Thomas Cromwell In 1540 Essay

1622 words - 6 pages

The claim that Thomas Cromwell carried out a revolution in Tudor government was generated by the historian Elton, the success of Cromwell as minister in his aims of sovereignty, Parliament and bureaucracy under King Henry VIII. Elton’s claims are met with many sceptic opponents such as Starkey and Guy, criticising that Cromwell’s work up to 1540 was anything but revolution, it was a mere pragmatic approach to fulfilling the king’s wishes which led to his escalation of power and a lucky set of consequential changes in government. The criticisms seem plausible when taking into consideration that Cromwell’s reformations within the Tudor government were not permanent, his work was quickly undone after his death. The work of Cromwell in government was hardly a revolutionary movement as it failed to deeply imprint itself upon England but it is undeniable that he made significant changes to England at the peak of his professional career.

Elton proposes that sovereign revolution was achieved under Cromwell; this claim seems to stand strongly, as evidence in form of the fact is that England remains sovereign from the Holy Roman Empire until this present moment which undoubtedly supports Elton. Under Cromwell, sovereign England was further strengthened as Wales was joined with England and placed under the rule of its Supreme King, Henry. The changes which Cromwell successfully administered were all permanent thus revolutionary, these changes were able to withstand the whole Tudor dynasty and more. Revolution was achieved by Cromwell with his skilful crafting of the parliamentary bills which ensured the Resolution of the Great Matter as well as the supremacy and absolutism of the King. Supremacy, sovereignty and Henry’s divorce were unlikely to have been achieved without the restriction of The Payment of the Annates (1532) which forced the English clergy into utter submission, cancelling all allegiance to the Pope, was strengthened with the Act of Appeals (1533) which cut off all Roman influence in England rendering it a truly sovereign state. Cromwell’s success was with sovereignty was sealed with the ultimate set of parliamentary bills with the Act of Supremacy 1535 stabilized with the Treason Act of 1534, which ensured the destruction of Papal authority allowing England to immerge totally independent, with full allegiance to the spiritual and temporal supreme ruler, Henry. Cromwell went further to strengthen and fortify sovereign England with the Act against Liberties (1536) which prevented all rebellion and English internal independence as formerly seen in Beverly and Ripon. Cromwell’s Act was seen with great success with the triumphant dissolution of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Elton’s claim of sovereign revolution is further supported by Cromwell’s success in uniting Wales and England with the Act of Union (1536), fully implementing English government and laws, truly reforming Wales with its production of MPs for the English Parliament.


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