How Effective Was Elizabeth’s Government Essay
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Elizabeth needed to win support of her people including nobles at court and ordering people in the country. She needed to do this in order to gain respect and run the government successfully form everyone, and good publicity was a good way of doing this. Elizabeth’s first chance to achieve goods publicity was at her coronation. She held it in London on the 15th January 1559. Elizabeth was determined to make it as impressive as possible. There were colourful procession and a royal journey by barge along the river Thames.
The streets were lined with people and many important visitors attended. There was also grand for them that lasted ten days and all the costs led up to ï¿½16000 a huge sum of money in those days.
Also, Elizabeth used portraits to let ordinary people see what she looked like and for publicity. In these portraits, she made the artists paint her powerfully. In her portrait of Elizabeth’s coronation, she was painted holding an orb and a sceptre, the symbols of a monarch’s power and authority. Elizabeth’s portraits were very important and she wanted them to show five main things:
* Strength and power: She wanted to show than she was ruling the country wisely and successfully.
* Wealth: It was important to distinguish Queen’s financial difficulties.
* Ageless: As Elizabeth grew older, it was important to hide signs of age because this is a sign of weakness.
* Success and wisdom: Elizabeth wanted her paintings to show that she was strong and powerful. She often had symbols of strength in her paintings such as pillars.
* Legitimacy and purity: Roman Catholics thought that Queen Elizabeth had no right tot be Queen and was illegitimate. Therefore, to show her purity her face and clothes were usually white.
Elizabeth’s portraits and coronation showed her as a successful ruler but even good publicity cold not distinguish failures. In addition, Elizabeth’s success would depend on how well she governed the country. She also needed to win the support of her wealthy and powerful. The Queen was the most important member of the court. Elizabeth used patronage, which is the power to appoint people to important jobs. This is how she attracted the loyalty and support of her most important subjects.
I think that Queen Elizabeth’s ways of peoples support were very successful. For example, the system of patronage was effective as this gave people jobs, which was what they wanted, she made them respect her by making herself the most important person in court and the person with the most power over decisions.
Elizabeth chose and controlled her privy council. By January 1559, Elizabeth had appointed nineteen experienced men to her privy council. None were strong Catholics and she appointed William Cecil as her secretary of state the most important position on the Privy Council.
Sir William Cecil (secretary of state): He was hard working and he knew about all government business. He was not afraid to disagree with the Queen or others on the Privy Council. Queen Elizabeth trusted him completely and he was a loyal adviser to her for forty years.
Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester): He disliked Cecil and often disagreed with him. He was a loyal advisor to the Queen but they had several quarrels.
Sir Christopher Hatton (Parliament): Organised the Queen’s progresses and was elected into parliament several times. Helped Elizabeth to pass laws and control MP’s. Also made lord councillor, in charge of judges and law courts.
Sir Francis Walsingham (Secretary of State): Worked mainly on foreign affairs. He was put in charge of Elizabeth’s secret service – controlled a number of spies all over Europe. Also often disagreed with Cecil, and he often made Elizabeth angry but she knew he was completely loyal. He found evidence in 1586 Mary Queen of Scots was involved in a plot to kill the Queen.
Robert Devereux: commanded attacks on Spain and Ireland. Often argued with Elizabeth. In 1601, he led a rebellion and was executed for treason.
The Privy Council met nearly every day and although Elizabeth didn’t go to all meetings. She was determined to show that she was a cautious ruler. She didn’t like making big changes or being rushed into making decisions. This often frustrated her councillors but they were completely loyal to her apart for two exceptions: Duke of Norfolk Earl of Essex
I think that this aspect of the government was very effective and successful as they helped Elizabeth and they were nearly all completely loyal to her apart from two people (mentioned above). I think that this was successful because she let all the members know who was boss and was not rushed into anything. She also chose her members very wisely and each member had their own speciality.
Parliament in the sixteenth century was much less powerful than it was today. It could only meet when the monarch called it. Although Elizabeth didn’t have to call the call parliament at all and she could close it whenever she liked. She chose to call in only thirteen times in her forty-five year reign.
Elizabeth only called parliament for three main reasons:
* To help pass ACTS OF PARLIAMENT laws which were approved by both house of parliament and the monarch.
* To approve taxes, which could only be collected if parliament agreed to them?
* To provide her with support and advice – It was very useful for monarchs to know the opinion of MP’s and win there support.
This part of the government was not as important to Elizabeth as the Privy Council. I think that she did not like opening and going to parliament but she had to in order to get what she wanted. I think she just used parliament for her own needs. Although she was pretty, effective at getting what she wanted from them.
Elizabeth never explained why she didn’t marry. Although there were some rumours that she was in love with Robert Dudley and wanted to marry him, there is no evidence to prove this. Elizabeth kept her thought on marriage private. Parliament asked her to marry several times but she only gave a vague answer. Later in the reign, when her MP’s asked who was her successor, she always refused. A few things that may have caused her not to marry are:
* Marriage might have been unpopular and cause a rebellion
* Lose friendship with other countries and become enemies.
* If she married an English nobleman her other nobles would be disappointed and start a rebellion.
* That she thought her husband would try to take control.
Why Elizabeth didn’t marry became a mystery and although parliament tried to force the issue of her marrying, she never did.
If Elizabeth was going to govern the country successfully, she had to control all her people. This wasn’t easy. Elizabeth didn’t have a permanent army or a police force to help her. However, Elizabeth appointed officers around the country, to help her control local areas. Also in towns wealthy citizens elected councils to look after the town’s affairs and keep the law in order.
The local officials with whom most people met were the Justice of the Peace (JP’s). Elizabeth elected about forty of them in every county. They were usually landowners who knew there area well. This work was voluntary, however many landowners still wanted to become a JP as it meant that they were the most important person in the area. The Queen expected her Justice of the peace to carry out a range of duties. JP were given more and more work to do during Elizabeth’s reign. They were often given instruction form the Privy Council to carry out new laws form parliament to enforce.
I think that this method was an effective way of keeping the country in order. However, it became less efficient as Elizabeth’s reign progressed. In addition, Elizabeth had a big enough reputation to persuade people to become JP’s voluntarily.
Overall, I think that Elizabeth’s government was very effective. I think she controlled the country well and thorough out her reign there were no wars or rebellions in England and she had a good relationship with other countries. In addition, Elizabeth knew how to get her point across and she made herself the most important person in court and made sure that she was in control and never let anyone take control away for her. Maybe that was the reason that she never married because she was afraid that her husband would try to do so. Also Elizabeth publicised herself well and let people know what qualities she had and let people know that she was suitable for queen as was the right person to run the country.