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Did Henry VIII wholly surrender his power to Wolsey?

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It is hotly debated whether or not Henry VIII wholly surrendered power in government to Cardinal Wolsey. To analyse the extent of the truth of this statement we must consider the Sources; a history book from J.J Scarasbrick reviewing the relationship of the King and Wolsey another history book by John Lotherington also reviewing Wolsey and the King?s relationship and a letter written by Henry VIII himself which perfectly demonstrates their relationship. Source 4 agrees with the statement stating that the king ?had wholly surrendered the cases of state to the Cardinal?s hand? directly agreeing with the statement and showing that Henry gave all power to Wolsey so as ?to cast off the cares? this is supported by Source 6 where Henry dismissively tells Wolsey to ?keep a careful watch on? others of whom you are suspicious? this clearly illustrates that Henry VIII would offload matters of state into Wolsey?s hands and allow him to respond as he wished showing a clear passing of the reins of power. ...read more.


Even more so Source 4?s claim that Henry surrendered his power is supported by the fact that Henry gave Wolsey the power to unjustly arrest without trial those who opposed him as he did with Polydore Vergil. This power was usually reserved only for the King demonstrating a further yielding of power. However Source 5 disagrees with the statement and contradicts Sources 4 and 6. It states that ?the ultimate source of power was the king? this illustrates that although Henry surrendered much power regarding matters of state he didn?t surrender the ultimate power of kingship. Thus with his power of monarchy the King could easily take Wolsey?s power from him. Yet again when analysing this source we must carefully consider its nature origin and purpose. The source was written in a history textbook and thus the knowledge would be well researched and factual. However being a revisionist historian John Lotheringon would have a bias towards the revisionist viewpoint. ...read more.


On the other hand the king wanted glory but didn?t want to deal with state. Considering this it supports Source 6 where Henry describes writing about state matters as ?tedious? clearly showing he would much rather hand off power towards Wolsey so he could do little but gain glory. Moreover the youth and inexperience of the King meant he was under prepared and eager to offload responsibility as stated in Source 5 Wolsey was willing to do so ?how shrewdly Wolsey judged the young king? In conclusion to say that Henry VIII wholly surrendered power in government to Cardinal Wolsey is somewhat of an over exaggeration. The ultimate power of the monarchy remained in Henry?s hands and his large council meant power was never held by just one of his subjects/ councillors. However he was willing and quick to surrender matters of state to Wolsey due to his own disinterest in the subject. In essence Henry VIII surrendered a large bulk of power to Wolsey but kept the majority of power to himself and created a large split of power between the other nobles. ...read more.

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