasion was undoubtedly the most imperative factor when considering religious change between 1536 and 1547. International pressures greatly influenced Henry and the fear of invasion was a constant threat to English sovereignty, especially after the Holy Roman Empire secured peace with France under the Treaty of Nice in 1538, leading to the Pope calling for a crusade on England. Henry was pressured to form an alliance with the Schmalkaldic League, with these Protestant influences discouraging the threat of invasion from Catholic powers. The Bishops Book and the Act of Ten Articles could have been published to impress the Schmalkaldic League as they instilled significant Protestant ideals. One of the motivations of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 was so that Henry could gain money from them in order to defend England from other countries and spend most of it on relentless wars on France. Henry felt threatened by Scotland having alliances with other foreign countries, as they could act as a vessel to get through to England, therefore enabling him to form the Anglo-Scottish peace treaty of 1543 with Mary to ensure their alliance and England's protection from future invasion. 

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Reasons for changes to the Church between 1536 and

Protecting England from invasion - international pressures and the significant fear of invasion from foreign countries led Henry VIII to form alliances and peace treaty's. (Dissolution of the Monasteries, Break with Rome, Protestant ideologies being brought into England).

Marital Distractions - major influence on the King during this time. Allowed the factions to exploit the King's emotional state, resulting in the majority of religious change taking place during this time period. The execution of Boleyn in 1536 was a major blow to Cromwell as the Boleyn faction was a key participant in the reformist movement. 11 days after her execution, he married Jane Seymour, who birthed him a son, however she died during childbirth and Henry grieved hard for her. His weakened emotional state can be seen to be exploited as Cromwell released his second set of injunctions. The marriages of Henry VIII were gateways for the factions to gain power as it was a very important position to have someone be a part of a faction, which could lead to controlling the King in favour of this.

The King's Reformation - the new reformed Church was a reflection of Henry's Humanist education. Humanism is shown by the removal of the Church relics and saints. Henry revised the heavily protestant Bishop's Book, to fit his own ideals fitting into Catholic Doctrine. Henry being head of the Church reflects the evolution of Catholicism. Also, Act of Six Articles.

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