Social, Political And Economic Reasons For The Tudor Rebellions

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“I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls” – the famous words Elizabeth I told her subjects when she came to the throne in 1558. She was referring to the religious reforms and that she had no desire to interpret either Protestantism or Catholicism so closely to cause tensions or rebellions, like so many that had occurred during the reigns of her predecessors. Despite this, some would disagree and say it was the tough social, political or economic climate at the time that led to these inevitable revolts by the common people and subjects. This essay will look at how far religious discontent was the reason for the Tudor rebellions.
In 1536, England was in the midst of religious reforms, converting from Catholicism to Protestantism. It
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In 1536, the Lincolnshire Rising occurred, which happened due to fear over taxation. There had been various rumours about axes being imposed over rituals such as christenings, marriages, and burials, but also animals such as geese and horned cattle. In the same year, the Pilgrimage of Grace, though primarily about religion, had expressed concern about tax on livestock. This shows the concern the common people were showing about their own livelihood, yet saw rebellion as perhaps the only way to become noticed by the nobles and gentry. However, in both of these rebellions, Lincolnshire Rising and the Pilgrimage of Grace, social and economic issues could be fairly described as a ‘subsidiary’ reason, meaning they were not they main reason but rather a side one. This is shown by the numerous religious demands they made, and only few social and economic demands. An interpretation of this could therefore be that neither religion nor social and economic issues was the sole reason, but they went hand-in-hand to cause these rebellions. This can’t be generalised to all rebellions in the period 1536-1588 however, as shown by Kett’s rebellion. This was a rebellion led by Robert Kett in 1549, and was mainly about the issue of enclosure, but also about other social issues, such as the rising food prices. Kett drew up a list of demands that included the no …show more content…
Amongst these three offspring who all had (to some degree) different beliefs and different supporters, succession disputes were inevitable. In 1553, when Edward VI was dying, there was an attempt to prevent Mary from succeeding the throne and so keep England Protestant. This rebellion is known now as “Northumberland’s Coup”, after John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland who had seen his power grow during Edwards’s short reign and was, understandably, reluctant to lose this power. He was also keen to help his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, ascend to the throne in replace of Mary I. Though Northumberland had an army of 2000, most deserted when confrontation was expected, and many nobles had rallied to the defence of Mary. This rebellion shows the issue of succession as a reason, as many did not want Lady Jane Grey as ruler, and welcomed Mary as Queen. However, it could also show that the Protestant reformation was not as completed as assumed, as subjects and common people welcomed a Catholic ruler. An interpretation of this could be that the religious discontent in England had led to the issues of succession to arise, which would mean succession was a ‘subsidiary’ issue, alongside social and economic reasons. Succession was not the only political issue however, as shown by the rebellion of the Northern Earls in 1569-70. This was a rebellion of about 6000 in size, and was an attempt

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