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Who was more important in directing foreign affairs 1515-1529, Henry VIII or Wolsey?

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Introduction

Who was more important in directing foreign affairs 1515-1529, Henry VIII or Wolsey? Henry VIII was more important in directing foreign policy, as it was usually he who decided on the policies, but Wolsey could be considered more important as it was he who actually directed and implemented the policies. It depends on the definition of "directed", whether one means it to intend that Wolsey instigated or actually carried out. Therefore both Wolsey and Henry VIII were important in directing English foreign affairs. Henry VIII was renowned for wanting to be a warrior king. He wanted to try to be like his ancestors, such as Henry V and the Black Prince, who had won many victories against the French - England's natural enemy. This was one of the main reasons that England had such an aggressive foreign policy from 1515 to 1529, except during the period of 1518-1521, when there was peace in Europe, partially due to the Treaty of London. Even then the peace was fragile and only lasted until Charles V became Holy Roman Emperor and actually had a reason to break the peace. ...read more.

Middle

This supports the evidence that Wolsey would plan policies according to Henry's needs and Henry would act as a supervisor, watching over him to make sure he was doing his job correctly. This can be seen because Wolsey as a member of the church and a humanitarian would have naturally wanted a peaceful policy, yet the policies followed for most of his "time in power" were war-like, so would have been dictated by Henry. Therefore, without Henry's influence Wolsey would have had no policies to direct, so from that point of view Henry was the more important in "directing" foreign affairs. On the other hand, it was Wolsey who actually implemented and directed the policies that Henry gave him the rough outline of. A clear example of Wolsey fulfilling Henry's wishes in his own way comes in October 1518. Many representatives from the countries of Europe came to England to sign the Treaty of London, declaring international peace in Europe. Henry was not a natural peacemaker, preferring the art of war to the art of peace. ...read more.

Conclusion

Still, it shows that it Wolsey even tries to follow a different policy to Henry he will eventually end up following Henry's, no matter how long it takes for him to come around. This would imply that it was Henry who was more important, because he ultimately got his way whatever happened. Essentially, Wolsey and Henry were a double act. Henry told Wolsey roughly what he wanted done and Wolsey did it for him. Wolsey worked to please Henry, which he usually did very well. However, because of their double act status it is very difficult to decide which of them was the more important in directing English foreign affairs, as directing could mean starting the policies or finishing them. The argument for Henry is that without him there would be no policies to start with, as he supplied the skeleton of the policies. The argument for Wolsey is that he actually did the most of the hard work in implementing the policies to put Henry's ideas into effect. Therefore, I think that Wolsey was more important in directing foreign affairs because without his efficiency and effectiveness Henry might not have achieved the foreign policies he desired. ...read more.

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