Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What was the impact of the Tudor rebellions?

The success of some rebellions in modifying policy

The government modified policy to decrease antagonism against the regime.
Economic= H VII +VIII both did not collect tax due to popular protest against their taxation policy (Cornish and Amicable Grant). In the Amicable Grant HVIII was forced to modify his foreign policy as well. He had been hoping to use the opportunity of Charles V capturing Francis I to invade France. In addition even as The Oxford rebels were being tried I one court so to were the local landlords who were guilty of the enclosure about which the rebels were protesting.
Social= 1549 led to the modification of social policy- vagrancy Act of 1547 replaced with the 1552 Poor Law. The earlier policy had been controversial- condemned vagrants to 2 yrs slavery for a first crime and for life for any subsequent misdemeanour.
Political= P of G contributed to the downfall of Cromwell 1540- their demands suggested that they held him responsible for the unpopular policies. Wyatt’s- Philip was not crowned in England.
Religious= P of G helped slow down the dissolution of the monasteries and the process of Reformation. In addition even as the Oxford rebels were being tried in one court the local landlords who were guilty of the enclosure the rebels were protesting about were being tried in another.

The fears of government

Throughout the period the Tudors always had great fear of rebellion, partly based on a fear about there control of the country and partly about specific threats.
Dynastic- At the start of the reign Henry felt insecure about his hold on power and this was made worse by Simnel, Warbeck. He also feared the Nobility, though was lucky in that they gave him little real threat. Henry VIII also feared the nobility and in 1521 ordered Wolsey to ‘keep close watch’ on the nobility. After 1534 religion complicated this situation with the Lady Jane Grey affair, and the threat posed by MQS.
Religion After the government was worried about the threat presented by the Catholics,( except Mary worried by the Protestants. Even Elizabeth showed great fear of rebellion, and refused to here the appellants in the 1590’s.
The Nobility. Was perceived as a threat at all times even though in reality the threat ceased to be after 1569 as they found other ways to express their discontent. Also their power decreased with the increase in the power of the JP’s.
The Poor The Tudors always had a fear of the masses and looked to control them. Vagrancy Act 1547 and the Poor Laws.

Taxation Elizabeth’s failure to collect taxation efficiently.

As time went on this fear was unrealistic, and Elizabeth after 1569 faced no realistic threat other than the lone assassin or small conspiracy.
Comparing the Tudor century with what came before and what came after.

Tudor rebellions need to be seen in the wider context of the late Medieval and Early Modern periods. The three centuries from 1381 to 1685 witnessed recurring regional uprisings, not to mention a large number of village revolts. Unrest soon followed the Black Death of 1348, and maybe linked to its consequences. The reduction in the population in England by 1/3 meant that the peasantry was in a much stronger position: the size of the workforce had declined and those left could demand higher wages and improved conditions. As a result, the feudal ties that had helped to keep the peasantry under control were substantially loosened as the nobility had less authority over the lives of the peasants.

The Wars of the Roses also meant that at the beginning of the period the succession and ruling family were an issue. In the beginning of the Tudor period there was no certainty that Henry VII would keep the throne and that it would peacefully pass to his son.
We need to remember that the Tudor period was relatively peaceful in the longer view. In the years after the rebellion the Stuarts created such problems that they plunged England into Civil War. During the period out of the 15 million people who reached adulthood only 65,000 rebelled and most of them were in the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Overthrow the regime.

The first challenges were due to the weak claim of Henry VII to the throne. The first rebellion= Lovell and the Stafford Brothers. This was followed by Simnel and Warbeck- both impersonated a Yorkist claimant to the throne. HVIII successfully came to the throne in 1509 facing no challenges to his right to rule- seen in his execution of Buckingham 1521 and his attacks on the White Rose Party 1530’s. After 1534 there is a change as most challenges become aimed at the succession. Although Mary tried to change the succession to remove Elizabeth, Parliament would not sanction such a move and Elizabeth herself faced a challenge in the Revolt of the Northern Earls. They demanded that Elizabeth name Mary Queen of Scots as her heir. Had the rebels been able to free Mary from captivity it is difficult to imagine this not becoming a fully fledged challenge to Elizabeth. Indeed because of this the Revolt of the Northern Earls was a far more treasonous affair than the P of G. Indeed up to her execution in 1587, Mary remained the focus of Catholic plotters against Elizabeth. The excommunication of Elizabeth in 1570 adding greatly to Elizabeth’s fears over this catholic threat. The last time succession became an issue was with Essex Rebellion (James VI). So many rebellions had dynastic roots or undertones, some more than others. Henry VII = many challenges to the Tudors but his success in establishing the dynasty meant that the Houses of York and Lancaster became an irrelevance under his son. The Reformation made the religion of the monarch a real issue, especially in the middle of the period. Under Elizabeth succession became a real issue not only with religion but also over the issue of Elizabeth’s marriage.

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