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coursehero2 - Henry VIII Henry VIII is undoubtedly one of...

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Henry VIII Henry VIII is undoubtedly one of the most influential rulers of the 16 th century. His fame comes not only from the decisions he made and the impact which they had, but also from what drove him to make such decisions and how his personal life affected his policy making. One of the decisions that Henry VIII is most noted for is his decision to break England away from the Catholic church and to name himself “the only supreme head on earth of he Church of England.” 1 There are two main reasons that Henry VIII opted for such a dramatic change – first and foremost, his desire to obtain a divorce without having someone to answer to and a second, more underlying cause of attempting to rid foreign influence from England, and therefore eliminating the chance of others, including the pope, encroaching upon his power. Henry VIII’s decision to break away from the Catholic Church was motivated largely by his quest for power and personal gain, however, the English Reformation resulted in many positive changes for England, especially moving the country toward independence, which extended even beyond his death. Henry of Tudor was born June 28, 1491 to Elizabeth of York and Henry VII who had won his throne by defeating Richard III. Henry was the second son and it was assumed that the eldest child, Arthur, would assume the throne. Arthur received rigorous training as to how to become king and married Catherine of Aragon, a wedding arranged to unite to Tudors with the Habsburgs. 2 However, Arthur was prone to poor health and 1 Donald Kagan et al., The Western Heritage (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall 2007) , 276- 277. 2 Miles F. Shore, Henry VIII and the Crisis of Generativity, Journal of Interdisciplinary History , Vol. 2, No. 4. Available on Jstor. 361-364.
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died when he was only 16, after only about four months of marriage to Catherine. At the age of 11, Henry became the new heir to the throne but he did not begin to receive the training his brother had. 3 Henry VII died on April 22, 1509 causing Henry the VIII to become king a few months before his eighteenth birthday. Several weeks after he ascended the throne, he married Catherine, his brother’s widow who was seven years his senior, as per the dying wish of his father. 4 In order for them to marry, the couple had received a papal dispensation because it was against the laws of the church as stated in the book of Leviticus to marry one’s brother’s widow. The dispensation was granted after months of delay based on the condition that Arthur and Catherine had not consummated the marriage. 5
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