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Tudors in United Kingdom

British Political and Social Thought: Division of Power Under the Tudors

Introduction to Tudors

In the 16th century the ruling Tudor monarchy increased the level of cooperation among royalty, local aristocrats, and wealthy merchants. Although the Tudors maintained their belief in the divine right of kings-the doctrine that rulers derive their right to rule directly from God-they demonstrated an unprecedented willingness to share power with the elites of the realm. Division of power in England dated back to the Magna Carta, sealed in 1215 by King John, which decreed that the king’s nobles must be consulted over issues of taxation. In the late 16th century Queen Elizabeth I shared authority and actively sought guidance from the British Parliament. At that time Parliament consisted of the House of Lords, representing landed aristocrats, and the House of Commons, representing the wealthy commercial classes. In cooperation with Parliament, the Tudors established a mixed constitution, a set of rules both formal and informal that regulated the workings of government. The British constitution differs from the constitutions of the United States and many other nations because it is not a single document; instead it is a complex collection of acts of Parliament, judicial rulings, statutes, and conventions.

The British constitution, as it evolved under the Tudors, established that power would be shared among the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the wealthy commercial class. In the religious realm the Tudors compromised as well. They followed the Protestant break from the Roman Catholic Church and established Anglicanism as the national Church of England. Anglicanism maintained many features of Catholicism, such as a hierarchical clergy presided over by archbishops and bishops, but it included some important differences from Catholicism, such as allowing Anglican priests to marry.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Tudors in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Tudors

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Tudors
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: British Political and Social Thought: Division of Power Under the Tudors Introduction to Tudors In the 16th century the [...]

    This entry was last updated: May 29, 2015


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