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How far do you agree with the view that Henry VII owed his success in attaining the throne mainly to the Stanleys?

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Introduction

How far do you agree with the view that Henry VII owed his success in attaining the throne mainly to the Stanleys? When Henry VII defeated Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth there is a strong view that he owed much his success to the Stanleys. The Stanleys were a very powerful family in Britain at the time with most of their powerbase in North Wales and Lancashire. However many would say that it was not so much the Stanleys who won the battle but the combined power of France, Brittany and Wales; all of which supported Henry Tutor. Other factors which contributed to outcome of the battle were that Richard III was unpopular as a King in many places. The Stanley family consisted of many important nobles including Lord Thomas Stanley, William Stanley and George Stanley. They were originally loyal Richard III but still supported Henry as they were related to him. ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless it highlights the Stanleys as being a very important tool as both sides wanted their support. The fact that they would not support Richard shows that he was not a popular king. This is crucial as the betrayal of the Stanleys meant more than just more men for Henry. It made Richard?s regime look weak and led to a lack of support from other nobles. This is ultimately what lost him the battle and therefore the Stanleys were significant to Henry?s success as they strengthened the Lancastrians while weakening the Yorkists. Although there are many other factors which influenced the outcome of the battle. Firstly Richard fell off his horse and was hacked to death; therefore it can be argued that the outcome of the battle was not due to the Stanleys. Both armies were of similar size and even though the Stanleys made a considerable difference it did not mean that Richard was outnumbered nor would that it was a guaranteed win. ...read more.

Conclusion

On top of France and Brittany Henry gained more support from Wales. This was mainly due to the unpopularity of Richard III caused by his suspicious rise to the throne. There was a popular belief that he had killed the Princes in the Tower so he could claim the throne for himself. This made him widely unpopular across his very own country. The significance of this was that people did not want to fight for a king they did not see as worthy for the throne, hence weakening his powerbase and allowing Henry?s to grow. To conclude the Stanleys did play an important in the battle as they shifted the momentum. Also if they had remained loyal to Richard it is highly unlikely he would have lost the battle. However Richard?s overthrow was a result of many different factors. He made tactical errors in his regime and made no major attempt to boost his popularity which could have easily been done. Furthermore it was Richards?s unpopularity which led the Stanleys to betray him. Therefore Henry did owe his success to the Stanleys but they were not the sole reason to his victory. ...read more.

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