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Old English Poetry

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Essay title: Old English Poetry

James I

Leader By Example

When talking about forms of Government, and which is the best means to an end, it is often difficult for people to agree on what exactly the appropriate form is. It is also commonly found difficult as to what power the agreed upon body has over the governed citizens. This was also the case when William Tyndale, Sir Thomas Elyot, and King James I brought forth their opinions on a ruling body. The commonality between these three philosophers is that they believed in a monarchy as opposed to a democracy. Though these three men agreed that a Monarchial state would be best for the people, the degree to which power was maintained was varied. After comparing a selection of their works, it is clear that Tyndale and Elyot were too extreme in their views. On the other King James I had the best philosophy when it came to the degree, timing, and mechanism the power of the Monarchy should be used.

Tyndale was of the notion that all people in the ruling class were in those positions of power because God wanted them to be there. He was of the opinion that “God therefore hath given laws unto all nations, and in all lands hath put kings, governors, and rulers in his own stead, to rule the world through them,” (Tyndale, 757). Tyndale believed that rulers are put in place by God, and being appointed by God meant they should never be resisted. The thought was that resisting what these rulers say is resisting God’s will. “Let every soul submit himself unto the higher authority,” (Tyndale, 757). This thinking was the major flaw in his argument, because he allows for rulers to make laws, break laws, and do as they wish, all claiming to be in the name of God. It’s not in human nature to do everything we are told, and for him to believe that the rulers would do everything right in God’s name was a very bold and I believe false assumption. Tyndale was not alone in his beliefs in regard to monarchies; Elyot had similar views on how to rule over commoners.

Elyot’s views differed a bit from that of Tyndale. He did believe in a Monarchy, and that the King should have absolute power like that of Tyndale, but his views varied when it came to the reasons why. Elyot believed that everything in the Universe has something that puts it in its place. He believed, “…for who can deny but that all thing[s] in heaven and earth is governed by one God, by one perpetual order…one sun ruleth over the day, and one moon over the night,” (Elyot, 761). He believed that every living thing had one governing power that was responsible for its existence; the same theory should be applied to our civilizations. It was not only aspects of nature that caused him to believe this, he also felt that with a King or Queen in power, it “…preserved security within society and yet, by observing custom and established law, avoided tyranny or anarchy,” (Elyot, 759). He believed that without a Monarch, there would be chaos, and that commoners were not intelligent enough to govern themselves. King James I theory on why there should be a Monarch incorporates views from both William Tyndale and Sir Thomas Elliot, but surprisingly his views are not as absolute as the others made their beliefs appear.

King James I thought of a Monarchy as a father tending to his children. He believed that “by the law of nature the king becomes a natural father to all his lieges at his coronation and as the

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