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Possible Exam Questions Elizabeth Essay

‘Tudor monarchs experienced more failures than successes in dealing with religion in England in the years 1547 to 1587.’ Assess the validity of this view. Students may refer to some of the following material in support of the claim that religious Policies were successful:

• after 1549 there were no rebellions against the religious changes introduced during Edward VI’s reign
• Religious changes in Mary’s reign enjoyed popular support in most parts of the country
• Over the course of thirty years there was a gradual acceptance of the religious changes introduced by the Elizabethan Settlement
• ‘Puritan’ opposition to the Elizabethan Settlement had become weak by 1588.

Nevertheless, there are a number of other factors to consider: • Religious changes had helped to bring about rebellion in 1549 • Religious change in Mary’s reign had been resisted by Protestant martyrs • There was continued evidence of Catholic survivalism under Elizabeth, especially in The north, which witnessed a rebellion in 1569 which was largely religious in origin • There was opposition to the Elizabethan Settlement from those who had felt that it had not gone far enough.

Furthermore, students may legitimately point out that the powers of enforcement of religious Policy were variable, as they were dependent on the support of local officials who might not always have been completely supportive of the policies themselves. Historiographical approaches are not required to answer this question effectively. However, the effective deployment of perspectives derived from historians such as Duffy, Haigh, Collinson and Lake are likely to show skills of a high order. In conclusion, students may conclude that governments enjoyed mixed fortunes in their attempts to promote religious change.

To what extent did royal authority decline in the years 1547 to 1558?

Students may refer to the following to support the case that royal authority was undermined:

• The frequency of rebellion, including the contribution of the rebellions of 1549 to the downfall of Somerset
• The extent to which royal authority might have been hamstrung by Edward’s minority, in particular through the actions of Somerset
• The extent to which both monarchs faced open opposition to their religious policies
•The extent to which royal authority might have been undermined by Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain.

Nevertheless, there are a number of other factors to consider which suggest that royal authority might not have been undermined: • Religious reforms under Edward VI, whilst undoubtedly unpopular, were pushed through ruthlessly • The legitimate succession was upheld in 1553, despite the machinations of Edward VI and Northumberland • In many respects Mary can be seen to have been a successful ruler • Mary’s legacy to Elizabeth was, in many respects, positive. Furthermore, students may explore some of these issues within a historiographical framework, though this is not required. This might apply especially to recent revisions of the reign of Mary. In conclusion, students should offer evaluations which draw on a balance of arguments for and against the loss of authority by the mid-Tudor monarchs.

The rebellions which occurred during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I were mainly political in origin.’ Assess the validity of this view.

Candidates may refer to some of the following material in support of the claim that the rebellions were primarily political:
• local political antagonisms seem to have been at the root of the East Anglian rebellions • it is difficult to separate out the western rebels’ religious motives from their political distaste for the regime • Wyatt’s Rebellion seems to have been primarily focused on the desire to prevent Queen Mary from marrying Philip of Spain.

Nevertheless, there are a number of other factors to consider: • the western rebels were primarily motivated by their resentment at the scale of the attack on popular religious practices • the demands of the western rebels, whilst mostly religious, are also couched in a language which seems to indicate a significant level of class antagonism • both the western and East Anglian rebels had significant social and economic motives • it has recently been argued that conservative religious sentiments were present amongst the East Anglian rebels • the overtly political motivation of Wyatt and many of his fellow rebels was reinforced by the popular Protestantism of some of his followers. In conclusion, candidates may differentiate between motivation for the various rebellions.

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