I am having some difficulties with the debate regarding whether the nature of the Commons changed under Elizabeth I. I study History A2, my exam board is OCR. In order to prove I’m not just being lazy I have read around and come up with this:
Neale – yes – power of commons increase – foreshadow civil war conflict –
Evidenced: Puritan choir – not present under Mary, of increasing importance
Elton – no – parliament was already well placed at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign = she couldn’t return the power to what it had been in the 1530s since it had already increased, but she did manage to monitor it and keep it from increasing anymore: the opposition within parliament was more marked not because it was of greater strength but because a large number of Mps were apathetic towards political affairs under E = the limited number of opponents was more notable.
1. I know that a large number of MPs played truant in Elizabeth’s parliament – I’m not sure how this compared to the parliaments of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I?
2. I know these as the two sides of the debate, but I don’t have any facts to back them up, particularly on Neale’s side of the argument.
3. I can’t find any information looking at, if commons didn’t increase in importance in relation to Elizabeth, did they in relation to the Lords?
I have read through my textbook and I have a copy of Stephen Lee’s The Reign of Elizabeth I but I can’t seem to find any concrete evidence for this debate. Any help would be amazing, even if you can only point me in the direction of historians that could help, or sites or lectures I could try and get access to. Obviously if anyone understands the debate well and could explain it to me a bit better this would be perfect.
The question that appeared in June 2003, OCR was “assess the view that the nature of the commons changed during Elizabeth’s reign” – however the OCR website doesn’t provide mark schemes before 2005.
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer,