Mounting Constitutional Conflict 1625-1629. Why?

These cards are about the mounting constitutional conflict between Charles I and his parliament in the years 1625 to 1629.

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Bad Managment

  • Unlike his father's speeches, Charles were clipped to the point of rudeness
  • Charles regarded the Commons with apparent scorn
  • Made little effort to explain himself and his wishes and took criticism of policies as a personal afront
  • He didn't try to win MPs over behind the scenes
  • Access to Charles' ear was dangerously narrowed, and so most of the political nation felt excluded and resentful towards the narrow group of advisers arround the king
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Disasterous Foreign Policy

  • Commons opposed a continental war stratergy (Mansfeld expedition, Cadiz & La Rochelle). MPs had been promised a cheap naval war
  • MPs were suspicious of Catholic nature of the French alliance and angered by loan of English ships, under marriage contract, to put down Huguenots at La Rochelle
  • Widespread disbelief that the King would be willing to have a simultaneous war against Spain (1625-1630) and France (1627-1629)
  • Shame and anger at national humiliations- Cadiz in 1625 and LA Rochelle in 1627- they failed to achieve their objectives
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Financial Grievances

  • Frequent demand for subsidies: Charles had an ambitious foreign policy that needed a lot of money. The Commons were unwilling to be over generous. It angered Charles as he saw it as their duty to fund the war
  • Inherited financial grievancs: there continued to annoy the MPs. Some grievances such as wardships and impostions were inheited from the previous reigns & Charles seemed unconcerned to remedy them
  • Tonnage & Poundage Controversy: usually T&P was paid for life to monarch, but parliament only granted Charles 1 year. Charles was deeply offended and continued to collect T&P, to the annoyance of parliament
  • Forced Loan: when Charles dissolved parliament in 1626, he had to collect money himself and so relied on the benevolance of the people. The forced loan was seen as an unparliamentary tax and people refused to pay it. This led to the Five Knights Case, where five of the nobles who refused to pay were imprisoned without charge so Charles could make an example of them
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  • He was hated by the Commons for various reasons
  • Seen as the 'evil adviser' and the 'cause of all our miseries'
  • Commons were frustrated by his monopoly of court life, his extravagance and his influence in foreign policy
  • He always had the king's ear and to get rid of enemies and opposing MPs, he made the sheriffs, so they couldn't vote.
  • He was the scapegoat that parliament needed and wanted- they couldn't blame the king himself,but they could blame Buckingham
  • In 1626, parliament tried to impeach Buckingham, but Charles dissolved them, and therefore lost the opportunity of gaining vital subsidies for the war effort
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Religious Complications

  • Unpopular marriage: Charles married the French Catholic princess, Henrietta-Maria, and she arrived just days before parliament met in 1625. She brought with her a huge Catholic influence as she had french & catholic ladies-in-wait.
  • The rise of Arminianism: this was seen as Catholic as it emphasised the sacraments and ceremony- this brought tention in parliament. The appointment of William Laud to the Privy Council in 1627 and the appointment of Richard Montagu to royal chaplain caused tension
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Underlying Tensions between Royal Prerogative and

  • MPS had become increasingly independent/ outspoken in the last two reigns
  • They jeasously guarded their privileges and feared approaching absolutism
  • Members who were so-called 'opposition' were:
    • Sir John Eliot
    • Sir Benjamin Valentime
    • Sir Dudley Diggs
  • 3 major events of this underlying tension were:
    • 1627- 5 Knights Case
    • 1628- Petition of Right
    • 1629- 3 Resolutions
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