preview

Evaluating the Argument that Powers and Privileges of Parliament Increased Steadily at the Expense of Royal Power

Decent Essays
Evaluating the Argument that Powers and Privileges of Parliament Increased Steadily at the Expense of Royal Power

During the period 1529 - 1640 the parliament in Britain altered dramatically. The sources provide a valuable insight into the argument that the powers and privileges of parliament increased steadily at the expense of royal power.

To assess the role of parliament there needs to be evidence from the sources to suggest that parliaments powers and privileges were increasing between 1529-1640. The functions of parliament were wide ranging and this is supported by Source 2. Sir Thomas Smith believes "the most high and absolute power in the realm of England consisteth in the parliament."
…show more content…
Source 3 shows MP's asserting their rights and trying to make Queen Elizabeth define limits of parliamentary privilege. They were trying to change their role and Elizabeth does show some discretion giving them freedom of speech, but they are restricted to only matters the monarch presents them with. Even though parliament is showing more power it is only at the request of the monarch they can assert it and this could be very rarely as Elizabeth only called parliament 13 times during 45 years.

There is also evidence in the sources that challenges the theory there was a steady increase in parliaments power. Parliaments power varied greatly with each monarch. Queen Elizabeth liked to keep parliament under control. She granted them freedom of speech but with great limitations and they were not to "frame a form of religion or a state of government" according to source 3. "Liberty with due limitation" is what its referred to. According to source 6 Charles I was able to raise money himself using subsidies as a form of collectable tax. A Petition of Right was passed in return for 5 subsidies but as he no longer needed parliament he dissolved it and did not call upon it again for 11 years. During this time parliaments power couldn't have increased steadily as they had no say in the running of the country. Source 4 states that during Henry VII reign "the
Get Access