At the time, the church settlement of 1559-66 was an arrangement acceptable to most of Elizabeth’s subjects. How far do you agree?
Elizabeth inherited a turbulent situation in which the nation was confused and divided. Elizabeth’s own preferences were for a protestant church but she was aware that the introduction of radical Protestantism in England would spark discontent at home and threats from abroad, the majority of her subjects were also undecided about religion. Among the elites there was strong support for the royal supremacy and they were willing to follow the religion of the legitimate monarch, most of the general population were prepared to follow the lead of their social superiors. Elizabeth wanted a pragmatic religious settlement; this involved two strategies; Uniformity and Conformity. These included a national church that would be acceptable to all, which meant her subjects were able to confirm to the demands of her religious settlement.
The Elizabethan Religious settlement, which was drafted by some of Elizabeth’s ministers, their effects were to create uniformity and conformity. The Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity were both settlements used in the first parliament in April 1559. They were both enforced by acts of Parliament so Elizabeth could ensure that she had the same ecclesiastical authority as her father. The Act of Supremacy abolished papal authority in England and restored the monarch as the Head of the church, however Elizabeth was very careful not to upset her subjects by announcing a Women as head of the church, many puritans disliked this notion, instead she chose the title “Supreme Governor” rather than “Supreme Head”. This meant that the title was negotiable so it would not offend the pope and it would satisfy both Catholics and Protestants by suggesting the possibility of a compromise. Mindful of her duty to God and to her people Elizabeth was determined that the settlement should appeal to as a wide range of...
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