Henry VI (pt 2) - WofR REVISION B, History
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End of Hundred Years' War
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How can some of the blame for Henry be lifted in terms of failure in France?
Henry V had won a lot of land in France, but he died soon after. He had left an almost impossible legacy behind, and Henry VI's task was harder for he had to maintain these lands gained by his father, which was a separate and harder task altogether.
What are the 3 arguments that may explain how the End of the French Wars (Hundred Years War) contributed to the outbreak of war in 1455? Which is the weak argument?
- Defeat in France damaged the prestige of the Lancastrian regime.
- IMPORTANT: An indirect cause in the sense that it provided York with further justification for his attacks on Henry's regime, and also stimulated his hatred of Somerset. BUT, it did not need the French Wars to convince York to attack - there were other more important factors.
- England flooded with disillusioned veterans who lost their French lands but no their taste for war. - Causing violence and disorder at home - although this is a weak argument because their is much evidence to suggest their return was greeted with pity rather than fear or apprehension.
After what event was Suffolk found to be guilty? What happened as a result and Why is this significant?
- Loss of Normandy (esp Rouen in 1449)
- Indirectly led to Cade's Rebellion of 1450. (Kent was also close to France - felt the effects more?)
- Significant in that the Commons tied in the loss of Normandy with their many other grievances too. Failures in France led to grievances, and an increasing unpopularity of the Lancastrian regime.
How did the failures in France make York more likely to rebel against Henry VI?
- York more hostile towards Somerset, for when he came back from Ireland (Sept. 1450) he found Somerset was in a favoured position with King, even though he was largely responsible for loss of Normandy.
- Many of York's (and other noblemen's) land in France were lost due to failure of appeasement policy. eg - Truce of Tours 1444.
- Henry fail to pay 38,000 pounds to York for service in France.
Give some evidence to show how the regime recovered.
- Henry showed unusual commitment (even to law & order) and undertook judical progresses for first time in his reign.
- Also temporary success in France under Earl of Shrewsbury.
What could Henry have done better in French Wars? How could Henry's blame be increased?
- Way of handling peace was not good - for example, Truce of Tours.
- Should have been more diplomatic.
- There were other, more important factors that made York turn against the regime - eg. replaced, and no influence in political matters - threat to his dynasty.
Why is the Cade's Rebellion significant?
- It demonstrates once again the depth of discontent with the corruption and failings of the faction-led Lancastrian government.
- Also demonstrates Henry VI's inordinate (extraordinary almost) capacity for misjudgment and a possible lack of physical courage.
- Cade's Rebellion, therefore, reflects underlying factors that led to the Wars of the Roses.
System of livery and maintenance (ie. bastard feudalism).
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What were the wider implications of the emergence of bastard feudalism?
- Led to creation of over-mighty nobles - magnates could build up an affinity which gave them wide influence in politics & society too, so more corruption.
- Meant nobles could raise an army quickly in time of war or rebellion, which might ultimately be used to threaten the king. - A dangerous situation could easily develop in local rivalries, and may even turn national.
Give one example of how livery was given out to thugs to further a magnate's interest.
- Earl of Shrewsbury gave out his badge/livery to violent thugs against Lord Grey of Condor.
- (However, important to note that this was hardly bastard feudalism and more gang warfare.)
Give examples of those who were able to raise up an army and cause disorder because of bastard feudalism.
- Nevilles and the Percys (eg. in 1453 they had armed conflict)
- Allowed Warwick and York to raise a large army very quickly, which meant they were able to be victorious at such battles as St. Albans.
Why can most blame still be put on Henry even though bastard feudalism was a contributing factor?
- Magnates' influence was not limited to retainers - extended influence just as much through manipulating contacts and links with powerful figures through marriage and other family links.
- Bastard feudalism had been going on since the reign of Edward III - it was up to the king to control it. (Powerful magnates were not necessarily dangerous magnates)
- In fact, under some rulers like Henry V, powerful magnates created by this system were used to king's advantage - very much a time of personal rule - therefore Henry should shoulder most of the blame.
- Fact that Henry IV and V ruled relatively peacefully is perhaps indicator that it was possible to control this system.
Long-term shift in power from king towards nobility.
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Who created a new, more powerful upper nobility and when? How?
- Edward III in the 14th Century.
- Magnate class which was given opportunity to marry into royal family.
What was the consequences of having this upper nobility that Edward III created?
- More nobles expected to be able to influence the king.
- More feuds and increased possibilities of a factional government.
- Claims to the throne and positions of power - led to intense rivalry and conflict.
Give examples of this shift in power causing disorder or contributing to the outbreak of war.
- Percys and Nevilles - lot of royal connections. eg. connected to Beaufort family. They virtually controlled the north and king dependent on them for security.
- Suffolk favoured by king - led to abuse of local justice system - other nobles, perhaps with more royal connections (such as York) resented this.
However, what should Henry have done in terms of combating this shift in power towards the nobility? Why can we still blame him?
- Should have controlled increasing power of nobles such as Nevilles and York. - Ultimately links back to patronage - he had made the exacerbated the situation by giving away patronage excessively, making nobles (eg. Nevilles) stronger, while undermining his power and authority.
- Evidence suggest that during minority, kingdom was relatively stable, it was only when Henry's minority ended in 1437 that the kingdom became unstable - show how Henry was responsible.
- As he inherited the system, it was not possible for him to completely strip the power of the nobility. However, what was possible as king was to channel the increasing power, so that it did not threaten his throne or the peace.
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