Assess the reasons why Charles Is Personal Rule (1629-1640) became widely unpopular in England

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Assess the reasons why Charles I’s Personal Rule (1629-1640) became widely unpopular in England

        In 1629, Charles I dissolved Parliament until his subjects should “see more clearly into our intentions and actions” and have “a better understanding of us and themselves”. So the infamous period of Personal Rule began. For Charles to govern efficiently, he needed to be financially independent so that he would not be forced to call parliament in order to provide financial assistance through the grant of subsidies. The continuation of Personal Rule depended on the financial status of the Crown.

        Charles required plenty of money to run the country without parliamentary taxes and subsides. So as Personal Rule began in 1629, he embarked on a mission to acquire sufficient amounts of money to fund his government. Charles used many different methods of raising money, both legal and illegal. Over the next 11 years, he would explore and extend wardships, grant monopolies, use ancient laws and levy taxes without parliamentary consent, which eventually allowed Charles to be virtually solvent by the mid-1630s. However, this came at a price; the methods used by Charles became unpopular and disliked by members of the gentry.

        Charles’ financial policies had angered the gentry in many ways. For example, he continued to collect Tonnage and Poundage without parliamentary consent. During the eleven years Charles also used new forms of taxation, e.g. ship money, which further angered the gentry. The gentry felt that Charles had violated the unwritten contract between the Crown and Parliament. The financial policies also scared the gentry in another way: if the king was becoming financially independent, he wouldn’t need another parliament since the king only required parliament for money.

        Similarly, the religious policies adopted by Charles also caused anger. However, whereas the financial policies mainly affected the gentry, the religious policies touched upon everybody since religion was at the heart of everyone’s life in the 17th century. Charles’ preferred brand of Anglicanism was Arminianism, a brand seen by many as Roman Catholicism in disguise. Most the changes Charles and his archbishop, William Laud, made to the Church were disliked by Protestants. For instance, Charles and Laud expected every church to have a high altar. This elevated the power of the clergy over the laity and thus clashed with Protestant beliefs that everyone is equal before God. The religious changes angered many Protestants, particularly Puritans.

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        It would suggest that both the financial and religious policies undertaken by Charles created a lot of anger among his subjects. The financial policies faced deep resentment from members of the gentry, while the religious policies were met with fury from Puritans.

        Charles further irritated the gentry by his policy of Thorough which aimed to provide centralized control of local government. Charles and his advisor, Sir Thomas Wentworth, introduced the Books of Orders in 1631 which intended to ensure that local officials, e.g. JPs and Petty constables, properly enforced the law of the land. Although they were ...

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