Issues that Elizabeth faced in 1558

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  • Created by: tom
  • Created on: 02-04-13 18:07

Elizabeth's Personality etc


  • Considerable intellectual ability- She was very clever, she was given the education that a prince would have received. Almost fluent in Latin and Greek.
  • A sharp mind- able to put ideas together quickly and coherently. She never stumbled with her words. 
  • She was a new queen, the country didn't do very well under their last female monarch
  • She may not have trusted her own judgement 

Why was it an issue:

  • Opposition could have risen up given her gender. 
  • She dealt with the issue of religion very quickly 
  • She built up a strong privy cuncil very quickly 
  • However many saw her as being weak because she was a woman 

How big an issue:
Not very big as she was nothing like Mary, she was more like a male prince. There was little opposition based on her gender or personality. 

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Condition of Government


  • The privy council and much of parliament needed to be completely re-worked as it was predominantly catholic. 
  • Some of it was good however. She kept on Mary's chancellor of the treasury for example.

Why was it a problem:

  • The Privy Council was her body of advisors. They handled the day-to-day running of governemnt. It was vital that she picked the right men. 
  • She was short on money. Needed to make it more efficient. 

How big a problem:

  • It wasn't a big problem because she picked good privy councilors straight away, it was a good and strong council and so this didn't pose much of an issue- it simply had the potential to be a big issue if not dealt with properly.
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Financial Issues


  • Aggriculture was england's main industry
  • Open fields system used, not very efficient. 
  • 80% of exports was wool- the collapse of the Antwerp market meant that the English economy suffered.
  • Huge debt left over from mary's reign 

Why was it an issue: 

  • Elizabeth was under a lot of pressure to generate growth and increase the standard of living within England 
  • Needed to clear Marian debt
  • Couldn't spend more without taxing more
  • Replaced open fields system with enclosures- very unpopular- Kett's rebellion

How big an issue: 

It was possibly the biggest issue that Elizabeth faced. Needed to clear debt and increase standards of living but faced high inflation and low wages.

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Foreign Policy


  • Weak country compared to France/Spain
  • France had soldiers in Scotland 
  • Spain could use Ireland as a stepping stone 
  • If she went Protestant, she would loose support in Europe. 

Why was it an issue:

  • England was very weak. Its population was much lower then that of Spain or France and its army was much smaller. 
  • Population was unhappy after Mary's reign, they were poor and hungry. 
  • Any foreign power could easily invade

How big a problem: 
This was possibly one of the biggest issues that Elizabeth faced. However it was pretty dependant on religion. If she kept England Catholic, France and Spain would have no reason to invade.  

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  • Big divide in the popn, half catholic and half protestant 
  • Most had now come to accept the monarch as the head of the church
  • Protestantism was strong in London and the SE
  • There were several prominent protestants who expected to be given positions. 

Why was it an issue:

  • Needed to keep the population happy 
  • Needed to keep other monarchs happy 
  • Needed to keep herself happy 
  • She risked either war or civil war if she picked the wrong option or was too extreme. 

How big an issue:

It did prove to be the biggest problem that Elizabeth faced at the start of her reign in 1558. A lot of the other issues were to do with it. If peope were happy spiritually, they may not mind that their wages were low, they won't rebel or support a foreign invasion. The FP issues wouldn't be problems if she stayed Catholic. Needed to please lords or risked not being respected as Queen.

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