Using These four passages and our on knowledge, assess the view that the Roman Catholics were a serious threat to Elizabeth I and the church she had established.
Elizabeth had inherited the throne of England in 1558 from a Catholic queen Mary who had attempted to re-convert England back to Catholicism and to allow the country to take part in the Catholic reformation of Europe. The accession of Elizabeth was met with anxiety and tension as to discover what she was to do in response to religion and how the Catholic powers of Europe as well as the Catholics within England at the time would treat any changes. The immediate rise to power was met with little hostility as Elizabeth had made very cautious changes to start with as she thought it wise not to provoke hostility from abroad considering the position of England at the time as a small, weak protestant nation. The start of Elizabeth’s reign was fairly peaceful however tensions rose and a Catholic threat seemed more imminent as her reign drew to the end.
In order to find out if the Roman Catholics were in fact a serious threat to Elizabeth and her church the essay must be split down into two main sub-sections, one to discover whether Catholics were a threat to Elizabeth herself and the other to decide whether they were a prominent threat to Elizabeth’s Church, however there is a very fine difference between the two as the majority of the rule of Elizabeth and her threats such as that from Spain were dominated by religion.
The four sources in question all debate the extent of the opposition that the Roman Catholics actually provided against Elizabeth I. The majority of the sources go into more detail about the strength of the opposition to the church rather than that to Elizabeth herself, however by looking at the sources and by comparing them to other information that I have studied I have been able to gain a good understanding of the opposition that the Elizabeth faced throughout her reign. Source B argues provides the most informative account of direct opposition to Elizabeth based upon political issues rather than issues relating directly to the church. The source depicts how Elizabeth had managed to rouse opposition from Ireland, Scotland and perhaps more importantly; Spain, France and the Pope. The source states that several conspirators within the early 1580’s had hoped to ensure ‘a religious war against England and the Liberation of Mary, Queen of Scots.’. This quote alone shows how there was active opposition aimed directly at Elizabeth in an attempt to dethrone her. It is undeniable that amongst the conspirators were a number of English Catholics including Francis Throckmorton who was named in interpretation B. The fact that there was opposition from within England by English Catholics is supported by all the other sources and so this shows that political opposition was not completely derived from abroad. Interpretation B focuses its attention on the plots that were aroused due to Mary Queen of Scots. The example that the passage gives can be used as evidence to suggest that the threat of Catholicism was still not that severe even though there were plots as Throckmorton was betrayed which suggests that people still remain loyal to Queen and country despite their religion. In 1586 a similar thing happened when letters were intercepted by a catholic double agent which helped to prevent the death of Elizabeth. This shows that Elizabeth was safe enough within England and commanded enough support to resist Catholic plots against her. Interpretation D however disagrees with the fact that Elizabeth was doing enough to deter Catholic uprising and support by stating that the government failed to ‘hinder the efforts of the priests’ although the information in the source is referring to events that occurred in 1582 and in 1585 new acts came to be against Jesuits and seminary priests. This act was introduced in order to counter the increasing amount of recusants and...
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