Causes and Consequences of the Elizabethan Settlement
by hoonstar17gmailcom (student)
Elizabethan Settlement occurred when the parliament passed the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity. This made the Queen become the Supreme Governor of the Church and the order of worship follow the 1559 Prayer Book. The important causes of the Elizabethan Settlement was foreign pressure, Government pressure for uniformity, and The Church’s finance. Next, the long term consequences are Elizabeth restoring the control of Church wealth and the confusion over doctrine. Finally, the short term consequences is the best of the lesser clergy resigning.
The most important long term and political cause of the Elizabethan Settlement was the Government pressure for uniformity because 1558 was a time of national confusion and division in England over religion. The confusion happen when religion was from Roman Catholic into Protestant a couple of times during the reign of Henry VIII, Edward I and Mary I. Thus Elizabeth I needs to have only one main religion in England that will unify Protestants and Catholics. An example of Government having the pressure for uniformity is when religious changes caused rebellions in the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. Hence, the most important cause of the Elizabethan Settlement is the Government pressure for uniformity to avoid foreign wars and rebellions.
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Another vital long term and political cause of the Elizabethan Settlement was the pressure from foreign powers because England was at war with Catholic France. Making England too Protestant could provoke an invasion by the French Army in Scotland. In addition, the Pope could call on the Catholic power in Europe and lead a crusade against England. An example of foreign pressure is when Elizabeth needed to maintain good relations with Netherlands as Antwerp was vital for English textile trade. Hence, the long term cause of the Elizabethan Settlement was foreign pressure because making too Protestant might cause wars which will damage and weaken England.
Other short term and economical of the Elizabethan Settlement was the Monarch obtaining Church’s wealth to itself because the monarch had inadequate money to govern England. This was because the Crown had certain revenues from the Court, Crown lands, justice and other which did not raise enough revenue to have enough money. Thus, the Church could make up for a lack of revenue. This can happen if the monarch becomes the Head of the Church Then the money from the leaving positions would go to the government. For example, when Henry VIII became Supreme Head, the Church provided a new source of income which was first fruits and tenths. The fruit and tenths were levies in the clergy. Therefore, the short term cause of the Elizabethan Settlement was for the Monarch having more money by making Church its revenue. Adequate money can help the Crown govern England easier than having not enough money.
The Elizabethan had some positive consequences. The most important long term, economic and positive consequence was Elizabeth restoring control of Church wealth because the Monarch needed more money for running the country and there was royal poverty. Without the Church wealth, Queen Elizabeth I could not hire quality people to help her govern England since no one wants job with little pay. Elizabeth I gained access to First fruits and tenths and revenue from the land of vacant Bishoprics. An example of this was when A See in Oxfordshire was left vacant for the whole of Elizabeth’s reign. This was to allow Elizabeth to harvest fruits of that position. Thus, the Crown restoring control of Church’s wealth benefitted people’s lives by preventing Royal poverty which would have cause unemployment of jobs and weaken the power of the Monarch to help the people.
A religious, long term and negative impact was the confusion over doctrine because the Religious Settlement not mentioning doctrine caused confusion and uncertainty to Protestants reforms on how to run Church services. The ambiguities of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement caused local variations of services. For example, in some parish Churches, singing of hymns was accompanied by and organ and ministers were wearing full vestments. In other parishes however, minister wore no vestments and there was no music. Therefore, confusion over doctrine had a negative impact on people’s lives since they were uncertain which type of services were the correct one to go to. This later caused the Church to further clarify the Settlement by producing the 39 Articles of 1563.
A political and religious short term negative impact was the best of the lesser clergy resigning because it caused shortage of properly qualified clergy. This occurred immediately after the Elizabethan Religious Settlement was established. Most of the Catholic clergy had resigned and all the Catholic bishops resigned since Elizabeth’s personal preference was Protestant with some Catholic hierarchical structure. The clergy resigning forced Elizabeth to appoint Protestants. Also, it was difficult to appoint new clerics with good religious conviction or education because new bishops were often compelled to accept poor trained clerics. Having less quality clerics made bishops do religious issues with difficulty. Hence, she left the task of improving the clergy to the Archbishop Parker. Thus, the religious short term impact was having a lack of quality after many Catholic bishops resigned along with the clerics working there.
Overall, the effects of the Elizabethan Settlement were largely positive because she managed to establish a unified national Church where both Catholic and Protestant could go to. It did not satisfy the extremists of both Protestant and Catholic, however she did manage to satisfy the majority of normal people. In addition, Elizabethan Settlement led to lots of change in England which were mainly long term. Making the Church of England Protestant with rituals similar to Catholic put an end to extreme Protestants and Catholics. This was because the settlement prevented the Puritans to make the Church more Protestant with Calvinist theology. England were more Protestant after lots of Catholics bishops resigned which made Protestants take over their jobs. Also, Elizabeth’s exploiting the financial position of the Church weakened the ability of bishops to impose her own idea of a Church upon the people. Catholicism was becoming a minority religion by the end of the reign. Therefore, Elizabethan Settlement had a positive long term consequence and impact on people’s live by forming uniformity in people through the Church of England.