Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Henry VI and the Wars of the Roses Essay -- The Wars of the Roses Essa
From his fifteen year minority to the inept rule of the rest of his reign, Henry VI was a "child", at least as far as governing ability was concerned. The period of his minority and the time that he was the titular king laid the groundwork for the Wars of the Roses. Had Henry been an intelligent king, with at least some political acumen, and the ability to win the respect of his nobles, their may have never been any Wars of the Roses. But his weakness in allowing government by favorites and governing foolishly on his own, at the very least directed his country down the road to a bloody civil war. Henry VI was born on December 6, 1421, and became king of England on September 1, 1422. Problems began almost immediately, though these problems were not seen as such at the time. First, the power of the monarch, instead of being entrusted to one man, was given to a council of magnates. Though it is likely that Henry V included a clause in his will appointing his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, regent, nobles whose powers had been curtailed by Henry V seized the opportunity to regain their lost power. They claimed the precedent of Richard II's minority (Storey, 30) to support their actions. Though the council did rule fairly on the whole, it created a problem. Later in Henry VI's reign, factions ruled the government and the monarch suffered from a lack of cohesive central authority. Nobles who had taken power were reluctant to give it back, causing a spreading out of the king's pwer. Henry's powers as monarch were not kept whole and in trust for him (Storey, 30) so that even had he been a strong king, it would have been difficult for him to control the situations that were to occur. One immediate effect of the council system was to ke... ...families siding for and against the king. Had Henry understood politics, he would not have agreed to ceding Anjou and Maine. If he had known how to govern, he would not have revealed the weakness of his government by handing out pardons to every hard-luck story he heard. In short, had Henry VI even an inkling of how to rule, the Wars of the Roses would not have happened. Works Cited Gillingham, John The Wars of the Roses, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1981. Smith, Lacey Baldwin, This Realm of England, D.C.Heath & Company, Lexington, Massachusetts, 1992. Storey, R.I. The End of the House of Lancaster, Stein & Day Publishers, New York, 1967. Works Consulted Gormley, Larry. Ã¢â¬Å"Wars of the Roses: Battles of the Roses.Ã¢â¬ n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2010. Hicks, Michael. The War of the Roses 1455-1487. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.