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"Throughout his reign, Henry VII deliberately pursued an anti-noble policy." Discuss

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Introduction

"Throughout his reign, Henry VII deliberately pursued an anti-noble policy." Discuss Henrys policy to the nobles during his reign could be considered as antagonistic. Henry had realised how easily the nobles could pose a threat to him, due to their power and responsibilities in his country, and so reduced this power thus reducing the possibilities of his downfall. This essays intention is to determine why Henry pursued such a dangerous policy, yet also reviewing the claims that his policies were anti-noble. This essay will also be interpreting the reasons for Henrys actions and the views of historians on the subject. Before the reign of Henry VII, the role of the nobles was highly significant in comparison to that during his reign due to the policies he introduced. Previous to his accession, the nobles had controlling, highly rated responsibilities, for example the Kings' lieutenants, which kept control of law and order in their locality. This position gave them power over many citizens which surrounded them, the problem for Henry being that these people were more likely to support their local noble, rather than a king whom they rarely or possibly never had contact with. ...read more.

Middle

First of all, Henry introduced the following ideas; firstly, he decided on a much smaller peerage, which meant that he assigned the "...fewest amounts of land in history..."3 to the nobles, giving them less power over nearby land. The next policy which he introduced was to give the least amount of favours to the nobles, through such things as finance, again restraining their power due to a smaller wealth, as well as the not providing them with armies. The most significant policy which he introduced, in this essays point of view, is the policy which made retaining illegal. This was a policy used by the nobles, giving them total authority over their workers, therefore creating the threat of them fighting on behalf of the nobles in opposition of the king. Henry also created attainders and ward ships which he created. These meant that nobles were required to sign 'contracts' to the king, which, if were broken entailed prison sentences, yet in many cases were settled financially, being a hefty source of finance for Henry. ...read more.

Conclusion

Henry's intelligence at firstly assessing the reigns of his predecessors before acting, portrays the idea to this essay that Henry assessed all possibilities involved with the nobility and their power, before acting, which plays a vital role in the length of his reign. Those whom Henry sacked from his council were, in the view of many historians, unsuitable for their position, and in some way incompetent. For Henry, the policies in which he introduced were clearly successful in securing his throne, as, although there were attempted usurptions, he remained in power until his death in ......, unlike many before him, who were forced to abdicate due to actions taken by the nobility. The main issue brought to attention in this essay is concerning the claim that Henry was anti-noble deliberately, to secure his throne; however, this is not the only issue. There are three main others. The initial exploration by this essay is into the financial prospects. Previously, before Henrys' policies, the nobles requested money from the king for amenities such as private armies. Henry's policy decreased the expenditure for these requests. 1 "England" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99. 2 Seminar Sheet page 1 3 Seminar sheet. Page 1 4 Seminar Sheet 5 Seminar Sheet ...read more.

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