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 (Upshur, 465). 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 seas. English commerce increased
to the Old World and colonies were formed in the New
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. Queen 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.
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