How Far do you agree that Foreign Policy failed from 1515-1529 failed to make England stronger as an international power?
Initially, Henry and Wolsey created a reasonable foreign profile. They managed to maintain this for 10 years until 1525. However a massive decline occurred subsequently it wasn’t long before the pair found themselves out of the Major League of European Countries and neither France nor Spain cared who it made allegiances with.
England was at a disadvantage from the outset; with very limited resources compared to France and Spain. Alone England didn’t stand much chance of survival and therefore it was vital that England formed alliances with other international powers. On august the 15th 1521, Henry VIII and Emperor Charles V formed a secret treaty known as ‘The Treaty of Bruges’. It provided for a joint invasion of France; primarily before March 1523. This in one respect merely defined the dependence Henry and Wolsey had upon Charles. This was mainly due to the reliance England’s economy beheld upon the ‘Flanders Cloth Market.’ Nevertheless, the treaty never materialised and whilst she displayed and attempt to resolve this in autumn 1523, they could do little without the support of Charles V.
There was a constant need to show his worthiness and match up to wealthier kings such as Francis I. Henry’s favourite way was though extravagant wars. From 1511-1525 he spent an equivalent of 1.4 million on wars, whilst his annual income was ï¿½110,000. This put England fundamentally on huge strains and it was up to Wolsey to turn this around.
1518, the ‘Treaty of London’ prior to all discussed, a treaty of diplomatic importance influencing England to be noticed by other countries. This was a universal peace collective and signed by all major leaders. This gave England support from over countries and also made them noticed. It was a non aggressive treaty and agreed that none of the countries would attack one another, and if they were, they were support one another. This was ‘Wolsey’s finest hour.’ It reflected glory upon Henry VIII, putting the pair in good terms with one another as well as with all other major countries. It also meant that if any country broke away from the treaty, then war would b veiled upon them. However, at the same time it wasn’t entirely successful. It only lasted for a short time and inevitably war broke out from an alliance between Spain and England against France.
Another very important affair to mention was the ‘Field of The Cloth of Gold’ which occurred from June 7th to June 24th in 1520. It was a meeting between the two kings Henry VIII and Francis the I of France and its aim was to increase the bond between the two kings, furthering England profile internationally. Each kind tried to outdo the other. The proof of Henry’s attempts was that in one month 2200 sheep were consumed. In the fields past the castle, 2800 tents were erected for less important visitors. Even though it made a great impression, politically it did very little. Hence the war previously discussed a year later.
The decline of Wolsey’s success made England lose it’s profile it started with. In 1525 was the introduction of the Amicable Grant. When Wolsey tried to raise more money through the ‘Amicable Grant’ it depicted the anger within England itself.
Wolsey needed to raise taxes (1525) in order to cover the cost of taking France to war. However it was strongly opposed and subsequently Wolsey had to back down and ‘reduce the payments for the 1523 subsidy’ 10,000 men converged in Lavenham. In summery this lost England support of Charles V which inevitability meant the only way was to make a peace treaty with France. ‘The Treaty of More,’ in 1525. Meanwhile again Wolsey’s attempts failed. France undermined England and formed an alliance with Charles V leaving England no stronger than to begin with.
A long term affect of this, is that it meant Henry lost his trust in Wolsey causing the downfall in 1529. As well very importantly was Henry’s divorce to Catherine of Aragon and its international relevance. Catherine’s nephew was Charles V, a may with great power. He threatened the Pope to not go ahead with the annulment. Wolsey was in a predicament, if he allowed the annulment his own life was in risk, but the time he wasted trying to decide one way another outraged Henry emphatically. So much so that Henry stripped him from his title.