28 September 2011
AP European History
Sir Thomas More
Thomas More was an influential politician and a defender of the Roman Catholic Church. He was a friend of Erasmus and of King Henry VIII, and a very religious man, once seriously considering joining a monastery. However, he eventually decided on law school. He married Jane Colt, fathering four children with her: Margaret, Elizabeth, Cicely, and John. Then, Jane died and he re-married, this time to Alice More. Although he did not actually have kids with her, he loved her daughter as his own, and later becoming the guardian of a young lady named Anne Cresacre, bringing the number of kids in his household to six. Although one of his other friends called his wife a “hook-nosed harpy”, Erasmus insisted that Thomas was happy in his marriage.
More believed that educating women was just as important as educating men, and he served as the tutor to his own daughters, giving them the same classical education as his son John. Margaret, in particular, mastered Greek and Latin, once having a letter of hers shown to the Bishop of Exeter, who could not help but admire it for its correct Latin spelling and grammar. Because he was so moved by the letter, he sent her a gold coin from Portugal as a gift. They usually didn’t do that in those days.
At the start of his political career, More was one of the two undersheriffs in London. Later he became Master of Requests, and then a Privy Councilor, serving under the king. More was knighted after he went on a diplomatic visit to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. After becoming the secretary and personal adviser to King Henry VIII, Thomas began to welcome foreign diplomats, draft official documents, and serve as the link between Henry and the Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey. Two years after he was knighted, he was elected as Speaker of the House of Commons and later as High Steward for Oxford and Cambridge universities. Another two years...