Date of Publication

1-31-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. John Daly, Associate Professor, History

Abstract

The Tudor dynasty in 16th Century England brought forth many changes. Under King Henry VIII, reforms in religion and politics set forth a series of events that both changed and modernized the English Empire. Henry VIII’s reformation—which had purely political motives—was the first religious reform led by a monarch and he implemented laws that left his people with no choice but to follow suit in his break from Rome. Under the reign of his son, Edward VI, exiled heretics were welcomed into England and encouraged to share their ideas which would contribute to the solidification of a Protestant faith that had developed through Henry VIII’s establishment of the Church of England. Because Henry VIII had implemented anti-Catholic laws and the heretics under Edward VI rejected indulgence payments as well as corrupt church practices, a vast majority of the English people had converted to Protestantism. As a result, when Mary I came to power as queen, she was unable to revert her people back to Catholicism despite her best efforts and during the reign of the final Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I, Protestant ideas began to spread to the predominantly Catholic nation of Ireland. Irish land was seized and controlled by the British Empire and legislation was passed against Catholics who were unwilling to convert. Since the early 17th century, there have been several controversies between the English and the Irish; predominantly over religious conflict and land struggles. This thesis explains how the presence and influence of British Protestants forced Ireland to modernize as it did from the arrival of the British in the 16th century through late 1937 when the Constitution of Ireland officially went into effect.

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