The Revolutionary Policies of Henry VIII Essay

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The Revolutionary Policies of Henry VIII

Henry was a supreme egotist. He advanced personal desires under the guise of public policy or moral right, forced his ministers to pay extreme penalties for his own mistakes, and summarily executed many with little excuse. In his later years he became grossly fat, paranoid, and unpredictable. Nonetheless he possessed considerable political insight, and he provided England with a visible and active national leader.

Although Henry seemed to dominate his Parliaments, the importance of that institution increased significantly during his reign. Other advances made during his reign were the institution of an effective navy and the beginnings of social and
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He began life as a second son, destined for the church. It was the dream of Henry VII for his eldest son, Arthur, to be king and for his second son, Henry, to be the highest churchman in England. And so, for the first ten years of his life, Henry was a student of theology. And for the next thirty years of his life, he remained a dutiful son of the church. It is ironic, then that his most significant historical achievement was the destruction of the Roman Catholic faith in England. The most prominent casualty of Henry's break with Rome was Thomas Wolsey. Wolsey became Archbishop of York in 1514; in 1515 the Pope made him a Cardinal and Henry appointed him Chancellor, the highest political office in England. The title of papal legate, granted in 1518, made him the effective head of the English Church. The son of an Ipswich butcher, Wolsey was the richest and most powerful man in England after the King. However, he could not impose Henry's will on the Pope. In retaliation, Henry had him convicted of 'praemunire' - overriding civil law with church law - and confiscated his assets. He died in 1530 while facing an additional charge of treason.

His secretary, the Protestant reformer Thomas Cromwell, succeeded him. Cromwell reorganised the government, the Church and the map of Wales, replacing the Principality and the Earldom of March with Standard English counties. His

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