How accurate is it to say that the Yorkists kings restored authority in England in the years 1471-1485? Both Richard III and Edward IV, two of the Yorkist Kings between 1471 and 1485, went some way to restoring royal authority. However, their successes in restoring authority during their reigns were certainly limited. While Edward IV did remove much of the threat of the Lancastrians, he was unable to control the nobility which led to the usurpation of Edward V’s throne by Richard Duke of Gloucester in 1483. Moreover, Richard III was very good at politics, having a lavish court and is good at using propaganda, yet he is highly unpopular among both the people and the nobility; his reign only lasts two years before the throne is usurped by Henry Tudor.
The main problem facing Henry was restoring faith and strength in the monarchy. He also had to deal with other claimants, with some of them having a far stronger claim than his own. To deal with this, Henry strengthened the government and his own power, at the expense of the nobles. Henry also had to deal with a treasury that was nearly bankrupt. The English monarchy had never been one of the wealthiest of Europe and even more so after the War of the Roses.
Henry’s lack of political skill played a huge part in the feud between York and Somerset, which started in 1950 when Rouen and Normandy were lost to the French. This feud started because York blamed Somerset for the loss of Normandy. Which in 1453, he made clear by putting Somerset on trial for treason in France. Henry failed to resolve the feud between the two nobles because his personality wasn’t strong enough. This eventually lost him the support of York, after countless amounts of times that York attempted to prove his loyalty, which played a big part in his downfall because York was a very important noble.
Wolsey was the dominant figure due to his sometimes false relationship with Henry. In source 7 we see how Henry puts Wolsey back into his rightful position as a servant but we then find out as Polydore Vergil puts it “he soon returned to his old ways” this shows how Wolsey would do want ever he wished to do but appeared to Henry as a loyal servant, showing how Wolsey could mislead Henry making him believe something that wasn’t true. Wolsey also “refused to speak to Henry” showing he was doing his own bidding doing what he wished and not going by the orders of Henry himself. In source 8 Wolsey is also shown as a dominant figure by being called, by Keith Randall “the head of the country’s legal system” showing he had a lot of power and responsibilities over many things within the country. Not only this but Wolsey’s domestic policies concentrated mainly on punishing the nobility especially when it came to justice and the enclosure issues of land being used for farming instead of housing.
Indeed, that William II granted Flambard the power to initiate laws-notably reintroducing the murdrum fine- highlights a very strong development to central government as it shows a shift away from the singular autocracy of previous kings, such as Cnut. The differing use of a chief minister between William I and II was, therefore, purely down to necessity, as William I had his wife, Mathilda, available for rule in his absence- with Rufus lacking such a figure. Similarly the office flourished under the reign of Richard I, where Hubert Walter’s role as ‘chief justiciar’ involved successful domestic fundraising- involving, amongst other measures, a fairly heavy tax upon fraudulent Jewish moneylenders and the use of scutages-evidence for the increased responsibility and necessity of the role. Richard required significant funding to continue his long-term continental campaign, indeed leaving the country in 1191 and failing to return until the end of his reign in 1199. Moreover the office was concieved and utilised purely due to continental possessions.
Henry VII had been a skilled diplomat and kept England out of major European conflicts. Therefore, Henry VIII inherited a state that was united behind the monarch, a state that had a decent European reputation, a monarchy that was wealthier than it had been for centuries, nobility that had been tamed and made to work for the Crown and a system of government that was competent and effective. Weaknesses Henry VIII inherited Henry VII was unpopular with his subjects as he took a lot of money away from the people of England. His Tax Collectors, Empson and Dudley were also unpopular due to their tactics of getting more money. All were greedy.
Whilst that was at the back of Edward's mind, he also had the inhibitory situation of Warwick and Clarence becoming over-mighty subjects. Despite the many disadvantages Edward was placed at he demonstrated at times impressive determination and resilience to them, such as the expansion of his power base which placed him in a stronger position, and the improvement of the crown’s finances. In fact when one is comparing Edward’s progress in comparison to Henry VI success at being king, he seems far better and more deserving of his title, due to Henry’s complete lack of governing success which Edward himself eventually managed to regain control over. A definite and early landmark which supports the fact that Edward was in fact partially successful in restoring royal authority is the fact that in 1461 Edward was completely victorious over the Lancastrians in The Battle of Towton. The Yorkists created an utter rout, where the opposition was overwhelmed and fled, and thousands of Lancastrians were killed as well as defeated.
Wilson’s ‘comfy and complacent’ campaign did play in role in deciding the 1970 election in favour of the Conservatives but it was only a minor one. Much more important was the combination of mistrust by the public over Labour’s ability to control the economy and most importantly; Labour’s complete failure to control the Trade Unions and the fears that this brought with it. Even a Labour minister himself, Richard Crossman admits in Source C that a ‘final warning on the trade figures’ put voters off. Whilst Source A does attack Wilson for his ‘highly personalised campaign’ and his ‘presidential’ style leadership, it goes on to suggest that there is no clear reason for why people changed their minds and voted Tory at the last minute. Despite his ‘too relaxed and assured’ campaign Wilson was not to blame but instead it was a combination of ‘unfavourable trade figures’ and Enoch Powell that swung the vote.
Therefore when evaluating the reforms Wolsey managed to implement or fall back on in this particular case, it is important to judge by the standards of sixteenth century citizens rather than our own. One of the most important reasons for Wolsey’s lack of success was his pride and inability to forget past matters, in turn leading him to target influential people that could easily overpower his reforms, such as his battles against enclosure. A particular example of this is his feud with Amyas Paulet. Several years before assuming power, Paulet had placed Wolsey in the stocks after creating a riot. Once Wolsey had gained position as Lord Chancellor, Wolsey forced Amyas Paulet to wait in daily attendance in Wolsey’s court for five years and if failing to do so, would have all his property confiscated.
People expected John to be as good as his brother and when he didn’t meet their expectations, they gave him a hard time and called him a bad king. Another reason that John was called a bad king was because he lost a lot of land in France. Some say that this is because he was idle but when the matter is looked into, we discover that it was actually because he didn’t have the baron’s support. Afraid that they would lose their land in France, they betrayed John and promised that they would be loyal to Philip whilst over in France. John was not a typical medieval king; he was very interested in his people.