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Charles I Notes

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Charles I

Character Manipulation of the Law Personal Rule Finance Government Ministers Ireland Scotland


'Divine Right' Inferiority - stressed his prerogative powers -> Personal Rule 1629-40 Physically weak and stammered - his brother Henry had been intended for the crown but died when Charles was 12 Major events were in Scotland and Ireland Wants uniformity and order e.g. reform of Court 3 faces - courtly, composite and royalist Could not convince others of his gifts and powers Thought obedience would automatically follow from command -> conflict with Parliament - not a skilled negotiator like James Saw disagreement as disobedience e.g. continued with Buckingham despite him being a political liability -> assassination in 1628 1625 - married French Catholic princess 1631 - royal instructions on ranks and rights of access to Court - wanted society of degree and deference Never acknowledged subjects' natural desire for images like Elizabeth did Yet strong desire to be a 'good' king - Personal Rule was not inevitable Ad hoc decisions - only clear initiation in policies of 1626 Forced Loan and 1637 Scots Prayer Book - reacted in everything apart from the Church

Yet not a despotic ruler overall Not a tyrant - unplanned government without Parliament Neither unprecedented nor permanent Even opponents of Charles saw him as a good man Majority of his councillors fought against him in the CW - never listened to them Martyr?
No agreement on meaning of 'absolute' - idea of arbitrariness became important

Personal Rule

11 Years Tyranny Systematically distanced himself from subjects - unaware of people's expectations Dismissed his 4th Parliament in March 1629 Promoted clerical allies -> Long Parliament took action to exclude all clergy from civil power Could rule without - had precedents - yet by 17th century people saw it as illegitimate exercise of arbitrary, absolute power Issue of perception Forced into it by the intransigence of Parliament in voting necessary subsidies for active foreign policy - had agreed on the war with Spain 1625 - granted £140k instead of the £1 million needed Further conflict in 1628 and 1629 - Petition of Right and the Three Resolutions 1527 - 5 Knights case -> imprisonment - beginning of absolutism?
August 1635 - extended Ship Money across whole country  levied annually until 1639 Lack of interest in much of government Concept of reform was not preset - reactive government English political nation are totally against violence - less so elsewhere Consolidation, not augmentation, of power Began peaceably - partly due to tighter central control Gave convincing impression that he wanted to change the nature of religious orthodoxy Major error of running counter to prevailing religious opinion + imposing disturbing new taxes Avoided advocating absolutism - did not want to be misrepresented - problems in conveying conservatism of his policies - lack of aptitude for personal propaganda No unique ideas in Caroline politics - common ideas of divine right, 'necessity' and 'reason of state' Difficult to find a 'high road to CW' - Answer to the 19 Propositions 1642 promoted idea of mixed polity -> later called the King's Constitution Conflict over ideas of an 'exact militia'

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