Absolutism and Parliamentary Rule in England

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During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, England had many rulers who held varying religious beliefs. These competing religious ideologies tore England apart. Issues such as the divine right of kings, the conflict between the English Monarchy, and the Protestant Reformation would all lead England to rule with a parliamentary monarchy. The Protestant Reformation (1517-1618) was a great religious movement that began in Germany and spread through Northern Europe. At this time, the medieval Roman Catholic Church was under scrutiny for abusing their power. “People everywhere could be heard complaining about the clergy’s exemption from taxation and, in many instances, also from the civil criminal code. People also grumbled about having to support church offices whose occupants actually lived and worked elsewhere. Townspeople also expressed concern that the church had too much influence over education and culture (Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment, & Turner, 2009, p. 510).” The Protestant Reformation eventually broke the religious unity of Europe and began to divide Roman Catholics. Two of the greatest monarchs were the Tudors (1485-1603) and the Stuarts (1603-1714). The Tudor period saw the confusion and upheaval of two changes of official religion, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The Stuart dynasty was the result of the end of the Tudor monarchs with no heirs to the throne. The first Tudor king was Henry VII (1457-1509). “Henry shrewdly construed legal precedents to the advantage of the crown, using English law to further his own ends. He confiscated so much noble land and so many fortunes that he governed without dependence on Parliament for royal funds, always a cornerstone of strong monarchy (Craig, et al., p. 486).” When he died, the monarch’s finances were in a healthy surplus and the realm itself stable. King Henry VIII (1491-1547) reigned from 1509-1547. The English Reformation began during the reign of King Henry VIII. It began because King Henry VIII...
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