.. they were not prepared for. Richard worked for internal stability as well as he worked for an armistice with Scotland to end engagements that were costing his country dearly in finances. All throughout the land the commoners were raising up about oppression and extortion by some of the lords. Richard supported the people and called for them to bring their grievances to his political figures in the Earl of Lincoln, and the Earl of Northumberland.
In doing this, the grievances would be dealt with speedily and ramified. Through his deeds to unify and strengthen the country, Richard did neglect some which in the end lead to his downfall. One of his close allies became jealous and overzealous in thinking of taking the throne for himself. The Duke of Buckingham, who helped Richard claim the throne, became power hungry at the behest of Bishop Morton, one of Richard’s detestors. Buckingham also had a faint claim to the throne, as a descendant of Edward III spurred on by Morton.
Buckingham gained support of many of the nobles to create a rebellion to attempt to take the throne. This rebellion lasted a short while, but showed the lack of loyalty of even Richard’s closest allies. Buckingham was captured and quickly beheaded due to his treasonous actions along with many of his supporters. These actions seem to be a result of a flawed policy Richard used to reward his supporters in the north after his rise to the throne. One of the duties given to the king is that of bestowing honors and titles to the nobility of the south.
In comparison with his predecessor, Edward IV, Richard only called upon twenty-six barons for his first parliament, compared to forty-four by Edward. This further extended the rift after Buckingham’s rebellion when the king seized the land of Buckingham’s supporters. Richard had the ability to distribute such lands as he saw fit. The mistake he made was in rewarding those in the north that helped him in the past. Instead of expanding his support in the south, and unifying his power, he bestowed large pieces of land to his close circle of supporters from the north.
His power was already solidified in the north. He should have looked to expand his influence in the south so he could bridge the gap in the nobility of England. Richard was at a disadvantage due to the shortage of nobility in England at the same time. Due to subsequent wars, many had been killed in battle. Richard needed to streamline his administration, which lowered the cost associated with government.
With this it is hard to see how England was in financial trouble. Edward IV had left Richard an impressive treasury. Tracing back to the distribution of land, Richard should have sold the lands to the nobility to gain the spoils of his victory. Due to this situation, Richard was forced to reneg on one of his revolutionary legislative acts. Because he was now facing opposition from Henry Tudor and his imminent invasion, Richard needed to raise money to raise an army for defense. The financial drain of the rebellion, as well as charitable acts had left him with no choice except to take loans from his nobility. These loans were not on the terms of the nobility, as they were forced to contribute to the king as their duty.
These loans almost directly conflicted with his legislature to make illegal royal benevolencies. This wore sown public support for the king, as well as the nobility’s trust in Richard. Richard was also dealt a personal blow that took on public meaning. With rumors circulating about the Richard’s involvement in the murder of the princes, the ramifications of Richard’s son dying took on new meaning. Not only was it a great personal blow to Richard, who had worked to ensure his son’s place on the throne, but it had religious implications for the public. The public saw this and the Queen’s death as a punishment from God for Richard’s involvement in the killing of the princes.
His hopes for an heir were further dashed across the ground when his wife died of a tragic disease. The public saw that the throne was unstable again due to the vacancy if the king died. This idea threw uncertainty into the minds of many that felt secure in the transfer of power from Richard to his son in the future. George also fell victim to poor decision making when acting impulsively late in his career. After he became comfortable in his position, Richard seemed to take for granted the support he had from the people. As his queen, Anne, continued to deteriorate in health, he began to have interest in his niece Elizabeth.
As he was well versed in the bible, he only saw wrong in a woman marrying her nephew and no problem with marrying a niece. Luckily his advisors caught wind of his plan, but not before rumors of such a plot reached the public. Richard was forced to make a public speech regarding the subject that proved to be an embarrassment. The end of Richard’s reign was seen with much lost support for his rule. As Henry Tudor raised an army with the support of English exiles, Richard continued to have the confidence that he could not be defeated. Now Henry was the one to act with prudence.
After landing his troops, he proceeded with caution, waiting for reinforcements from his allies in England, those nobles whom Richard had fell out of favor. He was undermanned and unprepared for battle, but his patience would pay off. With the support of many nobles, Henry proceeded through the heart of England unopposed. Richard seeing this realizes that Lord Stanley was a traitor. In the ensuing battle Stanley feigns attacking and merely shadows Henry’s forces.
Stanley would have full out supported Henry except for the fact that Richard had kidnapped his son and threatened to kill him if Stanley turned against him. The Battle of Bosworth began and was over with little more than one hundred dead on the side of Henry. Richard’s troops were unwilling to fight, and only those close to Richard politically took up arms in a futile attempt to stem the tide. Richard is seen as a monster through history. Many people overlook the good he did in his legislation and charitable acts.
A few open-minded scholars feel he could have been one of the most influential kings of England if the circumstances were different. How is anyone to judge such a person in such turbulent times? Richard was a product of his times, and he did what was necessary to survive in the political anarchy of the Middle Ages. If one was to look at Richard for a lesson to learn, there is much to take away from his experiences. Political decision making surrounds every aspect of Richard’s life. His good and bad decisions are what made him immortal. You can see such prominent politicians today in the same light.
They may not be killing each other, but politicians political lives sway in the wind just as gingerly if their decision making and policy are not supported, and backed strongly by their party. Bibliography Bibliography: Crowder, C. M. D. English Society & Government in the Fifteenth Century.
London: Oliver & Boyd, 1967. Hanham, Alison. Richard III and his Early Historians: 1483-1535. Oxford: Clrendon Press, 1975. Jacob, E.F.
The Fifteenth Century. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1961. Kendall, Murray P. Richard the Third. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1955.
Oman, Charles. The History of England from the accession of Richard II to the death of Richard III. The Political History of England. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1930. Ross, Charles.
Richard III. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1981. Wood, Charles T. Joan of Arc & Richard III: Sex, Saints and Government in the Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.