There is a strong contrast between the effectiveness of Edward during his first reign (1461-1469) and his second reign (1471-1483). During Edward’s first reign he struggled to impose himself on his people. There also didn’t appear to be significant improvements in the ruling of the kingdom compared to the previously poorly run reign of Henry 6th. The unexpected and poorly politically judged marriage to Elizabeth Woodville caused Edward problems throughout his time as king and had long lasting effects of events after his death.
Warwick’s ‘Calais manifesto’ highlighted the problems that Edward faced during this period. The rule of the kingdom after 1471 Edward has seen Edward gain more recognition for the successes in ruling he encountered. During this period he had England in a strong financial position. He didn’t have any major revolts in connection with Warwick. His rule over domestic affairs appeared much more secure. He was well in control of the nobility. There is little doubt that Edward 4th was a more effective ruler after 1471. Finance was an area of Edward’s ruling that he was notably successful.
The success of a ruler’s economy provides a good insight into a ruler’s ability as a ruler. Financial success had been achieved by having policies such as a peaceful foreign policy. Edward enjoyed no fought battle in France. In 1475 Edward was able to negotiate the Treaty of Piquigny, which gave Edward a guarantee of 7 years of peace but also gave a very valuable i?? 15,000 down payment and a following i?? 10,000 a year. This was a lot of money that Edward was receiving for not doing anything this was very important for the health of the kingdoms economy.
Despite the lack of any fighting tacking place in this campaign Edward kept most of the money that he had received through the parliaments voting of taxes and also the benevolence gifts he had been given from the citizens. Parliament was only able to ask for Edward to return 25%. This did cause bad feeling amongst the people towards the crown. Trade profited from a general improvement in trading But Edward was personally involved in trading. He improved customs through appointing men of ‘remarkable shrewdness’. Customs were up from i?? 15,000 under the rule of Henry 6th to i??
34,000 a year by the 1480’s this shows Edward had great ability concerning the management of his economy. On whole Edward is seen as a leader who had good management of his economy. Edward was a skilful manager of parliament using charm and sensible choice of speakers to ensure that no major difficulties in this area. In terms of Council matters Edward 4th was not a prolific attendee of council meetings scoring under 50% attendance. The magnates were not as prominent as had been in previous reigns. It was noticeable that Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk weren’t ever councillors.
He also excluded Stafford and the Duke of Buckingham. This may have been because he didn’t trust their motives for decisions. It could be that Edward had deliberately excluded them because he didn’t want them to destabilise his power, Edward instead put on the council men who were described as the ‘new men’ they were people who had skills such as law and accountancy. These councillors were used as advisers on domestic areas. It was wise of Edward to use men specialised in the areas that were being discussed rather than using nobility who weren’t specialised in these matters.
The council was more businesslike under Edward. Edward was physically very impressive, he was intelligent and good mannered these qualities won him much support during his reign. There was the expansion of the roles of royal household in the shires with Edward appointing knights such as Sir Thomas Burgh in Lincolnshire to household thus improving knowledge and links with localities. Edward was helped by the fact that by the 1470’s a large number of magnate affinities were in royal hands.
This was good for Edward because it reduced the powers that the magnates had. Edwards’s control of nobility was vital because during Henry 6th’s reign had shown the dangers of over powerful magnates but Edward also needed their backing in order to run the country. In order control the country Edward did the following things. He used patronage to gain future support rather than rewarding past services and granted large areas of country to men such as Hastings. Edward relied heavily on his own family in order to secure support during his reign.