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England under Elizabeth I's reign, the Elizabethan Era, was ruled by the very structured and complicated Elizabethan government. It was divided into the national bodies (the monarch, Privy Council, and Parliament), the regional bodies (the Council of the North and Council of the Marches), the county, community bodies and the court system.
The Privy Council was Elizabeth's group of advisers. Its main purpose was to give numerous different opinions and the monarch decided on the issue at hand. (However, the advice was often ignored; the Council still carried out her wishes.) Routine administration was usually left to the Council. It was involved in matters of religion, military, the queen's security, economics, and the welfare of the citizens. It dealt with national and individual interest matters, issued proclamations in the queen's name, and supervised law and enforcement.
The Council could make decisions, but the monarch could veto (turn down or overturn) anything without question. Who was in it depended on who the queen wanted there. However, certain powerful noblemen were necessary for the Council so that their and their realms' interests were represented to avoid a rebellion. Believing that more members (and therefore more different opinions) would cause more problems, Elizabeth dropped the previous member count of 50 to 19 and eventually 11 by 1597. The Counsellors employed assistants who did most of the work. At first, they met only 3 times a week; by the end of Elizabeth's reign, they met almost every day.
The Secretary of State led the Council. William Cecil effectively led it; he was wise, cautious, cooperative with Elizabeth, and trusted above all others. Elizabeth's personal secretary, and chief adviser until his death, and therefore very influential; due to his great administrative ability, he had the reputation of one of the greatest English statesmen – historians have even debated whether the success of Elizabeth's rule was more due to William Cecil or Elizabeth. His son, Robert Cecil, was also a member of Queen Elizabeth's Privy council. 
The group of representatives, called Parliament, was divided into the House of Lords (or the Upper House), which consisted of nobility and higher clergy such as bishops and archbishops, and the House of Commons (or the Lower House), which consisted of common people. Unlike the modern British Parliament, it had much less power, no Prime Minister or cabinet, and no political parties.
The main function of Parliament was dealing with financial matters (taxation and granting the queen money). Generally, the monarch paid for daily administration with ordinary revenues (customs, feudal dues, and sales of land) while Parliament covered extraordinary expenditures (such as war) with taxation. However, taxation didn't supply enough for military expenditures; therefore, more land was sold along with probably illegal scheming. Parliament was also used for passing laws. 438 laws were passed under Elizabeth's reign. They were either public, in which case they applied to all, or private, in which case they only applied to certain people. Only another Parliament could undo one. They required approval by both houses thrice and the queen. However, the queen could make Royal Proclamations without Parliament's consent. Another purpose of Parliament was to advise. Nonetheless, Elizabeth was almost never interested in Parliament's advice.
Elections occurred only for the House of Commons. Who was in Parliament depended mainly on who was supported by the important local people. Only those that were male and received a certain annual income could vote. 
The monarch decided when Parliament was to be called.  In total, Elizabeth only called Parliament thirteen times,  11 of which were to ask for money.[ citation needed ]
Local governments were important in Tudor England. Regional governments helped oversee parts of England that the Privy Council could not supervise. The Council of the North, which resided in York, oversaw Northern England, while the Council of the Marches, which resided in Ludlow, oversaw Wales and some border counties.
Royal representatives (Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, and Lords Lieutenant) were appointed in every county; they ensured that the queen's commands and laws were obeyed. Each city and town had its own government, headed by a mayor as well.
Manors were run by nobility and gentry. Land was power at the time; those with land received payments from the tenants on their land and from their workers. Thus they had significant wealth and influence. They also had responsibilities, for they were meant to aid the monarch by governing their land. Local grievances were taken to the lord of the manor; on the other hand, tenants were loyal to him – if called upon, they were obliged to go to war. The lord's views tended to greatly influence those of his largely uneducated tenants.
The courts made up the judicial system of Elizabethan England. The most important courts were the Great Sessions Courts or the Assizes, which were held twice a year in each county, and the Quarter Sessions Courts, which were held four times in a year. These two dealt with most crimes. The Assizes was famous for its power to inflict harsh punishments. 
Unimportant crimes were handled by the Petty Sessions Courts, Manor Courts, and town courts. Civil cases were dealt with by various courts, depending on the person's monetary status; the wealthy were tried by the Star Chamber, one of the highest profile courts which consisted of mostly Privy Counselors. The Court of Chancery also judged criminal cases, the Exchequer of Pleas dealt with financial suits, the Court of Requests with the poor ("the court of the poor man’s causes," as it was known), Church Courts with religious and moral cases, and other specific courts with other specific matters.
Committers of high treason and other serious crimes received the death sentence (often handled by the queen). Often a violent death sentence in the case of high treason involving being hanged, drawn and quartered; that is, hanged, taken down before dead, dragged face downward through the streets, and then hacked into four pieces, or quartered, only to have the remains displayed in a public place to discourage others from committing treason. Those of lesser crimes were sent to prison or the stocks. Uses of the pillory, ducking stool, the brank, the drunkards cloak, burning, the breaking wheel, and other forms of punishment and torture were also common during this time.
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A strict aristocracy helped Elizabeth maintain the dominance of her reign. She also had thousands of guards enforcing the city and the castle in case of any riots. If riots were to happen, there would be fireballs made of rock strewn and shot at the rioters.
Elizabethan government concerning foreign policy is often accused of being affected by factionalism. This appears true in the later part of her reign, post-Armada, when factions led by the Earl of Essex, and the Cecils, argued over which way the war against Spain should proceed. Essex, keen for glory and prestige, favored an expensive land based military strategy, whilst the Cecil faction advocated a cheaper moderate naval strategy. Due to the conflicting factions no policy was explicitly followed and each side frequently tried to undermine the others, resulting in a confused foreign policy.
Faction pre-Armada is harder to analyze. The traditional view put forward by Read and Neale, suggests that William Cecil (later Lord Burghley) was continually in faction against Robert Dudley, over issues such as marriage and most importantly intervention in the Netherlands. Revisionist historian Adams defines faction as "one group of people employed in direct opposition to another." It is on this premise that historians such as John Guy argue there was no true faction in the Council at this stage, disagreements were primarily over individual opinions, and judgements over how to proceed; all councillors, after the removal of conservative Norfolk, were agreed that Elizabeth should look to further and protect the Protestant cause. Leicester and Walsingham saw intervention in the Netherlands as the best way to achieve this, whilst Cecil was more moderate.
The Elizabethan Era is famous for its playwrights (William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson) that thrived during this period; Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world; and Walter Raleigh's exploration of the New World. The stability and structure of the government helped to allow the arts to flourish and prompted other achievements in exploration.[ citation needed ]
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last monarch of the House of Tudor and is sometimes referred to as the "Virgin Queen".
The Privy Council (PC), officially His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
The House of Tudor was a royal house of largely Welsh and English origin that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. They descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd and Catherine of France. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including their ancestral Wales and the Lordship of Ireland for 118 years with five monarchs: Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Tudors succeeded the House of Plantagenet as rulers of the Kingdom of England, and were succeeded by the House of Stuart. The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII of England, descended through his mother from a legitimised branch of the English royal House of Lancaster, a cadet house of the Plantagenets. The Tudor family rose to power and started the Tudor period in the wake of the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), which left the main House of Lancaster extinct in the male line.
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG, PC was an English nobleman and a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601, he led an abortive coup d'état against the government of Elizabeth I and was executed for treason.
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley was an English statesman, the chief adviser of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572. In his description in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, Albert Pollard wrote, "From 1558 for forty years the biography of Cecil is almost indistinguishable from that of Elizabeth and from the history of England."
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was an English statesman noted for his direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603). Lord Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his own death.
Sir Edward Coke was an English barrister, judge, and politician. He is often considered the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.
The Acts of Supremacy are two acts passed by the Parliament of England in the 16th century that established the English monarchs as the head of the Church of England; two similar laws were passed by the Parliament of Ireland establishing the English monarchs as the head of the Church of Ireland. The 1534 Act declared King Henry VIII and his successors as the Supreme Head of the Church, replacing the pope. This first Act was repealed during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I. The 1558 Act declared Queen Elizabeth I and her successors the Supreme Governor of the Church, a title that the British monarch still holds.
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the 13th century until 1707 when it was replaced by the Parliament of Great Britain. Parliament evolved from the great council of bishops and peers that advised the English monarch. Great councils were first called Parliaments during the reign of Henry III. By this time, the king required Parliament's consent to levy taxation.
The Oath of Supremacy required any person taking public or church office in England to swear allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Failure to do so was to be treated as treasonable. The Oath of Supremacy was originally imposed by King Henry VIII of England through the Act of Supremacy 1534, but repealed by his elder daughter, Queen Mary I of England, and reinstated under Henry's other daughter and Mary's half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I of England, under the Act of Supremacy 1559. The Oath was later extended to include Members of Parliament (MPs) and people studying at universities.
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement is the name given to the religious and political arrangements made for England during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603). Implemented between 1559 and 1563, the settlement is considered the end of the English Reformation, permanently shaping the theology and liturgy of the Church of England and laying the foundations of Anglicanism's unique identity.
The Act of Supremacy 1558, sometimes referred to as the Act of Supremacy 1559, is an Act of the Parliament of England, which replaced the original Act of Supremacy 1534, and passed under the auspices of Elizabeth I. The 1534 Act was issued by Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, which arrogated ecclesiastical authority to the monarchy, but which had been repealed by Mary I. Along with the Act of Uniformity 1558, the Act made up what is generally referred to as the Elizabethan Religious Settlement.
The Regency Acts are Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed at various times, to provide a regent in the event of the reigning monarch being incapacitated or a minor. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were passed only when necessary to deal with a specific situation. In 1937, the Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent, and established the office of Counsellor of State, a number of whom would act on the monarch's behalf when the monarch was temporarily absent from the realm or experiencing an illness that did not amount to legal incapacity. This Act, as modified by the Regency Acts of 1943 and 1953, forms the main law relating to regency in the United Kingdom today.
In England and Wales, the Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in England that began with the reign of Henry VII. Historian John Guy (1988) argued that "England was economically healthier, more expansive, and more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time since the Roman occupation.
Demise of the Crown is the legal term in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms for the transfer of the Crown upon the death or abdication of the monarch. The Crown transfers automatically to the monarch's heir. The concept evolved in the kingdom of England, and was continued in Great Britain and then the United Kingdom. The concept also became part of the constitutions of the British colonies, and was continued in the constitutions of the Commonwealth realms, until modified within those realms.
The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender of the reigning monarch, is a constitutional term in a number of states. In a general sense, it would mean the monarch exercising executive authority, usually in the form of approving orders, on the advice of the country's executive council.
The Privy Council of England, also known as HisMajesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, was a body of advisers to the sovereign of the Kingdom of England. Its members were often senior members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, together with leading churchmen, judges, diplomats and military leaders.
A favourite was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In post-classical and early-modern Europe, among other times and places, the term was used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler. It was especially a phenomenon of the 16th and 17th centuries, when government had become too complex for many hereditary rulers with no great interest in or talent for it, and political institutions were still evolving. From 1600 to 1660 there were particular successions of all-powerful minister-favourites in much of Europe, particularly in Spain, England, France and Sweden.
Essex's Rebellion was an unsuccessful rebellion led by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in 1601 against Queen Elizabeth I of England and the court faction led by Sir Robert Cecil to gain further influence at court.
Government in early modern Scotland included all forms of administration, from the crown, through national institutions, to systems of local government and the law, between the early sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century. It roughly corresponds to the early modern era in Europe, beginning with the Renaissance and Reformation and ending with the last Jacobite risings and the beginnings of the industrial revolution. Monarchs of this period were the Stuarts: James IV, James V, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI, Charles I, Charles II, James VII, William III and Mary II, Anne, and the Hanoverians: George I and George II.