To What Extent Does The Foreign Policy

Of James I Deserve A Better Press Than It Has Usually Receive Essay, Research Paper

??????????????????????? James? foreign policy was criticised by

many but it was best for the country at the time especially with the limited

financial resources he had. Some aspects of the policy were not for the best

and were created under the pressures of other people in his court e.g.

Buckingham. He had two main aims, to keep England at peace and to prevent the

emergence of a widespread religious conflict in Europe. He managed to stick to

these aims but he did lay the foundations for war and after his death war did

break out in Europe. Historians called the foreign policy unpopular and

unrealistic as well as inept and ineffectual. ????????? Foreign

policy is closely linked with religion, crown and parliamentary privileges and

finance so to say the Foreign policy was an absolute failure or success is very

difficult because of all the other issues involved. It did receive bad press

that was not deserved and therefore gained a bad name that has stuck over the

years. ????????? His

main aim was to secure peace in England because finances would not allow war

and because he preferred not to declare war as he was peace loving. He managed

to maintain this aim throughout his reign. He did this by maintaining contact

with both the Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe, making himself a friend

of both sides. His methods for doing this were doubted by many though. He

arranged a make alliance with the Spanish who were disliked because of the

threats made to Elizabeth during her reign. The major alliance was set up

through a Spanish marriage; James planned to marry his son Charles to the

Spanish princess. This created a major alliance with the Protestant powers

also, this was popular, but there was a question of how much the Spaniards

could be influenced if at all. ????????? In

1604 peace was made with Spain to try and reduce the amount of financial

pressure on the country. It was unpopular with Parliament and the English

people but it was realistic due to the financial and military exhaustion in

England. This is another example of James keeping the peace in Europe during

his reign and preventing religious conflict spreading in Europe. ????????? This

drift towards Spain was reasonable under the circumstancesbut it was under much doubt at the time and still

is now by many historians. James attempted to marry his son to a Spanish

princess to use her dowry to help relieve the financial crisis in England and

to try and help prevent the outbreak of war in Europe therefore to keep the

peace. This received a mixed reaction from parliament; some thought that he was

trying to make an alliance with Spain in preparation for war and others thought

that the Spanish were a threat still after the death threats they made towards

Elizabeth during her reign. The next thing that James did to drift towards

Spain was embrace Gondomar the English ambassador for Spain.? He was negotiating the Spanish marriage,

which became highly unpopular and eventually unrealistic because it meant

relaxing the recrusancy laws in England to do with the Catholics because the

Spanish princess would be Catholic and she had to be allowed to live in

England. ????????? James

reached a turning point at the beginning of the thirty years war when he didn?t

intervene in the Bohemian crisis. This was unpopular but practical at the time

due to the financial situation and was also diplomatic because it distanced

James and kept him neutral in the disagreement. The Bohemians didn?t want their

new King Ferdinand on the throne and so they offered it to the Elector

Palatinate ? James? son-in-law. One of the main aims of James? policy was to

prevent religious conflict from breaking out in Europe but this became a

problem when he was expected to come to help his family when they needed it. James

distanced himself from Frederick and his decision to take the Bohemian throne

because he believed it to be an ill judged decision. Frederick was ultimately

exiled from Bohemia and lost the Palatinate. ????????? People

were supporting Frederick so this meant that James needed emergency funding. He

needed to be able to support Frederick if necessary and so asked for money to

finance intervention in Europe. He said that England needed to prepare for war

to secure peace. At first this plan seemed successful and parliament agreed to

grant two subsidies. Parliament petitioned the King to enter a war against the

Habsburgs because many of the MPs had strong Protestant views. James considered

this debate about war in Parliament an infringement of his prerogative rights as

it strayed into the formulation of policy. He reminded parliament of the limits

of their privilege of free speech and that this was only at the discretion of

the crown. This led to the protestation stating that the rights of the

parliament are due to their birthright and not decided by the King. James

subsequently tore this out of the commons journal and dissolved parliament as

he had done in 1604 over the problem of parliamentary privileges. The MPs were

claiming that they should be allowed to debate policies on religion and foreign

affairs but James refused. After dissolving parliament he pursued diplomatic

negotiations with Spain and a marriage for his son. ????????? The

complete failure and disaster of the Madrid trip in 1623 destroyed James? hopes

for a Spanish marriage for his son and increased the want for war. After

Charles and Buckingham unexpectedly arrived in Spain in an attempt to secure

the Spanish marriage James? plans for a diplomatic alliance. Charles and Buckingham

were humiliated because the Spanish had no intentions of marrying the princess

to Charles so when they returned they pushed James to declare war. Under this

pressure James summoned parliament and asked for subsidies to finance war with

Spain. War with Spain was never actually declared during James? reign though as

he died in the March of 1625. ????????? James

policy was realistic at the time but unusual in 17th century

standards. A lot of the events that happened in Europe during James? reign were

beyond his control making a foreign policy difficult. The situation in Europe at

this time made the aims of James? foreign policy particularly difficult to stick

to. The Bohemian crisis was a particularly difficult situation for James to

deal with as his family was involved and he had to think about the safety of

his daughter and the well being of his country. The issues involved in foreign policy

are closely linked with religion and crown prerogatives making foreign policy devising

even more difficult still. James did well under the circumstances at this time

and the bad press received from other historians about his policy was not

completely deserved and certainly not valid as most of the problems were beyond

his control.


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