Queen Elizabeth I
Were Queen Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great effective rulers? Were their reign’s
characterized as good or not so well? Disregarding the opinion of those who reigned
concurrently or historians today, these two ruled their country in a time of turmoil and
uncertainty! The world and the people within it were undergoing a major transition. New
lands were being discovered as well as major role-playing continents and countries were
changing status. Some losing power while others gained it.
Queen Elizabeth I and
Catherine the Great ruled their country to the extent in which they were able and their
subjects allowed them to. Queen Elizabeth I of England was a remarkable ruler. Elizabeth
was born in 1533 to Henry VIII of England and took the throne in 1588 at the age of
twenty-five and reigned until 1603 when she passed away (Sowards, 28). Elizabeth was
the last of the Tudor Dynasty (Upshur, 465).
Due to her father’s uncontrollable
hap-hazardous rule, Elizabeth, at only the age of twenty-five, was already faced with
dilemma within England. Henry VIII wanted a male to take over his throne so when he felt
his time was running out, Henry VIII needed to divorce his Queen at that time but the
Catholic Church doesn’t allow this. He separated from the church and brought England
with him. He turned England into a protestant nation.
Needless to say people were
confused and had to make huge adjustments. At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign there
was confusion. She was a firm Catholic however she made a compromise between the two
religions. Queen Elizabeth’s decision was due largely from the consent of her people
However, Elizabeth knew that two religions would cause problems. “As
reestablished, the Anglican Church was protestant in it’s Theology, but much of it’s ritual
and ecclesiastical organization remained Catholic in form”(Upshur, 465). Elizabeth
believed that loyalty of her people would bring them together as well as the country. The
people were not forced by the state but by their own consciences.
The people of England
saw Queen Elizabeth as compassionate as well as decisive. By allowing the people to
decide, Queen Elizabeth gained their trust and loyalty unlike her father before her. Queen
Elizabeth did not force the people but allowed them to decide on their own and for their
voices to be the deciding factor. In fact, “The greatest achievement in English history, the
“breaking the bonds of Rome”, and the establishment of spiritual independence, was
completed without bloodshed under Elizabeth’s auspices, and Elizabeth may have the
glory of the work”(Sowards, 37).
The people of England were in no need of a government
that was more concerned about it more than it was for the people. Elizabeth was Queen
but she established good ties with parliament. England did not need the rule of a monarchy
that controlled strictly, took the people’s wealth, and taxed. By taxing the people
parliament could control the people (Upshur, 464).
However, this was the exact opposite
of what Queen Elizabeth did. She was wealthy, however, she allowed the people of
England to have the opportunity to gain wealth. Without alienating public opinion, Queen
Elizabeth gained what she wanted. Queen Elizabeth’s policies coincided with the interests
of the people (Upshur, 465).
Queen Elizabeth was active in foreign policy. The people of
England, her subjects, began to see new materials due to her intervention in foreign policy.Furthermore, they began to obtain wealth. Elizabeth began trade with India and granted a
charter to the English East India Company (Upshur, 465).
This opened the path for trade
as well as the ideas for others to strive to achieve goals, and to set higher standards. This
gave some morale to the people of England. “She also established relations with the rulers
of Russia and authorized the formation of the Muscovy company, the first in western
Europe to trade with Russia” (Upshur, 465). Queen Elizabeth was under the normal stress
of any ruler of that time.
Or was she? “For thirty years she was perpetually a mark for
assassination, and her spirits were never affected, and she was never frightened into
cruelty (Sowards, 36). Elizabeth, opposite of past rulers, was trying to live down
England’s reputation as being a nation of war. Elizabeth negotiated as opposed to initiating
war (Sowards, 32). The Elizabethan Age was peaceful.
The people of England may have
been used to traditional fighting, however, Elizabeth kept peace. Queen Elizabeth had a
desire for peace. She managed the nation of England well to sustain a peaceful “life” while
other countries fought wars, lost, and fell into succession. Queen Elizabeth was a peaceful
ruler, however, she did engage in on act of warfare.
She is most famous for her dramatic
victory over the Spanish Armada during the summer of 1588 (Sowards, 25). “English
hostility to Spain was growing for a number of reasons: sympathy for the beleaguered
French Huguenots and the peasants of Holland locked in their own desperate struggle with
Phillip; the undeclared sea war with Spain that English privateers and pirates had already
been carrying on for a generation(Sowards, 26). There was no ground war and the
people of England never became unrested. Queen Elizabeth was patient and did not jump
into war with Spain.
She fought on her own terms (Sowards, 38). This was a sign of a
smart ruler. This led to National importance for England. England became supreme on the
English commerce increased to the Old World and colonies were formed in the New
World(Sowards, 33). Queen Elizabeth I was liked by her subjects because she was an
effective ruler. She brought effective government to the people through parliament. She
opened the opportunity for trade as well as the opportunity to gain wealth.
Elizabeth I also set the precedent that all nations are not as powerful as they may appear
by defeating the Spanish Armada. This enabled other smaller countries to set sail in the
seas to gain wealth and explore new territory.