• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

AS History Essay on Patronage and corruption in Elizabethan government

Extracts from this document...


AS History - Essay on Patronage and corruption in Elizabethan government Question: Use Sources B, C and your own knowledge. Do you agree with the view that the Elizabethan system of government was both corrupt and inefficient? (40 marks) The English government in the 16th century lead and promoted by Queen Elizabeth operated with a system of political patronage and grants of monopoly. These methods were used to organize the governing class as the Queen lacked a civil service, local officials and an army which would allow her to enforce her will; thus Elizabeth had to reward the governing class for her to secure the throne. However, it can be argued that the system was both corrupted and inefficient; many believe Elizabeth's regime was marked with cheating, bribery and unjust practices and that it did not operate effectively. On the other hand, it was argued that the system was indeed one of high quality by standards of the historical age; especially when compared to other Western European countries at the time. We also shouldn't judge the operation of Elizabethan's government by our modern standards. Source B is a letter dated back in 1595 from the Dean of Durham to Lord Burghley thanking him for his promotion to bishopric. ...read more.


The fact that there were "black markets" where "political influence was brought and sold" shows corruptions was present. This is because the inefficient system allowed power to be distributed to the hands of the rich and therefore was not equal. I can further back this point by bringing in my knowledge on the power of politicians at the time. Politicians then had the right to prosecute those who had infringed some act of parliament and they could keep a portion of the fine. Politicians might prosecute simply for the money and that the justice system could be brought off by the wealthy; showing elements of "legalized robbery" as historian Randell suggests. Furthermore, the courts language was in Norman Court French making law inaccessible and obscure to the general public proving that the justice system was inefficient and unfair that the majority couldn't read the law. This lead to corruption as only the rich and the elite could understand it. Lastly, the writer of Source C states the "poverty of the Crown" lead to "unwise concessions" such as "grants of monopoly". Elizabeth was inefficient as she only looked at short term benefits whilst ignoring the long term consequences. ...read more.


Firstly, we must understand that 16th century Britain has a very different political structure as to the one we currently have. There were no democratic features such as elections, political parties or the media. This meant that the nature of politics was inevitable to that of favorism - you had to get on someone's good side if you wanted to excel and advance. Indeed, this would now be what we call corruption, however, back in the time it accepted as standard practices and was part of the social norm. Secondly, the prerogative powers of the Queen provided the system with both fairness and efficiency. Indeed, we will call Elizabeth's position as a dictator nowadays but back in the time, a solid leader who held the powers to make the final calls to the most important issues was very much needed. Thirdly, the successes of the period cannot be ignored. Elizabeth's regime did have its glorious days such as defeating the Spanish Armada. But most importantly it was the long term stability which citizens enjoyed under Elizabeth's government. In contrast to other Western European countries at the time, Britain had excellent social, political and religious stability which is a testimony of the success of a fair, just and efficient system of government. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Witchcraft in the Elizabethan era.

    In 1563 Fortescue and seven others were charged with treason. These Catholics had determined by astrology that Queen Elizabeth would die next spring, how wrong could they be.

  2. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    an ability to frequently make claims that were over and beyond those he could legitimately make, which would explain Henry's desire to extend his realm even further. Nevertheless, Stubbs43 suggests Henry II was in fact 'a far-seeing King who recognized that the well-being of the nation was the surest foundation

  1. Nell Gwyn (Playhouse Cretaures) essay

    selling the small, sweet "china" oranges to the audience inside the theatre for a sixpence each. The work exposed her to multiple aspects of theatre life and to London's higher society: this was after all the "King's playhouse" and Charles frequently enough attended the performances.

  2. Death is Part of the Process

    The MSU cruised slowly through the semi-derelict housing estate. The hairs stood up on the back of Danny's neck. "We're right on top of him," he whispered. His eyes still fixed on the monitors, he reached out and picked up two oblong signalling bugs.

  1. Charlemagne Essay.

    Charles again did not respond. Godfred was a huge threat and Charles did not know what to do. He had no real answers. Godfred boasted that he would attack Aachen. Then in 810 Godfred was murdered; the Danish state was weakened due to his death.

  2. Witch Craft in Essex

    Hopkins established himself as a self - appointed witch finder - general in the Essex parish of Manning tree in the mid - 1640's. Hopkins and his two assistants, John Stearne and Mary Phillips toured the villages of Essex, investigating accusations of witchcraft.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work