Elizabethan Government

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Government = Privy Council, Parliament (House of Lords + House of Commons)

Elizabeth and her Parliaments

  • Historiography
    • Traditionalist view:
      • Emphasised conflict between Queen and Parliament
      • Neale said the cause of this conflict was the religious fervour of Puritan members in her parliaments - identifying an organised 'Puritan Choir' - 43 members of the House of Commons (HofC).
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      • A consequence of this conflict was the growth in power of the HofC - and was an important cause in the civil war during the Stuart period.
    • Revisionist view:
      • Rejected the idea of Puritanism being a progressive religious force, challenging the religious conformity and power of the monarch. And thus, deny the rise of the HofC and Puritanism having a role in it. Lotherington -  there is "no evidence of a significant Puritan opposition which was willing or able to lead the Commons against the Crown".
      • The monarch could aways put the Commons in their place as she did in 1566 when Parliament pressed for a settlement on the succession, she declared it "monstrous that the feet should direct the head" - the fact she did not marry illustrates her soverignty.
  • Elizabeth's Handling of Parliament
    • Parliament still depended entirely on the monarch - Parliament for 13 sessions, totalling 145 weeks, over the period of 45 years.
    • She used a variety of methods to control her parliaments.
      • Vague promises of action eg In 1566, the Commons supported by the Lords, resolved to hold up the Subsidy Bill until Elizabeth settled the succession. An angry Queen promised she would "marry as soon as I can conveniantly".
      • Imprisoning or removing awkward members such as Peter Wentworth and Anthony Cope in 1587 - HOWEVER this could make her very unpopular among the other MPs as the case of William Strickland [see above]
      • Using the veto i.e. reject a bill and she did 34 times.
  • Elizabeth's Relationship with her Parliaments.
    • The fact Elizabeth only called upon it on 13 occassions suggests Elizabeth did not place much value on Parliament.
    • Revisionists would say relations with Parliament were generally good - because they agreed on aims if not method eg how to deal with Mary Queen of Scots (MQofS) or how to protect Protestantism.
  • Conflicts with Parliament:
    • One topic that according to Lotherington caused "continual acrominity" during the reign was the topic of marriage and succession. 
      • Upon Elizabeth's ascension it became very important to Parliament that Elizabeth should marry and produce a Protestant heir to the throne. Parliament was worried that if Elizabeth died childless, Mary Stuart, a Catholic, would probably become queen of England. They feared that if that happened, all Protestants who held power under Elizabeth would be persecuted.
      • In 1566, the Commons supported by the Lords, resolved to hold up the Subsidy Bill until Elizabeth settled the succession. An angry Queen promised she would "marry as soon as I can conveniantly". When she issued an 'express commandment' that the matter of marriage should no longer be discussed by Parli. Paul Wentworth led the members in a

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