How Successful Was Wolsey’s Foreign Policy In The Years 1515 1525?

780 words - 4 pages

How Successful was Wolsey’s Foreign Policy in the Years 1515-1525?
(30 marks)

Wolsey became Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor in 1515, he was extremely able and determined; his foreign policy was mainly directed at preserving peace and trying to make England a negotiator between other countries. During the years 1515-1525 Wolsey’s power was undisputed, this was due to the fact that Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to Wolsey including near-complete control of England’s foreign policy. The extent of Wolsey’s success can be measured in several ways; these include the financial stability of the country, loyalty from England’s allies and respect for Wolsey (and Henry VIII) from ...view middle of the document...

Wolsey had to comply with Henry’s plans for military success, especially taking into account one of the main reasons for Wolsey’s rise to power was due to his extensive knowledge of Naval and Military procurement used in the French campaigns of 1512 & 1513. Wolsey’s peace policy failed because it was “unrealistic and contradictory” (Scarisbrick), but also because he did not have the support from Henry VIII to carry it out. This therefore made Wolsey’s tactics to make his policy governing international relations peaceful, unsuccessful.

Many historians disagree whether Wolsey’s foreign policy was a “peace policy” (Scarisbrick) or designed to win power and glory in war, both of these methods could have potentially created a successful foreign policy. A. F. Pollard was the first historian writing on the manner (1929) to suggest that Wolsey’s foreign policy was, in fact, not solely designed to please Henry VIII, but that Wolsey had underlying selfish motivations; Pollard said that Wolsey had “the closest understanding with the popes and every change in his attitude towards other European powers coincided with a change in the policy of the papal curia”, which would in fact not make this Wolsey’s foreign policy but would mean he changed ‘his’ policy in...

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