Henry VIII: One of the Greatest Monarchs in English History Essay

Henry VIII: One of the Greatest Monarchs in English History Essay

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Henry VIII's legacy is one of the greatest in English history. He is best known for his political success, his many marriages, and his break from the Catholic Church.1 Henry VIII was able to achieve greatness through being an effective leader, changing the religious structure, and his six marriages.2 Because of this, he was able to become the most celebrated monarch in English history.3 Henry VIII achieved such a successful legacy because of his willingness to take risks. He led a campaign in his loyal Catholic country to renounce the pope, accept him as the leader of the Church of England, and fight against the Pope, his major opposition.4 This act of defiance permanently shifted the religious, political, and social history of England.
In order to understand his reasonings for his decree, one must first learn more about his early life. Henry VIII was born in 1491 to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.5 He was the second son and third child out of six. When he was young, Henry was appointed the Duke of York.
In 1502, his brother Arthur died at the age of 15, and young Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall. Henry VII wanted a marital union between England and Spain, so in 1503 he was offered to his brother's wife Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Queen Isabella of Castile.6 They declared that because of his young age, Henry would have to wait in order to marry her.
Henry VII died in April 1509, and Henry succeeded him as King. Henry was given the regal name Henry VIII.7 He was the first Tudor to easily become King. Due to England's peace domestically and abroad, Henry VIII became King at a perfect time.8 The royal finances of England were at an all time high, and Henry VIII had the freedom and privile...


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...gné J. H., and Henry White. History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. New York: American Tract Society, 1849.

Phillips, Gervase. "In the Shadow of Flodden: Tactics, Technology and Scottish Military Effectiveness, 1513–1550." Scottish Historical Review 77, no. 2 (October 24, 1998): 162-82. Accessed December 10, 2013. JSTOR.

Ryrie, Alec. "Renaissance to Reformation." In The Age of Reformation: The Tudor and Stewart Realms, 1485-1603, 83-102. 1st ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman, 2009.

Scarisbrick, J. J. Henry VIII,. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.

Smith, Lacey Baldwin. Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.

Sommerville, J.P. "Henry VIII and Wolsey." Lecture, Lecture, Madison, University of Wisconsin, December 10, 2013.

Weir, Alison. The Six Wives of Henry VIII. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

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