Elizatbeth paper

Elizatbeth paper - Eric Gordon HST-231 2nd Assignment Due:...

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Eric Gordon HST-231 2 nd Assignment Due: 11/14/11 Reformation in England: The Elizabethan Settlement As the sixteenth century began, the era of papal supremacy gave way to period of religious and political reformation. Protestantism, a new form of Christianity based purely on personal faith, began to gain popularity across Europe. This period of transition was marked by civil war and internal conflict in many of the major nations of Western Europe. In England, with the death of Queen Mary in 1558, Henry VIII’s daughter Elizabeth came to the throne in a middle of a rather large religious struggle. With her ascension Elizabeth instituted a series of programs that, while mostly Protestant in nature, allowed the nation to exist without being entirely Catholic or Protestant. Elizabeth’s religious settlement was highly successful not only because it created a widely accepted unified state church without causing a civil war, but also because it established England as the most powerful nation in Europe at that time. The religious settlement that Elizabeth produced created a state that allowed for all sects of Christianity to live together. Elizabeth was a politique , meaning that her policy on religion did not rely on personal belief but instead on what was best for the state. She felt that religion was of secondary importance to political stability, national security and wellbeing. In creating her settlement Elizabeth was, therefore, looking to protect the best interest of the state. At the time this was a revolutionary and unheard of characteristic for a monarch to have. Mary’s rule had been a continuous attempt to re-Catholicize England but was ultimately a total failure. Under Mary, about 300 people had been publicly burned at the stake as heretics. This set off a wave of horror as well as a general disgust with Mary and Catholicism. 1 When Elizabeth rose to the 1 R.R. Palmer, Joel Colton, Lloyd Kramer, A History of the Modern World 10 th ed. , (McGraw-Hill Companies, 2007), p. 88.
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throne, her subjects were tired of religious turmoil. The majority of the population was Catholic, but Protestantism had gained widespread appeal. Protestantism had a certain energy to it that allowed it to control the atmosphere over Catholicism. 2 Elizabeth would therefore have to please both parties in order to stay on the throne. Both sides of the religious debate had a presence and both demanded satisfaction. Although her rule always received heavy criticism, Elizabeth received some scattered but significant support in her initial reconstruction of the Church. The first was a general sense of nationalism that had emerged out of a general dislike for the Spanish and, more specifically, Phillip II, Mary’s widower husband. Next, there was a belief in Erastianism, the idea that a loyal subject should allow the monarch or sovereign to decide matters of faith. 3
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course HST 231 taught by Professor Kyle,c during the Fall '08 term at Syracuse.

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Elizatbeth paper - Eric Gordon HST-231 2nd Assignment Due:...

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