Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents Illustrative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I

Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents Illustrative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I

Read FREE!

Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents Illustrative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I

Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents Illustrative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Tudor monarchy attained its zenith in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Henry VIII was more tyrannical than his younger daughter, but it does not follow that he was more firmly seated on the throne. Under him, the abuses of arbitrary power were doubtless more flagrant, and the direct influence of the royal will more obvious, while his statutory powers were in some respects larger and his financial resources, at least after the submission of the clergy and the dissolution of the monasteries, more abundant. But the Tudor monarchy, unlike most other despotisms, did not depend on gold or force, on the possession of vast estates, unlimited taxation or a standing army. It rested on the willing support of the nation at large, a support due to the deeply-rooted conviction that a strong executive was necessary to the national unity, and that, in the face of the dangers which threatened the country both at home and abroad, the sovereign must be allowed a free hand. It was this conviction, instinctively felt rather than definitely realized, which enabled Henry VIII not only to crush open rebellion but to punish the slightest signs of opposition to his will, to regulate the consciences of his subjects, and to extend the legal conception of treason to limits hitherto unknown. It was this which rendered . . .

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