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How Far did Henry VIII Achieve His Aims 1509 – 1514? Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

From 1509 to 1514 Henry had some success in achieving his aims, which were to have glory in war with France, to appear different from his father whilst keeping his good ideas, to successfully manage matters of government and finance and to deal successfully with nobles and the Yorkist threats. He did, however, not totally succeed them, as there were failures in each aim. For his first aim, which was to have glory in war with France, he was victorious in his battles, but he also had a number of setbacks, which resulted in his victory not being as impressive as the one of his ancestor, Henry V.

In appearing different to his father whilst keeping his good ideas, Henry VIII achieved this, possibly the most successfully, as he was different to Henry VII in nearly all matters including foreign policy and his relation to the nobles, whilst keeping good ideas, for example bonds. With government and finance, he did succeed partly, in that he found the competent Wolsey to do his day to day work, but Henry VIII also had problems of complaints and record keeping. Henry also had problems with Nobles and the Yorkist threat, as Oyer et Terminer failed because a large number of the complaints were petty. There were also a number of successes in this aim, as Henry managed to get the majority of the nobles on his side but arresting Epsom and Dudley, and letting the nobles into his private life more, which made them feel more important and involved with the king’s affairs.

From the start of his reign in 1509 up until 1514, Henry had succeeded in gaining glory in battle with France, but not fully to the extent he wanted. Henry VIII sought similar victory to that of his forefather, Henry V, who had great victory in defeating France almost one hundred years previously. Henry VIII’s attempts were also overall victorious as he secured an alliance with Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope forming ‘The Holy League’ against France. This meant that Henry had lots of allies to help him invade France, and gave him a positive start. On June 1513 Henry invaded northern Calais, and succeeded in his attempts, causing the French troupes to retreat, which then caused the battle to be named, “The battle of the Spurs,” as the spurs of the horsemen flashed in the sun, as they galloped away from the English troupes.

This victory won Henry Tornai and Therouanne, and the marriage of his sister, Mary, to King Louis VII in the Treaty of Germaine. This success meant that Henry had established himself as a successful warrior with the rest of Europe, as well as showing he was different from his father, who would never have entered into the war. This also meant that he had achieved his aims, to a certain extent. However, there were many failures which compromised whether, overall, his aim was successful. One main failure was that Henry had tried to invade France a year before, in 1512, but his army had embarrassingly failed due to the distractions of drink and women, and then contracted dysentery. This would have been an embarrassing setback for Henry, as it delayed his victory and made his army a laughing stock amongst the French. Another reason why this aim wasn’t completely successful, was that after the Battle of the Spurs, Henry tried to go to war again, however Spain and the Holy Roman Empire had recently made peace with Spain, as Henry had already spent a million pounds on the wars, he was persuaded out of it, by Wolsey. This meant that Henry had to settle for the relatively minor victory, compared to Henry V’s. Therefore Henry VIII did achieve glory in war with France, but not to the extent he intended, as his first attempt was unsuccessful, and he couldn’t continue the war due to lack of support, and over expenditure.

In matters of government and finance Henry partially succeeded in completing his aim, by using Thomas Wolsey, to handle his day to day affairs, but Henry also received a number of complaints and failures to record keeping systems. Although Henry wanted to be successful in this area, he hated having to deal with day to day jobs, like his father had done, and so instead appointed Wolsey, who was incredibly competent and hard working, and still

implemented Henry’s policies whenever the king wanted him to. This meant that Henry was still

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in control, whilst Wolsey successfully dealt with the mundane work, and therefore Henry was successful in this area. However, there were several problems which meant Henry’s aim wasn’t entirely successful. When Henry came to the throne he was under pressure to change the current system, which he did only slightly in 1510.

Henry also made sure that anyone administering crown lands were now subject to the normal processes of the exchequer, and chamber finance was put on statutory footing, but it was allowed to continue its work more or less as before. So, in these two issues Henry may have officially changed the law, but it did very little to change the previous methods of dealing with government and finance. There were also many complaints that the receivers of crown lands paid their dues into the chamber and were therefore bypassing the financial and legal procedures of the exchequer. Therefore, although Henry went some way to achieving his aims in government and finance buy using Wolsey to deal with the day to day work, whilst making sure his policies were implemented, Henry failed on many aspects because he received many complaints, and although he changed the laws slightly, the proceedings carried on more or less as they had previously done.

Henry VIII didn’t have to face the same problems as his father when it came to dealing with the Yorkist threat, as his throne was far more established, but any opposition Henry faced he dealt with successfully, and he also, overall dealt successfully with the nobles. Before Henry VIII came to throne he had spent a fair amount of his time, practising a safe version of jousting, as real jousting was deemed too dangerous for him to take part in. Some of the people he did this with happened to be Yorkists, so before Henry had even become king, he had already established a number of Yorkist friends, which would help him deal with the Yorkist threat. Henry VIII was also half Yorkist, due to his mother Elizabeth, which would have helped him gain more respect and loyalty from the Yorkists, than they had given his father. However, Just because Henry VIII had Yorkist friends, that doesn’t mean he was sympathetic with them. Henry executed the Duke of Suffolk, after Henry the VII has imprisoned him, possibly to show he would not tolerate rebellion against him. This was a successful step towards dealing with Yorkist threats, as he has proven he would be a strong king against them.

Henry was also successful in dealing with the nobles, from the outset. When Henry VII died, the news of his death was delayed long enough for Henry VIII to arrest Epsom and Dudley, two people who were hated amongst the nobles. Their execution would have put the new king in favour with the nobles, after their discontent towards Henry VII. To undo more of his father’s damage towards the nobles, Henry abolished the council learned in 1510. This would also have gained respect from the nobles, as the council learned was very unpopular.

Henry also allowed easy access to his presence through his court and the privy chamber, which meant nobles were more involved with Henry, which made them feel more important and influential, which would therefore put them on better terms with Henry. However, there were aspects of the way Henry handled the nobility which weren’t quite successful. In June 1509 commissions of Oyer et Terminer were established to hear complaints throughout the kingdom. This failed due to the fact most of the complaints were very petty, so it was dropped only a few months after its creation. Apart from this minor failure, the way Henry handled the nobles and the Yorkist threat was a success because he had already established Yorkist friends, he acted in a strong way to any outstanding Yorkist supporters, he executed Epsom and Dudley and destroyed the council learned and he allowed nobles to access his private life more easily.

Henry’s was also successful overall in his final aim which was to appear different from his father, whilst keeping his good ideas. Henry managed this in a number of ways. The first is in his foreign policy. Henry VII had avoided war at all cost because of its expense. Henry VIII had a very different attitude, as he was far more interested in proving himself a great warrior and gaining glory than worrying about money. So, in this respect he was very different from his father. Henry VIII was also very different in matters of government and finance. Henry VII was heavily involved with the day to day running of finance, where as Henry VIII wanted nothing to do with it, and instead appoint men to do it in his place. In dealing with Yorkist threats Henry VIII was also different in that he had a far more ruthless streak than his father, as he executed the Duke of Suffolk, whereas Henry VII had only imprisoned him.

The nobles were another area which Henry succeeded in being different to his father. Henry VII was very ruthless in handling the nobility, as he saw them as a potential threat, because of their private armies and wealth, so taxed and regulated them to an extent which made most of them dislike him. Henry VIII’s approach was to try and undo a lot of his father’s damage by destroying the Council Learned and Executing Epsom and Dudley. He also appeared different to his father by managing to cancel only a few of his father’s bonds, so publicly appearing different, whilst actually keeping most of them. However, there were areas where, arguably, Henry VIII was the same as his father. In dealing with the Yorkist threat, the execution of the Duke of Suffolk could be just the next step his father would have taken, had he lived longer. Also, in dealing with finances, he still kept a lot of his father’s policies. Therefore, on the whole Henry VIII was different to his father, because of his foreign policy, the ways he dealt with the nobles and the fact he didn’t want to do the day to day jobs of finance.

In conclusion Henry VIII was, overall, mostly successful in achieving his aims, as he dealt with the nobles successfully, which helped him appear different to his father, as did his victory with France. Henry also managed to avoid dealing with day to day finances, which again made him different to his father, whilst keeping his father’s good financial policies. There were, however, a number of failures which made in at incomplete success, such as not having a victory equal to Henry V in the French battle, and receiving a number of complaints about finances.

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