Unit One – voting exercise

Woman inserting voting paper into ballot boxYear Twelve.

In the next week or so you will finish studying the content of Unit One – What was the most serious problem that Elizabeth faced at the start of her reign ? You will then of course face the challenge of writing your first proper AS standard essay.

This task is designed to help you to develop two analysis skills that the examiners are looking for when you write – linking and relative importance. There are three stages to the task.

1. Consider the five issues that we have studied.

  • Gender.
  • Establishing an effective Privy Council.
  • The Crown’s finances.
  • Foreign Policy.
  • What religious settlement should Elizabeth impose ?

Relative importance. Quite simply I want you to pick the one that you think is most important and post a comment here naming it (I will total these up and post the results) and then explaining it.

2. Linking. In the same post try to explain any links that you can see between the issues. Perhaps you might like to reflect if one issue causes another to happen. Is there an underpinning issue.

3. Reflection. When everyone has posted read their comments and reflect on their ideas. What ideas do you want to note down before you write ?


Mr Kydd.

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11 Responses to Unit One – voting exercise

  1. Alex says:

    The beginning of Elizabeth’s reign marked the end of the “Mid-Tudor crisis” in which the English Monarchy had not been able to take England to the height of its power. This was due to the deaths of the reigning monarchs, weak rulers, rebellions and religious upheaval in the wake of the English Reformation. She was left with several problems such as Foreign Policy, The Crown’s finances and what religious settlement Elizabeth should impose. However, it can be seen that her biggest problem was not one left by previous Monarchs, her gender. The fact that she was a woman in a Patriarchal society meant that she was already at a disadvantage as women were seen as inferior in most areas. This male dominated society was not going to change any time soon, making this the most important reason as everything she did would be looked at more thoroughly because of their lack of belief in her to start with. This problem was greater than any of the others facing Elizabeth as it was going to stay with her until the end of her reign, whereas other issues could be dealt with.

  2. Alex says:

    I think Elizabeth’s gender links into all the other issues facing her as being a woman at the time of a male dominated society, and the common view that women were inferior to men meant that any decision she made was going to be questioned.

    The issue of Foreign policy and what religious settlement she should choose are linked because if Elizabeth had created a settlement that had eliminated all signs of Catholicism in England, Hapsburg Spain, the most powerful country in Europe at the time would have been irritated and ties between the two countries may have been at a dangerous low. The largely protestant settlement with the combination of Elizabeth sending in troops to aid Dutch rebels fighting King Phillip of Spain marked the beginning of the Anglon-Spanish war which lasted until 1604.

  3. Brannon Newell says:

    I believe that finding a religious settlement that would satisfy both Protestants and Catholics was Elizabeth’s largest problem. Though there was the looming problem of hostile countries such as Hapsburg Spain and Valois France, England itself was already divided between Catholics and Protestants which in turn was causing the threat of foreign Catholic powers invading England. Elizabeth’s settlement would have to allow Catholics certain concessions to avoid a civil crusade within her own country. One false move and England would have been in turmoil.

  4. Justin Umeh says:

    To a certain extent, the question of ‘what religious settlement should Elizabeth impose?’ was the most important issue that the Queen faced at the beginning of her reign.
    Although, Protestantism may have been very popular within the south-east of England; towns and cities outside this region would have been predominantly Catholic, which was particularly strong in the north of the country.
    Understandably, this would of been a serious problem for Elizabeth, who was Protestant, because of the possibility of uprisings and rebellions against the protestant monarch, like the Wyatt rebellion in 1554.
    Therefore, Elizabeth would have create a Religious Settlement which favored Protestantism, but appealed to at least moderate Catholics. This would of been a sticky situation, especially due to the tension from powerful Catholic countries abroad, such as France and Spain, which wanted Elizabeth to marry a Royal Catholic such as Phillip of Spain, to ensure England remained a Catholic state.
    However, Elizabeth was not interested and ignored such marriage proposals which launched England and Elizabeth into another important issue of ‘foreign policy’ as a Franco-Spanish crusade invasion of England grew more likely.
    In conclusion, the religious settlement Elizabeth had to impose was an extremely important issue as if it was too Protestant it could of caused rebellions or another Tudor civil war which no one wanted. However, foreign policy was another key problem Elizabeth faced as England had lost Calais to France, who also had troops garrisoned in Scotland, meaning that Protestant England was vulnerable to a possible Catholic French and Spanish invasion.

  5. Jonah says:

    I believe that Foreign Policy was the key issue at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, in part due to the immediacy and the magnitude of the dilemmas it presented, but also because of the impact foreign policy had on finances and also religion in her realm.
    Firstly, the immediacy of foreign policy makes it the more important issue because the deadline for its resolution was not strictly under Elizabeth’s control. A people’s revolt takes time to build, debt takes time to make an impact but for a French fleet to cross The Channel, or for a horde of Scots to descend upon Northumberland takes very little time at all by comparison. Therefore the Queen had to secure and announce her position in Europe for fear of sudden escalation by France or Scotland.
    Second, the sheer scale of the problems presents far exceeds that of any other issues. War with either the Valois or the Habsburgs would destroy England in such a way that a Catholic rising or the national debt would seem a minor inconvenience. The Habsburgs were the most powerful family in Europe, perhaps the world and had the full might of Spain, Austria and the Holy Roman Empire at their disposal; Valois France ‘bestrode the realm’ and could attack from Calais or Scotland and both were very definitely Catholic.
    This meant that Elizabeth’s foreign affairs would have an impact on her country’s religion, she could hardly ally herself to Spain and remain Protestant. Furthermore, separation from the Habsburgs would incur seriously financial problems, as England would lose its only export market-the Low Countries-which were firmly under Habsburg rule. Thus foreign policy not only had serious consequences for England’s future independence, but also for its finance and religion.

  6. Kyle says:

    I believe that Elizabeth’s biggest problem to face was her gender. I believe this because at the time people thought women were unequal and not made to be rulers. It was seen as unnatural for a women to rule. I think it is the most important because even if Elizabeth had a great foreign police or a great religious settlement, it still wouldn’t matter as much if people didn’t listen because she was a women. This Is why I think overcoming her gender was her most important success.

    Some of these factor link together for example the foreign policies and religious settlement link because Elizabeth didn’t want to offend some of the more powerful countries such as France or Spain but not having a religious settlement that may compromise to the Catholics. This is because Spain and France were very catholic countries.

  7. Preeti says:

    The religious settlement seems to be the most important issue out of all those that Elizabeth faced. First thing a monarch would decide on is the religion of the country and its foreign policy. The Tudors feared a civil war and Elizabeth was the same. She didn’t want to cause conflict between Protestants and Catholics that would make her reign seem weak like of those during the ‘mid-Tudor crisis’. In contrast to Mary’s burning of heretics, Elizabeth “let Catholicism slowly wither away”. This was fairly important as the revisionist view shows us that Catholicism was a ‘growing majority and Protestantism a ‘declining minority’. This decided how much of a compromise the settlement would be. Despite this Elizabeth still kept more Protestants happy than Catholics. However, she didn’t please the extremists. Furthermore, the importance of these increases as it links into foreign affairs. Particularly, relations with Spain and France, as both countries are the biggest powers of time and both were Catholic meaning that what religion England was mattered a lot. This would be a great risk for Elizabeth to take and it again represents the importance of the settlement and the compromise as it eases off the tension from the two great powers and this was all because of the compromise that didn’t ‘persecute’ the Catholics. Her gender had also created problems for Elizabeth as how can she impose her chosen religion if she is not the head of the church? This was also important for her to create the settlement in the first place.

  8. Bryony May says:

    At the start of elizabeths reign the initial problem was her gender. Her people had such a strong predecent ideas of women rulers, all negative, so straight away there was added pressure to the new queen. Also by having a Patriarchal society meant that she was already at a disadvantage as women were seen as inferior in most areas. Coinciding with trying to creating an effective privy council to run the country, Elizabeth had to balance out Mary’s council by keeping some magnates so she would be on stable ground in Parliament.
    The grand total of the Merian Debt (£227,000) that Mary had left impacted her urgency to finish the unwanted war in France in the foreign policy, as Elizabeth needed to cut expenditure fast, instead of rising tax on her land which would have
    impact the English public, she cut the size of the royal household and used her fathers house saving money not building a new one. However this was a tactical stragey proved a problem in 1580.

  9. Liam Scott says:

    I believe the most important issue for Elizabeth at the start of her reign was the raging threat of religion. She had to produce a settlement that would equally please Protestants and Catholics. Elizabeth was seen do be a hard line Protestant all though her actions would not of showed this. She made a lot of compromises to the Catholics. She was to keep hymns and songs at churches, stained glass windows remained all though very Catholic. This pleased the Catholics greatly and also all though would of annoyed the protestants she balanced her settlement out by enforcing that prayer books had to be written in English. This favored the Protestants and especially the Puritans.
    The idea of Religion also links with Elizabeth’s foreign policy. Many of the countries around Elizabeth were all Catholic. They saw England as a threat. Elizabeth had to enforce a foreign policy that would not annoy Valois France and Hapsburg Spain. Also the Scottish was very catholic and that was a common border to England and was Allied with France by the Auld Alliance. The idea of producing a settlement that pleased both Protestant and Catholic was a good success as it helped keep the foreign powers pleased with elizabeths choice in the settlement and foreign policy which was good for ending the French Spanish war that England was dragged into and keep trade from Hapsburg owned Antwerpp Wool.

  10. Steph Minton says:

    I believe that the most important problem facing Elizabeth at the start of her reign was foreign policy. I consider it to be the main issue which led to a chain reaction that caused other, linked issues. I think that the foreign threats, in particular France and the Pope, created a wider problem. France and England were still technically at war with one another and therefore the presence of French troops in Scotland under the rule of Mary Guise meant that if anything were to upset catholic France, they could invade through “the back door” of Scotland. this meant that Elizabeth had to closely monitor her relations with France and ensure that she did not do anything that would provoke an attack.

    Mary Queen of Scots was in France marrying the French King which meant that she had a lot of Catholic support and many Catholics would’ve preferred for Mary Queen of Scots to become Queen. Therefore, creating a problem for Elizabeth concerning public support.

    Similarly, the Pope posed a threat to Elizabeth because her mother’s marriage to Henry VIII was deemed illegitimate and therefore Elizabeth could be thrown off of the throne and her herself deemed illegitimate as an heir to the English throne. This could cause the Pope and the catholic countries of Spain and France to launch a Catholic crusade against Elizabeth.

    The crusade was unlikely at the time because Philip II of Spain proposed to Elizabeth and therefore told the pope not to launch any attacks against the queen. Similarly, both Spain and England were at war with France and therefore the still needed to help one another to defeat France. As well as this, Spain and England both needed one another for trade and for their own economy’s.

    Although Spain and the Pope seemed less of a threat at the time, i still believe that even the threat of France alone can make foreign affairs the most important issue that faced Elizabeth. I believe that although the problem was dealt with, it still could’ve posed a great threat to Elizabeth and to English society in 1558. We must remember that if we were to put ourselves in the position of Elizabeth at that time without the privilege of hindsight that we too may see that the attack and relations with foreign countries as the biggest problem that needed a solution in order for Elizabeth to be a successful queen.

    I believe that foreign affairs created the problem of religion. The problem of religion came from the fear of a crusade and the overthrowing of the queen. Had Spain, France and the Pope not created such a big threat to Elizabeth, she wouldn’t have had to think so carefully about which religion she wanted the country to follow. This similarly links to the choice of Privy Council. Had Elizabeth not had the threat of foreign powers dictating a religion that she should chose then she would’ve been able to choose her Privy Council freely without any worry.

    Foreign affairs also link to the crown’s debts because if Elizabeth had not been at war with France then the Crown’s debts wouldn’t have been £300,000. If Elizabeth could reduce the threat of France and resolve the war then the debt wouldn’t be such a big problem because she could focus on paying it back.

    Overall, I agree with Jonah that the threat of foreign powers particularly of France meant that it was impossible for Elizabeth to even consider the other problems when foreign affairs were such a threat. I believe that foreign affairs are the centre of all the problems and that all the other problems stem from the problem of foreign affairs.

  11. Molly says:

    It can be argued that the religious issue was the most important problem Elizabeth faced at the start of her reign; it underpinned many of the other problems that would need to be solved. For many years previously, the country had switched between Catholicism and Protestantism, which left England divided on the religion the country should follow in the future. In the north and in the nobility many people were Catholics, who would want Elizabeth to keep the strong Catholic religious settlement imposed by Mary I. However, in the south of the country, particularly the educated people who attended University, a Protestant settlement was desired, a view also shared by the Marian Exiles, who would be returning to England in 1559 when the heresy laws were suspended. This division would mean that Elizabeth would be unable to please everyone with her settlement, so it would have to be a compromise. Therefore the religious issue could never be completely solved, unlike the problems surrounding gender and finance; religion is shown to be a very serious problem. Furthermore, the problems surrounding religion were intensified by the issue of the membership of the Privy Council, which would be a strong indication of the religious settlement Elizabeth would impose. Elizabeth would have to choose its members carefully in order to ensure that she would receive helpful advice, while also ensuring it was an appropriate religious decision.

    The religious problem links with foreign affairs, as there was the threat of Catholic crusades from France and Spain, which would have exacerbated the problem of religion. A strong trading relationship with Spain was vital. The Spanish controlled the Netherlands, and Antwerp was crucial for the English textile trade. This also links to finance, as England was still technically at war with France, which was adding to the Marian debt of £300,000, so this would make England’s trading relationship even more important for the country’s economy. The trading relationship with Spain also links to gender, as Elizabeth was able to use courtship and Philip II’s marriage proposal to keep the Spanish alliance. The fact that gender was actually an advantage to Elizabeth in this case shows that gender was not as serious as the religious issue and foreign affairs, which were continuously problematic throughout her reign.

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