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How effective a ruler was Edward 4th from 1471 to 1483?

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Introduction

How effective a ruler was Edward 4th from 1471 to 1483? There is a strong contrast between the effectiveness of Edward during his first reign (1461-1469) and his second reign (1471-1483). During Edward's first reign he struggled to impose himself on his people. There also didn't appear to be significant improvements in the ruling of the kingdom compared to the previously poorly run reign of Henry 6th. The unexpected and poorly politically judged marriage to Elizabeth Woodville caused Edward problems throughout his time as king and had long lasting effects of events after his death. Warwick's 'Calais manifesto' highlighted the problems that Edward faced during this period. The rule of the kingdom after 1471 Edward has seen Edward gain more recognition for the successes in ruling he encountered. During this period he had England in a strong financial position. He didn't have any major revolts in connection with Warwick. His rule over domestic affairs appeared much more secure. He was well in control of the nobility. There is little doubt that Edward 4th was a more effective ruler after 1471. Finance was an area of Edward's ruling that he was notably successful. The success of a ruler's economy provides a good insight into a ruler's ability as a ruler. Financial success had been achieved by having policies such as a peaceful foreign policy. Edward enjoyed no fought battle in France. ...read more.

Middle

There was the expansion of the roles of royal household in the shires with Edward appointing knights such as Sir Thomas Burgh in Lincolnshire to household thus improving knowledge and links with localities. Edward was helped by the fact that by the 1470's a large number of magnate affinities were in royal hands. This was good for Edward because it reduced the powers that the magnates had. Edwards's control of nobility was vital because during Henry 6th's reign had shown the dangers of over powerful magnates but Edward also needed their backing in order to run the country. In order control the country Edward did the following things. He used patronage to gain future support rather than rewarding past services and granted large areas of country to men such as Hastings. Edward relied heavily on his own family in order to secure support during his reign. In Wales he built up the power of the Woodville's based at Ludlow. Edward can be criticised on his policies towards the Woodville clan. This is for allowing the Woodville's to dominate the marriage market in the kingdom after his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. This meant that he received resentment. Another family member who Edward used to give himself stability in his kingdom was Richard of Gloucester who effectively took over the Neville affinity. Richard dominated the north and was regarded as an efficient and fair lieutenant. ...read more.

Conclusion

This transferred Norfolk lands to the crowns possession this tactic alienated the Howard's, who had expected to inherit these lands. In 1483 John Howard became a leading supporter of Richard giving Richard major power. Edwards ruling of his country was much better than that of his predecessor. It is clear that he ruled the nation much more effectively during this period than in his earlier reign. This is shown by him and Gloucester bringing an end to the feud between the Harrington and Stanley families. In matters of justice Edward increased his reliance on J.P's in order keep the peace. They were recruited from the gentry their powers were developed at the expense of the sheriffs. The advantages of this policy for Edward were that they were unpaid and the post was not hereditary stopping any favouritism. Supporters of Edward believed that he targeted important areas of what was happening in justice in order to set an example to others. This was because he had recognised that he didn't have the resources to cover the whole kingdom. There is little doubt that the Yorkist rule from 1471 was effective and this had been partly because of Edward being a skilful and clever ruler. It is difficult to blame him for what had happened after his early death although there are arguments as to whether he should have been that Richard would have been very influential in the period after his death. Frankie Hine-Hughes ...read more.

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