The Power of Elizabethan Parliaments
Category : Articles
An analysis of whether Elizabethan parliaments were only used or ignored by the Queen or Privy Council at will.
A discussion of the role and effectiveness of Parliament during the reign of Elizabeth I. The question is asked whether the Parliamentary opposition and power in the 17th century, leading up to the English Civil War, have its roots in the position of the Parliament under Elizabeth?
“Sixteenth-century Tudor government had three main strands, the Crown, the Council, meaning the Privy Council, and Parliament. Each possessed varying degrees of power, and the extent of that degree was often dependent on the person of the monarch and the amount of control he or she was willing or able to exercise. While Parliamentary authority developed during the later years of the reign of Henry VIII, Elizabeth took a much firmer hand. Parliament was called infrequently, was limited in the nature of the issues it was allowed to discuss, and was often led by the clients of the nobility into areas which had little bearing on its own members and those they represented. The organized Parliamentary opposition of the “Puritan Choir’ has been shown to be a myth, as we will discuss later, and during Elizabeth’s reign Parliament probably reached its point of least independence of the century. The real power in England was held by the Privy Council and, ultimately, by the Queen herself.”