14Apr

The Tax Man Cometh

Posted by by Janet Dooley on 4 January 2012 in category in Henry VII - 0 0 Comments

It's Tax Day in America, and while nobody likes paying taxes we can at least be grateful we're not subjects of Henry VII. Taxing subjects is a tried and true method for raising money for the government--then and now--and Henry VII was a master at it.

 

Henry VII imposed high taxes and fines on his subjects, but spent it shrewdly--keeping his wealth within the family. For this reason he was noted once as being "more feared than loved" by his subjects.

 

When Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field, he ended decades of civil war, established a dynasty that would bring political stability to England, and pursued a policy of peace, something that allowed English merchants to prosper. Henry took advantage of that. The more his subjects prospered, the more he could tax them. And tax he did. Despite the good Henry did, an Italian diplomat once said of him, "He is more feared than loved." Much of that was because of the high taxes and financial burdens he imposed on his nobles and merchants alike.

Henry didn't much care for nobles and didn't care if he helped them get rich. Rather he preferred to make himself rich, and developed a financial policy that brought land and wealth to the crown, enriching the royal family and no one else. To his credit, Henry VII was the only Tudor to create a financial surplus for the crown of England. He left his son a prosperous treasury--which Henry VIII managed to spend within six months of his reign. So much for financial planning.

Click here to read more about the reign of Henry VII.

 

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