Courseworks

Charles’ Success In Governing The Empire 

Arguably, Charles V could be considered as successful in governing the Empire, as he attempted to improve and centralise government within each part of his Empire. As Charles had to reduce hostility to his government and gain acceptance for his new taxes, a number of reforms were adopted, including the replacement of unpopular of corrupt officials. The Cortes was also allowed to partnership with the Crown and in return for taxes, it was responsible for handling revenue. A partnership was also affected with the nobility. They were rewarded by being confirmed in their social position and privileges, form the government of Spain. The price of this exclusion was that the nobility was allowed to govern the countryside with very little interference.Peace was brought to Castile but at considerable cost, with severe limitations on central policy and on the Crown’s ability to make changes. However, with a compliant Cortes, Charles could afford a standing army and was less dependant on the power of the nobles. Finally, although Charles continued with the conciliar system of government, he did extend its role to new areas. For instance, the Council of State, created in 1522 dealt with the affairs of both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Charles was also able to maintain personal control and historian J.J. Elliot notes that Charles was ‘”an old style ruler who liked to lead his army to battle and to govern his subjects personally”.Charles’ Failures In Governing The EmpireHe failed in his attempts to centralise government in Germany, as there were no long-term effects as a result of his actions. Throughout Charles’ reign there was a need for central direction and co-ordination of policies, although it could also be argued that the Spanish Empire had no institutions in common and no imperial bureaucracy. Any attempt at reform of the administration had to take account of the privileges of each territory and also the prolonged absence of the Emperor. Finally, it could be put forward that Charles found it difficult to impose his authority as a territorial ruler. Historian N.M. Sutherland stated that vision and failure were inextricably interwoven form the start and it was no disgrace when Charles realised this and abandoned the struggle to men whose responsibilities were less and whose vision was narrower.Successes As Defender Of Faith And In Religious UnityCharles was also able to withstand the Turkish menace, and although Lutheranism had to be accepted as permanent, German Catholicism was saved at a crucial moment and revived in the later part of the century. Charles was also successful in maintaining Catholicism in the Americas, the Netherlands and Spain, which was to become the most dominant force in Europe. In these places, heresy was withheld and it could be argued that religion was not a complete failure. Also, the opening of the Council of Trent in 1545 suggested that at last Pope and Emperor would join forces to renew the Church. In the great biography by Karl Brandi, the foundation of modern studies of Charles V, attention is focused on Charles in northern Europe, where his setbacks were greatest. He might be thought of as more of a success if he is viewed as a Mediterranean monarch rather than a world emperor.Failures As Defender Of Faith And In Religious UnityWhen considering Charles’s aim as Defender of the Faith to restore Catholic faith, Charles failed. He had to confront the problem of the Ottoman Turks and also accept a division in the Empire. Charles also needed the support of German princes and it was politically expedient for many princes to adopt Lutheranism. This meant that without their support, Charles could do little. The crucial middle years of the 1520s were devoted to settling Spain and by the time Charles turned his full attention back to the Empire, the Lutherans had established themselves too firmly to be dealt with easily. The Schmalkaldic League grew in power throughout the 1530s and established contacts with France, England and Denmark. Charles was more concerned with relations with France and the Turks and as a result, his policy in Germany throughout the 1530s consisted of periodic denunciations of heresy combined with toleration in practice while a solution was left to the General Council he repeatedly pressed upon the Pope. This absence of direction meant that the Protestants were able to make steady gains.By 1545 all of north-east and north-west Germany was Protestant as well as large parts of the south and Frederick of Palatinate became a Protestant. The General Council at Trent which first met in 1545 was a disappointment for Charles because it was not seeking a compromise solution to the Protestant problem but a restatement of Catholic faith in opposition to Protestantism. Charles attempted to solve the German problem himself in the Augsburg interim but the Pope saw it as an attack on his own position and rights while for the Protestants it was a wholly inadequate addressing on the depth of their religious convictions. In conclusion, this double failure by Charles to resolve the political and religious problems of the empire made him consider the future in a new light. The victory at Muhlberg had only been possible with the help of money and troops from the Netherlands and Spain. Any future emperor deprived of these resources would find governing the Empire even more impossible than Charles himself. Such reasoning then led Charles to question the position of his brother Ferdinand, and in doing so, to split the Hapsburg family down the middle.Successes In Foreign PolicyCharles’ foreign policy could be considered a success the Battle of Pavia in 1525 proved a success for Charles during the Habsburg-Valois Wars where Francis I was captured. Charles’ claim to Naples was successfully defended and Charles also successfully led an expedition to recapture Tunis from the Barbarossa and this reduced the Turkish threat. Finally, he was able to assert his territorial and dynastic rights. Navarre, Flanders, Artois, Tournai, and Cambrai were consolidated within the Habsburg Empire. In conclusion, war was always a central feature of his reign and his resources would always be stretched in attempting to deal with the Turkish threat and threats posed by other enemies such as the French and the Lutherans.Failures In Foreign PolicyCharles real failure as a ruler lay not in the inability to achieve his ideals, which were unrealisable, but in the legacy he left to his successors. Warfare was an almost constant backdrop to the reign, distorted the economies of Spain and the Netherlands and in the latter caused serious unrest. It could be argued that only small territorial changes occurred during the Hapsburg Valois wars, and both sides suffered heavy losses and financial problems, and this contributed to Philip’s bankruptcy in 1557. Charles was also unable to gain a long-term peace agreement with France and arguably, had failed to destroy the Turkish threat. Finally, the attack on Algiers in 1541 was considered to be a disaster for Charles V. In Germany, the imperial title was preserved but only with the failure to gain real power and the effective fragmentation of the Empire.Successes In Hapsburg Family AmbitionsWhen considering the success of the Habsburg family ambitions, it must be understood that the family was the basis of power and government. Charles was head of the Hapsburg family and maintained the traditions of governing the land as a family orientated business, including marriages that would help to expand the Hapsburg influence in Europe. The marriage between Philip and Mary Queen of England was considered a very valuable agreement, which linked England with Spain and the Netherlands.Failures In Hapsburg Family AmbitionsIt may be considered that a failure resulted in the fact that Philip and Mary failed to have a son and heir who would have ruled Spain, England and the Netherlands. It could be argued, therefore that this son may have prevented problems in the Netherlands and England becoming a Protestant country. During this period, whenever foreign policy and family interests conflicted, the priority always lay in family interests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
x

Hi!
I'm Jamie!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out