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How far do the sources support the argument that from 1529-1640 the powers and privileges of parliament increased steadily at the expense of royal power.

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Introduction

How far do the sources support the argument that from 1529-1640 the powers and privileges of parliament increased steadily at the expense of royal power. During the period 1529 - 1640 the parliament in Britain altered dramatically. The sources provide a valuable insight into the argument that the powers and privileges of parliament increased steadily at the expense of royal power. To assess the role of parliament there needs to be evidence from the sources to suggest that parliaments powers and privileges were increasing between 1529-1640. The functions of parliament were wide ranging and this is supported by Source 2. Sir Thomas Smith believes "the most high and absolute power in the realm of England consisteth in the parliament." Source 2 also shows the increasing power of parliament as a representative of England and the English people as "the consent of parliament is to be taken for every mans consent." ...read more.

Middle

Queen Elizabeth liked to keep parliament under control. She granted them freedom of speech but with great limitations and they were not to "frame a form of religion or a state of government" according to source 3. "Liberty with due limitation" is what its referred to. According to source 6 Charles I was able to raise money himself using subsidies as a form of collectable tax. A Petition of Right was passed in return for 5 subsidies but as he no longer needed parliament he dissolved it and did not call upon it again for 11 years. During this time parliaments power couldn't have increased steadily as they had no say in the running of the country. Source 4 states that during Henry VII reign "the catalyst of the dramatic change in the authority of parliaments during the 1530's was the so-called "divorce Question" showing there was not necessarily a steady change and power increased and decreased with different monarchs. ...read more.

Conclusion

From source 4 we can see that the statutes from the reformation gave Henry "power unequalled by any other English monarch" but also "property to the crown" thus proving the point that the monarchy gained from the actions of parliament. The sources do show parliaments powers and privileges changing. They gained valuable access to a number of areas that beforehand they had no authority in. Parliament began to assert a willingness to challenge the crown. Even thought parliaments role is changing this does not mean there power is increasing. During this period the monarch's authority did not diminish. Changes in parliament enhanced the monarch's position and considerable advances were made on their behalf, like becoming Supreme Head of Church of England. The monarchy shows supreme authority by ignoring or dismissing parliament and still deciding on issues like finance and foreign affairs. The powers of King-in-Parliament did increase, creating a need for co-operation. Conflicts did arise and parliamentary power depended on a stalemate. In conclusion England was not a republic and the "king our sovereign lord" still held "full power and authority". Katie Shriver ...read more.

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