The Factors That Shaped the Elizabethan Religious Settlement Essay

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The Factors That Shaped the Elizabethan Religious Settlement When Elizabeth I was proclaimed Queen in 1558 a new era of religious tolerance began. With her religious settlement, Elizabeth had to consider a number of different factors. Without doubt, the most important task following her accession was to resolve the ideological divisions in the country brought about by the religious changes in the past three monarch's reigns. However, when deciding on her own religious settlement, Elizabeth had a number of influencing factors. She had grown up as a 'committed and conventionally pious Protestant' and these views obviously effected the way she ran her household and country, and consequently…show more content…
Haigh claims that there "can be little doubt of Elizabeth's personal Protestantism" and historians such as Pollard, who claimed that she was "indifferent" to religion have been largely disregarded. This is likely to be attributed to the strong influence of family, and the education she received from humanists William Grindal and Roger Ascham. It has been argued that she wished to return England to the state in which her father left it - Catholicism without the Pope. It is clear that her brother, Edward VI, also heavily influenced her, as the final religious settlement was in fact very similar to his doctrinal Reformation. However, her personal beliefs are more diverse, and cannot be attributed to so few influences. Her belief in 'private devotion' can be illustrated by the fact that she did not want to "make windows into men's hearts." It can therefore be argued that Elizabeth was not as radical as some Protestants of the time, for example the returning exiles. Even before exile had faced them some had become influenced by Calvinism, the most extreme of Protestant faiths. Although Elizabeth respected these views, she did not totally conform to them, but just believed in certain aspects. For example she did not practice transubstantiation. However, her more conservative ideas are evident in the final settlement as the extra sentence is added which leaves the right

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