Elizabeth’s Relationship With Her Parliaments Essay

3129 words - 13 pages

Elizabeth’s Relationship With Her Parliaments
Over the years, there has been much debate amongst historians
Orthodox, Revisionist and Post – Revisionist, as to whether the
relationship between Elizabeth and her parliaments was one of
“conflict and contest,” or of “cooperation and consent”. Most of the
different schools of thought agree on the facts, but disagree in their
interpretations of the relationship. In general, taking into account
all of the parliaments that took place throughout Elizabeth’s reign,
the contemporary historians believe that Elizabeth’s relationship with
her parliaments was one of “cooperation and consent.” The orthodox
historians believe that Elizabeth’s relationship with her parliaments
was one of “conflict and contest” and that it came from the puritan
choir in the House of Commons. The revisionist historians believe that
there was a relationship of “cooperation and consent”. Finally, the
Post-Revisionist historians believe that the relationship between
Elizabeth and her parliaments was one of “cooperation and consent” in
some cases, and “conflict and consent” in others. In cases where they
believed that there was conflict, they believe that it came from the
Privy Council. In order to answer the question, the different schools
of thought need to be taken into account, along with the events that
back these views up, and the relationships at the individual
parliaments need to be assessed, e.g. Religion, succession, free
speech, and the monopolies parliaments.

Firstly, take religion, which was discussed at the session in 1559. It
can be argued that at this individual parliament, the relationship
between parliament and the queen was one of “conflict and contest”.
The contemporary view is that the “parliament was obedient, even
subservient to Tudor despotism”[1].

Therefore they argue that the relationship was one of “cooperation and
consent”. This was backed up by the fact that within this parliament,
Elizabeth eventually got what she had wanted. The orthodox view is
that there was Puritan parliamentary opposition to the bill that was
introduced to restore royal supremacy over the Church of England, and
that this ‘puritan choir’ deliberately planned confrontations in order
to force the issue of parliamentary privilege. Therefore they argue
that the relationship was one of “conflict and contest”. Neale argued
that the power of the House of Commons had increased throughout
Elizabeth’s reign. This is backed up by a number of events, including
that the reign of Elizabeth did witness the culmination of a process
where the gentry took over a proportion of Parliament. In her reign,
the number of Parliamentary seats was “four times larger than under
the qualifying laws”[2]. However the evidence available to back up
this...

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