This essay centres on a significant decision, which is Elizabeth’s choice to institute a protestant religious settlement. Different factors that lead to the decision will be discussed, and the positive and negative outcomes of this settlement of 1559 to 1564.
Firstly, the context of Elizabeth’s religious environment has to be noted. After all, she did succeed a highly unpopular, rigidly catholic queen, Mary Tudor. Nevertheless, even before Elizabeth’s succession in 1559, she had been constantly given the idea of Catholicism being bad, and foreign, and in turn Protestantism being good, and English. This was taught in the protestant education she received, and shown in action by Mary’s suspicious love of her Spanish heritage, and her cruel, bloody intolerance of Protestants. When Elizabeth finally did become queen, England was sore from the catholic whip and was yearning for a patriotism, which Mary had never shown. Spain remained allied with England for some time, but it was a weakening relationship and they were a growing threat. All of the Marian exiles returned to England from hiding and asserted themselves to the queen, being proud, protestant, English and ready to serve her. With this context, although many were cautious of yet another female monarch, the soil was fertile for a religious settlement to be planted.
Other factors also ripened the timing for the settlement. For example, at sight of the new non-catholic queen, many of the catholic bishops resigned. The peace with France, which was agreed in March of 1559 also helped, with more attention able to be focused on the homeland, and a greater sense of security able to be felt. A dominant factor however, was the overall wish of the general public for a firm decision on religion, so England’s people could finally be united. The House of Commons was on the whole sympathetic to the idea of a protestant settlement, but the queen was conscious that a compromise was necessary. She therefore implemented...
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