James I Religion and Foreign Policy

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James I Religion and Foreign policy RT revision notes.

-Religious dissension was the basis of an event that confirmed and fueled James' paranoia: the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes and four other Catholic dissenters were caught attempting to blow up the House of Lords on a day in which the king was to open the session. The conspirators were executed, but a fresh wave of anti-Catholic sentiments washed across England. James also disliked the Puritans who became excessive in their demands on the king, resulting in the first wave of English immigrants to North America. James, however, did manage to commission an Authorized Version of the Bible, printed in English in 1611.

James was a foreigner in a strange country surrounded by opposing parties all wanting concessions from him. He was in a no win situation, which sadly at times his character and lack of common sense were to aggravate.

At the start of his reign he inherited a debt of around £400,000 from Elizabeth's wars with Spain. To have carried on the war would have crippled James' treasury. His only real option was to make peace with Spain in 1604. However, this annoyed war-hungry men like Raleigh (he hated the Spanish), offended national pride against Spain, and sent a message to Puritans that he was sympathizing with the Catholics. The Puritans wanted an aggressive anti-Catholic policy from James. James was a peace lover and his dream was for a peaceful, united Europe, irrespective of religion. He was going to end forever the religious dissensions of Europe. This was a very tall order as the hate felt between many Catholics and Protestants was similar to that displayed by the sectarian violence in modern day Ireland. Years of persecution by each other would not be forgotten overnight. His motto was "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men" James' plan was as follows and was similar to the one carried out by Henry VII, who married off his children to promote peace in Europe. Like Henry,...
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