James reign, AQA history

James' reign 1603-25

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When James first comes to throne

  • England at war with spain- to do with dutch rebels. James being a natural peacemaker was quick to end the war
  • Finance- Elizabeth had a tight eye on finance and so Englands financial situation seemed good. However England had been at war with spain- parliament had given subsidies yet these weren't rising in value due to inflation. Rents with crown lands not keeping pace with inflation
  • Government ministers- Robert Cecil ( inherited cheif minister). He was a ruthless politician- quick to take out rivals at court. James was lucky to have him. He: made great contract, negotiated peace with spain and resolved gun powder plot. 
  • Religion- Puritans- thought James would give reforms- he was a protestant.. Catholics: thought James would relax penal laws (mother=mary queen of scots) Penal laws: Catholics forced to attend anglican church. 
  • Main plot: opposition in court. Wanted to get rid of James and replace him with Arabella Stuart- Elizabeth cousin. Sir walter Raleigh- involved in plot 
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First Parliament (1604-1610)

  • Goodwin vs. Fortesque: Elections on who would become Buckinghamshire. James+council wanted F to win however G won. Court of Chancery- to decide in disputed elections-Decided to take G off seat as had been outlawed for not paying off debt. Parliament thought it was their right to decide. James thought it was his (royal prerogative).James compromised- both G and F not elected+Parliament would in future have right to decide in disputed elections.
  • Shirley's case- MP arrested for debt. Parliament got him released.Parliament rights- they were free from arrest unless treason or serious crime (felony)
  • Proposed union with Scotland
  • Purveyance- right of the crown to buy goods at a household discount- very resented. Commons suggested giving the crown £50,000 per year to give up purveyance. Yet many people thought this was too much- £20,000. Robert Cecil- thought this wasn't enough to give up this right. Some of MP's thought the system was so corrupt no compensation should be given anyway. 
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First parliament

  • Wardship- When landowner died before children turn 21 the land became the crowns until children turn 21. The right to be guardian of a court of ward was sold and the person who brought it could make profit. Resented. Fathers-left extra money- children can buy wardship of land. Money-->officers of court of wards+crown. Commons asked to buy it out- king thought this as an attack to prerogative. replied sharply.
  • Impositions and the Bates Case- Impositions- extra custom duty on imports-contributed on Royal revenue. Bates (London merchants) refused to pay extra. matter went to court and he lost. Parliament- objected, saw impositions as a 'back-door tax' which they had no control over. 
  • The Apology of the house of commons:document: stated parliaments rights-freedom of speech, freedom from arrest.Right to decide in disputed elections. Purveyance and Wardships were mentioned. Also parliament must be consented when talking of reforms in religion
  • Finance, Extravagance- spending increased- mainly on favourites and coutiers. The double supper. 
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Union with Scotland

Parliamentary views- House of commons where not enthusiastic- thought Scotland was a backward country and Scotland had different laws. Commissioners were appointed to discuss the matter. The issue carried on until 1607 (in end proposed union was blocked)

James' views-

  • political reasons:wanted political unity to reform the governing system, he also wanted one parliament and one law under one king. Also James wanted to enhance his own political image in Europe. If he had greater authority he could pursue his 'peace-loving king' (Rex Pacificus) attitude+ so end conflict
  • Religious- James believed in the divine right of kings and so believed he was chosen by God. He thought that God chose him to unite the 2 kingdoms. Also he wanted unity in the Church from both kingdoms. James also thought that God intended on union as there was no physicalbarrier between the 2
  • Financial- 2 countries: more resources also there would be better trade relations between the 2.
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Finance and the great contract

  • King expected to 'live off his own'- create own revenue
  • Source of revenue:Rent from crown lands, selling monopolies, selling titles, custom duties, feudal dues(wardships and purveyance), money from fines
  • Robert Cecil (Earl of Salisbury) helped finance by: privatising collection of custom duties (the right would be bid on)- crown would get fixed sum per annum and rest would be profit also he increased rent from crown lands.
  • James debt: £750,000 (1606)- £280,000 (1610)- Parliament also gave 1 subsidy in 1606`
  • James: give up feudal dues and in return Parliament: give a fixed sum per annum (raised by tax)as well as a lump sum to start off with to pay off debt.
  • Parliament's doubts: they reluctantly offered £200,000 as lump sum but they didn't think that they should have to pay annual sums as well.- They wanted James to be broke so he could be dependant on parliament and keep having the need to call them. They thought James should be more efficient with money
  •   James's doubts: Didn't want to bargain with parliament about his prerogative rights. His chancellor exchequer: Julius caesar: thought £200,000 not enough to pay off debt. 
  • Other problems: would grant increase upward inflation? Scots would be beneficiaries- not popular.
  • James asked for another £200,000. parliament refused. Parliament dismissed
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The years without Parliament :) 1610-1621

  • Years without parliament: no real direction of policy
  • Court Factions: rivalries at court (royal court). Divided: personal disputes, disagreement on policies (foreign policy and religion),different ambitions.2 main families: Howards and Pembrookes (dominated factions). The factions would promote favourites to influence king and persuade king to give salary paid positions such as office of profit and to give pensions. 
  • Addled parliament (1614)- Began in bad mood- they believed elections had been biased by king through 'undertakers' (courtiers whom had promised to get MPs elected) 
  • James called parliament for Subsidy - Funeral of son Henry (1612) and marriage of daughter Elizabeth
  • Parliament refused subsidy instead presented petitions about impositions
  • Bishop from house of Lords attacked commons- debates became disorganised
  • James talks on House of commons: ' The house of commons is a head without a body' and that he is a stranger to England and 'found it when I arrived and so I am obliged to put up with what I cannot get rid of'
  • Parliament=no subsidy given=dismissed up until 1621
  • Addled: rotten egg, Parliament lasted few weeks and achieved nothing.
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  • Elizabeth ruled by Factions-spreading patronage=spread power allowing no one to become too powerful. James: quick to give power to favourites
  • Favourites promoted by factions at court
  • Robert Carr- Earl Of Rochester
  • Educated Scot- got power in 1607- became gentlemen of the bed chamber. Advanced in court until he reached Earl of Somerset (1614)
  • 'very handsome and well bred with an excellent personality
  • Downfall: Overbury Scandal
  • After death of Robert Carr (1612) power and responsibilities left behind :take up by Howards+Robert Carr-relied on Sir Thomas Overbury for help
  • Carr having affair with lady of Essex- supported by Overbury
  • Lady Essex got an annulment with Earl of Essex
  • Overbury told Robert Carr not to marry her. James tried to get rid of him offered ambassadorship abroad. He refused. As a result he was put to tower by fake suspicion
  • Lady of essex sent him a poisined pie. -Kept secret for 2 years yet once came out -Rochester and lady essex guilty of murder.
  • James pardoned their sentence of imprisonment and execution
  • Scandal 2 main effects: 1) Rochester no longer James favourite.. led to rise of Buckingham 
  • 2) When the Scandal became public knowledge-lowered respect for James and Court. 
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Favourites- Buckingham- general introduction

  • Arrived at court in 1615- Introduced by anti-howard faction (Archbishop of Canterbury Abbot) wanted to stop -James's increasing pro-Spanish policy. Also the Howards: powerful family, said to be Catholics. Great concern over pro-Spanish policy
  • Buckinghams rise to power was fast as the fall of the Howards and the dismissal of Suffolk left the court open for Buckingham to take power
  • Buckingham came to power by the queen: archbishop persuaded her to get Buckingham knighted and made a Gentlemen of the bed chamber
  • described as the'Handsomest bodied man in England'
  • Influence on crown:
  • At the end he didn't need backing at court (Anti-Howard faction) as by 1618 him and James were tight-knit
  • He was chief minister and was said to be the most influential man in England from 1618-1628
  • he increased the sale of titles of honour:he flooded the market making prices go down: knighthoods where sold for £30 to barbers, ex-criminals an in-keepers.
  •  He was in charge of foreign policy- no clear policies. Much resented for this
  • In control of Patronage- Granting favours, titles and pensions- Much resented by the country gentry- If you fell out with Buckingham=no future. 
  • Also in charge of creation of monopolies
  • Made swift movement from James to Charles who relied on him much more than James did.
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this was really useful, thanks a ton! :D


thankyou! :D

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