Elizabeth I (1558-1603)- English Literature Essay (100 Level Course)
In 1558 Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, ascended to the throne of England. Once crowned queen, she devoted her life, her instinctive political skill and courage to the creation of a modern stronger England. Elizabeth re-established the Anglican Church, but, as she was personally tolerant and even sceptical, she avoided the excesses of fanaticism.
In 1559 Parliament passed a second Act of Supremacy, which asserted the supremacy of the monarch, and stated that “no foreign prince, State or potent ate could have spiritual or temporal authority within the realm of England”. Elizabeth named herself Governor, however, and not “Supreme Head on Earth” of the Church of England, as her father had done.
With the Act of Uniformity (1559) she stated that only Cranmer’s Prayer Book was to be used by the English people; there was little persecution; she was very severe only when Catholic plots proved a danger for her or the State.
As far as problems of individual conscience were concerned, Elizabeth was tolerant, leaving the individual as master of his own soul. This was the highest degree of compromise possible in those times, and was largely accepted by the people.