Henry VIII and his father can be compared by looking at the way they both handled similar situations and how they reacted in comparable events. One would think that father and son would be fairly similar in all aspects, but and Henry VII and Henry VIII could not have been much more different from one another.
The first policy to examine is Henry VII and Henry VIII views and actions towards foreign policy. Henry VII tried to avoid war wherever possible while his son on the other hand saw war as the only way to solve certain problems. Henry VII didn’t see the glory side to warfare but the financial side and so he merely saw war as a huge loss of money. Henry VII was also a very cautious man and he did not like taking risk if it could have deputised his position on the throne.Henry VII attitude to warfare was realistic, instead of wanting to re-conquer France like his son did; he decided to make peace so as to mainly decrease the risk of any conspiracies against the throne. His son, Henry VIII, on the other hand had more of boisterous character and he enjoyed to pursue his dynastic rights, very unlike his father.
He saw himself as such great warriors as Henry V and King Arthur and he aspired to be remembered, like them, for his courage and bravery. Henry VIII wanted almost the opposite to that of his father because he wanted to recover the French empire. In 1512 Henry’s troops attempted to invade Aquitaine in the south of France, however this campaign fell apart when his troops contracted dysentery and due to their lack of discipline they got drunk and deserted Henry. In 1513 Henry and his troops did succeed in seizing the small towns of Therouanne and Tournai in the north of France.These two gains did not greatly improve Henry’s interests yet he still saw it as the beginning of recovering his French empire, not matter how small the gain.
Henry VIII views on warfare were unrealistic because he compared England’s tiny resources to that of a great power like France. Thomas Wolsey, Henry’s advisor took to a tactic of switching allies so as to improve England’s chances of being on the winning side. This way England were more likely to receive much needed gains of money and his small troops would not see too many losses. Henry spent vast amounts of money on warfare and constantly borrowed money from parliament by the selling of monastic lands and the debasement of coinage.Henry continued to spend and didn’t stop to think how he would go about paying all this money back. Between the years 1511-1513 Henry VIII spent ï¿½960,000 on warfare when his ordinary income a year was approximately ï¿½110,000.
Henry was trying to compare himself with much wealthier monarchs such as Francis I and Charles V. Henry VII and Henry VIII foreign policies could not of differed much more, Henry VIII being so adventurous wanted glory and victory whereas his father wanted peace and protection.Henry VII domestic policy was based on financial security and economic stability. He surrounded himself with loyal councillors although he was a very independent man. Henry worked on a basis of efficiency and his main aim was to bring back order to the country after 85 years of civil war. Henry made such changes as reducing the power of feudal lords, increasing foreign trade, introducing a Privy Council and a Star Chamber.
Henry VII did not ask too much of the people of England and realistically returned order into the country. Henry also kept a distance between himself and his councillors because he was quite mistrusting. His son on the other hand had grown up with many of his ministers and so developed a close relationship with them all. Henry VIII relied heavily upon his councillors to do the work because Henry was not business like and disliked working.Henry VIII much preferred to take part in the court entertainment such as jousting and hunting. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was Henrys closest advisor who made such decisions to increase taxes so as to fund Henry’s wild ambitions of warfare. England was small meaning so was its tax base and when taxes were increased, this triggered off revolts making Henry VIII quite unpopular.
Henry worked for around a mere one hour everyday making him deeply dependent on his ministers. This system worked well for Henry because if any policies proved to be unpopular, he could then blame his minister even when he might have agreed. On some occasions Henry had ministers executed so as to add to the appearance of his ministers being guilty of passing the policy and not himself. Henry VIII led a very disorganised and unreliable domestic policy when his father had previously worked so hard to bring order to the country.Henry VII was a Roman Catholic and had no major feelings of attitudes towards the Church. Conversely his son was the reason for the Protestant reformation in England even though he was a Roman Catholic. Henry was religious and for example when he married his brother’s widow he was worried that they would be cursed with no male heir. Henry VIII wanted to put a stop to the growing power of the Church by passing certain laws, one of which meant priests could now only be associated with one church.
Henry also ordered for a number of monasteries within England to be destroyed. This reformation led to a severe divide between Roman Catholics and Protestants which in turn triggered a number of wars. Henry would eventually make himself the Supreme Head of Church in England just so that he could have his own way and divorce his wife. Henry VIII was not a deeply religious man but he did see his rule as being led by God and also claimed that he was spoken to by God at times. Henry VII wanted peace and therefore left the Church alone, yet Henry was only interested in authority of kings and wanted power from the Church, so as to making himself the most powerful man in England. Henry VIII reinforced imperial kingship, which placed the king next to God in importance on Earth.
Henry VII changed England from a poor country to that of a very wealthy one. A majority of the financial work was done by him and he had noexperience to help him. Henry saw the strength of the Crown as a reflection of financial strength. Henry VII was no miser because his court was very luxurious and lavish, he was however a realist making his revenue so large because of his cautious foreign policy.
The main sources of revenue were the royal estates and a policy of wardship. Disobedience on the nobles’ behalf was punished by fines which added to Henry’s revenue as well. Henry VIII attitudes to financial policy were completely different because there was no particular policy. Henry quickly squandered all the money his father had carefully saved on aimless wars.
Henry VIII then relied on money granted from Parliament in the form of selling monastic lands and debasing the coinage. Henry was closely dependent on his councillors to do a majority of the work while Henry took more of an interest in music, art and women. Henry VIII lack of structure led to his loss of financial security which his father had left for him. Henry VIII was irresponsible and his strong desire to recover his French empire rendered him heavily in debt, a debt which he kindly left his children to sort out. While Henry VII was wise a careful, his son was adventurous, reckless and negligent.Henry VII kept the upper hand over the nobility by knowing he couldn’t trust them meant he kept his distance.
Henry prevented the re-emergence of ‘super nobles’ as a group by refusing to distribute royal estates in return for their support. Henry had a policy to punish the nobility with fines if they disobeyed him but not to reward them if they proved to be loyal. Henry VIII used a more violent technique to secure the nobles loyalty, his punishment was not a fine, but execution. Henry VIII was a friendly man at times and enjoyed to take part in activities with his noblemen such as jousting, hunting and tennis. Henry enjoyed their company because he had grown up with most of them and so general atmosphere was relaxed and happy. However if a noble was to raise an opinion that perhaps Henry did not agree to or they disobeyed him then he would usually have them executed. Yet on the other hand Henry relied on the nobility because they made up a vast majority of his army, so it was the nobility that allowed him to pursue his claim to the French throne.
Henry VIII policies diverged from that of his father’s quite considerably. Henry VII was an organised and cautious king, who carefully thought out plans before carrying them out. Henry VII put the people of England and his son’s future first before his own. He chose to focus on financially stabilising the country instead of gallivanting across Europe. Henry VIII however, was a young and immature king during 1509-1515 and wanted to be known as a great warrior just like Henry V or King Arthur. Henry VIII hastily spent his father’s money on aimless wars and inconsiderately ran up huge debts which his children would need to sort out.
Henry remained to be boisterous throughout his reign in England. Henry VIII and his father could not have been more different to one another; it was mainly due to their opposite personalities which made their policies differ so greatly. While Henry VII was king, he barely saw his son and so it was probably due to this separation that father and son turned out to be such different people.