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Why did James II lose his throne?

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Introduction

Why did James II lose his throne? James II started his reign in probably the strongest position of any Stuart monarch, yet in a few years he had abdicated and his son-in-law William of Orange had assumed the throne. There are many factors to consider when looking at James' reign, not all problems were down to the incompetence of the last Stuart King, William contributed greatly to James' downfall, but there were also other forces outside either of their control. James' position in 1685 was excellent, Parliament had let him collect taxes without any sanctions, and none of the gentry had joined Monmouth's revolt against him. However, he obviously must have done something wrong to end up losing his throne, the English people did not want to have to get rid of another king, the civil war was still fresh in their minds. James had two major flaws; he was a catholic and he was incompetent. Maybe with only one of these aspects he would have lasted to carry the crown on to his children and history would be a lot different, but that is something we shall never know. ...read more.

Middle

There were pro-catholic policies in Ireland; this caused uproar, as people still hated the Irish after the stories published back during James' father's reign. James even put Catholic officers in the Army, something previously illegal. If this wasn't bad enough his excuse was that it would make the army more loyal to him, this denounced the army's previous victories for James against Monmouth, the army's loyalty had never faltered from James. His corruption of the courts was also unpopular as he used his suspending powers to place more Catholics in places of authority. In many ways James was viewed with even more distaste than his father, politicians started looking back on his brother's reign as 'the golden years of King Charlie' even though we know that Charles II frequently had run-ins with parliament. As I said earlier it was not just James fault that he was ousted from his position. Things were going on abroad; Louis XIV of France was a strong catholic and had been persecuting the Huguenots (French protestants), he was also tempting a European war by invading the Rhineland. ...read more.

Conclusion

William at no point challenged James' power, James could have kept his crown by doing nothing, but he panicked. Legally William had no right to challenge James, but James had lost so much support due to his pro catholic policies and his incompetence. James was sailing down the Thames away from England as William was marching into London. In conclusion James lost his throne due to his own faults, his religion and his political disabilities. His shaky political position coinciding with continental politics in my opinion just acted as a catalyst speeding up the process of the Stuarts downfall, though there is no doubt that William was an exceedingly successful and clever politician. James' Catholicism would probably have led to him being removed from power somehow. If he had just been catholic he could have sat back and ruled the country without attempting to challenge the country's protestant faith. On the other hand if he had just been politically inept his protestant advisors could have manipulated him or run the country for him. The combination of these two aspects of his character however would mean that he would have eventually lost his throne no matter what happened in the rest of Europe. 4th November 2001 RTC J.Leggett 13J ...read more.

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