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What were the causes of the English Reformation?
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Elizabeth I's rule consolidated the Reformation

Elizabeth I’s religious settlement solidified England’s fate as a Protestant nation. Queen Elizabeth was much more popular than her sister Mary had been and she ruled for a long time, securing a peaceful protestant England.
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The Argument

Elizabeth I’s religious settlement solidified England’s fate as a Protestant nation after the bloody reign of the Catholic Mary. Queen Elizabeth was much more popular than her sister Mary’s had been and ruled for much longer. Mary had burnt 300 people in 5 years and lost Calais to the French.[1] In 1559, Elizabeth commenced her first parliament. Her Lord Privy Seal released a statement that England would be a more tolerant nation, which did not waste time on rooting out heresy. [2]Elizabeth took a fairly hands-off approach to religion. She is believed to have said 'I would not open windows into men's souls', in other words, religion was not for her to dictate. [3] Elizabeth passed the Act of Supremacy once again, which made her governor of the church of England and rejected papal authority. The Act of Uniformity also reintroduced the English prayer book. [2] Many Historians believe England was not truly protestant until her reign. Elizabeth's approach to religion was overall more tolerant than Mary’s had been, and she was a fairly popular monarch with a lengthy reign. These factors helped ensure that England would remain largely protestant forever afterward.

Counter arguments

Queen Elizabeth was only a moderate for the first half of her reign. In the second half, she was led by more radical ministers, who prompted her to persecute Catholics, due to the threat of Mary Queen of Scots. Priest holes were widely used in the Elizabethan period to hide Catholic priests. Elizabeth came in for criticism from both Protestants and Catholics, for neither taking a moderate route nor being truly protestant. [4] Conflict over catholicism would continue after the reign of Elizabeth. James I and Charles I both stirred up controversy over catholicism during their rule. [5]The reformation was painfully slow in England. Elizabeth became more militant as her reign went on. Conflict over religion in England would remain in the Stuart period.


[P1] Elizabeth I’s reform programme created a moderate protestant England [P2] She was both moderate, popular, and long-ruling securing the future of Protestantism in England [C] The reign of Elizabeth I solidified the reformation

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Sunday, 8 Nov 2020 at 19:09 UTC

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