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To what extent can Wolseys foreign policy in the years 1512-29 be viewed as a success?

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Introduction

To what extent can Wolsey?s foreign policy in the years 1512-29 be viewed as a success? The 17 years, 1512 to 1529 saw Wolsey put in place a number of Foreign policies. These were implemented, mainly to increase the power and status of Henry within Europe. Wolsey?s main objective was peace and worked diplomatically to create treaties and alliances. The Foreign policy was a success in the fact that Wolsey, as an individual, was a skilled and able administrator and also, through several of his policies, he pleased Henry, as it made him a chivalric king. However, there were also failures to the foreign policy, the policy was not organised and there was a lack of resources for success and also, England was often deserted by allies. Wolsey, being a skilled and able administrator, was an important factor to why his foreign policy was a success. Wolsey played a key part in organizing the successful French campaign of 1513. Although England was initially deserted by Spain, they still won the minor Battle of the Spurs, and gained the territory of two French cities. ...read more.

Middle

An alliance with France, the treaty of Westminster, was therefore necessary as the only legitimate way of creating military conditions in which the Pope would be free to agree to the divorce. As Charles was in control of the Pope, and obviously did not want his aunt, Catherine, to suffer divorce, he did not allow it. The condition of the Treaty of Westminster was that Mary, Henry?s daughter, was presented to the Dauphin of France. The Anglo-Imperial alliance was unorganised because this was an alliance that also had the condition that Mary would be betrothed to Charles V. Now she was promised to both. The Field of Cloth of Gold, in 1520, was unorganised because it did not create alliances, but just gave each nation a chance to show off their wealth (which Henry could ill afford). It also gave the impression to Charles that Henry was siding with the French. However, Wolsey conducted a flexible and reactive foreign policy. Wolsey recognised the need to ally effectively in order to preserve English security and interests. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wolsey stopped trade with the Netherlands, which was the centre of trade for Charles? empire. He banned the English cloth makers from using Dutch markets, but some English merchants were held hostage in retaliation so these efforts failed. Also there was a lot of unrest in English towns as the cloth workers were already hit by a bad harvest. This caused unrest in England and did not even inhibit Charles? dominance over Europe. In conclusion, to a large extent Wolsey?s foreign policy was a failure. Most of the policies set up did not work. The treaty of London and the First French war were a success but again they were only short term. A lack of money, resources and manpower meant that Henry?s aims could not always be achieved. The planning of alliances was disorganised. Wolsey tried to make alliances with both but when something was needed from the country they were not allied with at the time, the situation became very tricky. The alliances and England became so weak that England went on to be left out in the Treaty of Cambrai in 1528 and England was no longer considered as an equal to Charles and Francis. ...read more.

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