How far were the aims and methods of Charles I's Personal rule justifiable? (1629-40)

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How far were the aims and methods of Charles I’s

Personal rule justifiable?


        The word justifiable is defined as ‘showing to be right or reasonable’, in short to justify oneself to another. However Charles, being King and God’s representative on earth by divine right is not answerable to anyone, therefore he need not justify his actions. Putting this aside, Charles did not enter the period of personal rule in the right frame of mind, it hadn’t been planned so his aims were born out of anger and frustration as well as a will to survive without Parliament’s help.

        Most of Charles’ main aims were good in theory; firstly and most importantly he resolved never to call Parliament again, he needed to sort out his own and the country’s finance and in doing this kept an inexpensive foreign policy, finally he wanted to bring about a greater uniformity in between England and Scotland including religion. However, often Charles’ methods and choice of personnel involved in achieving his goals were less helpful.

        After Elliot’s three resolutions Charles was so furious that he dissolved Parliament and proceeded to rule without their assistance for eleven years. He soon found that his biggest problem would be finding enough money to govern properly and to enable him to continue with his lavish way of life. On the advice of his two main advisors, Archbishop Laud and Thomas Wentworth, Charles would adopt the Policy of Thorough where by ‘a fair and just government, with corruption rooted out’ (Longman AS history) would be put into place. This would appear to be a justifiable step forwards, unfortunately such hopes were too idealistic and the government of the time did not have a large enough bureaucracy to put these plans into effect. Instead out of Charles’ desperate struggle for money emerged a coercive underhand administration where technically legal policies were adopted. Charles may have thought these justifiable at the time, but unbeknown to him would later bring about his downfall as he bankrupted and frustrated many nobles and gentry whose support he would later need.

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        However one area of Thorough was indeed coined by Charles, that of re-introducing old medieval laws that were not new but had merely been neglected. This procedure called Fiscal Feudalism aggravated the people from the upper to lower classes. It began with distraint of Knighthoods where it was discovered that those who owned land worth £40 or more per annum were entitled to be knighted. Charles of course ensured that this privilege was paid for and if it was refused the gentry in question were duly fined. The landed gentry were again badly treated by Charles when he     ...

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