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Assess the reasons for the decline in frequency of Tudor rebellions

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Introduction

Assess the reasons for the decline in the frequency of rebellion in Tudor England. During the course of the Tudor period, the frequency of rebellions fluctuated greatly, however it can be argued that they were mainly concentrated at the beginning of the era. For example during the reign of Henry VII, he faced six serious revolts, three of which were dynastic and Henry VIII had to deal with two of the most popular revolts of the time, the Amicable Grant (1525) and the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536). This comes as no surprise as the battle of Bosworth and the rocky establishment of the Tudor dynasty made their position on the throne exceedingly vulnerable due to numerous pretenders and claimants seeking to overthrow the crown. Arguably, 1550 marked a major turning point in the frequency of rebellions as there were only 5 rebellions in England from then on till 1603, possibly due to the Elizabethan church settlement, the changing attitude of the ruling elite and the improved maintenance of political stability under Mary and Elizabeth. Nevertheless it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the decrease in rebellion occurrence. It can be maintained that when the Tudor establishment became more secure, alternative claimants to the throne 'died out' and people became more accustomed to the Tudor rule. ...read more.

Middle

The maintenance of political stability had improved greatly since the beginning of the Tudor period, governments stressed the relationship between subject and master, the need to keep ones place in society and respect the authority of one's superior. The later Tudor monarchs recognised that rebellions demonstrated that not all subjects understood or accepted this philosophy and so they set about enhancing the respect for the Tudor monarchy. This was achieved in a number of ways, for example, over 900 proclamations from the crown were publically issued in London alone. Propaganda was also used to ensure respect for the monarchy; Elizabeth for instance idealised herself as a symbol of eternal stability and made her painters focus on her wisdom, beauty, justice and good governance. This was helped by her making friendship ties with many, keeping her friends close but her enemies closer to try and prevent rebellions. Lords lieutenant kept a close eye on local tensions and endeavoured to overcome political difficulties before they got out of hand Government officials after 1550, especially in the counties, led by JPs and lords lieutenant, kept a tighter grip on sources of local tension and people became more responsive to resolving grievances. This is shown in 1568 with the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots and the excommunication of 1570 when there was much potential for Catholic conspiracies and disturbances, the government effectively countered it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Elizabethan church settlement of 1559 was a major turning point, largely due to the moderate enforcements that Elizabeth introduced, religion ceased to be a major cause of rebellion as it satisfied most religious groups. Elizabeth's principal desire was to achieve outward conformity and to establish a religious settlement that was acceptable to the large majority of the nation. In the end, only a small number of Catholic priests were unwilling to subscribe to the oaths of uniformity and supremacy and many Catholics remained loyal to their queen. The government and the church wisely held back from strictly enforcing its terms with the idea that if no offence was given, none would be taken, this was certainly effective as after 1549, religion ceased to be a major issue worthy of a rebellion. In conclusion, I believe the most important factor in the decline of the frequency of Tudor rebellions is the improved maintenance of political stability because without the JP's commissions and the sheriffs, the law wouldn't have been upheld and there would probably have been many more rebellions without them. The Tudors systematically excluded the separate factors that caused the rebellions beginning with Henry VII removal of alternative claimants and ending with Elizabeth's church settlement. However, throughout the course of the Tudor period, political stability played a major part in the prevention and termination of Tudor revolts and its improvement towards the end of the era is essentially what caused the decline of Tudor rebellions. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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This essay simply tries to cover too much and the result is that some points are not supported with factual detail and in places the explanations are very short and needed developing considerably. the writer should have selected about three key reasons and examined these in more depth looking at the links between them and establishing a strong analysis of the reasons for the decline in rebellion. This writer needed to be more selective and not try to fit in so many reasons.

Marked by teacher Kate Forbes 25/07/2012

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