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

How Far Can It Be Argued That Wolsey Was Less Successful

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Far Can It Be Argued That Wolsey Was Less Successful In His Administration Of The Church Than In His Other Domestic Arrangements? Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was an extremely dedicated and ardent administrator who held various important positions in Henry VII's government and in the Roman Catholic Church in England, including Lord Chancellor and Papal Legate. His pluralism however, meant he had difficulty in fulfilling all of his ambitions due to a lack of time. Yet he was obviously a good manager of secular and religious affairs as he continued to stay as England's second most powerful man for 15 years, which due to Henry VII's fickle nature was a particularly arduous task. He was particularly criticised for his poor management of the Church as he was in a very rare situation in terms of ecclesiastical power and was in one of the best positions to reform the Church. His domestic policy did not receive as much criticism as contemporaries did not expect him to be a reformer and generally he kept peace and order. Thomas Wolsey was made Archbishop of York in 1514 and then a Cardinal in 1515. This made him a powerful and influential figure in the Church but when he became a Papal Legate in 1518 he became the most important clergyman in England and then in 1524 he was unusually made Papal Legate for life. This combination of positions gave him absolute control of the Church within England and he could only be overruled in English church affairs by the Pope himself. ...read more.

Middle

Wolsey's main positive accomplishments included his taxation and ability to raise money for Henry's never ending spending. He was able to raise nearly one million pounds for the King by using a variety of methods including the very successful land subsidy he implemented four times, clerical taxation, "loans" and the old tax of fifteenths and tenths. Unfortunately as is the case with so many of Wolsey's achievements there is a negative reverse side to them. The loans he extracted from various people were supposed to be repaid but they never were and this increased resentment against taxation from people. This was also strengthened by the amount people had to pay from the land subsidy. In 1525 there was a taxation disaster named the Amicable Grant, which due to the high amount of forced tax it implemented, caused unrest and revolt in various areas of England and which Henry had to apologise for and blamed Wolsey for. Also Wolsey was not particularly successful in attaining the sums of money Henry wanted for his invasions of France from Parliament. Although criticism of Wolsey cannot be too harsh as it is the pressure of Henry's continual costly desire to attack France that led to him designing the Amicable Grant and also in being forced to request grants from Parliament that he knew would not be possible. Wolsey did a successful job in fiscal management but was never able to make the Crown run at a profit because of Henry's restarting of offensive campaigns against France. ...read more.

Conclusion

The degree by which it was more productive is not particularly large though as Wolsey's domestic policy was not particularly groundbreaking or spectacular. Wolsey was a keen and proficient administrator domestically and he was mainly expected to keep law and order and the status quo which he was relatively successful. The only major unrest was caused by the Amicable Grant which Wolsey was forced to try because of Henry's intense wish to attack France. This is unfortunately a major problem for Wolsey as he was not given the free reign that A. F. Pollard describes, of having "prime-ministerial" powers, all the time and some of his unpopular decisions were because of Henry's fervour for war. Wolsey's domestic policy was also dominated by a desire to keep power to himself and make sure the nobles understood he could punish them and they could not hurt him, which they were not able to do until Anne Boleyn's faction succeeded in bringing about Wolsey's downfall in 1529. Wolsey was guilty as well of taking advantage of his secular power in increasing his income by making sure nobles gave him "gifts" but to a lesser extent than in the Church as there he could implement new taxes for himself which he could not do in the secular realm. This in a way shows less corruptness on his part domestically than ecclesiastically. Wolsey has been more harshly criticised for his failure to reform the Church and his blatant profiteering there than in his domestic administration which was relatively successful in a short term point of view but made no major long term mark on history. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    'In His Domestic Policy Between 1515 and 1529 Wolsey Promised Much But Achieved Little' ...

    4 star(s)

    Henry had depended on them as war leaders in 1511 and 1514, and used them again in 1522 in the war with France. Wolsey had to achieve a means of acceptance to the noble's presence on the Council, and had to find a way to use them to his advantage.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How successful was Wolsey in his Domestic Administration 1515-29?

    4 star(s)

    the spirit of Christian humanism, even though unconsciously he did pave the way for Henry's imperial authority over the church in the 1530's. He did this by centralizing the power of the church and creating a 'legatine despotism.' So he had all the church's power in his hands and when

  1. Why was Thomas Cromwell able to make such extensive reforms in Government, when Cardinal ...

    The point to note is that Wolsey did not seem to put too much importance in modernizing the Government greatly; his own gain was much more important to him.

  2. Why and with whom was Wolsey unpopular with by 1529?

    Bearing this in mind, and coupled with Henry's inability to cope with the document work of the country, Wolsey would have essentially had the power to make all the decisions upon his own judgement. This furthermore outraged the nobility, as not only does Wolsey not have the right to make

  1. Examine the Degree to which Wolsey was responsible for his own downfall

    They also resented his great wealth. Over the years, Wolsey amassed a vast fortune, though he spent lavishly, but he was also charitable and personally financed many diplomatic missionaries. Most of the gentlemen who entered the government service was for financial reward; Wolsey was not different.

  2. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    Henry II having lost patience with � Beckett demanded � Beckett stand trail for continuous defiance and disobedience. � Beckett fearing for his personal safety sensed that if he was 'convicted, under the terms outlined under the second article of the sixteenth article of the 'Assizes of Clarendon 1166',72 �

  1. To what extent did Wolsey seek to reform the church? Although Wolsey did have ...

    at court in that year, but his plans came to little, he lessened its allegiance to Rome and weakened it past hope of recovery. The cardinal was aware of the 'New Learning and of its impact and he was also aware of the demands for reforming clerical life and church because of the reformers such as Erasmus and John Colet.

  2. How successful was Wolsey as Lord Chancellor?

    Some historians describe Wolsey as an ?alter-rex?, and it is possible to see the reasons for doing so; as the Lord Chancellor it was Wolsey who was often tasked with carrying out the King?s wishes, and from the successes in foreign policy it was clear that Wolsey had made the best out of a dire situation.

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