Edexcel A level history option 1C, Britain 1625-1701: conflict, revolution and settlement. The quest for political stability (Charles I)

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  • Created on: 15-06-18 11:28

Charles I

1-Quest for Political stability

Relationship with Parliament 1625-29

·         When Charles ascended to the throne in March 1625, he found that he had very little money in the treasury, and that the therefore had to request a loan from the merchants of London, worth £60,000. However, this was not substantial enough to cover the debts and expenditure that Charles required it to, and so he had little choice but to call a Parliament.

·         This Parliament struggled to negotiate with Charles. The first quarrel that they encountered was when they refused to grant Charles the ability to collect Tonnage and Poundage for life, instead suggesting that he be allowed to collect it for one year, with this reviewed on an annual basis. This meant that there was an obligation for Charles to call parliament frequently, increasing their authority.

·         Charles’ religious policies generated political tension, due to his support of Arminianism. Although it was a form of Protestantism, many viewed this as remarkably close to Catholicism in nature, and so it was viewed with copious amounts of suspicion. He promoted Arminian clergy within the church, making William Laud Bishop of London in 1628. In addition to this, his marriage to Catholic Princess Henrietta Maria of Denmark darkened the mood, as she established her own court of advisors, increasing Catholic influence within England, and suggesting that any heirs to the throne were to be raised as Catholics.

·         Charles also struggled with foreign policy during the early years of his reign. In 1625, he attempted an attack on Cadiz in Spain, but this was a complete disaster. He also sent forces to help the French Huguenots but was defeated at La Rochelle in 1627.As the Duke of Buckingham was responsible for overseeing foreign policy in this period, he was on the receiving end of public anger, and parliament made an attempt to impeach him. However, Charles refuted this, and instead hastily dissolved Parliament. Charles recalled parliament in 1626 in the hope that they would grant him more subsidies. However, they ignored this request and instead launched an attack on the Duke, and Charles dissolved parliament once more. Buckingham was later assassinated in 1628, and there were large street parties rejoicing the occasion, strengthening Charles’ hostility towards Parliament.

·         In response to the lack of subsidies, the king responded by collecting a forced loan from all taxpayers, and those who did not pay were either imprisoned or conscripted into military service. In 1627, a group of five knights refused to pay the loan and were imprisoned in the Tower of London. They sued for release under Habeas Corpus, but the king exercised the Royal prerogative and claimed a right to emergency power of arrest.

·         The five knight’s case resulted in major confrontation in 1628, when Charles demanded more subsidies. Aware that there was a lot of tension, Parliament granted five more subsidies, and presented the King with the Petition of Right. This

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