James I foreign policy

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James I’s Foreign policy


§  James wanted to avoid war and wanted to act as a peacemaker king throughout Europe.

§  Wanted to be a mediator of Europe

-          This was evident in his marriage policies for his two children of marriages into leading Royal families of Europe. Elizabeth +Fredrick and Charles + the infanta (which fell through in 1623) Elizabeth and Fredrick married in 1613.

§  He wanted Britain to have good relationships with both sides of Europe and have peace.

Why James didn’t want war

-          James did not dislike Spain. He had no hatred for the country unlike the English gentry

-          War is expensive

-          James didn’t want to call parliament and have to let them vote subsides to him

-          Peace promoted trade and full economic benefits

1618 was the outbreak of the 30 years’ war. James tried to retrieve the Palatinate through diplomacy. Puritans expected James to lead a Protestant crusade across Europe which in the end he didn’t do.

James failed to understand the link between religion and foreign policy. Many saw catholic Spain as the antichrist

Treaty of London

When James came to the throne England had been at war with Spain for 16 years. Both sides wanted peace. Elizabeth had supported Dutch rebels who wanted independence from Spain. The Netherlands were mostly Protestant and right across the channel. This treaty brought war to an end. Main negotiations took place at Somerset house, led by Robert Cecil.

-          The English could trade in the Spanish Netherlands without fears of arrest for Heresy.

-          England could trade with Spain but not with Spanish colonies.

Many Puritans viewed the treaty as wrong because they wanted James to unite Protestants.


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