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HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE THAT, FROM 1471 TO 1483, EDWARD IV WAS SUCCESSFUL IN EVERYTHING EXCEPT ENSURING AN UNDISPUTED SUCCESSION?

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Introduction

Jen Stringer 12A HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE THAT, FROM 1471 TO 1483, EDWARD IV WAS SUCCESSFUL IN EVERYTHING EXCEPT ENSURING AN UNDISPUTED SUCCESSION? Edward's reign was mainly stable and successful. He was the first king to die financially solvent in over 200 years due mainly to his careful avoidance of major foreign wars and by the end of his reign there was evident recovery of prosperity in the southern counties. However, Edward died too early to ensure that his heir would succeed him unchallenged. He had not created a collective commitment to the future of his dynasty that would make his heir strong enough to survive a minority reign. Although this was his main failure, he did not wholly succeed in all other actions through his reign. Edward's foreign policies appear to be eminently successful. The treaty of Picquigny in 1475 was beneficial for both Edward personally and England. A seven year truce between England and France was to be observed, meaning there would be no more costly wars or no chance of a French attack. ...read more.

Middle

The introduction of the Land revenue led a greater prominence of the chamber. His royal household now collected the taxes in place of the Exchequer. He was seen as a financially capable businessman and was therefore able to borrow loans easily from merchants in London. Although Edward was mainly successful with his financial policies and his treatment of the nobility, he was in fact too reliant on the Duke of Gloucester and Northumberland. This led to them becoming over-mighty nobles, giving them the opportunity to eventually depose Edward's heir from the throne. Although it was not obvious at the time, this was a critical failure as it meant an undisputed succession was not ensured. Edward's commercial policy was mainly successful. He promoted the development of the English merchant marine, a new market for English trade and commerce. His treaty with Burgundy created a bigger British export trade. The export of cloth doubled and the problem of piracy decreased. Also, the treaty of Utrecht increased Hansiatic trade. Edward's only notable failure where trade was concerned was his tendency to rely too heavily on both English and foreign merchants for loans. ...read more.

Conclusion

He traded successfully in wool for his personal benefit to restore his family's fortunes. This also enabled him to rely less on others for personal profit. Edward, however, did not work hard enough to ensure an undisputed succession. It was his responsibility to ensure this. He did set up councils to govern in the Marches of Wales in order to secure his son's power base there, but this was not enough. Of course, his early death did contribute to his son's usurpation and this was a matter beyond his control but perhaps he could have secured his son's position if he had not relied so heavily on Gloucester or married into such an unpopular family, amongst other things. Edward's reign was mainly prosperous. He had many successes in all aspects of his kingly duties. Trade and commerce improved, foreign relations improved, he died solvent and his treatment of the nobility and his councils was mainly sound. However, his over-reliance on nobles, his unproductive attack on Scotland and the Woodville marriage were all political mistakes that show that his inability to ensure an undisputed succession was not in fact his only failure. ...read more.

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