James I and Divine Right

  • Created by: eshabains
  • Created on: 10-05-22 11:58
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    • What is divine right?
      • It is the belief that a monarch is chosen by God to rule and they are God's representative on Earth. This also implies that God wants society to have a strict hierarchy.
        • There were fears that this divine right could evolve into a form of absolutism that dominated the monarchies of France and Spain.
    • Opposition to this belief
      • James' tutor  George Buchanan participated in the deposition of Mary Queen of Scots.
        • He taught  James that monarchs should be held accountable to the people that give them power.
          • James' own belief was a mixture of both of these influences. he would retain his prerogative yet not go to extreme lengths to defend it.
    • Sir Edward Coke
      • Sir Edward Coke was an MP and lawyer who championed the common law.
      • He accused James of acting above the law as Coke considered common law as sovereign. As a result he was dismissed in 1616.
        • Coke to James 'His Majesty was not learned in the laws of England.
    • The Apology of the House of Commons 1606
      • This was a document in which Parliament asserted its rights to the King but he never saw it.
        • Rights that were re-established included : free speech, free election (Goodwin v Fortesque), freedom from arrest. Purveyance and wardship were mentioned.
    • James' speech to Commons in 1610
      • James was accused as being above the law by a professor and James' response was to issue a proclomation
        • James also issued a speech which contained many absolutist ideas: ' judges over all their subjects and yet accountable to none but God only.'
  • Was Divine Right the main cause of tension?
    • The theory and practice of divine right were very different and in reality it wasn't much of an issue.
      • After the case of Goodwin v Fortesque, James never interfered with disputed elections and left it up to Parliament to deal with.
        • In 1610, even after his absolutist speech, James agreed to stop creating new claims by proclomation after parliament complained about it.
          • James  never raised taxes without parliamentary permission.
            • Blessed parliament: James made a concession with the MPs Shirley debt case. He was released from prison.


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