Select three major problems faced by either the Elizabethan or Stuart Government. Show how they were tackled. How effective, in each example was the government, in achieving it’s aims. During the Stuart period in England, it was a time of great change and conflict, largely due to influential members of the governing class. Charles I’s rule from 1625 – 29 was epitomized this perfectly.
As a monarch was often influenced by conflicting members of parliament who thought that ‘they knew best’. As quoted by historian M. G. R Graves, “the difficulties with the commons were due to a few ‘turbulent and ill-affected spirits’ who ‘mask and disguise their wicked intentions, dangerous to the State’. ‘Some few vipers were upsetting the good intentions of the wise and moderate men of that house’.” Such vipers were namely members of Parliament like, Earl of Bristol (Buckingham’s enemy) who tried to take a seat in parliament, Thomas Wentworth, whose intentions were to promote ‘good’ government, when in actual fact, he turned out to be one of those little ‘niggling backstabbers’ who played all friendly but in actual fact just wanted to wriggle money out of parliament. A selfish man whose underlying goals were to get what he could out of parliament and the court for his personal needs and desires.
Others included John Pym, Sir John Eliot, Sir Dudley Digges and Dentil Holes. These men were young, determined, uncompromising puritans. Charles was not that successful in oppressing such members of parliament and they continued to cause ongoing conflict throughout his reign. Charles’ first parliament met in June 1625.
Man Versus man conflict is an easy element to pick up on in literature and remains to be in literature through all time and style periods. Mark Twain applying man versus man conflict in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a key to its great success holding up over time. Man versus man conflict relates to all ages and generations which make a book more interesting and enjoyable to read ...
The reason for this parliament was substantially due to money issues. But things did not seem to work out from the start for poor Charles. The commons voted a mere lb 140, 000 to Charles. The worst was yet to come because the commons only granted tunnage and poundage (customs duties for one year only) This would prove a major downfall economy wise in the future because Charles saw it fit to levy tunnage and poundage illegally as a way of improving his finances.
After all, formerly, tunnage and poundage had been granted for life. Why should it change? He was successful in the fact he still illegally collected tonnage and poundage and receiving his 140, 000 but he did not get enough money as he had planned for. Parliament was still uneasy and did not trust Charles as a monarch. Cracks also began to emerge further to the tunnage and poundage issue within the first parliament. The commons became extremely concerned to the point where they criticised the government further. Bucking was widely distrusted and suspicion also bubbled over Charles’ marriage to a French Roman Catholic Henrietta – Maria.
Why marry a woman from enemy France? What exactly did Charles think he was playing at? The current war was also being mismanaged; “in any case, if the king was fighting for Protestantism why did he tolerate the English Catholics and send ships to help Louis XIII against the Huguenots?” M. G. R Graves ‘England under the Tudors and Stewarts 1485 – 1689 If the members of the ruling class did not trust the way Charles was handling things, why should the ‘ordinary’ people trust him. Without trust, agreements never seem to work and that was exactly the predicament that Charles was in. The second parliament (1626) proved to be as unsuccessful as the first.
Again Charles called parliament because the treasury was empty. If the first parliament had gone Charles’ way then he probably would not have been forced into this position ‘ he had not gained the glorious victory which might have persuaded the commons to dip deep into their purses’. After all, parliament were metaphorically ‘the puppets who held the purse strings’. More influential people of parliament tried their luck against Charles during 1626. The Earl of Bristol, Buckingham’s great enemy tried to take his seat in parliament.
Elizabeth's death- James I - Divine right- The Powder Plot- Petition or Right - Habeas Corpus- Charles I- Scottish Rebellion The Stuarts monarchs quarrelled constantly with Parliament. The first signal of trouble between Crown and Parliament came in 1601, when the Commons were angry over Elizabeth's policy of selling monopolies. But Parliament did not demand any changes. When Elizabeth died, she ...
His efforts were of no avail. The lords specifically insisted on Bristol’s inclusion. As imagined this would create more conflict, frustration and heartache on the poor Charles. Such heartache continued to throb in the form of Sir John Eliot. His views being extremely bitter and hateful, condemning the Cadiz fiasco in 1625. Eliot believed though unjustly believed Buckingham to be responsible for the huge mismanagement of the war.
As mentioned in M. G. R Graves’ book; “Our honour is ruined, our ships are sunk, our men perished; by the sword, not by enemy but by THOSE WE TRUST” Rightly so in his reasoning, but Eliot continued to say that ‘the king’s favourite should be impeached. This and several other influential factors caused the King and parliament to rapidly drift apart like driftwood carried out to sea amongst ferocious waves. By trying to do what Charles personally believed was right had turned his people against him. Now more than ever Charles was ‘under fire’ and his head was due to be ‘on the chopping block’.
Parliament wanted rid of this unworthy monarch. The third and most important problem faced by Charles during his reign over England was his personal rule from 1629 – 1640. Charles believed that if there was going to be so much conflict then calling parliaments was simply a ‘waste of time’. The parliament held onto the purse strings of England but by not holding parliament the commons, lords and such could not voice their views. He could govern the country without those niggling little backstabbers. Again things did not start of well for poor Charles, he found himself at war with France.
He had hoped for an Anglo – French alliance to free the Palatinate from the Spaniards in 1625 but France were at that stage, at war with the Spaniards. His marriage to Henrietta Maria came back to haunt him, causing more conflict. His on views refused to fight fellow protestants. Not a good look for a monarch now is it? ! Subsequently Louis XII refused to assist Charles in recovering the Palatinate. In 1626 Charles managed to make peace with Spain but by that stage in ‘the game’ foreign relations rapidly deteriorated. The boiling pot of Europe had begun to heat up, spilling over with fire of fury.
Charles might have ruled indefinitely without Parliament had his religious policies not provoked a war with Scotland. Whereas James I had allowed varius religious practices throughout Scotland, Ireland and England, Charles hoped to dictate religious conformity. And so. Charles faced strong opposition from both the English Puritans and the Presbyterian Scots when he tried to impose the English ...
But personal parliament for Charles although it seemed a appetizing idea at first was so unsuccessful that he had to call parliament again. Again it was for money due to the expensive wars and growing debts. Overall, the Charles’ three parliaments, first second and personal rule proved largely unsuccessful and troublesome. When parliament met, it had many grievances to consider, mostly based on financial problems experienced by Charles. Parliament often came out better off but this is not entirely the truth. Charles had inherited his fathers debt and due to James’ laid back manner governing the country was extremely difficult.
Internal conflicts in the court only added to this problem and were a catalyst of many more problems to follow.