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History project: the success of Wosley's domestic policies.

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Tobias Milligan 米大龍

on 21 October 2012

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Transcript of History project: the success of Wosley's domestic policies.

History project: Domestic success? Enclosure - The ignored illegal practice of enclosure, which involved the fencing-off of common land for sheep rearing, was a profitable method of agriculture that Wolsey clamped down on with an iron fist during his 'rule'. In 1517, aware of the impacts of enclosure on rural depopulation and poverty Wolsey began his assault on the illegal and immoral practice, with the beginning of a national inquiry. As part of the inquiry, many were brought to court and ordered to rebuild buildings and restore land for arable purposes.
Wolsey's determination to end the practice of disclosure and bring those in power to justice was truly commendable. However, in reality the long-term impact of Wolsey's attempts to end enclosure were not as commendable: enclosure certainly continued and rural poverty continued to rise. This represented a failure in domestic policy, and proved that Wolsey did not hold complete power over the nobility. Justice - Upon Wolsey's appointment as Lord Chancellor in 1515, the Cardinal became a prominent and frequent member of both the Star Chamber and Court of Chancery. Through his positions on such councils, Wolsey progressed fair justice to a huge extent, and this was seen as a key success. Presiding over many cases brought forward himself, Wolsey ensured that anyone, regardless of class, was able to bring a case before the court. Indeed, under Henry VII, the Star Chamber only held 12 cases a year, whereas under Wolsey, it held ten times that.
As a key proponent of civil law, which was seen as more progressive in terms of its outlook, opposed to common law, Wolsey was deemed a man who wanted to see genuine, impartial justice.
Although Wolsey did bring on justice a considerable way, it must be noted that such achievements in justice did not stand following his demise, and Wolsey would often use the courts to pursue his own agenda.
In summary, despite some aspects of Wolsey's justice policy being progressive, his justice reforms failed to last and Wolsey was often one to use the legal system to his advantage, the case of Sir Amyas, for example. Furthermore, his justice policy further resentment towards him from the nobility. Overall, such policies were no especially successful, given their inability to last. Exactly how successful were Cardinal Wolsey's domestic policies? For the from the 1515 until 1529, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a member of the gentry, was the single most powerful political figure in England. With this gargantuan power came control over both domestic and foreign policy.
During his time, Wolsey had a profound affect on domestic policy, most notably, however, in five areas: justice, enclosure, finances, the Amicable Grant and parliament. Finances - By far, the most significant advancement made was Wolsey's replacement of the 'fifteenths and tenths' taxation method with the far more progressive 'subsidy'. Abolishing the flat tax rate that was profoundly unfair, the 'subsidy' was a flexible alternative that was based upon ability to pay. Furthermore, the 'subsidy' that worked alongside the 'fifteenths and tenths' policy generated significantly higher revenue for the government.
However, the finances of the kingdom proved a significant point of contention between Wolsey and parliament. In 1523, Wolsey demanded a huge sum of money from parliament and was harsh in his demands, and thus he was granted a significantly lower amount. Also, the new fiscal policy was not met with grace from the nobility, who resented paying higher amounts, and were very late in paying. As a result, Wolsey often made assumptions on the financial state of the kingdom.
In summary, the financial policy deployed by Wolsey was progressive and certainly did represent a success in domestic policy for revenues were increased and the system was fairer. The Amicable Grant, 1525 Following the annihilation of the French at the Battle of Pavia earlier that year, and with King Francis captured, Henry and Wolsey saw the opportunity to act. However, there was no money to pay for such an invasion, and thus Wolsey resorted to pushing through a non-parliamentary subsidy called the Amicable Grant, which would tax both the clergy and laity on a sliding scale. However, this additional tax was met with widespread discontent, especially given that the Grant followed forced loans and a parliamentary taxes over previous years. Opposition also stemmed from the public's regard of such invasions as a complete waste of money; an opinion which is understandable, especially given the high cost and limited benefit of such invasions.
The discontent came to a head in East Anglia with violence and marches. As a direct result of the discontent, the Amicable Grant was in May 1525 abandoned - representing a failure in policy.
In summary, the Amicable Grant is an example of failure in Wolsey's domestic policy for it failed to achieve its aims, was deeply unpopular and was ultimately abandoned. Relations with parliament - Called only twice during the period of Wolsey's ascendency, parliament was only called when Wolsey needed money, and thus his relationship with the body was a little frosty. Lacking Wolsey's all-important trust, the parliament was primarily comprised of members of the nobility who despised Wolsey, and thus he often wouldn't get what he wanted, the instance in 1523 when he demanded over 1 million £, for example. However, in the grand scheme of things, relations with parliament were not pivotal for it was by no means the heart of Tudor government.
In summary, Wolsey's domination of parliament and reduction of its influence represented a success in domestic policy for Wolsey, because he was allowed (almost) to implement the policies that he wished to, without parliamentary opposition - something that he desired. The end.

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