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

"Henry VIII was a conservative, but the results of his policies were revolutionary" Discuss this statement in relation to English government policies in the 1530's.

Extracts from this document...


"Henry VIII was a conservative, but the results of his policies were revolutionary" Discuss this statement in relation to English government policies in the 1530's. Henry was a supreme egotist. He advanced personal desires under the guise of public policy or moral right, forced his ministers to pay extreme penalties for his own mistakes, and summarily executed many with little excuse. In his later years he became grossly fat, paranoid, and unpredictable. Nonetheless he possessed considerable political insight, and he provided England with a visible and active national leader. Although Henry seemed to dominate his Parliaments, the importance of that institution increased significantly during his reign. Other advances made during his reign were the institution of an effective navy and the beginnings of social and religious reform. The navy was organized for the first time as a permanent force. Wales was officially incorporated into England in 1536 with a great improvement in government administration there. In 1521, Henry had been given the title "Defender of the Faith" by the pope for a treatise against Martin Luther, and he remained orthodox in his personal doctrinal views throughout his reign. Even though the rest of Europe was going through a reformation/renaissance Henry VIII kept a traditional yet modern monarchy. ...read more.


Ultimately, he was a victim of his times. The 16th century was a confusing mess of changing loyalties, betrayals, near-constant fighting, and most importantly, a rising scepticism of that great institution of the fading medieval world, the Roman Catholic Church. With the advent of the printing press a century before, literacy and intellectual debate grew rapidly. The High Renaissance in Italy occurred during the first 20 years of Henry VIII's reign. It was a time of unparalleled scientific experiment, intellectual fervour, and spirited debate. In such a time, traditional views of kingship were bound to change for both the ruler and those he ruled. So from an early age it is apparent that he does posses conservative views. Cromwell's reforms actually made the Tudor state more powerful "but this advance was weakened by minority" Henry did his best, before his death, to set up a Privy Council which he could trust to guide and inform his young heir. He chose advisors who were closest to him to take on the task, and by doing this hoped to avoid any emerging power struggles. Henry wanted all members to have equal power and thought that they should govern until Edward reached the age of eighteen. ...read more.


Other historians such as Joel Hurstfield and John Guy, both argue (bravely against Elton) that parliaments power did not increase and the roles of parliament didn't change. They back up their statement by saying that Cromwell basically held parliament in "contempt" to be used to pass laws that Henry told them to do. To some extent parliament didn't exist as a mainframe in Government as Henry created a Privy Council of those he trusted. My opinions lye towards arguing with Elton because Henry VIII's reign was revolutionary due to major changes in European policy and English policy. Once separated from Rome, Henry could see his sovereignty over the people. Which brought back sovereignty, which is party of a conservative monarchy re-instating power over the masses. Elton's theory is not one that should be ignored as it does prove to be significant when studying a mixed view subject. I believe that is some elements of Henry's reign his ministers were more powerful than himself and perhaps his ministers were controlling the country at one point, but overall Henry disposed of the powerful ministers, Wolsey, was used as a scapegoat when Henry wanted a divorce, this caused ex-communication from Rome and Cromwell abused his position and was punished for it. Henry, once again showing Sovereignty and diminishing Elton's theory. George Carter 7/5/07 ...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. Constitutional Nationalism succeeded in achieving its aims whereas revolutionary nationalism failed and cultural nationalism ...

    Thus it would appear that the Fenians played an important role in Irish society and in Irish nationalism. However, the Fenians also had their fair share of failures such as the hesitation of Stephens in 1865 which aggravated Fenians on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to the removal of

  2. How useful is a visit to the Tudor parts of Hampton Court to find ...

    Unfortunately the fire and vent have gone - a brass plaque in the middle of the floor marks were it was. This room was the first room most visitors would walk into and certainly would have been a magnificent site, setting the path of excellence and luxury that follows throughout the Palace.

  1. Gladstone's Government. Unpopular foreign policies, popular domestic policies. How far do you agree with ...

    This act was arguably Gladstone's most successful piece of Irish legislation and it united all of the Liberals (a rare occurrence!). However, despite uniting the Liberal party, the bill caused acrimony between the House of Commons and House of Lords and Queen Victoria was forced to personally intervene to help get the bill passed.

  2. This essay examines the actions of Charles VII in relation to events pertaining to ...

    Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1980. 25 Brooks, Polly Schoyer. Beyond the Myth: The Story of Joan of Arc. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1990. 26 Devries, Kelly. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Ltd., 1999. A useful resource in regards to items relating to Joan's military career.

  1. How far did Henry VIII persue new foreign policies during the period 1509-1514?

    However the way in which they went about doing this differed. Henry VII always maintained a peace policy. He realised quite rightly that foreign relationships had to be secure, in order to decrease the chances of being attacked and overthrown.

  2. Was Anne Boleyn or Thomas Cromwell the more influential in bringing religious reform in ...

    This was rather inconvenient, as, although several ways existed for the marriage to be terminated (among them, Catherine could have become a nun, a suggestion which she greeted with the response that she would be glad to do so if Henry would become a monk; Henry could have arranged for

  1. Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain?

    Dancing around May Poles was banned. Many inns were shut and popular sports of bull and bear baiting were prohibited. Nobody was allowed to work or even play football on Sundays! Even Christmas day was made a day of fasting. This was strictly enforced with soldiers used to remove meat from ovens in London homes.

  2. Wives & War: To what extent did these two aspects undermine Henry VIIIs rule ...

    It seems clear that Henry soon became unfit to rule a Kingdom like England on his own; this shows the possibility of Katherine?s involvement with court matters. Evidently Katherine seemed like the queen that Henry should have had when he first came to the throne, and accordingly it has mixed

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