Question Two

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Please consider the following question. Write a 1-2 paragraph answer using specific examples. Then, when you are done, look through your classmates’ answers and reply to one or two of them using substantial and specific examples.

“What parallels do you see between the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I?” Please use specific themes of comparison so that we end up with an overview, together, of all three reigns. In some ways, they demonstrated how easily England could devolve into chaos; but in other ways, these years showed England’s newly established strengths.

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66 thoughts on “Question Two

  1. Hannah Sandgren says:

    I think the most obvious parallel between Edwary and Elizabeth is that they were both Protestants. Mary was a devout Catholic, but she shared a passion for religion with Elizabeth. I think Edward’s reign is mainly defined by Northumberland and Somerset, which shows his strong faith in advisors. Elizabeth also had a lot of favorites and she treated them well.
    It’s obvious that they are all children of Henry VIII because they were all stubborn in a way. They had their beliefs, especially about religion, and that really paved the way for their time as monarchs. Unsurprisingly, they all had to deal with rebellions, but handled them well. All three reigns were different, but I think the most evident parallelism between the three is the strength they all shared in their beliefs. Edward had his Prayer Book and really reformed the church, Mary brought it back to the Pope, and Elizabeth was not as severe as Edward, but she did make modifications, like bowing when Jesus’ name is said.

    • Alison Carriere says:

      Although I agree with your argument that Edward, Mary and Elizabeth were all stubborn, I disagree with the idea that Edward, Mary and Elizabeth shared a similar strength in their own beliefs. Edward may have wanted to rid England of Catholicism or at least prevent Mary from gaining the throne however he was not radically protestant. Edward retained vestments and ceremonies and objected to groups like the puritans and anabaptists who were to radically protestant. Mary, I agree, had an extreme religious/ Catholic settlement. She did not agree or want to allow protestantism in England, which can be seen when she restored England to the papacy and when she executed 300 heretics. However she too was not able to restore the English Church completely to Catholicism as the Parliament would not allow her to take away monastic lands that they had gained. Although I agree that Edward and Mary shared a starkness in their beliefs, I do not see how Elizabeth fits into this category. Elizabeth took a middle of road approach even in her religious settlements. She made the English church publicly protestant however she was fairly tolerant of Catholics. Elizabeth allowed Catholics to hear mass in their private homes and even keep their offices, such as Plowden. Elizabeth herself practiced some Catholic traditions such as her crucifix that she prayed with.

      • mgogle says:

        I also agree that Elizabeth was substantially more middle of the road than Edward and Mary. It was also the smart thing to do politically at the time. After the reign of Bloody Mary, Elizabeth couldn’t afford to do anything radical lest she create even more enemies.

  2. Tyler Phelps says:

    The reigns of Edward, Mary and Elizabeth show parallels in several areas. First, they all were faced with the task of cementing religion within England following the Reformation put in place by their father. Edward and Elizabeth both used legislation such as Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy to root Protestantism into the English populace and consolidate their power. On the other hand, Mary broke Protestant legislation and used fear to reinstate Catholicism within England. These events show monarchical strength, but display the chaotic and tumultuous religious state of Europe during these and the coming years. Secondly, all three faced financial problems and times of hardship among their subjects. Edward’s debasement of coinage might have solved financial troubles on the short-term, but the resulting inflation created difficulties for later monarchs, such as Mary. This inflation was only exacerbated with the famine and harvest failures in the mid-1550s under her reign. This became the backdrop for her executions, creating resentment towards her that Elizabeth would exploit upon her accession. Elizabeth faced similar problems in the 1590s, and although she had instituted reforms such as the Poor Laws, the troubles persisted.

    • Preston Easterday says:

      I felt the same way about their reigns. They were all obviously going to face rebellions because there was no way to make everyone happy. Elizabeth seemed to go for a policy of being moderate in terms of religion. Both acts in the religious settlement were designed to appease as many people as possible without taking sides with either extreme religious group. Edward decided on a clearly Protestant policy, but didn’t use any extremely harsh force to coerce people into abiding by the rules set forth. Mary was very openly Catholic and pursued a policy of burning anyone who wasn’t. She thought that she would be able to “burn out” Protestantism from England, when really it led to many viewing her as the most cruel ruler of the 3 by far.

  3. Gabby Huerta says:

    One of several common themes is that none of them brought economic or financial prosperity to England, including Elizabeth despite her 45 year reign. Although by the end of Mary’s reign, the debasement of the coin had been discontinued, Elizabeth was still unable to up turn the economic climate (even though she herself was extremely frugal). However, there were many events that played into their economic failure that were out of their control: with Edward the debasement of the coin was already in place by the time he ascended the throne, Mary faced famine and bad crops, and Elizabeth faced war (something she tried to avoid for a long time!).

    • Skousen says:

      I think it’s worthwhile to explore this point further, too. Elizabeth had smarter policies in place and a longer reign to accomplish goals, but she faced financial troubles anyway. Was any of that due to her policies, or were the events of the 1590s just bad luck, a challenge for any monarch?

      (this isn’t so much a Gabby-specific question, just something I think is worth considering for all of us)

      • Cat Lenander says:

        I think Elizabeth’s policies were sound, but she, like Mary I, was plagued by misfortune. She had one of the worst crop failures in English history between 1594-1597 while the population ballooned at an alarming rate (increasing 1.2 in million ~50 years). That combined with an inevitable war is going to screw up any economy.

        Mary I had similar economic woes due to the mess Henry VIII and Somerset made with the coin debasement. While she cleaned it up, money still wasn’t that trustworthy and then she had her own crop failures. Those were out of her control, and yet she was still able to help the economy by setting up legislature to get rid of the last of the debased coins and by getting merchants to agree to a new book of trade on tonnage and poundage which vastly improved the rates in the Crown’s favor.

        • Tasia Williams says:

          Elizabeth reaped the rewards of Mary’s economic policies. Therefore, Mary suffered simple because she did not rule long enough to experience the positive effects of her policies. Elizabeth also started to sell off royal land, which reduced the rents she collected. This policy hurt James, who inherited her debt and reduced landholdings.

  4. McKenzie Bruce says:

    Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth faced similar problems and decisions during their reigns. The one of great importance was that of religion. As rulers of the church in England, the monarchs had to decide the religion of the country and then handle the reaction. Edward and Elizabeth’s pursued Protestant Churches while Mary’s was Catholic, however all three saw rebellion from other faiths. Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth also all encountered wars during their reigns that had negative effects on England. Edward’s war with Scotland led to further debasement of coinage, weakening the economy, Mary’s war with France led to the loss of Calais and English prestige, and Elizabeth’s wars with Spain and Ireland increased the debt of the Crown. Partially as a result of these wars, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth also fought declining economies, despite Mary and Elizabeth’s attempts for improvement.

    • Elizabeth Mathis says:

      Yes I think the point that they all had rebellions at least one rebellion prompted by religion is really important. It puts in perspective how, at this time in history, it did not matter what your policy was as a monarch, there was always going to be some group that is dissatisfied enough to rise up. There was just so many passionate fractions in religion at the time. Therefore you cannot just look at the action of the people when questioning the success of Edward, Mary or Elizabeth. The monarchs at this time were always going to cause unhappiness with someone, so that should be considered no matter who the monarch is; and in this , Edward Mary and Elizabeth all have something in common.

  5. emilyduff says:

    A common theme of all three reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth was having to deal with rebellions and threats to the crown. Although Edward’s reign was ruled over by two chief ministers, Somerset and Northumberland he was forced to put down two rebellions, the Prayer Book Rebellion and Ket’s Rebellion. These rebellions were in protest against the new imposed prayer book and the want for agrarian reform, respectively. In the next reign, Mary at the started had to compete with Lady Jane Grey because she was crowned queen. Most of the population believed Mary was the rightful heir to the throne and in the end she was able to become queen and dispose of Jane, her husband, and father. Mary was also forced to put down Wyatt’s rebellion. This rebellion was in protest of her marriage to Phillip II of Spain, but was suppressed easily. Elizabeth also dealt with adversaries to her rule, most notably plots with Mary, Queen of Scots trying to overthrow her and become Queen of England. In the end Elizabeth was forced to execute a fellow monarch to keep her kingdom. Later in her reign she dealt with multiple uprisings including the revolt of the northern earls and the revolt of Essex.

    • Tyler Phelps says:

      I think it is worthwhile to examine these rebellions on a larger scale and how they can be interpreted with regard to the state of the mid-Tudor monarchs and England as a whole. I think the fact that all these events took place supports the claim that England was easily plunged into chaos and the monarchs struggled to prevent things like this from happening. On the other hand, the fact that Edward, Mary and Elizabeth were able to survive these threats is a credit to their strengths as heads of state.

  6. Preston Easterday says:

    The most prominent issue Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth faced during their reigns was religion. Upon each of their accessions to the throne, making a decision as to what religion they would ultimately declare for the Church of England was a highly anticipated one by all of the public. Although all three were already set in their ways in terms of which religion they followed (Edward and Elizabeth were Protestant and Mary was Catholic), how they went about instituting their religious policies such as prayer books and vestment rules was a very important determinant as to what extent the public would react in protest. They all faced rebellions as a result of the religious decisions they made. An example in Edward’s reign can be seen when introducing his first Prayer Book, which caused a rebellion in Cornwall due to many of the people not being able to speak English, so they didn’t understand a lot of the material present in the book. In Mary’s reign, she faced Wyatt’s rebellion in opposition to her marriage with Phillip II of Spain, who was obviously very strongly Catholic. Elizabeth face the most religious rebellions of the three monarchs (although she did rule for a much longer period of time than Edward or Mary), starting with the Northern Rebellion in 1569 up through the Babington Plot in 1585. All of the monarchs were fairly successful in striking down the rebellions with relative ease. Because they were such a large number of Catholics and Protestants in England at the time, it was impossible to please everyone; the monarch had to pick one religion over the other, and the choice they made would be expected to lead to some kind of rebellion or protest due to the large numbers of followers of each religion. The ability of each monarch to suppress the rebellions that they faced ultimately was a large determinant in their overall success as a monarch over England.

    • Samantha Hersil says:

      I think its great to note that it was impossible to please all the religious sentiments in England if England was to have a singular church, which was contrary to modern American beliefs a necessity at that time. Religion tied the state together and was a constant presence in all political decision making. I think that is why Elizabeth tried to take the most moderate approach out of the three siblings. I think she must have took into account how awful it was when any one of her predecessors tried to make a religious choice for the whole country based of off one extreme. It’s also interesting to see how that decision, to make a Church of England has shaped England into what it is today.

  7. Alexis Puzon says:

    The end of the reign of Henry VIII indicated the start of an unsure government under Edward VI. Edward was so young that powers like Somerset and Northumberland could practically usurp all control from the monarchy. As such, Edward VI’s reign was a time of change, especially in the continuing shift towards Protestantism. There were still rebellions like Kett’s Rebellion over the Protestant ideals and the poor economy. Also, there was inflation, high food prices, and wages started to fall, making the economic situation much worse. The debasement of coins was still ongoing. Overall Edward VI’s reign switched from a moderate Protestant rule under Somerset, to a very radical Protestant and ambitious end in Northumberland. Mary I’s rule was very contentious because she was such a staunch Catholic. Similar to Edward, Mary I put too much control into outside people, like the Pope. By giving away some of her power to the Pope, she let her own reign spiral out of control. Her main issue was her unpopularity, especially when she started executing heretics. As for Elizabeth, her long reign’s big issue was her constant indecision over the war in Spain, and her moderate view of religion. The major parallels between the three reigns are the constant attention paid to religion. After Henry VIII’s massive shift with breaking from Rome, his successors were left to consolidate a plan for England. Because of this, each reign felt different towards it. Elizabeth learned by her time that either side was too radical and that middle ground was the best way to keep England unified. Testament to her success is the gradual weakening of the Catholic factions, even setting recusancy fines on them.

    • Skousen says:

      I wonder how Scotland’s situation might have fundamentally altered this whole dynamic. Imagine if Edward have married Mary Q of Scots, or if Mary had been a boy. Plenty of Elizabethan authors wrote about how everything could have been solved had Elizabeth or Mary been a boy able to marry. One even suggested QE dress as a page to ride to Scotland in cognito to meet with Mary! (they never met)

      Alternatively: what if Mary Q of Scots had been a strong King? She and Phillip might have created an international coalition to invade England…

  8. Samantha Hersil says:

    I want to argue that William Cecil is a parallel between all three reigns, just to avoid the religion topic. William Cecil claims that he first sat in Parliament during Henry 8th reign, however, he is best known for his early service as one of Edward VI Secretaries of the State and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. He also signed the Third Succession Act, which would put Lady Jane Grey on the thrown after Edward, under Northumberland’s and Edward’s orders. However, when Mary ultimately took the thrown, he conformed to Catholicism, to Mary, and became one of the most active witnesses against Northumberland. Furthermore, to show his support he confessed to Mary that he had not part in the divorce of her mother, Catherine, and he even when to go meet the Catholic Cardinal Pole when he arrived in 1554. It seems that Cecil really believed that he could rise in Mary’s favor and regains his old title of Secretary, but when he realized this would not happen and Mary was getting sick he immediately began to communicate with Elizabeth. Elizabeth did return his title of Secretary of State along with a slew of other titles including Lord High treasurer. He was close to Elizabeth, nicknamed “spirit”, and became one of her most trusted advisors. There was only one time when he was temporarily banned for court and that was after Mary Queen of Scots execution, because he had helped insure that Mary’s death would be carried out swiftly before Elizabeth once again revoked her signature. Yet, she does ultimately pardon him. Cecil ties in 1592, but ironically leaves a remaining Cecil to take his place as Elizabeth’s favorite and continue the Cecil legacy, his son Robert Cecil. The Cecil’s were an important presence in all three reigns, William Cecil, gave advice and made actions that effected England and all three monarch’s reigns in some way.

    • Skousen says:

      I’m so glad you mention Cecil. Some people think Elizabeth was a smart monarch precisely because whenever her nerve failed her, Cecil was there to back her up. Had he died sooner, her advice might have been much less even-handed.

    • Maggie Rasmussen says:

      This is something that I hadn’t thought of, but is very important. It’s very interesting to see a man have such political success through so many reigns. He conformed to the monarch of the time, and was able to maintain a position of power in each. He’s a good example of a true politician.

  9. Will Hoffman says:

    One of the big parallels in all three reigns is the religious question that is going on thanks to the actions of Henry VIII. All three monarchs have to deal with the question of what religion should the country be and how should they treat the people of the opposite religion. For Edward and Mary, this took the form of heavy promotion of their religion and the persecution of the other religion. Edward and Cramner’s forcing of the Prayer Book and trying to unify the country’s religion through more institutionalized ways is the same goal that Mary had with her burning of people. Both wanted people to follow their religion, but used different means. Elizabeth though, while the Catholics tried to kill her multiple times with the all the plots, at least at the beginning of her reign, didn’t try to force her religion on the Catholics.

  10. Victoria Sviridova says:

    All of the reigns had rebellions that were religious in some ways (Prayer Book Uprising of 1547, Wyatt’s Rebellion of 1554, and The Northern Rebellion of 1569). All of these rebellions were different in terms of what religious causes they were fighting for, however these rebellions show that all three monarchs had religious issue during their reigns. It demonstrates how the monarchs were trying to find some sort of balance between their beliefs and the population’s, but many times their religious implementations didn’t satisfy some group of the population.
    Another theme that I saw was trying to find some kind of economic balance by getting rid of debased coins. In Edward’s reign, Northumberland started the process in 1551 by issuing fine silver coins. Mary continued the process of taking out the debased coins out of the system and replacing them with real silver coins. Finally, Elizabeth finished the process in 1560-1. All of these actions helped a little bit with inflation.

  11. Alison Carriere says:

    One parallel between the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I was the matter of succession. In all three reigns was succession an important and problematic topic. Edward VI ascended the throne with little problem, although there was a power struggle between Sommerset and Northumberland for control of Edward. In 1553, with Edward very sick and without an heir Northumberland and Edward began to plan a way to divert the line of succession from a very Catholic Mary to Jane Grey. Jane Grey had a weak claim to the throne and was crowned with the help of Northumberland. However because she could not raise enough forces to match Mary, Jane Grey gave up her throne after three days. The problems concerning succession did not stop for Mary upon becoming queen of England. Mary then had to marry and have children quickly as she was rapidly becoming too old for childbearing. For Protestants in Mary’s realm, her marriage and determination to have an heir meant that England might have remained Catholic, thus very problematic. Succession was again a problem under Elizabeth. Parliament tried to get involved in Elizabeth’s marriage plans in hopes of securing an heir that was not Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth kept Englishmen guessing throughout her reign as to whom she would name heir, which created discussion and fear in her Parliament.

    • Cat Lenander says:

      Jane Grey held the throne for nine days.

      Luckily, Elizabeth lived long enough to outlast Mary Queen of Scots so that the throne was eventually passed to James, which might have lessened some of the tension, but certainly not all of it.

    • Jordan Moxon says:

      The matter of succession, I think, is a particularly curious one, when one considers the influence of Henry VIII’s choice of naming succession in the will of the previous ruler, and the role that the people had in ‘choosing’ a ruler, in the case of Mary. It was demonstrated that if the populus, and the nobles in particular, cared sufficeintly about a matter of succession, they could have their way even over the word of the previous monarch. How much power was there in the hands of any monarch in deciding their succession? Was the instance of Mary’s rise a unique one?

      • Peter LaForge says:

        I’d argue that the populace, specifically the gentry, carried with it much more political power than the monarchs would have liked to admit. It is impossible to ignore the ways in which the lords closest to the crown often attempted to influence succession. The matter of ensuring the throne, while always important, became almost a right of passage for these rulers who’s authority was constantly under attack from pretender and rebels alike. We notice by QE’s example, that a monarch who recognized the power of popular sentiment was much more successful in managing her authority when it came to gaining support for her throne and her policies.

      • Jocelyn Piller says:

        I believe that the monarch didn’t have quite as much power as they thought in picking a successor. This is obvious in the succession of Mary and Elizabeth. Both of these ladies gained the throne as if by luck. Edward got rid of HVIII heir line and replaced with with his own, however his own heir was only able to maintain the throne for 9 days.

        The power of the ruler lies in how much power said person can muster up. It’s ultimately the people that decide their ruler (even if sometimes their decision is misguided).

  12. Cat Lenander says:

    They’re all working on the same spectra for religion. Edward VI worked on the Protestant end for religious unity in his country. Mary I worked on the opposite end toward Catholic unity of England. While Elizabeth is somewhere in the middle just wanting religious unity such that it will work for all comers. All three of them had the same goal in mind of a strong religiously unified England, they all just had slightly different flavors. All three rulers pushed for priests to be taught their specific brand of faith—well, Elizabeth’s “official” faith, I don’t think anyone knew what she actually thought—and tried to accomplish their goals through peaceful means. Edward and Elizabeth used the legal system and their relationship to their father to strengthen their cases for Protestantism. Mary tried to use marriage and the birth of an heir to establish hers, only turning to violence when she realized Plan A wasn’t going to work.

    All three rulers were also able to successfully weather political upheaval. Of the three Mary was the only ruler to ascend the throne under conflict, but she didn’t have to take the throne by conquest like her grandfather because the people supported her claim over Jane Grey’s claim. Then all had to deal with some sort of conflict: in Edward’s case it was the Prayer Book Uprising and Kett’s Rebellion; while Mary had Wyatt’s rebellion; and Elizabeth had the Northern Rebellion (of 1569), an Irish rebellion, the Essex rebellion, and an 18 year war with Spain that included fending off three Armada attacks. Just listing off the times they needed an army may sound like Elizabeth had an unstable reign, but she ruled for nine times longer than either of her siblings. She, like Mary and Edward before her, survived years where money wasn’t worth the labor it paid for without public complaints arising in the form of revolt/rebellions (previous mentioned rebellion had nothing to do with food or coin debasement). Then all three died peacefully in their beds, still rulers of their country and that could not be said for contemporary rulers in Scotland and France.

    • Skousen says:

      Hm, that’s an interesting contrast with Scotland. What about Mary Queen of Scots? She would be the exception to your example.

      • Cat Lenander says:

        Mary Queen of Scots had a very different upbringing. Unlike any of Henry VIII’s children, Mary (like her son) was born a queen. While there was warfare when she took the throne, it was not over her right to rule, but over her hand in marriage, the rough wooing. She eventually left her kingdom in someone else’s hands and went to live in France, which no ruling Tudor ever did. Eventually she returned to Scotland, caused trouble and was disposed in favor of her infant son. That was when she went to live in England under Elizabeth’s care and plot Elizabeth’s assassination, which eventually got her executed for treason.

        Mary Queen of Scots does not in any way shape or form fit my pattern. I say it was because she was born a queen and left her country. She had a certain air about her that is reflected in her son James, but not seen in Edward, Mary I, or Elizabeth. Both Mary QoS and James grew up, perhaps not fully recognizing the weight of kingship(?) because neither had every been anything else and that cause conflict between them and their governing officials. James just didn’t live long enough to have them turn on him the way his mother’s turned on her.

        On the other hand, Edward, Mary I, and Elizabeth had that significant change occur in their lives and so they were able to appreciate that added responsibility and adjust their actions accordingly. This meant they got along, more or less, with their minions. This doesn’t really explain Charles I, but I’d guess his problem was dealing with the residual tensions caused by his father combined with James infusing his mentality toward kingship into his son.

  13. Chloe Karaskiewicz says:

    All three ascended to the throne after the death of their predecessor. I think we can discount Lady Jane Grey from this because she was not overwhelmingly considered the rightful heir or the rightful queen. All three also dealt with considerable religious issues. After Henry’s changeable religious views the country was left divided and confused about a national, unified religion and Edward’s administration sought to remedy the confusion with increasingly radical Protestant doctrines. The late 1540s saw rebellions throughout the Catholic North in response to Edward’s new, quite Protestant prayer book and Catholic/Protestant conflict continued throughout his reign. Mary flew to the other end of the spectrum when she brought Catholicism back to England, reversing the action Edward and Henry had taken by reinstituting Papal power over the English Church. Mary’s attempt to reinstate Catholicism became increasingly drastic and violent with the burnings of hundreds of heretics as it became apparent that she would not have heirs to keep Catholicism as the religion of England. Elizabeth took the throne after all of this religious extremism and opted for a more moderate path. Due to Catholic plots like the Ridolfi, Throckmorton, and Babington plots to overthrow her and put Mary Queen of Scots of the throne, however, Elizabeth was forced to take a harsher stance against Catholics, requiring them to attend Protestant masses or pay fines. Another important similarity is that none of Henry’s children had children of their own. Edward and Elizabeth never married and although Mary married Philip of Spain, their union produced no heirs—partly due to his extended absences as well as her health and age. Although none of them had heirs, the line of succession was never really strongly disputed. It can be argued that Mary’s succession was challenged (with Jane Grey’s claim) but with the amount of public support she received from the English people—Protestant and Catholic alike—it is evident that everyone knew who the true successor ought to be.

  14. Elizabeth Mathis says:

    Each monarch had their share of home grown uprisings, and all had success in their suppressing the revolts. There was some serious revolting under Edward VI in 1549, one of the main ones was Kett’s rebellion that was aimed against the corruption of local governments and the large capitalist farmers. Another larger rebellion was the Western Rebellion that was against the new Prayer Book, which was in English. In both cases the rebels were crushed, and besides, neither were aimed at Edward himself. Another part of the reaction against the rebels was the Treason Act of 1551 which made it treason to take one of the King’s forts, among other things. Not much later, during Mary’s reign, Thomas Wyatt rose up against the Catholic Queen in 1554, this time very much against her as he and his forces hoped to dethrone Mary and put Elizabeth on it. They were stopped in London, but after the Queen’s soldiers had let them go peaceably into London. When Elizabeth ascended to the throne, she had her rebellions as well, one being the Northern Rebellion in 1569. When Mary fled into England in 1568 it sparked the Catholic Lords in the North to rebel against Elizabeth. They hope to put Mary on the throne and have her marry Norfolk. This rebellion was suppressed just as every other rebellion and later there were harsher laws against Catholics. Each monarch had their various rebellions, and each had at least one rebellion that was fueled by religion. Edward and Elizabeth also had other rebellions, but revolt for a religion was a common theme in each reign, and each monarch had to deal with in their own way.

    • :Lindsey Mullarkey says:

      I found it very interesting that you drew a parallel from this perspective. How do you think was the most effective in subduing these rebellions? I think it would be helpful to explore what methods each monarch used to subdue their rebels.

  15. Molly Gerber says:

    Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I all faced serious economic crises over the course of their reign as a result of bad harvests and the debasement of coinage which began in Henry VIII’s reign. During Edward’s reign, a combination of the debasement of the coinage and the influx of Spanish silver imports from the Spanish colonies caused extreme inflation. Food prices doubled without wage increases. This contributed to the rebellions Edward had to face. Towards the end of Edward’s reign, in 1551, Northumberland began to reintroduce fine coinage in hopes of correcting this issue of inflation, but failed to suck out the debased coins. Mary I had little better luck. 1549-51 and 1555-6 saw bad harvests which led to an even worse standard of living. This likely contributed to the spread of influenza in 1558. In 1557, coin reform was introduced to remove the debased coins and hopefully stabilize the economy, but it was not enforced until 1560/1. Elizabeth’s reign too saw many economic problems, however debasement of the coinage was no longer the cause. There was a quickly rising population with insufficient expansion of agricultural productivity. This caused food and industrial prices to continue to rise and a growth in vagrancy. In order to help quell these issues, the Poor Law of 1601 was passed which established parish officials as the body that would deal with the poor. They were now bound by law to feed, clothe and house the infirm poor and give the able poor public work jobs. All three monarchs were forced to deal with a failing economy, and while they didn’t fully solve the economic problems in England, they began to put forth laws and financial changes that would put the country on the right track towards economic reform.

    • Skousen says:

      Do you feel like Edward and Mary were given poor reputation because they didn’t have the time that Elizabeth had to respond and react to the challenges of their reigns? Elizabeth began with a shaky start — the Mid-Tudor Crisis was, after all, said to last until 1567. So perhaps if Mary or Edward had lived longer they too would have enjoyed a better reputation.

      Any thoughts on that? Or would a longer reign just have included more radicalism?

      • John Hildebrand says:

        I think it’s hard to assess this question just because it’s all very hypothetical, but just for fun, I assume Mary’s reign would have only become more radical. Even from the start Mary seemed to rule as if she knew of her approaching death. Her motives were fueled purely by personal motives for example seeking her revenge on Cranmer and re-establishing Catholicism, but she wasn’t exactly focused on what would be good for England at the time.

        Whereas, during Edward’s short reign progressive legislation had been passed that eliminated celibacy among clergy and made English sermon available for the Masses. I believe he could have had an extremely successful reign had he lived long enough to break free from Northumberland’s influence.

      • Peter LaForge says:

        more radicalism definitely. James and Mary were themselves extremely poor at managing popular opinion and often enacted more extreme policies than QE. James hardly had time at al; to rule personally and one could argue that the protectorate of Somerset and Northumberland crippled James in his ability to understand the political pragmatism required to be a successful ruler.Mary too, didregarded the feelings of the gentry in regards to her marriage and this undoubtedly had consequences for her ensuring her rule as many questioned her resolve to keep England a sovereign nation.

  16. Robbie Sass says:

    There are several parallels between the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. One of the major components of all three reigns was religion. Though Edward’s reign saw a shift towards a more radical form of Protestantism, Mary’s towards Catholicism, and Elizabeth’s towards a more moderate middle ground, all three exerted a major influence over the country’s religious system, similar to their father’s famous break with Rome. Another common theme is that all three had issues with succession. As there were no children between the three of them, though for various different reasons, each was concerned and had others concerned about, who would succeed them. Edward and his advisers did not want the Catholic Mary to take the throne, so they tried to quickly promote Jane Grey. Mary did not want her Protestant sister Elizabeth to become queen, so she quickly married and desperately tried to have a child. Elizabeth refused to marry and greatly worried many of her advisers, though she did eventually arrange for James to take over. All three monarchs also faced economic difficulties. Edward and Mary could blame Henry VIII’s heavy spending and debasement of the coinage as well as bad harvests. Elizabeth’s problems were more a result of a rise in population and food prices. Elizabeth did however like her father rack up a large of amount of debt that she left for James to deal with.

    • Jake Stroth says:

      Don’t you feel that the most important religious theme was one of turmoil? The different faiths actually matter very little, the important part is that there was so much conflict and each ruler dealt with it differently.

    • Brady Andersen says:

      The ongoing question of succession is definitely a very valid parallel. England relied so heavily on having a strong and legitimate monarch at the head of government that when the succession was in question the fate of the entire country was up in the air. Also, there were only two generations separating Elizabeth, Edward, and Mary from the royal instability of the Wars of the Roses. While the country had changed fairly radically in that time period, just the threat of that kind of uncertainty played a major role in the beginnings and endings of each of theses monarch’s reigns.

  17. Jake Stroth says:

    The most obvious theme from the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I is one of religious turmoil. Edward VI began the introduction of Protestantism in England with a new Book of Common Prayer and other church reforms. This caused considerable turmoil in England, even going so far as to inspire a revolt. When Mary came to the throne she struck back hard against Protestants by reintroducing the heresy laws, bringing England back under the rule of Rome, and burning almost 300 people at the stake. Elizabeth tried to calm these tensions with the Act of Uniformity, though she was still forced into a balancing act between not only Protestants and Catholics, but Puritans and Moderates as well. Clearly England was suffering a religious identity crisis as its leaders tried to push it in different directions. Ultimately Protestantism would win out, thanks in part to the inability of Catholics preacher to reach the masses, but also to the very serious threat foreign Catholics, such as Spain, posed to England. The religious issue also feeds into another theme which is rebellion. All three monarchs faced an organized rebellion, though in all cases it was put down rather quickly. This shows two things. On one hand there was still a very serious threat to the crown from revolt. On the other, it shows that the government was quite able to suppress these revolts as none ever came close to succeeding. These three monarchs faced many of the same challenges, but dealt with them in different ways. Elizabeth was probably the most successful of the Tudor rulers, and is considered that in large part because she was able to deal with the challenges so much more effectively than the other rulers.

    • Molly Gerber says:

      I think it’s important to point out that you can see the religious identity crisis you mention England suffering from not only in the way leaders pushed different religious beliefs on the people, but in the response of these people. No matter what religion a certain monarch would try to enact in England, there would be a group that would rise up in rebellion in response. England was broken into many different religious factions at this time determined to establish their beliefs as the official state religion. This identity crisis was both top down, from the government, and bottom up, from the people.

  18. Matt Kulju says:

    Obviously, one of the most prevalent themes in the Tudor Sibling’s Reign’s was religion. Edward and Elizabeth were both Protestant, and Mary was very, very catholic. Something each of them struggled with was attempting to unite the country into one organized and supreme religion. Edward Passed the Act of Uniformity 1549 and the Common Prayer book was established in 1552 under the Act of Uniformity that essentially established Protestantism as the official Church of England and placed Edward as the head of the church. Mary was quick to establish Catholicism upon her ascension to the throne. Mary’s Marriage treaty with Spain in 1554 established that England truly was to be Catholic again, and she reestablished ties with the Pope, therefore relinquishing her role as head of the Church in England. Furthermore, Mary burned an hundreds of people (protestants) under the heresy acts. Elizabeth, though less fervent in enforcing her Protestantism in the beginning of her reign, turned the country back to Protestantism with the religious settlement of 1559, saying that it was better for her people to be united (the Elizabeth movie!).
    Something else the three siblings have in common were that their reigns were spotted with rebellions! Edward saw Kett’s Rebellion and the rebellions acting against the Common book of Prayer. Mary saw Wyatt’s rebellion, and Elizabeth’s life was threatened numerous times by assassination plots (Ridolfi, Throckmorton, Babington). Something that all of these rebellions have in common, though, is that all of them were squashed! And looking forward to the Gunpowder plot, this was dissipated as well! We’ve seen, for almost 100%, that uprisings against the monarchs seem to eventually fail in the Tudor family’s reign, oddly enough.

    • Jenny Vogel says:

      I think you’re right in that each monarch definitely did try to unify England with one religion instead of many. I think it is interesting also that each of them chose to do so based on their own religious values, and not those of the public… Sovereigns know what is best for the people, and the people don’t always know what is best for themselves – a common theme we see in governments across the world even today!

  19. John Hildebrand says:

    Although the reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth greatly differed, one thing that can be seen in all three is the breakout of rebellions throughout England. The Prayer Book Rebellion during Edward VI’s reign, Wyatt’s Rebellion under Mary, and the Northern Rebellion in Elizabeth’s reign. The Prayer Book Rebellion and the Northern Rebellion both were fueled out of religious discontent, whereas the Wyatt Rebellion sought to prevent the marriage of Queen Mary to Phillip II of Spain. Another parallel is that each rebellion was successfully extinguish. These concentrated revolts demonstrated the unrest in England but even more so, they ultimately established the English Monarch’s power to unify and settle their kingdom.

    • J.P. Cheng says:

      Good point. I would take this argument a bit further and specifically discuss how the rebellions influenced the future policies of each monarch. You do a good job with how these rebellions started, though. You may also consider putting these rebellions in the larger context of the respective monarch’s reigns, and the similar and different ways in which they responded to these rebellions.

  20. J.P. Cheng says:

    While Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth I all had to deal with religious strife and financial turmoil, their response to these problems was very different. Firstly, both Edward and Elizabeth were Protestants who acceded to a religiously conservative situation. However, while Edward, adopted strongly Protestant policies through his ministers (Somerset, Norfolk, and Cranmer), like the 1552 BCP, Elizabeth took a moderately Protestant stance which did not insist on punishing Papists. Mary, on the other hand, adopted harsh Papist policies to reverse the Protestant policies of her half-brother. Secondly, Edward and Mary both inherited depleted royal coffers and a debased currency at the start of their reigns. Somerset, Edward’s regent from 1547-49, greatly exacerbated this problem by minting cheap copper coins. Northumberland, regent from 1549-53, made one issue of fine silver coinage, but did not take the debased ones out of issue. However, Mary finally did the latter 1557, which allowed Elizabeth to inherit a favourable financial situation. Thus, while these monarchs had to deal with similar situations upon accession, their policies differed greatly.

    • Skousen says:

      Very good points — the financial determinism here does wonders for those Marxists historians that find all of history to be defined through one’s relationship to the means of production and economic systems of redistribution. For those who don’t know, could you explain the 1552 BCP?

  21. Jenny Vogel says:

    A common thread that links these three siblings, is the simple fact that none of the three died with a child to take their place on the throne. This issue of succession meant that the next monarch’s succession to the throne was not as simple had Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth produced heirs themselves. Although Mary felt God would provide her an heir to keep England Catholic after her death, she ran out of time, and was neither able to produce an heir or decide who should follow in her footsteps. Edward and Elizabeth, however, were able to name their successors – with quite opposite degrees of success. Edward named his cousin Jane Grey as successor to the crown in his will, which was definitely orchestrated by his chief minister, and Jane Grey’s father-in-law, Northumberland. In Edward and Northumberland’s attempt to keep a Catholic off the throne, they were not very successful. Although Mary was Catholic, and technically a bastard at this point in time, most in England felt she had stronger ties to the throne as the daughter of Henry VIII than Jane Grey did as a distant niece, bastard or not. Mary was able to seize the crown from Jane, and ascend the throne with the support of the people (including the many Catholic rebels in East Anglia) and the Succession Act passed by her father four years before his death. Elizabeth never openly named an heir in James V of Scotland, but her adviser Cecil took to sending coded messages to James, advising him on how to best gain Elizabeth’s favor. James had a strong claim to the throne through both of his parents, as both were grandchildren of Henry VII. Through correspondence between Elizabeth and James, it became apparent she favored him to succeed her upon her death, and her council took action to proclaim him as king hours after her death. Each of these three siblings left some unsteadiness after their deaths, in varying degrees, due to the fact that there was not a primogenitive heir to succeed their place on the throne.

    • Maddie Hagerman says:

      This is a really interesting argument–and one I didn’t think of. I especially liked how you tied the religious imperatives of all three monarchs in picking their successors since none of them had children to groom as their heirs.

  22. John Nielsen says:

    With the short rules of Edward and Mary juxtaposed against the long tenure of Elizabeth it can be difficult to make sweeping comparisons on the monarchies of the three rulers. This is mainly due to the fact that Edward and Mary never enjoyed the time that Elizabeth did to carry out their policy, institute change, or fix problems. However, several parallels can be drawn, and I will try to stay away from religion as that seems to be the most pervasive answer.

    The first theme that is shared by all three monarchs was the that of economic instability and financial difficulty. This time period is characterized by inflation in prices and the debasement of coinage, the failure of harvests, the exploding population, and the growth of vagrancy. This era is often referred to as the Mid Tudor Crisis, and appropriately so, as these were issues common to many, including the Crown. None of these rulers inherited the wealth that Henry VIII had been granted, and most struggled with finance throughout the duration of their reign, a fact that became apparent to James I when he took the throne from Scotland. Many of these issues were beyond the control of the monarchs, as population growth (largely due to lack of major diseases) and poor harvests were beyond the power of legislation. These in turn helped to contribute to increasing prices, as did the influx of Spanish silver and the continuous debasement of coinage.

    Another theme common among all monarchs was the lack of a clear heir to the throne on their death. Edward was sickly for most of his life, dying at a young age before he could have produced a claimant to the throne. Thus at his death, the two main claimants were his bastardized sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Fearing that Mary would undo all of his Protestant reforms, he attempted to divert the succession to Jane Grey. This worked for all of several days before England rose up, albeit somewhat reluctantly, to place the true heiress on the throne. Mary, being quite old at the time of her placement on the throne, then strove to solidify her place by having children. She married Philip II of Spain and quickly consummated the match. She fooled herself into thinking that she was pregnant several times, but ultimately was unable to do so, and Phillip soon left for Spain, making the prospect of a pregnancy increasingly slim. It soon became apparent that there was no heir coming, so Mary resorted to more drastic policy to try to eradicate Protestant ideas before her half sister Elizabeth reverted the country back to Protestantism. She even went as far as looking for evidence to have Elizabeth killed while she was under house arrest, but ultimately she couldn’t come up with anything concrete. Thus the Crown was once more to be passed on to a child of Henry VIII. However, on Mary’s death the issue of succession arose again, as both Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots had claims to the throne. Elizabeth won the throne and during her reign Mary Queen of Scots was eventually eliminated for attempting to take the throne for herself and Catholicism. Elizabeth came to the throne at the young age of 25, and could have easily had children, yet she never married and would die as England’s “Virgin Queen”. The only “child” she had was James of Scotland, and this was merely a maternal relationship based on advise. Elizabeth had many attractions but no lovers, a fact that bothered Parliament, as she refused even to name a successor until her death, which when coupled with the lack of children set the table for controversy and unrest. Thus, yet again the succession could have been up for debate, as had been the case with all of Henry VIII’s children. However, it is noteworthy that this time the successor was the choice of the monarch, in this case James, whereas with Edward and Mary the successor had been an rival of the monarch.

  23. Maddie Hagerman says:

    One of the main parallels I noticed between the reigns of Elizabeth, Mary, and Edward was that the all had to deal with the financial and religious turmoil left over from their father’s reign. Henry’s reoccurring wars with France and Spain drained the royal treasury. Though Henry broke from Rome, he burned Catholics and Protestants as heretics throughout his life. None of them succeeded financially. Elizabeth’s reign was prosperous until she entangled England into war with Hapsburg powerhouses, France and Spain. Religiously, Elizabeth was the most successful. The religious policies of Edward’s protectors, Seymour’s moderate and Northumberland’s strict Protestantism, alienated a mostly Catholic population. Mary’s re-institution of Catholicism confused the English population. Elizabeth represented a hope for Protestants, but she did not deliver. Her tolerant policies of Catholics and middle-of-the-road Protestantism served an apathetic England better.

    • John Nielsen says:

      I feel that the basis of Elizabeth’s success in comparison to her half siblings is largely due to the length of her reign. Edward had six years as a young adult to attempt to bring about change, but due to his age, sickness, and council he was unable to enact much progression in either path, at least none that would stick. The same could be said of Mary’s five years. It is hard to say she wouldn’t have been successful if given more time, as her radical approach was more a function of her realizing she had such little time to reform as she saw fit, causing her to over react. If Mary had ruled for a few more decades it is hard to be sure whether Protestantism would have truly survived, or for that matter how religion in England would have developed had Edward not been so sickly.

      • Joshua Torres says:

        I agree with this assessment. We do not always think of the time difference between reigns and the potential possibilities lost because of the death of a monarch. Elizabeth’s reign does seem more substantial because she was, out of the three, the most stable. Elizabeth did not suffer from phantom pregnancies or fatal illnesses during the prime of her reign that allowed her rule to be firm. Elizabeth also ruled by herself, while Edward had his advisors, Summerset and Northumberland and Mary had King Philip of Spain.

  24. :Lindsey Mullarkey says:

    I think the biggest parallel between all three reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth was their determination to solidify a single national religion within England. As the first to succeed Henry, Edward was determined to have Protestantism succeed within England. He maintained many of Henry’s advisers on his council and implemented many steps, such as adopting the Protestant prayerbook written in English, to ensure the presence of Protestantism within England.

    Mary, on the other hand, was the daughter of a devout Spanish Catholic. Because Henry left the Catholic Church to divorce her mother and bastardize her in the process, when Mary took the throne in 1553, she made it her mission to eradicate Protestantism and restore Catholicism to England. In her short five year reign, she managed to burn over 200 heretics at the stake. When she died in 1558, Catholicism was nowhere near fully reinstated, and England was in a state of religious turmoil. Elizabeth, too, was determined to unify England religiously, but she took a more moderate approach. Elizabeth achieved a permanent reinstatement of Protestantism by adopting many vestiges of the Catholic Church into the Church of England and by being much more tolerant of “heretics” than her sister, Mary.

  25. Rebecca Bauer says:

    Elizabeth I, Mary I, and Edward VI all faced very similar problems and decisions throughout their reigns. All three of them dealt with religious divides in the aftermath of the Reformation on the continent as well as the Henrician Reformation in England. While Edward VI pursued Protestant policy, Mary I was staunchly Catholic, and Elizabeth I did her best to stay moderate with Protestant leanings, all three of them had to decide how to handle religious differences and how to prevent religious extremes from rebelling against the monarchy. All three monarchs dealt with religion-based rebellion. Edward faced the Western Rebellion from Catholics in Cornwall, Mary dealt with Wyatt’s rebellion in which Protestants attempted to depose Mary and put Elizabeth on the throne, and Elizabeth was forced to have Mary Stuart executed for plots to assassinate her and make England a Catholic country again. Each monarch dealt with these religious issues differently and according to their own personal beliefs. In many ways this shows the confusion and uncertainty among the English during the 1500s.

    • Thomas Schmidt says:

      I proposed a very similar answer. I think the religious rebellions are quite important when considering the rule of the three monarchs, but also I think it is equally important to note the changes in policy of the monarchs aside from their initial reactions. These rebellions helped to drive laws on religion into formation and revision (perhaps not immediately), and affected the monarchs’ stability and stance.

  26. Maggie Rasmussen says:

    A main concern for Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I was religion, which was first tackled by their father Henry VIII. Each of the three monarchs was trying to alter the religious provisions set by the previous monarch. Edward was largely influenced by Somerset and Northumberland, his closest advisers, as he was a very young king. These men and their supporters were Protestant and pushed for further reforms in the Church of England that Henry formed, creating a more radically Protestant church. Mary sought to undo everything her brother had done within the church. She married the very Catholic King Phillip II of Spain, and eventually reconnected with the pope and the Catholic faith. Elizabeth shied away from both of her siblings’ radical ways and took a more moderate ground, so she wouldn’t upset members of either religious faction. In response to their religious policies, they all faced rebellions from the people. Edward encountered the Prayer Book Uprising and Kett’s rebellion, Mary faced Wyatt’s Rebellion, and Elizabeth had to deal the Northern Uprising. They all wanted to create a lasting religious system that would be universal among the English people. Setting a stable religion was also important, as all of them died childless, leaving no one to continue their legacy.
    The matter of succession was also an area of concern for these three monarchs. Edward and his faction did not want the crown to go to his devout Catholic half-sister Mary, who would surely destroy their Protestant Church. Mary’s desire for a successor was much more complicated. She so badly wanted a Catholic heir with Phillip, that she appeared to have tricked her self into thinking she was pregnant on more than one occasion. Elizabeth was less focused on bearing a successor, while her advisors remained very concerned. They often pushed her to marry, but she never wanted to subordinate herself to a husband. She kept her thoughts on who she wanted to succeed her to herself so she wouldn’t upset anyone who disagreed. All three of Henry’s children faced great uncertainty within their reigns.

  27. Brady Andersen says:

    In all three of the reigns of Henry VIII’s children, religion was the most prominent issue, and by extension the role and scope of government was under question as well. Edward IV and Elizabeth I were both protestant, but the ways in which they enacted their protestant policies was very different. Elizabeth, while protestant, embodied a more middle-road approach compared to Edward and Mary, known for a willingness to compromise with Catholics at least early in her reign. Mary I provided the Catholic contrast to the other two monarchs, showcasing the opposite end of the spectrum from Edward IV’s years.
    In addition to religion, each of these three monarchs had to deal with very serious economic problems and find a way to steer England away from financial collapse. Edward and Mary primarily dealt with the fallout of the debasement of the coinage under Henry VIII as well as Somerset. In Elizabeth’s reign, she profited from the policies started under Mary in regards to debasement but in the long-term was constantly fighting for taxes to fund the country, especially the necessary wars near the end of her reign. Elizabeth didn’t like to spend much and advocated a fiscally conservative policy, but she still constantly faced grave economic issues.

  28. Tasia Williams says:

    Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth all had to face people who disagreed with their religious views. People were becoming more educated and developed opinions on the catholic and protestant faiths. When Henry VIII created the church of England, he faced little opposition from English people because few saw an actual change in the church that they interacted with. Edward’s reign saw the Prayer Book Uprising, which was a result of Edward’s prayer book. People in Cornwall disliked an intrusion on their familiar church services. Mary’s reign had Wyatt’s rebellion. People in England were gradually becoming more protestant and wanted to replace Mary with the protestant Elizabeth. Elizabeth had to face the Northern rebellion. Nobles in the north conspired with Mary, Queen of Scots, to kill Elizabeth. All three monarchs faced the though challenge of ruling a country that was divided between Catholics and Protestants; no ruler could have pleased them all.

  29. Mario Magnarini says:

    One parallel between the reigns of three monarchs was the resistances and rebellions that each faced. Edward dealt with the Western Rebellion and the Norfolk Rebellion, Mary dealt with the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt and Elizabeth dealt with Catholic rebellion in 1569 to try and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Each of the monarchs in turn put down the rebellions.

    Another parallel during their reigns were unforeseen problems that arose outside of the monarch’s control. The Sweating Sickness became prevalent during Edward’s reign, bad harvests and influenza claimed almost 10% of the population during the end of Mary’s reign and beginning of Elizabeth’s. These disasters affected the monarch’s differently. The poor harvests and influenza ended Mary’s reign by killing her and had that not happened, who knows how the counter reformation and other goals of Mary’s would have turned out. Elizabeth may not have ever became a monarch had Mary survived.

  30. Thomas Schmidt says:

    Henry VIII’s reformation of the English Church left a great amount of turmoil in its wake following his reign. This societal turmoil can be observed in Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward VI’s reigns. This common theme of instability due to England’s break with Rome led all three leaders to introduce and refine laws in an attempt to once again introduce some form of stability. The laws on religion introduced by Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward VI each found their own resistances. The prolonged instability throughout the reigns of Elizabeth, Mary, and Edward VI can be attributed in part due to Mary’s move back to a Catholic Church for England (despite the progress made by Edward VII for Protestantism). The constant modification of an institution that is so involved in the lives of the individuals in England certainly aided the prolonged instability of England during their reigns. Each of these rulers were met with a common problem, the problem of religious stability in Henry VIII’s wake, but, through attempting to reconcile this instability through their own means, prolonged the instability.

  31. Troy Migut says:

    The underlying cause for nearly all of the rebellions, wars, and usurpation attempts throughout Mary, Edward, and Elizabeth’s reign could be directly attributed to religious discontent. Edward, through Somerset, had to quell the Norfolk and Ket Rebellions caused by the Act of Uniformity in 1549. This, due to Somerset’s rule, promoted the retention of old ceremony but instilled mildly innovative Protestant doctrine. Mary’s relinquishing of the more tolerating religious legislation led to staunch Catholic following and the burning of Protestant “heretics”. This action resulted in the formation of the Wyatt Rebellion that was put down but, it displayed the divide in the church. Lastly, Elizabeth’s middle stance in the Church would have possibly led to a peaceful reign but, unfortunately, the attempt to place Mary on the throne for Catholic gains was a catalyst in her dealings with the Church.

    • Skousen says:

      An excellent final post that highlights the Catholic threat as the common theme of the middle Tudors. In the next century, we will turn to other forms of Protestants, and the effect becomes the same.

  32. Jocelyn Piller says:

    There are many parallels with each of these rulers as well as many…unparallels. Though the “unparallels” mostly lie between Edward and Mary vs. Elizabeth. Short reigns versus Elizabeth’s long one, liked/disliked advisers versus Elizabeth’s tendency to ignore hers, and changing dominant religion versus Elizabeth’s compromise.

    However there are many things about each reign that are similar, like each reign had to deal with economic problems and rebellions.

    Somerset, Edward VI advisor, decided that because of the war with the Scots and the need for money to fund the war, the best way to go about this was debasement of coins. This however led to a recession and inflation. Mary I had inflation problems of her own but these were caused by bad harvests. When people sold their goods it was at a higher price due to needing to make money for other goods that were also at higher prices. It was an inflation spiral that was hard to get out of in itself and the debased coins still in circulation didn’t help either. Finally even though Elizabeth was able to get the debase coins out of circulation, she still had to fund expensive wars so she was unable to get the monarchy out of debt.
    Rebellions were another commonality of these three rulers, though they are much more prominent in Edward and Mary’s reign (probably due to the fact their reign were shorter than Elizabeth’s). Edward had to put down the “Prayer Book” rebellion and Kett’s rebellion, both of which had to do with religion, poor economics and Somerset. Mary had to put down Wyatt’s rebellion in which the people were against her marriage to Phillip and against Spain; wanted to get Mary out and put Elizabeth in. Finally, Elizabeth’s main rebellion to put down was that of the Irish who wanted to get rid of English rule and Protestantism; Ireland was eventually conquered in 1603.

  33. Joshua Torres says:

    A parallel that existed between Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I was religion. Religious controversy existed and flourished under all three Tudors. Edward took his father’s religion, one that he received tutoring on since childhood and added his own Book of Prayers and the Act of Uniformity of 1549. Mary totally contradicted his reign with her devotion to Catholicism and more importantly an allegiance to the Pope. Mary’s reattachment to Rome and the installment of the Heresy Acts of 1554 embodied her return to Catholicism. Elizabeth can be viewed as the middle road between the two extremes. Elizabeth did turn the country back to Protestantism, but it was a milder version of the religion that still held onto some Catholic images, such as the retaining of priestly vestments.
    A reason that I choose religion over other aspects is that the reign of Edward was primarily run by his advisors, Summerset and Northumberland. Because of this I feel that his reign didn’t have as much Tudor influence as that of aspiring nobles. This contrasted with the strong personalities of Mary and the cunning of Elizabeth.

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