How Far Do You Agree That Parliament Mostly Cooperated with Elizabeth I?

Topics: Parliament of the United Kingdom, House of Lords, United Kingdom Pages: 7 (2650 words) Published: January 28, 2013
HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE THAT PARLIAMENT MOSTLY COOPERATED WITH ELIZABETH I? (Explain your answer.) During her time as the queen of England, Elizabeth Tudor had to make many decisions on matters both political and personal, such as new religious policies, whether she would marry, whom she would name her heir and also how much power and privilege to delegate to her parliament. The House of Commons and the House of Lords made up Elizabeth’s parliament; the Commons consisted of citizens elected by their constituency, and in the Lords there were around 100 hereditary peers and bishops. At the time, the reigning monarch got a lot more input as to what laws could be passed, and so when decisions had to be made Elizabeth was often very involved in the process. However, this occasionally led to disputes between her and her parliament, as they did not always agree on every matter. Overall, most of the disputes between the queen and her parliament were easily solved – mostly, when such an issue occurred, the queen exercised her prerogative powers to overrule the parliament, and through various methods such as banning topics of discussion, arresting any opposition and occasionally using her power of veto, she prevented any major parliamentary disagreements throughout her reign. In reality, she exercised her power of veto only a few times, and this shows that for the most part she managed to get her parliament to cooperate with her during her reign. When Elizabeth first came to the throne in 1558 she was faced with the difficult task of establishing a new common religion in a country fraught with religious tensions. The first parliament called under Elizabeth convened on 25th January 1559, and its chief business was forming the new religious settlement. The general hatred of the burning of heretics under Mary, the rapid return of exiled Protestants to England, and Elizabeth’s known Protestant sympathies were all factors that led to a distinctly Protestant House of Commons. The Reformation Bill that was drafted by the Commons was recognisably biased against Catholicism; it defined the Communion in terms of Protestant theology (disagreeing with the transubstantiation of the Catholic mass), ordered that ministers should not wear vestments, banned images from churches and included abuse of the Pope in the litany. Naturally, this was met with much resistance in the House of Lords, as there were many Marian Catholic bishops who opposed the anti-Catholic ideas. The Lords reworked much of the Bill, bringing back allowances for the belief in transubstantiation, the wearing of vestments and also refusing to give Elizabeth the title of Supreme Head of the Church. Elizabeth managed to move past the issues between the Commons and the Lords, opting to let the Catholic Lords keep many of their amendments in the Bill. Although she was known to be Protestant, she felt less strongly than many of the members in the Commons that Catholicism should be dealt with harshly. The historian Sir John Neale believes that a so-called ‘Puritan Choir’ worked to make the reforms more radically Protestant, but MPs forced Elizabeth to accept a more radical religious settlement than she wanted. However this is generally disputed nowadays; the queen’s priority was finding a compromise between the two factions and establishing a stable religion in her country. She knew she would have to compromise with the Catholic bishops and take some of their demands into account in order to avoid angering the Catholics throughout the country. However, despite her lenience towards Catholicism in the Bill, she went on to replace many of the Catholic bishops in the House of Lords, showing them that although she let them amend the settlement, she had the ultimate power and could use it to overcome any opposition. The next time Elizabeth called parliament to session, several Privy councillors and bishops (led by Thomas Norton) tried to bring about further reforms in the Church. However, these...
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