Government and authority (Relationship between king and ministers:Master or servant?)


Government and authority

Relationship between King and Minister:Master or Servant?

Nature of relationship between HVIII and his chief minister in the years 1515-1529 is fundamental to an analysis of Tudor political history.
Topic has been debated by generations of Tudor historians;

Traditional interpreation

A.F.Pollard claimed that Wolsey achieved a 'Prime ministerical' dominance over policy making for 14 years, a view also held by G.R.Elton who wrote that Wolsey tried to rule as a king when he was not king.
He had emormouse power through his relgious authority as Archbishop of Rome and Cardinal Legate, and through his position as Lord Chancellor.
He manipulated his influence over the king to exclude any rivals at court
He assumed great personal power, determined English FP and dominated the Court of Star Chamber

Revisionist interpretation

Wolsey is seen by other historians as a man who followed instructions- He had to follow policies that relfected the King's will, greed and desire for conflict- Wolsey desired peace but was forced to declare war intermittently to satify the King.
S.J. Gunn


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