This alienated Lord Howard and annoyed the Duke of Barkley so they both supported Richard when Edward IV died. He therefore had built quite tense foundations for his son – the heir to the throne, due to many nobles feeling cheated by his somewhat unfair judicial policies. Edward’s legal system therefore was in some ways quite ineffective. However, the negative factors can be questioned as to just how ineffective they made Edward’s domestic government. The alienated noblemen did not revolt during his reign and this could show that he was a powerful ruler and that they were afraid of him.
The tense foundations he had built for his son were most probably unavoidable. Although he may have given his brother too much power, the power to be in a position to claim the throne after his death, he would not have known his own brother would double-cross him and if he had not given him such power the feuds in the north may have continued. Therefore his law and order, due to the many positive factors outweighing the bad, can be seen as being an effective part of his domestic government.
When Edward took the Crown for the second time in 1471 it was highly indebted therefore Edward promised in 1467 that he would “live off his own”, meaning that he would live off his ordinary revenues and throughout his second reign he did as he promised. Edward ensured he was not in debt and as a result had become “solvent” by the time of his death and he was the first king since 1189 (almost 300 years), to do so. The Tudors, Henry VII and VIII, followed this pattern, which showed his effectiveness because his principles were copied. To increase his ordinary revenues Edward used many effective methods.
He took care to preserve and increase the profits of the crown land, the Royal Demesne, from 1471 to 83. (Although some underhand methods were used, i. e. the Mawbray inheritance, which was made through an act of parliament in 1481. ) He had better administration and used better techniques of modern management and took care with his patronage. (Which may have been seen as being mean. ) He carefully used resumption – resumption was the policy of “everything I have given since this date I am having back”. It was cruel hearted but it still worked effectively.
Edward vigorously administrated feudal revenues and customs. Customs were meant to be extraordinary revenues, taxes on imports and exports, but Edward voted them for life in his first reign in 1461 and this policy continued throughout his second. Edward also changed the royal treasury from The Exchequer to The Chamber System. The exchequer was sophisticated, bureaucratic and was dealt with at a court of audit. Whereas the chamber system was crude, used a “hands-on” approach, was dealt with in the royal household and was a court of account. This gave the King more control.
The chamber remained the chief royal treasury until the 1530s, which proved what a good idea it was and thus showed effectiveness. Edward used direct taxation well. He was successful in getting grants from parliament and from 1472-5 and again in 1483, he collected nearly as much as Henry V did from 1415-17 (Henry V was seen as a paradigm for his money raising abilities. ) He had no trouble from parliament unlike Henry VI and this ability to raise such sums was a sign of Edward’s strength. Edward had a good deal from France – who paid him i?? 10000 each year from 1475 until 1482, so he would not invade.
However, this looked quite inglorious for the ‘chivalrous’ king he was trying to be and so the French Pension – however effective financially, was quite unpopular with his people. Lastly, Edward exploited benevolences, which were (forced) “gifts” to the king for his ‘good will’. However, there were a few ineffective parts to Edward’s financial system. The tax system of the Tenths and Fifteenths were outdated and failed to raise large amounts and most experiments in raising direct taxes were largely failures because they were badly and unfairly assessed.
The major failure of Edward’s government was his inability to reform the tax system – he was never able to exploit effectively, in a tax system, the wealth of the nation. Although, none of this was really his fault because there was no modern statistical or technological knowledge to help him do so. Which means that one can say that Edward IV’s financial strategy of his domestic government was, as a whole, very effective. The Royal Court gives a King power, respect and service, hence it was very important.
Edward IV did not have a standing army or a police force, consequently he built up his Royal Court so magnificently that this did not matter, people were so intimidated by this advertisement in structural form of how powerful he was. Edward IV was the greatest royal builder since Edward III, for example building such things as Etham Palace and the Royal Chapel at Windsor that can still be seen today. Great buildings like this and showing such splendour gave great respect to the monarchy.
Edward also revived the “Order of the Garter”, chivalric orders which showed Edward to have great glory and magnificence. All of these things were good, effective propaganda. It can be said by some that Edward IV was only effective because he was too strong to oppose rather than because of the quality of his governance, however, as JK Green agrees, the majority of the new policies and principles he instated and reinstated were taken up by the Tudor dynasty, showing the quality of his domestic government must have been very good.
Some say that he was only effective because there was no crowned alternative to him, which does have some truth. Although there was nobody really left to rebel against him, they would probably have had trouble seizing the crown, as he was such a strong King and those that could have opposed him, waited until after his death – which shows that he was a strong monarch with an effective second reign and a highly effective domestic government that they agreed with. In conclusion, it can be said that Edward IV’s domestic government from 1471 was a strong, magnificent and effective one.
The claims to the throne after his death, by his brother Richard were not because his government was weak, as it has been said by some, because it was a great one. Edward may have been able to take methods to avoid Richard III’s succession to the throne but, as most would be, he was ignorant to the fact that his brother would turn against him. If he had perhaps kept his brother Clarence alive, to give young Edward V two strong advisors this may have meant he would have survived on the throne, but not executing Clarence may have caused revolts during his reign, people may have believed they could get away with treason – like Clarence had.
Therefore the decisions that Edward made were justified and his government was in a multitude of respects the best domestic government that had been seen for over a century.