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Did Cromwell transform the Reformation from a theory into a practicality?

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  • Essay length: 835 words
  • Submitted: 10/10/2003
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AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics

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Did Cromwell transform the Reformation from a theory into a practicality?

The relative roles of Henry and Cromwell in the reformation period of the 1530s have been a matter of debate among historians. I will explore the view that Cromwell's role was to take Henry's motivation and fundamental ideas and put them into practice through legislature followed by administrative reform which enabled the reformation to be enacted. This is a view, with which most historians would agree, although may have differing perspectives on the weighting of the two individuals' influences in the whole reformation process.

Firstly, we should recognise that Cromwell was, by no means, the mastermind behind the whole reformation. There is an argument to say that Cromwell, as a Protestant, was the most influential in pushing forward the doctrinal reforms, which followed the establishment of Henry as the head of the Church of England. However, Henry was the impetus behind the reformation driven initially by his need to divorce Catharine of Aragon. Prior to Cromwell's appointment in 1532, Henry's attempts to achieve this aim had been notoriously unsuccessful. After Wolsey failed to resolve the situation through the Legatine court and Henry's demands for the case

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