How Successful was Wolsey’s Foreign Policy in the Years 1515-1525?
Wolsey became Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor in 1515, he was extremely able and determined; his foreign policy was mainly directed at preserving peace and trying to make England a negotiator between other countries. During the years 1515-1525 Wolsey’s power was undisputed, this was due to the fact that Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to Wolsey including near-complete control of England’s foreign policy. The extent of Wolsey’s success can be measured in several ways; these include the financial stability of the country, loyalty from England’s allies and respect for Wolsey (and Henry VIII) from English subjects and foreigners.
Wolsey’s greatest achievement in creating a successful foreign policy was the Treaty of London, in 1518, which was known as a ‘universal’ treaty of peace, it united all of Christendom under Henry VIII’s sponsorship with a mutual non-aggressive pact that provided collective support and aid in the case of conflict. While doing this Wolsey also saw the opportunity to re-unite France and England by betrothing Henry VIII’s first daughter, Mary, to the dauphin (first son of the King), by doing this Wolsey also achieved Tournai for England again for 600,000 crowns. Bishop Fox described Wolsey’s maneuver with France as “The best deed that was ever done for England; and, next to the King, the praise is due to Wolsey”.
Many people have questioned whether Wolsey’s foreign policy was actually his own policy or if Wolsey was simply a pawn for Henry to exploit and use to his every advantage, whereas some others say Wolsey was entirely in control of his correspondence and dealings with other countries and that Henry was not at all controlling Wolsey; I personally believe that Wolsey strived to create a peaceful foreign policy, but Henry yearned for honour and...