What Factors Enabled Effective Royal Government?

1988 Words8 Pages
The high medieval period in Europe was dominated by a succession of royal governors, an elite class who controlled the political landscape. Their rule was facilitated by a number of factors; first, by the force of their armies they maintained control of their respective territories, quelling any challenge or rebellion. Second, they performed the function of delivering justice and were thus a valuable source of law and order for their populace. Third, the support of the church, which influenced much of the population, inspired the belief that kings were a representative of god and had a god given right to rule. Fourth, their use of the feudal system, as well as the administration which accompanied it enabled them to keep their kingdoms and subjects in check. Whilst all these factors played a role, without the force of their armies behind them, the ruler’s control of the kingdom crumbled, marking out force as the most important factor enabling effective royal government. The use of force by rulers was crucial in establishing and maintaining effective royal government in the middle ages. By the victories of armies the rulers of kingdoms could be changed in a very short space of time, as the Norman conquest of England in 1066 aptly demonstrates. This ‘Right of Conquest’ gave rulers a legitimate claim to a throne because of their military might. As well as being a means of establishing rule, the use of force was also necessary for maintaining political control of any given territory. Many rulers spent much of their reigns travelling around their lands, giving a visible presence, enforcing royal rights and discouraging any rebellion by a show of force. This was the case for the rule of Louis VI of France, who was infamous for spending much of his life on horseback ‘enforcing royal rights ruthlessly’ and having to ‘defeat numerous petty vassals’ . Force was also
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