How Far do These Sources Agree that Wolsey’s Foreign Policy Was Defensive?
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Wolsey was a very cautious man, he satisfied Henry’s requests as well as using his requirements to earn and achieve his own positions. Wolsey was only fifteen when he entered Oxford University, one of the best universities in the whole of England. This demonstrates his firm personality, he wasn’t born into a noble family and is believed that his father was a cattle dealer; this meant he had to sacrifice himself to achieve his positions. He ended up as one of the most powerful men in the whole of England; some say he was more powerful than Henry himself. Being a religious believer may have influenced Wolsey on to make peace instead of provoking war, these sources are mostly written in a colloquial language and all commonly agree that it was a waste of money to invest in the French territory.
Source F disagrees with the statement as it provides the reader with several facts of Wolsey’s policy implying that his policy was to satisfy Henry with enough chivalric duties such as battles. ”… he was internationally regarded as a figure of splendid chivalric kingship…” This is weighted towards the fact that Wolsey’s policy was more about advertising how powerful Henry VIII was, rather than making peace with other powerful countries such as France and Spain therefore, disagreeing with the statement made. This source is written in colloquial language which demonstrates a very strong opinion. This source was written by Keith Randell which has written various books regarding Tutor England suggesting that this source has a hint of reliability to it however, it was written in the twentieth century indicating that it is a secondary source and merly a matter of opinion, therefore making it less realiable, furthermore it suggests that Wolsey’s foreign policy was not defensive as it suggests that his chivalric image was demonstrated in 1520; ”… His certainty was increased by events such as those at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.” assuming that he was seen as a brave king thereafter this event.
However, source G disagrees with Source F as it states that Wolsey wanted to make peace between countries suggesting that his policy was defensive as he didn’t intend to provoke war. ”…Wolsey established England as the peacemaker …” this statement describes how Wolsey intended ally England to main powerful countries such as France, yet he is described as a cautious man that tries to satisfy Henry’s ambition for representitiveness; ”…he was careful not to ignore Henry’s desire for military glory…” therefore suggesting that Wolsey was cautious not to agreviate Henry’s need for military power and established peace throughout Europe. This source was also written in the twentieth century by Angela Anderson and Tony Imperato, the fact that it was written by two historians implies that it is reliable yet debatable as it is also a secondary source. This source agrees that Wolsey’s policy was defensive as he ”established England as a peacemaker”.
Furthermore, Source H also agrees that Wolsey’s foreign policy was defensive; ”… a personal letter to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1525 on the futility of invading France” this is an example of how Wolsey prefered to make peace with France, disagreeing with source F which states that he wanted to invade France yet, they commonly agree that it was a waste of currency to do so. ”Which the Kings Grace long continuance there would be to the great decaying and desolation of this realm…” This implies that if Henry chooses to continue investing in France to make it part of England’s territory, it would weaken his realm. This source was written by Wolsey therefore being personal and exaggerated yet, it is a primary source this, implies that it is reliable. Source H is weighted towards the idea that Wolsey’s foreign policy is defensive as it shows that he is discouraging the invasion of France.
Source G and H support the idea that Wolsey’s foreing policy was defensive and have described that Wolsey would often discourage invasions. Yet source F describes that Wolsey’s policy was not defensive as the Field of the Cloth of Gold was a main that showed otherwise furthermore, Wolsey did plan the invasion where Tournai and Theruanne were seized. However, all the sources state that the invasion of France was considered a loss of money. Moreover, it is agreed that Wolsey’s Foreign policy was defensive as it was in his high interest to establish stable relationships with the rest of Europe. I strongly believe that Wolsey’s foreign policy was defensive as in numerous occasions and events such as the treaty of London in 1518 which Wolsey proposed and organised; it was signed and agreed by major nations that they would not invade one another and would aid if any were under threat.