Essay about Elizabeth I: A Woman in a Man's World

Essay about Elizabeth I: A Woman in a Man's World

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Gender was the leading cause of distress in the 1500’s: King Henry VIII wanted nothing more than to have a son, yet was “cursed” with the legacy of a frail son, whom died before the age of 18 and two daughters, one of whom broke every convention of her gender. Queen Elizabeth I never married nor had children, yet can be considered one of England’s most successful monarchs. By choosing King James VI of Scotland as her heir, unbeknownst to her, she created the line that leads to the modern Queen of England, Elizabeth II. The question posed is then, how did Elizabeth I’s gender affect her rule?
Upon the death of her sister--in November of 1558--Elizabeth ascended to the thrown of England. Until Mary’s rule, no woman--apart from the unrecognized rule of Matilda, daughter of Henry I--had ruled England of her own right1. Much like her sister, Elizabeth began her rule widely accepted and welcomed2. There were, however, still many who felt that women were unable to rule, being that women were said to be the weaker sex. John Knox argued that, “God by the order of his creation hath spoiled women of authority and dominion, [and] also that man hath seen, proved and pronounced just causes why that it so should be.”3 Women had always been no more then property, first to their fathers and then their husbands. If a women were to be the anointed queen of a realm of her own right and then marry, whom was beholden to whom? A woman was to do as instructed by her husband in all things, yet a sovereign was to be under the command of God only.
The issue was first addressed by the parliament of Mary I when drawing up the marriage contract with Phillip of Spain in 1554. Within the act, parliament limits the powers Phillip may have over ...


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...chamber was made up off women. The women were nearly all from her very large number of cousins--the houses of Seymour, Carey, Sackville, Howard, Radcliff, Grey, Knollys, and Blount all claimed kinship--due to her fathers numerous wives12.
All of these women were the ones who now had access to the queen, forcing yet another important role in the politics of the nation, into the hands of women. While the women were apolitical13 their male counterparts--sons, brother, husbands, fathers--served the queen in several political roles. One of the greatest shifts of power that would affect the most change in government: the grooms of the stool had, during the time of Henry VIII and Edward VI, taken many responsibilities belonging to the secretary and William Cecil took them back14 and this gave him enough sway to create the agendas of council and create policies15.

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Essay on Elizabeth I: A Woman in a Man's World

- Gender was the leading cause of distress in the 1500’s: King Henry VIII wanted nothing more than to have a son, yet was “cursed” with the legacy of a sickly son, whom died before the age of 18 and two daughters, one of whom broke every convention of her gender. Queen Elizabeth I never married nor had children, yet can be considered one of England’s most successful monarchs. By choosing King James VI of Scotland as her heir, unbeknownst to her, she created the line that leads to the modern Queen of England, Elizabeth II....   [tags: gender, king henry VIII, bible, god]

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