The Earlier Tudors, 1485-1558 by J. D. Mackie
This volume deals with the birth of a nationstate from the throes which marked the end of the middle ages in North-West Europe. It describes the erection of a stable monarchy by the very competent Henry VII, examines the means employed by him, and considers how far his monarchy can be described as 'new'. It discusses the machinery by which the royal power was exercised and traces the effect of the concentration of lay and ecclesiastical authority in the person of Wolsey, whose soaring ambition helped make possible the Caesaro-Papalisri of Henry VIII. The development of the English monarchy is set in its continental background and the reprecussion of foreign policy upon domestic history are set forth in some detail. An examination of the economic developmelit of the period shows how local institutions gradually yielded to the compelling force of a national economy which was, in certain of its aspects, almost metropolitan. While the influence of political, constitutional, and economic factors in producing the reformation is fully recognized, care has been taken to show, in proper perspective, the operation of religious sentiment which was the fundamental cause of the great change. The effect of this change upon art, the architecture, the literature, and the general life of England is discussed, and it appears that, in spite of the politic 'reformation' of Henry VIII, and the violent alterations which marked the reigns of Edward VI and Mary, there was much of the essential England which remained unchanged save that it was schooled to new enterprise and prepared for the great day of Elizabeth.