Political Insecurity in England

The major causes of political instability in England during the reign of Henry VII - VIII, and how they were tackled by each king.

  • Created by: Tiula
  • Created on: 12-03-11 11:13

Dynastic Rivalry

After the wars of the Roses, there was still a problem of dynastic rivalry, with many claimants to the throne. This was worrying to the kings, making the crown of England politically unstable.

How Henry VII tackled this problem:

  • Richard III had already eliminated most rivals
  • proclaimed himself king from the day of the Battle of Bosworth field - no arguments
  • married Elizabeth of York
    • united the family
    • gave both Yorkists and Lancastrians positions of power
    • birth of four children - strong heirs with a clear claim to the throne
  • dealt with Yorkists and pretenders very harshly

How Henry VIII tackled this problem:

  • marriage to a foreign bridge - Katherine of Aragon, 1509
  • one son, Henry, born and died March 1511 - NO SON
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Foreign Interference

In the past, foreign powers had tried to gain influence over England by aiding the claims of pretenders to the throne. This interference meant that rulers often owed favours to foreign powers.

How Henry VII tackled the problem:

  • ruled without the help of foreign troops
  • restored the patronage system to keep English people at court
  • Court of Start Chamber ensured a peaceful foreign policy
  • Treaties with France and Spain
  • married Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon -- England became a more stable country
  • defeated Lambert Simnel, who has Irish support

How Henry VIII tackled the problem:

  • wanted to be a glorious warrior king  -- war against France
  • 1511 -- Holy League against France -- gave Henry the excuse he needed to go to war
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Overmighty Subjects

The more important a king's subjects were, the greater risk they were to the crown. After the Wars of the Roses, the instability of England was in part due to overmighty subjects.

How Henry VII tackled the problem:

  • made examples of opposition
    • executed Warbeck and Warwick to remove opposition
    • George Neville, Lord Burgavenny - fined over £70,000 for owning a private army
  • ministers chosen for ability and loyalty to the crown, not bribery
  • bonds and recognisances
    • agreements between Henry VII and nobles that meant they would forfeit large sums of money if they misbehaved

How Henry VIII tackled the problem

  • built a better relationship with his nobles
  • cancelled bonds and recognisances
  • executed Empson and Dudley, hated figures
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