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Do you accept the view in Source V that Wolseys domestic policies were disappointing?

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Introduction

Question B Do you accept the view in Source V that Wolsey's domestic policies were disappointing? Wolsey was Henry VIII's chief minister and right hand man from his rise to power in 1514 after working himself up until his eventual fall from grace in 1529. During his time in power Wolsey made many changes to England's domestic policy. This essay will consider the view that these policies were disappointing. One of Wolsey's domestic policies that can be viewed as a disappointment is the way he dealt with finances. During this time in power Wolsey introduced amicable bonds. This system of taxation was designed to bring in more money to fund the Kings many European battles and invasions. Unfortunately the extra tax upset members of both the clergy and laity resulting in riots in East Anglia and Suffolk. Source T states that Wolsey's arrogant view that he could get whatever he wanted "aroused against himself the hatred of the whole country". Therefore this shows that this domestic policy was very disappointing as instead of raising much needed funds for the king it caused him great amounts ...read more.

Middle

However like many of his other policies Wolsey failed to pull enclosure off properly so in 1523 he had to admit he'd lost the battle and recognise all enclosed land. This was due to pressure from the nobles because however much Wolsey "assumed that he could undertake nearly all offices of state by himself"; the nobles still had a lot of power and influence with the king and wouldn't back down to Wolsey's whims easily. Therefore this domestic policy can be seen as an initial success but in the end it was a disappointment as it promised a lot to the common people but didn't last long enough to be of any affect. This is partially due to Wolsey's distance from the nobles and other powerful men at the time, leaving him with no one to help him when he faced opposition. Another way that Wolsey's domestic policies can be seen as a failure is the way he dealt with foreign affairs. It can be argued that between 1515 and 1521 Wolsey was very successful in keeping England at the forefront of European policy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This failure was catastrophic as it is what ultimately led to Cardinal Wolsey's downfall in 1529. On the other hand although this domestic policy was a failure it can also be argued that it would have been hard for anyone to achieve. As factors such as weak foreign relations and Henry VIII's unyielding belief that the marriage was cursed were already going to make it hard for a divorce to be obtained. Finally in conclusion Wolsey's domestic policies can only be partially viewed as a disappointment because although the divorce, enclosure, amicable grants and foreign policy were all failures in some way. It is also true that he did have success to begin with in enclosure and foreign affairs and that enclosure worked for a while. Though all in all these things were only a success for a short while before they fell trough due to Wolsey's bad leadership abilities. Despite all of these points it must also be remembered that "ultimate responsibility lay with the king and to criticise Wolsey is to criticise Henry for his lack of involvement" therefore although many of Wolsey's policies were a disappointment it was not all down to him. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a strong response that is clearly structured with good understanding of the context to Wolsey's decisions and a balanced assessment of them, with useful support from the sources. There could have been more challenge to the source material in places though.4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 26/07/2013

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