There are various ways to interpret the above question; it is debatable whether Richard had capability to rule but what is evident is that he was somewhat ineffective.
There are numerous incidences, which these statements are shown through out Richard’s reign both publicly and privately. The usage of Acts of Attainder, are one way, which shows Richard’s potential but ineffectiveness to rule. Punishing traitors and rebels in this way made it clear that any behaviour of that sort would not be tolerated.These people were imprisoned, sent into exile or even executed for treason, and their land was taken over. This would have been fine and a good display of authority and superiority if Richard had not made it an opportunity to give land to friends in the north. After the Buckingham Rebellion, Richard implemented Acts of Attainder on all of the people involved, but instead of giving the land to the southern nobility (which would have gained him more support in the south) he gave it to people in the north, causing resentment with the southern public. He also made the same mistakes while in progress.The fact that Richard embarked on these progresses illustrates that he was both capable and cunning (to a certain extent) enough as a ruler to know that he needed to get support.
However, his chosen areas to visit show a lack of sense as well as effectiveness. Thought the whole point of a progress is to gain support through out the country, Richard decided to venture to areas where he already had support. Richard took his entourage to the north, in particular York and Northumberland, places where he already had support due to his governing of the north.In fact, upon his death, although the rest of England had disliked Richard, the city council of York recorded on paper it sorrow on hearing of the king’s death.
This was a dangerous thing to do now that the country was under the rule of Henry VII, but showed how Richard’s actions had affected them positively. But despite the fact that the majority of his support was in the north, Richard did not go to the south to even attempt to win them over. This shows that his progresses were ineffective because they did not produce further support as intended, but strengthened what he already had.It also demonstrates his capability to rule effectively but subsequently his failure to apply his abilities, as do the gifts that he gave while on progress. Another indication of Richard’s capabilities, were the donations and gifts, which were given to the church and certain members of nobility as he travelled around the country.
Richard gave these gifts in an attempt to win over the support of the church and nobility as they held the most important positions of stature in the society.The church in particular was influential due to its connection with the law as people were told that if they did not obey the bible and live without sins (crimes) they would not have a place in heaven. This was an intelligent move by Richard as it gained him the support of the church, which could also pass on their ideas of him to the congregation. Members of the nobility were also often members of parliament therefore support from these people would mean that Richard could have more security in parliament.Though some capability was shown in these acts, Richard overlooked the consequences of extravagant money spending. Due to Richard’s expensive gifts there was very little money for anything else. This included funding for the armed forces.
This was not a good position to be in with the army as they would be the ones who would be protecting the king if someone should try to usurp the throne. In an effort to solve this problem Richard began to use forced loans and raised taxes.Now, if all of the peasants had vast amounts of money then this might have been a very intelligent and effective move, but as it so happens the peasants did not have a lot of money and were very opposed to this concept.
In fact the peasants felt so strongly against the tax rises and forced loaning that they rioted, causing much unsettlement within the south. Hence this turned out to be a very ineffective resolution. Another and final manner in which Richard had shown his capability was that he was able to make the decision he should have people killed to get to and then secure his position as king.
After King Edward’s death, before the coronation of Edward V, Richard executed Lord Hastings without trial. Richard exemplified that he had thought about who precisely would need to be eliminated in order for his abduction of the princes to be successful. As one of the strongest supporters of Edward V, Lord Hastings was an intelligent decision. As A. J. Pollard wrote in his book Richard III and the Princes in the Tower ‘his ambition, and his sense of his own self worth and importance, led him to disregard all law and right in the pursuit of his own interests.
He did not hesitate to kill to make himself king. ‘ In this extract Pollard states that Richard was so self absorbed that he would kill his own relations just for power. In addition, just before the killing of the two princes Richard proclaimed that the children were illegitimate and therefore disqualified them from the throne. But this was a miscalculated effort as the southern public found out about the disappearance of the two princes, which made their perception of Richard go from bad to worse, presenting a capable method resulting in an ineffective outcome.In conclusion it is possible, using the evidence recorded above, to make the sound judgement that Richard was fairly capable of ruling, and at times quite cunning, however did prove to be quite ineffective in the long run.
After researching and accumulating all of this evidence, it is clear to see any actions beyond the theory stage of Richard’s plans were futile attempts at a decent but selfish ruling, which resulted in disaster for many but most importantly, Richard.