How far did James satisfy the demands of the Puritans in the years 1604 – 1625?
As King during the time period of 1604 – 1625; one of James’s key roles was to please his Protestant subjects ; many of his actions however came under scrutiny by the Puritans and this essay is going to try and deduce whether or not James satisfied the demands of the Puritans - How far did James satisfy the demands of the Puritans in the years 1604 – 1625? introduction. To a certain extent, James did satisfy the demands of the Puritans in the years 1604 – 1625. One example of this was due to King James being learned – he enjoyed engaging in theological debates ; as it gave him the opportunity to hear his close associates and subjects views and opinions on certain elements of his rule ; it also gave him the chance to explain or defend his view point and certain rules. James also enjoyed engaging in disputations (formal debates). This satisfied the Puritans as it provided them with the platform to share their concerns and opinions and also proved to them that their King cared about them. Another example of James satisfying the demands of the Puritans in the years 1604 – 1625 was raising recusancy fines. Attendance at the local parish church was compulsory and persistent non-attendance would result in the imposition of fines. Despite previously lowering the recusancy fines, by 1604 all recusancy fines were ordered to be collected in full. James increased the recusancy fines due to his Puritan subjects adverse reaction to his original tolerant approach.
This suggests James dud satisfy the demands of the Puritans as the sole reason for him increasing the recusancy fines was to please them. Another example of James satisfying the demand of the Puritans was the Spanish match which he agreed for his daughter. Elizabeth, his daughter, marrying Frederick of Palatinate satisfied the demands of the Puritans as Frederick’s family were already connected by marriage to many of the leading Protestant figures – James was now at the centre of the Protestant world and was now in a position of high authority and extreme power. This satisfied Puritan demands as it exemplified how important James viewed his religion and his new in laws meant he could easily influence major decisions surrounding his religion. James was also able to satisfy the demands of the Puritans after the Gun Powder Plot through the Oath of Allegiance which forced all Catholics to sign an oath of allegiance in 1606 to King James and publically deny the Pope’s international powers. However, many of James’s actions didn’t satisfy the demands of the Puritans during the time period 1604 – 1625. One example of this is the publication of the Book of Sports in 1618. This book listed the
activities considered lawful on a Sunday after Church. These included dancing and archery. However, anything which smacked of frivolity was distasteful to Puritans on the Sabbath. Therefore, publishing this book didn’t satisfy the demands of the Puritans; in fact; it totally dissatisfied them. James also ordered the book to be read from the pulpit – this offended many clergy who felt that by doing so they appeared to agree with its contents. Despite it satisfying the Puritans to a certain extent, The Hampton Court Conference also dissatisfied many Puritans.
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The Puritans failed to win any of their demands ; their demands such as not having to wear a surplice was so moderate that James dismissed their grievances as trivial and unworthy of note. James also disliked being subjected to what he saw as undue pressure. The Puritans were not granted any changes in church organisation or practice. The Hampton Court conference brought little consolation to those Puritans who looked to James for reform. Not only had their demands been dismissed as trivial, worse still, James himself now regarded the Puritans with some suspicion. Another example of James not satisfying the demands of the Puritans is the Enforcement of Conformity. In February 1604, James ordered the convocation (Church equivalent of Parliament) to draw up a new book of Canons (Church laws) which would resolve disputed matters. This meant that all Puritans had to accept authorised services – this was an attack on Puritan lecturers who on Sunday afternoons were accustomed to give long sermons with no formal service. These articles were a serious blow to many Puritans because they could no longer ignore practices of which they disproved. Also, all ministers had to accept the Book of Common Prayer as it contained nothing in contrary to the word of God.