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Henry Viii And His Contribution To The English Reformation

1628 words - 7 pages

Henry VIII, the notorious King of England, had an exceptionally significant influence on English history. The importance of Henry's eminent reign is typically overshadowed by his six wives, but to discover its true essence one must breach the barriers yielded by the many fallacies concerning his overly publicized liaisons. Although to many he is remembered solely for his hedonistic life style, his malicious attitudes, and of course his six wives, Henry was well-educated and an adept ruler. He exuded confidence and supremacy throughout all of his actions. Henry fought many wars in Europe, callously increased the authority of royal government, and even aspired to become Holy Roman Emperor in ...view middle of the document...

His father's primary concerns had been to control the independence of nobility and to enrich the crown. In contrast, his son Henry VIII set out to expand England's power in Europe. In order to ease the immense discontent caused by his father's inflation of taxes and avoidance of expensive wars, Henry placed blame on royal ministers. Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley were the victims of this surreptitious and rather vindictive tactic. The decapitation of these men won widespread popularity for the reign. Beside this, the young sovereign possessed a beneficial attribute, the ability to arouse the zeal of his devoted people. Henry accepted his regality and exhibited it with superb ease.During Henry's reign, he built developed a strong fleet of fighting ships. He directed a significant reorganization of government which helped to set the stage for England's progression into leading world power. This included the formation of a bureaucracy that took over many government duties from the royal family.Henry married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon, and by doing so entered into a coalition with King Ferdinand of Spain. He and his allies were led a triumphant campaign against the French and also repelled the Scots war on England. He later took on another devious tactic by acting as a mediator between France and Spain, playing them against each other in the hopes of gaining power. Henry preferred to avoid governing in person and therefore left most matters in hands of others. Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's chief minister, virtually ruled England. He was the Cardinal Bishop of York and the Lord Chancellor of England. At times he practically had absolute control of affairs. It was Wolsey's urging in 1521 that led to the composition by Henry entitled Asertio Septem Sacramentorum. This pamphlet criticized Martin Luther and his teachings. For this he was presented with the title of "Defender of the Faith"In mind of the great Henry VII, the most atrocious failure in his reign would be the incapability to produce a male heir. This underlying focus was involved throughout practically all of his actions and judgments. At some times it may have seemed a bit vague, but its presence in his mind was as unremitting as it was intoxicating. He needed a male heir in order to secure the Tudor succession and ensure the permanence of his kingdom. His current wife Catherine bore six children only one of which survived a daughter, who later reigned as Mary I. This would not suffice and Catherine had failed to fulfill Henry's ultimate aspiration and therefore was no use to him anymore. He then turned his attentions to a maid of honor at court, Anne Boleyn. Church law forbids divorce, but it is considered ethical for the pope to annul a marriage. Despite his frequent justifications, the pope was still adamant in his beliefs and turned his request down. Wolsey could not secure the annulment from the pope that Henry had so resolutely demanded. His once potent power vanished...

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