Question Three


Please read the following question and post a substantial answer of 1-2 paragraphs. Use specific examples from the timeline to support your answer. When you have finished, reply to one or two of your classmates, adding analysis and extra information to their own posts.

“How can we describe the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James? Were they two similar monarchs or a study in contrast?” Each answer should choose two examples for analysis.


61 thoughts on “Question Three

  1. Hannah Sandgren says:

    The reigns of Elizabeth and James were vastly different, mainly because I think James didn’t love the people of England like Elizabeth did. James was excited to rule a rich country, but soon found the debt Elizabeth left him. Elizabeth was very cautious to go to war, and James did not share that caution at all. I think James was trying to accomadate for his place as King by giving out money and land to people, like the Howards.
    As people I think that Elizabeth had a true love for England, which helped her make decisions for the people. There were a lot of bad harvests during her reign, but her hesitancy to raise taxes helped the people some. James didn’t seem to care at all and needed a lot of money to finance his wars, so he raised taxes in any way he could. He didn’t get along with Parliament as Elizabeth did, and kind of went behind their backs to raise taxes in a sneaky way.
    Overall, I think their reigns were so different because they were so different as people. I think that Elizabeth would have been astounded by some of the things James tried to do. The Elizabethan period is famous for Shakespeare and poetry and a Queen who loves the country, but James was very stubborn in his policies and beliefs, and he wasn’t afraid to let anyone, especially Parliament, know it.

    • Preston Easterday says:

      This is a very good analysis. James was definitely ready to get his hands onto the wealthier England, but when he actually took the throne he inherited a substantial debt from Elizabeth. Also, because James was constantly giving money to his servants to appease them he seemed to really drive the English throne into deeper debt. He had no sense of financial responsibility, and it is easily understandable why Parliament was so hesitant to grant him taxation over England. This is definitely much different than Elizabeth, who seemed to be very stringent with her money, even though she ended up in substantial debt by the end of her reign, a lot of that debt can be attributed to the rebellions and Spanish Armadas she was constantly trying to combat. She tried to make as many people happy as possible and was always looking to compromise to keep both sides happy.

    • Samantha Hersil says:

      I think it is unfair to say that James did not love the people because of the impositions. After all, Elizabeth left him with a great debt, which should be noted she too tried to pay off with indirect taxation via monopolies, which the people also viewed as unfair taxation. Furthermore, James’s reign was important too, it was a time of great education, art, and science and the people really did morn his death. True James was extremely generous, maybe to a fault, but I think there is some humanity in that. Firstly because he was a foreigner trying to get along in a new court and, secondly, because his persona itself seemed to be one of a fairly generous and tolerant man. I’m not trying to say James was without fault, but I think by no means was he a tragedy of a king when compared to Elizabeth.

      • Tyler Phelps says:

        I would agree that it is unfair to say James did not love the English. Although he pushed for more impositions and outright taxations, we can’t forget that James honestly believed he was doing what was right. His theory of the Divine Right of Kings, while probably misguided and tyrannical overtly, shows James really did think that by governing supremely over everyone else he was doing it in the best interest of his people. As Professor Sommerville stated in lecture, James’ desire to serve God (and avoid the special place in Hell reserved for misbehaving monarchs) and the people supports the claim, at least in his own mind, that he was a benevolent ruler.

        • Elizabeth Mathis says:

          I also agree that James did love the English. He loved them and it was shown in his desire to have toleration to a degree, like Elizabeth had at one point, and his attempt at getting rid of the recusancy fines. It was only after he realized that he desperately needed the money that he reinstated them. And with the Divine Right of Kings, he believed that as a monarch appointed by God, he knew what was best for the people of England. He wanted to give them what he believed best, he did not purposely try to make their lives harder with the impositions, that was simply how he believed he could rule. A bit misguided, but he had good intentions.

          • mgogle says:

            I believe misguided would be an understatement, as while he believed that he was doing what was best for his people, he was blind to what the Parliament actually wanted out of him, steering the country into eventual Civil War. If really wanted to do what was best for his country he would have listened to reason from the Parliament and not have been so high and mighty with his Divine Right of Kings.

    • Cat Lenander says:

      While I have to agree you you that Elizabeth seemed liked she cared about the people more, your war comment gives me pause. While yes, Elizabeth actively tried to stay out of wars and James didn’t seem to have quite the same policy, the way you wrote that statement seemed to me to imply James wanted to go to war.

      By his own actions James ended the 18 year war with Spain Elizabeth started. He also avoided war with another member of the Hapsburg family when his idiot son-in-law embroiled himself in messy politics, instead trying to solve the affair through peaceful means. While James’ son Charles I got involved in two wars as soon as he became king, I think James only ended wars for peace. I think that makes James a greater pacifist than Elizabeth. Although maybe if James had Philip II breathing down his neck the way Elizabeth did things would have been different.

    • Chloe Karaskiewicz says:

      I agree with you about Elizabeth’s love for England and the English people. I think this stemmed from her upbringing: she was born and raised in England and for much of her life she was not treated like a princess so she was probably more in touch with the common people than most other monarchs. We can see her care for her people in her establishment of the Poor Laws and the religious tolerance she exhibited at the beginning of her reign. Though the Poor Laws were planned out under Mary, Elizabeth pushed them into action and actively sought a connection with her people through her tours around the country. Additionally, her religious tolerance can be viewed many ways only one of which involves a love of her people and a desire not to persecute them. I think it is also important to consider that out of love for England and it’s individual sovereign status she sought to remain autonomous and ungoverned by a foreign king through marriage. Obviously she also wanted to keep her own power (or she would have married an Englishman) but she was really strongly against giving up England’s autonomy like Mary did in her marriage to Philip (though Parliament tried to preserve it).

  2. Tyler Phelps says:

    The reigns of Elizabeth and James were both times of change in England, as well as Europe, and greatly shaped modern England. Their reigns were similar in that they both faced a Catholic threat. Elizabeth dealt with continuous threats on her life and the throne by Catholic conspirators – the Ridolfi, Throckmorton and Babington plots. James similarly faced the Gunpowder Plot. In contrast, the reigns were different in their outcomes – specifically, the issue of an heir. Elizabeth’s resilience to marriage and desire to avoid any rivalry to her throne prevented her from marrying and putting in place an heir. This caused a great deal of struggle within the English nobility and Parliament, as it was a political as well as personal issue. James did not face the same trouble of finding an heir, as Henry (before his death) and Charles – both male – provided him with security. Although the position was secure, it did not stop the issue of succession from becoming a political one as it had been in Elizabeth’s reign. The Spanish Match and a push for alliance with Spain in the late years of James’ reign were very much in the same vein as Elizabeth’s near-marriage to Henry, Duke of Anjou.

    • Alison Carriere says:

      I agree with your analysis especially of the many differences between James and Elizabeth’s. Yet i would like to point out that although Elizabeth did struggle with Parliament because of the need for an heir, which often resulting in her ability to ruthlessly humiliate her nobility and members of Parliament, she was respected through out her reign. She understood the importance of Parliament and used them as both a legislative and advisory body. However James too struggled greatly with Parliament, although for a very different reason. James believed himself to be above and not answerable to Parliament. In this matter James faced many more difficulties in dealing with Parliament. Yet overall both James and Elizabeth faced tensions and struggles in their dealings with Parliament.

  3. Gabby Huerta says:

    There are similarities and differences in both these reigns. In both instances, their ascension to the throng marks a strong push toward unifying two sides that have been long at odds with one another. During Elizabeth’s reign it was getting Protestant and Catholics to get along, and during James reign, he made significant steps toward unifying his territories in Scotland and England by pushing for a unified Parliament (which is not realized until much later). Under James the Golden Age of the arts that was started under Elizabeth continues as well.

    However, there are strong differences in their attitudes towards their subjects. Elizabeth was extremely opposed to raising taxes and often paid for her political activities out of pocket (bankrupting the crown). James however had no problem raising taxes.

    James also allowed the English Bible to be translated, demonstrating a Protestant-favoring side, like Elizabeth.

    • Jordan Moxon says:

      I think the contrast between Elizabeth and James in the realm of taxation policy is a valid one, but I’m not sure it is completely accurate to say that James had no trouble in this matter. He was certainly far more agressive in harvesting funds from his subjects, but perhaps this was simply because Elizabeth’s actions placed him in a situation where he could no longer reasonably sell of land for funding. Additionally, James had a great deal of trouble getting the taxes to pass, especially with his precarious situation regarding trade-based ‘regulation’ taxes.

  4. McKenzie Bruce says:

    James and Elizabeth demonstrated very different styles of rule. Elizabeth was very frugal and avoided policies that would increase debt and taxes. James, on the other hand, gave out favors to favorites and was open to raising taxes. By keeping spending relatively low and not requesting increased taxation, Elizabeth cultivated a pleasant relationship with Parliament. James inherited a Crown that was already in debt and needed increased taxation to be authorized by Parliament, and after their refusal, turned to impositions to increase the Crown’s revenue. The impositions led to a hostile relationship between James and Parliament. James was also more outspoken than Elizabeth and would give long speeches and publish books broadcasting his opinions and why, while Elizabeth simply stated what she wished to be done. Also, Elizabeth was not tolerant of either Catholics or Puritans, and instituted policies in order to spread continuity, while James (though not tolerant of Presbyterianism) did allow some non-conformity from Puritans.

    • Joshua Torres says:

      I like how you illustrate the differences in the reigns of Elizabeth and James. Although I think it is important to add why these differences came to be. Elizabeth, attempting to reconcile the country from the persecutions of the Marian regime, strove for a middle religious ground. Elizabeth also played off her felinity to appeal to English cavalry to persuade Parliament into doing her bidding. James entered as a foreigner and was in a way forced to spend a hefty budget in order to win both favor and confidence from the English nobility.

  5. emilyduff says:

    I believe that the reigns of James and Elizabeth were very different. Elizabeth was a cunning and resourceful queen while James’ stubbornness caused him much unpopularity. In regard to parliament, Elizabeth was able to use her gender to her advantage in an age where women were subordinate to males. She would stress that because she was a woman, if parliament wouldn’t do what she wanted she wouldn’t be able to emotionally handle it and be extremely upset, causing parliament to listen to her for the majority of the time. In contrast, when James has a dispute with parliament he would instead of trying to compromise he would use other tactics to get his way, most notably impositions causing him to become very unpopular in parliament.
    Another way these monarch’s reign was vastly different was through their economic stance. Elizabeth was smart with money, and although she was at war with Spain for many years she didn’t amount a massive debt. Elizabeth was very cautious in her policies much like her grandfather Henry VII. On the other hand, James was extravagant. He handed out money and titles to win favor with many elites, and eventually increasing the debt of England. In addition, James’ inability to cooperate with parliament led him into greater debt.

    • :Lindsey Mullarkey says:

      I agree with you, but James did inherit a vast debt from Elizabeth and had to structure his policies accordingly. Although he went around it in an ineffective way, it’s important to keep this in mind when trying to understand his actions as king.

  6. Preston Easterday says:

    The reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James were a study in contrast. The first example that is evidence of this can be observed when looking at their personalities. James’ personality was more flamboyant than Elizabeth’s was. Because James had been in power for as far back as he could remember, he thought very highly of himself. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings and made sure that Parliament knew that’s how he felt. He believed he was only accountable to God, and that while he should ask Parliament for approval for taxing people, if Parliament said no he believed he could still collect taxes even though this was against the English constitution. Whenever he became angered with Parliament he would just dissolve it altogether. Elizabeth was more calculated when speaking or making decisions. She loved playing to the crowd and seemed to have a charisma that is something to be envied by many of the previous rulers before her. Elizabeth did not however value Parliament’s opinion often because she believed most of Parliament was not educated enough to be giving her advice on making decisions. The other stark contrast between Elizabeth’s and James’ reign was their main issues of conflict that they dealt with. James’ most prominent issue was the fact that he inherited a rather large debt from Elizabeth. He had trouble getting Parliamentary approval for collection of taxes, and had to go around them to get the money he needed. James didn’t help himself by giving out large amounts of money to servants, which caused him to go into even more debt. He was always in a constant battle with Parliament throughout his reign, and never seemed to get what he wanted from them and usually ended up dissolving them instead. Elizabeth on the other hand seemed to have her hands full with Catholic plots to overthrow her from the throne, and had to keep constant eye on Mary, Queen of Scots as a lingering problem throughout her reign. This led to Elizabeth’s reign being a rather chaotic one, especially during the middle years of her rule.

    • Skousen says:

      We might address this right after your midterm, because I doubt Sommerville will bring up James’ many lovers. And it’s a pretty important but oft-ignored part of the James story. That there is a surely contrast from Elizabeth.

  7. Alexis Puzon says:

    From what we have discovered so far, James I appears to be more confident in his power than Elizabeth ever was. This may be due to their different upbringings. James had been a king his entire life, while Elizabeth became queen only after very divisive reigns. In this way, she stayed cautious and kept herself free from too much scandal. James I was so sure in his power as king he even espoused the idea of the “divine right of kings” making him only accountable to God not the people. James I seemed a bit more abrasive than Elizabeth, who tried very hard to keep Parliament content. James I disliked the parliament for their obstacle to more money. James I felt he should be the one in control, not the Parliament. As such, after the Addled Parliament, he rarely called Parliament. Elizabeth used Parliament to her advantage, especially in her Act of Uniformity. She worked within the Parliament to receive enough votes to pass her religious reforms. When James I got frustrated, he just dissolved Parliament. James I unfortunately inherited a lot of debt from Elizabeth I, who had always tried to keep money tight. James I appeared much less concerned about abstaining from spending, instead asking for more taxes from Parliament and trying to use the impositions to receive more money. Overall, James I was a more confident and stubborn ruler set in his ways as a “divine” ruler and supreme head of both Scotland and England. He felt more secure and stable in his power as king. Because she knew her claim on the throne was never completely secure, Elizabeth worked with caution, charming and giving favors to Parliament to meet her own ends.

    • John Nielsen says:

      I really like your ideas on the fact that the personality differences were molded largely from upbringing and the fact that Elizabeth was seemingly always under fire whereas James had more confidence in his position. However, I do feel that you are judging James a little to harshly in regards to finance. James inherited a massive amount of debt (Much of which can’t fairly be directly attributed to Elizabeth), wars with Spain and Ireland, economic hardship, and the concentrated anger of the Catholics. It is only reasonable that he would need income, as it was vital that he have a stable transition on to the throne, meaning having the funds to grant favors and fight for his interests. Its not like he could bring money from Scotland, and the Crown only had so much land it could sell.

    • Rebecca Bauer says:

      I definitely agree that James and Elizabeth’s differences are largely affected by their different personalities and upbringings. I think Elizabeth learned a lot from her family’s experiences. However, I don’t think that Elizabeth was necessarily less confident. It seems to me that she was very confident in her abilities, but had seen the dangers of becoming arrogant and too comfortable with royal power as well. She was cunning and cautious, but I think that could be because she saw that caution worked well. The fact that she waited so long to sign Mary Stuart’s execution order despite all the plots Mary was involved in makes me feel like Elizabeth felt secure with her position, but was very calculating and practical because she wanted to keep it that way, and not because of a lack of confidence.

  8. Samantha Hersil says:

    Elizabeth and James both shared a similar problem at the end of Elizabeth’s reign and beginning of James reign, and that was debt. Both monarchs took on unpopular means that expanded their ‘rights’ as monarchs to an almost un English constitutional means. Elizabeth did this through granting monopolies and James through impositions. Elizabeth sold monopolies or special trading rights to merchants if they were willing to pay her, this led to the people paying more for goods, that were less valuable, and what seemed to be a form of taxation without Parliament’s agreement. In the same way impositions served to add a levy to goods that were imported into England, but that also meant the English consumer had to pay more to make up for the merchant’s deficit and therefore, another seemingly taxation without Parliament’s consent. Yet, in both cases James and Elizabeth seemed to have no other choice, because they were in debt, and Parliament would not grant them taxation to remedy that. Secondly I think that James’s and Elizabeth’s general religious tolerance could be held as a similarity, Both tried to be tolerant of all religions and would only make moves against anyone group when they felt a threat of uprising from that group. Furthermore, both made reformations that were moderate, Elizabeth made a uniform prayer book of moderate means, and James, although he did not grant all of the Hampton Court issues, did issue a new translation of the bible.

    • Jenny Vogel says:

      Both of these monarchs had a good understanding that moderate change was the key in making the most people happy most of the time. There definitely seemed to be less tumult in the common person’s life during these reigns then perhaps Mary I or Henry VIII. I would also argue though, that there was an strict expectation of the people to follow through with whatever religious changes Elizabeth and James made – moderate or not – as they were both sovereign heads of the English Church.

  9. Will Hoffman says:

    In some ways the two monarchs do contrast each other. One of the big ways was what we discussed in lecture where Elizabeth was a woman and could use that to her advantage when trying to get legislation passed through Parliament. James on the other hand, partly because he was following two woman monarchs, was more of a hard and demanding man and because of that was not able to work that well with Parliament. A second way they contrast each other is through the threats do their leadership. For Elizabeth she had multiple threats against her life and her rule. From Mary Queen of Scots to the Ridolfi Plot to the Spanish Armada, there were many ways Elizabeth’s reign could have ended prematurely. A theme of these threats is that they are Catholic of nature and usually driven by a foreign power. For James, while the Gunpowder Plot showed that there was still animosity from the Catholics, he didn’t have that many plots against his life and very little outside influence against his reign. What he did have that contrasts with Elizabeth is an unhealthy relationship with Parliament. This was the main source of push back against his reign. Twice he dissolved Parliament without getting anything done, in 1614 and in 1621.

    • Skousen says:

      These are all great points: the security of overcoming the Gunpowder Plot, the attained goal of an heir and a spare, ensuring a smooth succession in the case of premature death, and the relationship with Parliament. Some of these are out of a monarch’s control — timing, gender, biology of children, etc — but the last one is really important as we move beyond James and his son’s even worse relationship with Parliament.

  10. Victoria Sviridova says:

    I think James and Elizabeth were different in some ways. James at the beginning of his reign was very extravagant even though the crown was already in debt. He gave out titles, offices, and pensions. On the other hand, Elizabeth was very frugal at the beginning of her reign. She ended the wars with France and Scotland and tried to stay out of expensive wars. When she traveled around England, she stayed with her friends who would foot the bill for her stay (I believe Lesley mentioned this a week or two ago).

    The second way they differed was the way they interacted with Parliament. Even though Elizabeth didn’t care too much about Parliament, she didn’t go behind their backs to collect money “illegally”, excluding monopolies later on in her reign. However, when James needed money and Parliament wouldn’t rule in his favor on taxation, he went behind their backs and implemented impositions. There was constantly tension between James and Parliament due to taxes where as in Elizabethan era, there wasn’t much tension. Elizabeth was able to keep her relationship with Parliament peaceful for the most part.

    • Jake Stroth says:

      But isn’t a huge part of the reason James was in debt was because of the debts left to him by Elizabeth and her wars, which he ended? While James was certainly lavish, Elizabeth did spend quite a bit of cash herself.

      • Skousen says:

        It was less about spending with Elizabeth as it was about cutting taxes and refusing to look at major costs. She frequently unloaded costs and debt to her nobles. Walsingham died a pauper, for instance, in spite of all he did for Elizabeth. She wasn’t a spender at all, but she also hated taxes and tried to reduce both revenue and spending wherever she could.

    • Tasia Williams says:

      I like how you draw attention to the fact that Parliament thought that James had gone behind their backs when he collected impositions. James thought that it was his right to raise money in whatever way he saw fit. Elizabeth, on the other hand, cared about what the MPs thought and when she could not raise enough money she instead sold off royal land.

  11. Alison Carriere says:

    I find that Elizabeth I and James I’s reigns shared some similar aspects. In some aspect both Elizabeth and James tried to be understanding and somewhat compromising to differing religious beliefs. At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign she took a middle of the road approach, allowing Catholics to privately practice their ideals without persecution so long as they were loyal to her and the publically not against the English church. Catholics could easily do this by going to church at the Church of England the required amount of days and having mass in their own homes. Like Elizabeth at the beginning of James’s reign he also was tolerant of Catholics. Although both Elizabeth and James were tolerant of Catholics, another similarity in their reigns comes in that both were forced to change their original toleration of Catholics to a policy that more aggressively persecuted Catholics. In Elizabeth’s reign, she was forced to be more aggressive towards Catholics after the Northern Rebellion and the papal bull declaring Elizabeth a heretic and calling for Catholics to rise up and depose her. James was also forced to become more aggressive towards Catholics after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

    • Skousen says:

      Do you (anyone) feel like James and Elizabeth faced a very similar England when it comes to primary issues? And was that England the same or different from the one under Henry VIII’s rough Reformation Parliament?

    • Maddie Hagerman says:

      You make some really good points. Perhaps you could have talked about Puritans/Radical Protestants as well. But this is a pretty short assignment so that’s understandable to focus more on one religious group.

  12. Cat Lenander says:

    Elizabeth and James differed in their practices, but they shared the same view on Parliament: it was an advisory committee. James was simply more vocal in this belief than Elizabeth. Elizabeth was coy in her manner of manipulating her members, while James was straight forward to a fault. Instead of suggesting or even occasionally give in, James argued his point ad nausea until parliament wanted to refuse just because it was James’ idea. This created friction between the governing bodies of England in James’ reign unlike anything Elizabeth had to deal with. While she may have frustrated her ministers, Privy Council, and both Houses of Parliament, I doubt that ever began to encompass the strife James’ beliefs in the divinity of kings caused. After all, Elizabeth’s Parliament meetings never turned into brawls.

    They also shared a similar belief on religion. While no one ever really knew Elizabeth’s mind when it came to religion, they certainly knew her official outlook, moderate Protestantism. She ruled her church the same way as she did her country, commanding absolute obedience and only getting nasty and imposing legislation when people disobeyed, threatening her power. When James took over England he was so delighted by the system Elizabeth had set up he not only adopted it for himself and preserved her mechanisms, but tried to introduce it to Scotland. While he didn’t succeed, he did stop Presbyterianism from gaining power at Hampton Court in 1603, like Elizabeth did in 1588 after defeating the Spanish Armada. Then he pushed down Catholic attempts to seize control from the Gunpowder plot 1605, like Elizabeth did throughout the war with Spain. This was all done to continue the unified moderate Protestantism Elizabeth started at the beginning of her reign and that James fell in love with, possibly because it didn’t give him nightmares.

  13. Elizabeth Mathis says:

    One way that they were similar was their initial intention of being tolerant towards Catholics. Elizabeth did not need to know if her subjects were sticking to her protestant doctrine in their personal lives. She was aware that some people practiced Catholicism in their own homes and had no desire to control them as long as they showed up at church every Sunday with everybody else. It was only when some Catholics started to rebel and it was a matter of security did she start tightening the restrictions against the Catholics. With James he also was lenient towards them as he decided to get rid of the fine for not going to Church. It was only when he realized that he needed that income of money did he reinstate it again. Both monarchs did not ascend to the throne with the intention of totally oppressing the Catholic population solely because of their religion. They both had their reasons for switching from lenient policies to stricter ones.

    One way that Elizabeth’s and James’s reigns were different was their view of the power of the monarchy. James believed the monarchy had the Divine Right of Kings and was subordinate to God alone. He viewed Parliament solely as an advisory body and not as a legislature body. He tried to rule without them and dissolved Parliament multiple times and even created the impositions which were duties on imported and exported goods, but were pretty much taxes. He levied these without Parliament which they believed to be unconstitutional. Elizabeth never asserted her power over Parliament to that degree or even anything close to it. She believed herself to be chosen by God as monarch, but she never attempted to rule without Parliament or assert her Divine Right. In this style of ruling, her and James were quite different.

  14. Molly Gerber says:

    Although Elizabeth I and James I were different in many ways, Elizabeth often acting more cautiously and shrewdly than her successor, I believe they also shared similar themes and beliefs, especially when it came to religion and Parliament. Both Elizabeth and James acted as moderately Protestant rulers and had to deal with significant Catholic threats. During Elizabeth’s reign, the Northern Rebellion prompted Pope Pius V to issue a Papal Bull calling for deposition of Elizabeth by force. Additionally, the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots posed a serious threat to Elizabeth’s rule. Catholics wished to kill Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, resulting in a number of plots that Wolsingham uncovered by intercepting letters to and from the imprisoned Mary. James faced what is often cited as the most deadly potential terrorist plot in English history; the Gunpowder Plot. This plot was created and led by extreme Catholics who wanted to reinstate Catholicism in England by force. They planned to blow up Parliament on a day when almost all the political elites including the King would be there. The plotters were ultimately stopped before it could be carried out. Both James and Elizabeth faced threats to their personhood from Catholic unrest, and both managed to survive these plots and rebellions.

    When it came to Parliament, it was seen by both Elizabeth and James as little more than an advisory body; a hassle that had to be called to get taxes passed and keep the peace with the wealthy and powerful men of the country. Elizabeth, for example, rarely listened to the advice of her Parliament. In matters of succession, they frequently badgered her to get married and have kids so a obvious successor could be named. She, however, ultimately decided never to subordinate herself to a man and ignored the insistence of Parliament. She even kept her decision to pass the throne on the James a virtual secret from anyone besides the future king, not discussing with Parliament her plans. James’ reign saw increasing tension between himself and Parliament. When James couldn’t get the taxes he wanted to minimize the debt that was further accumulating, he began collecting impositions, a levy on the importation of goods in addition to Tonnage and Poundage. This resulted in the Addled Parliament in 1614, where Parliament sat around rather than voting taxes, in protest of what they saw as an illegal taxation. This was just the start of severe and mounting tensions between crown and Parliament.

  15. Chloe Karaskiewicz says:

    Elizabeth and James are considerably different monarchs. Elizabeth was not raised to be a queen; James grew up while he was king. Elizabeth was English through and through and James was a Scottish King ready to adopt England and all of its wealth. Their most important difference as rulers, however, is the manner in which they dealt with Parliament. Though they took similar measures to supplement the crown’s wealth, they dealt with Parliament quite contrarily.

    When Elizabeth and Parliament disagreed she used her femininity to play on their chivalrous instincts and diffused conflict. On one occasion Parliament was particularly displeased about an Elizabethan policy—the monopolies she granted her favorite courtiers—claiming it was taxation without Parliament’s consent and forced the people to pay for Elizabeth’s personal spending. To quell the tension, Elizabeth gave an eloquent speech, referred to as her “Golden Speech,” and promised to look into the matter. Though she never made any changes, her speech essentially pacified Parliament on the issue.

    When faced with a similar problem—Parliament’s fervent opposition to impositions—James favored long winded speeches explaining his reasoning. A major point of contention between James and Parliament was James’ “Divine Right of Kings” theory. He believed that only he ruled the country and that Parliament was a purely advisory board which held no share of his power. Though this is conjecture, James’ absolute monarchy ideals probably made Parliament feel condescended to during these long speeches, compounding their displeasure at standing for long periods of time and trying to understand James’ thick Scottish accent.

    Additionally, James dealt with religious matters differently than Elizabeth. Granted the Catholics were much less zealous and violent after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and Elizabeth had to deal with them her entire reign, James was much more open to discussing religious differences. Upon his ascension to the throne, a group of Puritans petitioned James for a council of Puritans to discuss reforms in the church. James agreed and even attended the meeting—the Hampton Court—as Supreme Governor of the English Church in 1604. Though he ended up siding against the Puritans on most issues, he did commission a new English translation of the Bible and listened to the arguments of the petitioners.

    • Skousen says:

      I think it’s important to note, as you did, the personal contrasts between these two. In some ways, James’ confidence in the Divide Right of Kings leads directly to the Civil Wars under his son, Charles. And that itself might stem from his status as King from infancy. Contrast that with Elizabeth, whose life was in danger as a child. She understood the need for compromise and shrewd politicking where James was a little lacking (as much as I love James).

  16. Robbie Sass says:

    I think as a whole, the reigns of James I and Elizabeth I were quite different. I think that the major difference is that Elizabeth was much more skilled politically. Elizabeth did not want to raise taxes much, and as a result was willing to go into debt. James on the other hand, though perhaps because of the debt left by Elizabeth, was always looking for ways to increase funds. He asked Parliament many times for new taxes, and when he could not get them, found other ways to collect money, mainly by his use of impositions. James thought that he was an absolute monarch and that he ruled by divine right. Elizabeth knew that her position was fragile and was calculating with her moves. A particular incident was that she was publicly against the execution of Mary Queen of Scots because she thought it was wrong to execute a fellow monarch. James in a similar situation, obviously one not involving his mother, probably would have shown less caution as he felt sure of his position. Another major contrast has to do with religion. For much of her reign, Elizabeth was mostly tolerant of religious differences. James, on the other hand, was less so. James wanted to crush radical movements like Presbyterianism and after the Gunpowder Plot, sought harsh measures against Catholics. Many of these differences can be traced back to each of the monarchs’ upbringing. Elizabeth was born in England, but was declared illegitimate and her future on the throne was always in question. James, on the other hand was made king at a very young age after his mother was thrown out and had no experience not being a monarch. I feel like this is what made him feel entitled to power and as a result, less politically skilled than Elizabeth.

    • Molly Gerber says:

      I agree with everything you said. However, I think it is always important to remember the intricacies of James’ idea of divine right of kings. As you mentioned, he believed in an absolute monarchy and that he held power from God alone and therefore is not accountable to anyone else. However, he also believed that if he misused his power, God would be unforgiving to him in the afterlife, and therefore it was his duty to rule in the public interest. I therefore believe that he would exercise caution at times, perhaps even in your Mary Queen of Scots hypothetical situation. Though, I do agree that he certainly was a more rash and impulsive ruler than the extreme caution of Elizabeth.

  17. Jake Stroth says:

    Elizabeth and James were very different rulers. James faced considerable opposition from Parliament over his policies, while Elizabeth was far more successful in getting Parliament to go along with her. Part of this reason was the Elizabeth was less lavish than James and inherited no major debts. James had to pay not only for his own expenses, but many of Elizabeth’s as well. This brought him into conflict with Parliament many times and also forced him to levy the impositions. Elizabeth was also less brash when dealing with parliament, preferring to play on her femininity and make short speeches to get Parliament to do what she wished, by contrast James made long elaborate speeches and was far more aggressive, which he felt was his right as a male. The fact that James was a male is also important as his marriage was less of an issue, as if he married a foreign bride she would not take over the country. He also had a son so for the first time since Henry VII, the succession was clear. James also had far fewer problems with Catholics then Elizabeth did. After the Gunpowder plot, Catholic resistance largely broke down; however James had to deal with more pressure form Puritans then any of the preceding monarchs. These monarchs were quite different both in their dispositions and policies.

  18. Matt Kulju says:

    Elizabeth and James were two different monarchs completely. First and foremost, where Elizabeth was frugal, James was extravagant. Even prior to James taking the English throne, he was figuring out who he needed to get to know in England to be a popular ruler, and he made promises to catholic, protestants, puritans, Presbyterians alike saying that he would give them what they needed as long as they would support him. Obviously, this couldn’t happen. And upon ascension to the throne, James handed out gifts and titles like nobody’s business. In part this was important, because he was a Scottish king ascending the English throne, but he had inherited debt from Elizabeth, regardless of her frugality. Elizabeth was hesitant to go to war, hesitant to give things away, and weary with taxing the people.
    Elizabeth also tried her best to work together with parliament (though difficult as it was for her, especially being a woman) to get things done. She listened to parliament, compromised with parliament (as we see in the religious settlement), and really did her best to act as a constitutional monarch. James, on the other hand, didn’t really get along with parliament. James found loopholes around laws and essentially taxed the people without parliaments consent (duties on foreign trade). Parliament thought that James was undermining its power. In 1614 and 1621, Parliament was even resolved without punishing any laws. James was a believer in the divine right of kings, and he felt that he acted in the public interest, but he also decided what that public interest was; and god would not punish him if James thought he was doing the right thing.

    • Skousen says:

      It’s smart to tie James’ actions to his clearly expressed beliefs about the Divine Right of Kings. As we get closer to the Civil Wars, this context (carried on by his son Charles) would be very important as the Parliamentary resistance grows ever more desperate.

      • J.P. Cheng says:

        I agree. I would suggest, however, squeezing in something about how their foreign policies were similar. You may consider putting in a specific example about Elizabeth’s good relations with parliament, such as Peter Wentworth.

  19. J.P. Cheng says:

    Both Elizabeth I and James I sought to keep England (and Great Britain, in the latter’s case) out of foriegn wars. Elizabeth kept England out of major wars with Europe until the unsuccessful Spanish invasions of 1588 onwards, and James I quickly negotiated an end to the war with Spain in 1604, and did not fight a major war for the rest of his reign. For instance, he did not intervene in the Bohemians’ revolt against Ferdinand Habsburg even though his daughter was married to Henry Frederick, whom the Bohemians elected as their new king. Thus, both aunt and nephew were cautious in their foreign policy, unlike the “warlike Harry” VIII.

    However, while Elizabeth maintained good relations with Parliament, James, who had strong opinions on the divine right of kings, alienated his Parliament. Elizabeth coyly played on her womanhood to suppress parliamentary belligerence towards her. In addition, there was no real Parliamentary dissent towards her until the 1597-8 and 1601 Parliaments, which protested her right of royal monopoly. When the Puritan MP Peter Wentworth argued for freedom of speech against the monarch in parliament in 1576, he was swiftly censured by his colleagues. The Jacobean Parliament, however, was alienated by James’ strong stance on the divine right of kings. Since James felt he was answerable only to God, he relegated Parliament to an advisory body (cf. Tsar Nicholas II’s treatment of the Duma). He made long, boring speeches to Parliament, and his financial extravagance forced him to seek taxes from an increasingly recalcitrant Parliament. For example, Parliament rejected James’ 1610 Great Contract (which would have given up many royal powers in exchange for a fixed stipend for the king) because he would not relinquish the impositions, which Parliament considered an exorbitant tax. Thus, while the Elizabethan Parliament was generally unproblematic for the Crown, the Jacobean Parliament was hostile, and set the stage for the Civil War during the reign of Charles I.

  20. Jenny Vogel says:

    Elizabeth and James were definitely a contrast in sovereigns. Firstly, James had been king since he was a year old, and treated as such by those surrounding him (except perhaps his tutor Buchanan). In stark opposition stood Elizabeth who was first declared a bastard by her father, and then later imprisoned by her sister to thwart any rebellions, and remained under guards until her ascension to the throne. Because of the precarious situation in which Elizabeth spent most of her pre-monarch life, she knew early on the need to finesse those around her – especially those in power, and this included her cabinet and Parliament. When Elizabeth called Parliament, she was good to at least give the impression she cared for their opinions and needed advisement, especially as a woman on the throne. It is likely this was all a show, but what mattered is it gained the support of Parliament to her. Also, perhaps luckily, Elizabeth did not often have need to call parliament, and in fact only called 13 sessions (lasting 3 years total) in her 45 year reign. Conversely, James had, from the start, a very adversarial relationship with Parliament, and much of this was due to his belief in himself as the monarch absolutely, with the Parliament as a nuisance – getting in his way to accomplish what he felt needed to be done. A good example of this is the Addled Parliament of 1614, which was shut down abruptly by James, after Parliament refused to agree to taxation for the king, mostly based upon his negative attitude towards them.

  21. Maddie Hagerman says:

    While the reigns of Elizabeth and James were different, at the beginning of each of their reigns they represented hope for various religious denominations. Elizabeth ascended the throne after five years of violent Catholicism under Mary I. Protestants who had fled to the continent returned after Mary’s death, hoping that Elizabeth would make England into a Calvinist country. Elizabeth’s pragmatism incited the most militant of Protestants, who began the Puritan movement. Similarly, James, as Mary, Queen of Scots’ son, represented hope for Catholics who had seen their rights gradually suppressed during Elizabeth’s reign. However, Puritans also hoped that the Scottish James would support Presbyterianism. Neither James nor Elizabeth lived up to the hopes of the religious factions that initially supported them. While Elizabeth and James initially favored toleration, financial concerns and religious uprisings forced them to enact harsher legislation against radical Christians of both denominations.

    • Maggie Rasmussen says:

      I think you brought up a good point, religion is a very important aspect to England overall during this period, and it’s important to point out that it was still a pressing issue in the reigns of the more moderate monarchs. Both James and Elizabeth did not seek out to persecute anyone for religious reasons, but they were forced to take action, showing how difficult religious issues were at this time.

  22. :Lindsey Mullarkey says:

    I would have to say that the two reigns of Elizabeth and James were completely different. Although Elizabeth and James both viewed Parliament as being a consultative group without real legislative power, Elizabeth chose to work with Parliament rather than against it. As discussed in lecture, Elizabeth played up her role as a gentle female in order to have her way in Parliament, especially in issues of taxation.

    James, on the other hand, chose to fight with Parliament in order to implement his policies. Every time Parliament would disagree with him on an issue, James would just dissolve his Parliament. During his reign, Parliament rarely sat, and this created conflict between James and his subjects, leading to first, the Gunpowder Plot and ultimately to Civil War. James’ stubbornness to work with Parliament stemmed from his belief about monarchs’ and their “Divine Right” to rule. This meant that monarchs were legally above all other men and only needed to pay heed and tradition to God and no one else. The kings were the real makers and implementers of law.

    Although both Elizabeth and James disregarded the potential of power Parliament could exercise, Elizabeth manipulated it in her favor to implement the policies she wanted, making her a successful monarch. James, however, chose to resist and fight Parliament, causing him to fall out of favor with its members, causing James’ reign to be viewed by most as a failure.

  23. John Nielsen says:

    Although Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII, I find that James the I may have been more similar to him than her daughter was. James I was quite the departure from Elizabeth in many ways, most notably in personality. Elizabeth was very cautious and reserved, often using foresight and cunning to her advantage. She stayed away from making brash decisions quickly, often turning to her council and Parliament to seek advice. Often times she would use her femininity to mask her strength and push through what she saw fit. She was the idol of the English people, having an almost cult like following. James on the other hand was a stark contrast. Whereas Elizabeth used her cunning and maneuvering to get things done, James generally used his force of will to pass what he saw fit. He saw the Parliament as a customary body, to be used when seen appropriate, but rather inconsequential overall. He liked to speak his mind, doing so often and at length. He attempted to use his speaking and persuasion to pass what he felt was correct, and when he failed to do so he would push through what he felt was appropriate regardless. It is also interesting to note that James strongly believed in the Divine Right of Kings, which is most likely due to his being King as long as he could remember. However the most noteworthy difference in personalities was the fact that Elizabeth’s bread and butter was compromise, whereas James had a more controlling approach to situations.

    However, once you stray away from the differences in approaches and personalities, the policy is fairly similar. There has been plenty of discussion above about the differing financial policies of Elizabeth and James as an indicator of their differences but in this case I feel that James was more a product of his situation, in that he had inherited great debt that he was unaware of when he took the throne. It has been pointed out that Elizabeth created a large mass of debt for the throne by failing to tax the people adequately, as she attempted to live off of her own means. James on the other hand seemed to be the stickler for standing up and demanding that the Crown be given some form of revenue. However, I feel that James had to do something to reverse the trend that had started with Henry VIII, in which money was spent by a Crown that couldn’t afford to spend. The Crown needed money for stability, or else other powers with more money would have gained greater political footholds. On top of this, the funds were needed to maintain England’s spot on the European hierarchy. I feel that had James not raised funds through impositions that the next ruler would have anyways, so it wouldn’t be fair to blame him for starting the war on the royal accounts. I feel that had he had the money that Elizabeth had started with he probably would have not attempted to burden his subjects, especially due to the fact he was a Scot, not an Englishman and wouldn’t need the bad press.

    Another interesting policy similarity is the religious actions of the monarchs. Both seemed to follow a moderate policy on religious matters, listening to both sides but overall staying away from fringe groups. Elizabeth is most noted for her religious settlement and the way in which she was able to create a moderate state religion that held exceptions for the morally opposed. James too was open to moderate religious toleration, even presiding over the Hampton Court Conference in order to give everyone a method through which to voice their complaints and suggestions on religion. The very fact that the most noted religious change in this period is the authorization of the King James Bible is a testament to the extent to which James shared religious ideals with Elizabeth.

  24. Maggie Rasmussen says:

    As we can see right from the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign in her coronation ceremony, in which she paraded trough the streets, she was a queen of the people. It was not ever certain that she would become the queen, and she had been raised much of her life as a bastard. This greatly differed from King James, who had great power since he was very young. He believed in the divine right of kings, and that monarchs are only accountable to God, not the people. This made him regard parliament as simply an advisory group, rather than someone he had to share power with. The members of parliament were angered by this, making their relationship with James complicated, and they often argued with him. Elizabeth got along with parliament differently; she sought to have a good relationship with them. However, she would use her femininity to get her way on certain issues, claiming that she couldn’t handle arguments or a long session because she was a woman. James was more abrasive by doing such things as implementing impositions without parliament’s consent. Elizabeth was more cautious, and some would say indecisive, in her policies. She was reluctant to tax the people in their bad economic situation, and lost a lot of the crown’s wealth instead, whereas James was eager to spend the crown’s money. Elizabeth and James differed greatly in their manner of ruling England.

  25. Rebecca Bauer says:

    Elizabeth I and James I had some similarities, but in general were contrasting monarchs. While both were Protestant but willing to be tolerant, their methods of asserting power were very different. When Elizabeth addressed Parliament, she was brief and clear, letting them know exactly what she wanted and what she expected of them. She did not explain herself, only told them what her will was. Elizabeth also used her femininity to her advantage, by flirting with marital arrangements and even sometimes hinting at her possible weakness in being a female ruler. While Elizabeth clearly saw herself as highly capable, she did not elaborate on her personal beliefs in religion or politics. James, on the other hand, preferred to make his views very well known to Parliament. He gave long speeches about what his will was and explained exactly why he wanted things that way. He told Parliament that he believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and that he had supreme authority, while Parliament was more of a traditional advisory board in his eyes. While Elizabeth may have had similar views of the monarchy, she was careful not to make them known so as not to offend members of Parliament or make them feel as though the did not have a say.

    Elizabeth and James also greatly differed when it came to finances. While Elizabeth was financially conservative and frugal, James tended to be extravagant and had expensive tastes. Elizabeth did have the advantage of being a purely English monarch, and therefore she already had political loyalty. James, however, lacked a loyal political base in England, as he was Scottish, and he handed out expensive titles and lands to gain the loyalty of elites. While Elizabeth avoided raising taxes on her people, James did not hesitate to ask Parliament for money, and he even created impositions (along with Robert Cecil) without the approval of Parliament in order to increase his income.

  26. Brady Andersen says:

    The reigns of James and Elizabeth had certain similarities but were generally driven by differing perspectives. Elizabeth grew up relatively outside of the court sphere while James had been a king his whole life. This as well as the gender difference led to different philosophies on ruling. James was a major proponent of the divine right of kings and felt that he wasn’t directly accountable to anybody but God. Elizabeth loved her country and her people and tried all she could to not tax or persecute her people without a legitimate cause. James was not hesitant with taxes and was eager to rule a richer country than Scotland. Elizabeth was committed to compromise in policy, as can be seen in the religious settlement. while James didn’t get along with Parliament at all and refused to even call into session the people with which he was supposed to work and compromise.

  27. Tasia Williams says:

    James and Elizabeth were very different. I feel that Elizabeth was more politically savvy; she knew how to get want she wanted from parliament. She was very frugal and kept her finances in order. James spent wildly and dug himself into debt. James was a supporter of absolute rule. Elizabeth was also a supporter of royal privilege, but she never made Parliament feel as if it was dispensable. Elizabeth was charismatic and used her femininity to her full advantage. James suffered from a large tongue and long winded speeches. Elizabeth shared royal favor with different factions, which prevented one ideology from gaining too much power in court. James doted too much on his favorites, which resulted in Buckingham’s impeachment and caused Parliament to resent James.

    • Jocelyn Piller says:

      The fact that Elizabeth never played favorites is one thing i admire about her ruling. Unlike previous monarchs and unlike James, with out the favoring of one person/group over another she prevented much argument and disruptions from within. Although there were disagreements, there were never any prevalent underhanded issues she had to deal with inside her own court. This allowed her “co-rulers” along with herself to deal with the situations of civilians rather than be caught up in their own drama.

  28. Mario Magnarini says:

    The reigns of the Elizabeth and James were very different and their ruling style and levels of success were also quite different. Elizabeth was much more successful in managing monetary policy and funds, such as the removal of debased coins from circulation. James was less frugal and more susceptible to flashiness. However it would be fair to note that Elizabeth ended up leaving a large debt for James and this certainly did not help his situation.

    Elizabeth and James had different ideas of where their power came from and how it should be used. Both intended to look out for the best interests of the people but James believed in the divine right of Kings that meant he was accountable only to God. In other words, he would look out for the people but ultimately the only opinion that mattered was his, which probably rubbed some people the wrong way, especially for parliament who wanted more say. Elizabeth seemed to try and make her decisions seem more popular by seeking approval from people. Whether or not she was really ever putting her ideas up for debate or intended on taking other’s advice is questionable.

  29. Thomas Schmidt says:

    I tend to believe that the reigns of James and Elizabeth are quite similar. Both James and Elizabeth worked in order to gain favor with their subjects. Elizabeth tried to offend the least amount of people in her reforms to the Church in order to maintain large base of support. Elizabeth did, however, make Catholicism treason in order to enforce her changes to the Church. James did not have as much support as Elizabeth had enjoyed when he first took to the throne. James found himself having to break many promises that he had made in the search for popularity upon his rise to the throne. These cases indicate that both Elizabeth and James were very eager to have a large base of support, but were willing to occasionally offend individuals when occasion called for it during their rules.

    Furthermore, both Elizabeth and James had difficulties with Parliament. Elizabeth found trouble due to being a woman, but found ways to manipulate her ideas into actions. James was not as eloquent with addressing his difficulties, difficulties that were mainly self inflicted (due to his insistence on the supremacy of monarchs). James found ways around the difficulties by avoiding parliament altogether. Despite the differences in addressing their problems in working with Parliament, Elizabeth and James nevertheless shared similar problems.

  30. Troy Migut says:

    James and Elizabeth displayed similarities but, in the long term, their overarching policies and practices were varying. Although both rulers were seen as reigning long term, they accrued substantial debt. Elizabeth’s was mainly due to being pressured into warfare with Spain, despite her frugality, while James added to Elizabeth’s debt with the appointment of pensions, dispersal of titles, and a lavish lifestyle.

    Both rulers found it necessary to deal with the true possibility of religious plots to usurp regularly. James, after making peace with Spain in 1604, found it impossible to remain light handed toward Catholics due to signs of revolt. The failed Gun Powder Plot resulted in James having to deal out harsh punishments against practicing Catholics. Similarly, Elizabeth attempted a non-invasive practice towards religion until she was left without a choice after the rebellions from the North and Mary’s plot for usurpation. Regardless, both sovereigns issued the necessary action when provoked in order to rule for an extended, seemingly successful, period.

  31. Jocelyn Piller says:

    Elizabeth and James display many similarities in their ruling, like the fact that they were both brought in almost by chance. Elizabeth would not have made it had Mary not died early and James would not have made it had Elizabeth not been Queen. They also both had to deal with plots against their reigns. Because these rulers were not easily distinguished heirs, not all of the people accepted their reigning.

    However, they were not all that similar in the way they ruled. Whereas Elizabeth was laid back and passive aggressive, James thought he should be more assertive than the previous female rulers. He also believed in the Divine Right of Kings, aka he was only accountable to God whereas Elizabeth ruled as if the people were who she was accountable for. Also he was not as conservative as Elizabeth, using the monarchs money to win the popularity of important people thus making the monarchs debt even larger.

    To make back some of the money, he imposed impositions to regulate commerce and bring in lots of money. Parliament did not agree to this so essentially he was stealing from the people; taxation without consent. Thus he was disliked by the other half of the ruling power of England.

    Also he was slightly conceited by naming himself King of Great Britain… Queen Elizabeth was never that conceited.

  32. Joshua Torres says:

    I found that the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I were similar reigns in the sense that they were both monarchs trying to prove themselves to England. Elizabeth, a woman ruling in a world founded on patriarchal system and James, an alien to England, entering the country trying to win over the people’s confidence. Especially, in their relationship with Parliament, through their differences there are similarities. Elizabeth as a woman, often had to use her feminine traits to persuade Parliament to her favor, such as her acts of Supremacy and her foreign diplomatic relations which typically included teasing suitors to insure alliances. Similarly, James felt a pressure to influence Parliament. James, becoming king after two successive queens felt the need to show his masculinity. He often had long opening speeches where James hammered his points and attempted to ensure no margin for error. Unfortunately, this tactic ultimately backfired and James feuded with Parliament by not calling them into session for many years. In all, both James and Elizabeth found themselves a minority attempting to learn English society on the fly and while holding its most important office.

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