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How Henry Vii's Dealings With Other Countries Helped To Strengthen His Position At Home

2738 words - 11 pages

How Henry VII's Dealings With Other Countries Helped to Strengthen his Position at Home

A major part of any King's role is to gain the support of the people,
without this the threat of uprising and usurpation is much greater.
Also England was in a time of great instability as it had had five
kings in 25 years. Following these issues Henry's motivation
throughout his reign was the need to secure his dynasty. Henry helped
to achieve this goal in the way he dealt with other countries. He had
learnt a lot about the workings of diplomacy and court negotiations
during his exile and was well placed to deal with foreign threats when
he came to power in 1485. Of course what the people wanted always
would shape his decisions but he had to find a way to balance these
needs, his own needs and the needs of the country as a whole.

Henry had no standing army except for the band of mercenaries he
fought with at Bosworth and a few garrisons in North England and
Calais. This was another factor that shaped his foreign policy as he
could ill afford to raise expensive armies to fight with other
countries. This was potentially a major problem for Henry as the
people had been used to an aggressive posture and had shown their
support to this by their willingness to back Edward IV and his
campaigns in the Hundred Years war. This was a very proud country a
military defeat, especially to the French, was unacceptable. The
decision of whether to choose diplomacy or aggression was to shape
Henry's reign and as we will find out he choose diplomacy and through
his use of this secured his position as Monarch

One of the first issues Henry had to deal with was Scotland. Northern
England had always been wary of Scottish border raids and needed two
garrisons of men stationed at Berwick and Carlisle to protect it, at
great expense to the crown. In 1486 Henry went a long way to relieving
the tension when he signed a three year truce with James III. This was
a kind of good news bad news situation for the people. The good news
was that the border raids would no longer be happening and they could
breathe easy for the first time in many years, the bad news was that
some people wanted a military resolution to Scottish aggression. Their
opinion was that they had suffered for years at the hands of the
Scots, who in comparison to England were much weaker, and basically
wanted revenge. This was no longer a possibility as Henry would have
no intention of dishonouring one of his treaties (if he did the people
would not trust him and nor would other countries Henry would be
dealing with).

It had always been a sport of English kings to wage war on France and
traditionally there were English claims to the French throne. France
was the biggest power in Europe combined with the largest army so
Henry had to tread carefully....

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