After Given these expansions of monarchical authority under

After 1471 and the return of Edward IV to the throne following the Readeption, royal policies saw the renewal of an expanded, powerful monarchy under an active king. Post-Victorian analyses of the late medieval shift in monarchical management have largely fallen into two opposing camps: the “New Monarchy” thesis, supported by such historians as J.R. Green, A.J. Pollard, and Steven Gunn, and the “Tudor Revolution in Government” thesis, put forth by Geoffrey Elton. While the former emphasizes a gradual centralization of power beginning under Yorkist rule and credits these monarchs with a return to the medieval – and in no real sense “new” or novel – management techniques of such monarchs as Edward I, the latter posits that such centralization began only after 1485 and was concentrated primarily in the 1530s as a Tudor phenomenon, building upon the Whiggish influence of “Lancastrian constitutionalism.” Looking at the latter half of Edward IV’s reign and all of Henry VII’s, these late medieval monarchs concentrated power by reining in their nobles, renewing effective treasury-bolstering economic techniques within the context of a general Western European economic upturn, and standardizing and expanding the justice system and governmental bodies, thereby creating the momentum necessary for the authoritative tendencies of later Tudor reign. Given these expansions of monarchical authority under both Yorkist and Tudor rule, the theory of New Monarchy is a much more appropriate description of the period’s developments than Elton’s explanation, and both Edward IV and Henry VII’s policies were essential to the development of bureaucratic modernity in the later Tudor administrations of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Acknowledging the role of Edward IV’s reign in paving the way for Tudor interventionism and, eventually, the Henrician Reformation, Green was the first to expound on the idea that the Yorkist and early Tudor monarchs created a new kind of monarchical authority.1 While it is notable that he cited the period of 1471-1509 for this era of change, encompassing both Edward IV and Henry VII within the upswing of crown authority, this initial presentation of what became the New Monarchy thesis equated centralization of monarchical power with despotism, attaching judgment for the perceived removal of liberties in a constitutionalist bend. Again countering Elton’s view of the Tudor dynasty as the starting point of this shift in government and administration, Pollard described the years preceding Henry VII’s rise to the throne as “not years of continuous and all-consuming destructive anarchy,” as both Victorian historians and Elton’s Tudor-centric theory might have portrayed them.2 In a more favorable interpretation than Green’s, Pollard saw this process of centralizing the administration as merely an orderly system returning to Edward I’s successful administrative style of management, and he did not attach Green’s constitutionalist judgment to his assessment of this governmental trend because such admirable values as “chivalry could not provide the means for a lasting political solution to England’s problems.”3 Emphasis on noble obedience to a monarch over considerations of the community, exemplified by the royal control of Tudor monarchs, became the solution to a crisis that arose in the absence of active kingship, the unfortunate state of Henry VI’s reign.4 Pollard even described the period of 1471-1509 as one in which “royal authority recovered and normal politics were restored,” suggesting that the state of increased authority was actually a return to normalcy rather than a divergence from appropriate practice; the lack of innovation creates, to an extent, a nonthreatening historical narrative.5 In his work Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII, Elton, even within the very title of his book, narrowed the focus of his analysis of governmental shift to Henry VIII’s reign and, more specifically, the 1530s of the Henrician Reformation. While this period did see some drastic change in the use of monarchical power, to highlight such a specific period as central in the overall trend of increased monarchical authority and bureaucratic modernity is to ignore the earlier centralization of authority under Edward IV and Henry VII that made the Henrician Reformation possible. Elton cited “new man” Thomas Cromwell as the main source of bureaucratic modernity during Henry VIII’s reign. Given this benchmark of governmental modernity, Elton treated Edward IV and Henry VII’s expansion of the royal household, which became an institutionalized governmental body, as a “temporary aberration” and “quintessentially medieval.”6 This perspective placed Henry VIII’s administration as the savior that brought England into modernity, a conclusion that brings up its own questions of periodization. By implying that the early modern period began squarely with the shifts of the 1530s and Henry VIII’s implementation of the English Reformation, Elton created a barrier between the Middle Ages and modernity and painted all medieval government as somewhat backward, contributing to a problematically Whiggish historiographic approach. K.B. McFarlane and G.L. Harriss both “questioned the novelty of many of the attributes of Elton’s newly forged sovereign state… finding both the establishment of a national church and the supremacy of statute strongly prefigured in the fourteenthand fifteenth-century English polity.”7 Both Henrician and especially Elizabethan policies were the “outcome of the Yorkist and Tudor experiments,” including the expansion of demesne and increased reliance upon regional agents of the crown, and saw the “restoration of the old bureaucratic exchequer after two generations of turmoil,” highlighting that these precursors to absolutist monarchy stemmed from the practices of the late Middle Ages.8 As Pollard and his disciples similarly pointed out, “only a mature new monarchy could have accomplished Henry VIII’s royal supremacy over the church.”9 After Edward IV returned to the throne in 1471, the dynamic between him and his nobles contrasted greatly with the ineffective management of Henry VI’s impotent reign, as Edward tightened control over the seemingly unwieldy nobility. This addition of a central authority figure, after an essentially leaderless period, provided a necessary point of stability, as nobles had previously asserted their own claims to power in an attempt to remedy the power void at the head of the body politic. Exemplary of this new relationship between Edward and his nobles was his treatment of Warwick’s holdings after his rebellion and death.

Author: admin


I'm Mia!

Don't know how to start your paper? Worry no more! Get professional writing assistance from me.

Check it out