Assessment Schedule – 2009 History: Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay (90657) Judgement Statement



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NCEA Level 3 History (90657) 2009 — page of

Assessment Schedule – 2009


History: Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay (90657)

Judgement Statement


Achievement

Achievement with Merit

Achievement with Excellence

Through her / his response to the first part of the essay question, the candidate has accurately described factors that contributed to the decision.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)



Through her / his response to the first part of the essay question, the candidate has accurately explained factors that contributed to the decision.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)



Through her / his response to the first part of the essay question, the candidate has accurately and perceptively explained factors that contributed to the decision.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)



Through her / his response to the second part of the essay question, the candidate has accurately described the consequences of the decision.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)




Through her / his response to the second part of the essay question, the candidate has evaluated the consequences of the decision.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)

This evaluation should involve weighing up the consequences of this decision. Eg positive consequences weighed up against negative consequences, or one theory about the consequences contrasted with another.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)



Through the breadth, depth and / or range of ideas in her / his response to the second part of the question the candidate has comprehensively evaluated the consequences of the decision.

This evaluation should involve the comprehensive weighing up of the consequences. Eg positive consequences weighed up against negative consequences or one theory about the consequences contrasted with another.

(See content guidelines for examples of relevant historical information that could be included in the candidate’s answer.)


The candidate has structured and organised her / his information using an appropriate essay format.

  • Introductory paragraph




The candidate has structured and organised her / his information using an appropriate essay format.

  • Introductory paragraph

  • Relevant, structured and logically sequenced paragraphs

  • Conclusion

The candidate has provided an argument, ie the candidate has stated a view and supported it with relevant and accurate evidence (probably most obvious in the evaluative part of her / his essay).


The candidate has structured and organised her / his information using an appropriate and effective essay format.

  • Introductory paragraph

  • Relevant, structured and logically sequenced paragraphs

  • Conclusion

The candidate has provided a convincing argument, ie the candidate has a clearly articulated view and has supported it with sound reasoning and relevant, accurate, and significant evidence (probably most obvious in the evaluative part of her / his essay).



Content Guidelines

Topic One: Early Modern England 1558-1667

Topic One: Essay One

Explain the factors that contributed to the decision of governing authorities in early modern England to follow a policy of restricting or transforming popular beliefs.



Evaluate the consequences of this policy on the practice of popular beliefs between 1558 and 1667.

The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • Popular beliefs in magic, fortune telling, astrology, prophecy, witchcraft and spirit beings rose from traditional oral culture based primarily on early pagan superstitions. Although by 1558 they did contain an amalgam of aspects of Christianity, they offered an alternative belief system that undermined the authority of the Church. The governing authorities wanted to restrict the error-filled pagan element and transfer the adherence of common traditional beliefs to the teachings of Protestantism.

  • Popular beliefs encompassed all sectors of the population and involved a range of changing beliefs and practice in different regions where each community had its own customs. The governing authorities wanted to instill a uniformity of belief in official doctrine and worship practices.

  • Churches wanted people to accept that a supernatural world existed alongside the natural everyday world and that there was a supernatural / spiritual explanation in almost everything, but wanted to replace fascination with pagan spiritual forces (goblins, fairies, witches, sorcerers, vampires and werewolves) with recognition of Christian spiritual forces (demons and angels). Churches wanted belief in the devil and the potential damnation or salvation of each soul to be a basic element of popular consciousness – something to dread (hell) and something to hope for (heaven).

  • The seasons and weather had a significant influence on an individual’s well-being and survival. People worried about such things as the length and intensity of winter, the failures of the harvest, and the success of hunting and fishing ventures. A series of traditional rites and ceremonies were important in allaying these concerns, eg New Year’s Day to encourage the return of spring, fasting before Easter helped conserve food for the latter part of winter. But the Church authorities wanted people to be less concerned with the daily affairs, dangers and misfortunes of their earthly life and more with eternal life – their salvation after death. The Church sought, therefore, to incorporate some of the rites and ceremonies into its own calendar and give them a more religious significance.

  • Popular beliefs and practice the governing authorities wanted to restrict or transform were trust in:

  • Magic and folklore (tokens, charms or flowers, divining rods, magic words, the power of healers and cunning men). Instead of using charms, spells, and herbal remedies to protect themselves from personal misfortune, people should, the Church preached, rely on ministers and prayer.

  • Black Witchcraft, which was believed to involve the surrender of one’s soul to the devil in return for certain powers. Women who were poor were the most common victims of charges of maleficium (the causing of harm using invisible powers). Witches were popularly believed to have familiars (animals who did their bidding) that they suckled. The authorities wanted people to abhor witches and expel them from their communities.

  • Taking part in festivals and ceremonies gave members of a community a sense of identity and were important times of release from the rigours of daily life (eg giving gifts on New Year’s Day reinforced status and obligation ties). The Church authorities recognised these positive factors and absorbed some of these practices into its own religious calendar as a means of attracting people to its services and exposing them to its teachings. On important holy days, work ceased or was reduced so that people could attend religious services, feasts and pageants.

  • Astrology and horoscope readings were commonly seen as compatible with Christianity because God ruled the heavens, so stars and planets were his agents. Popular reliance on consulting astrologers about important decisions because they were believed to be able to give some guidance about the future was, therefore, permitted by the governing authorities. Leading practitioners like John Dee were even used to advise the monarch.

  • The Church as an institution had a considerable hold over the everyday life of people:

  • The church building was the main meeting place, and the clergy were leaders in every community.

  • Rites of passage – birth, adolescence (confirmation), marriage and death – were celebrated there.

  • It was compulsory for heads of households to attend church regularly, and daily household prayers and grace before meals were said.

  • However, the governing authorities were very concerned that the continuance of popular beliefs undermined the authority of the Church and government officials, encouraged immoral conduct, prevented understanding of the truth, and contributed to an erosion of church attendance among ordinary people. Irreverence during services, popular ignorance, and limited church attendance were frequently recorded by Anglican clergy.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • The pre-Reformation Church over a long period had accommodated seasonal festivals and pre-Christian ceremonies, so there was a blurring of the margins as to what was clearly of pagan origin and what was allowably Christian, eg Rogationtide and the beating of the parish bounds, which sought God’s protection for newly planted seeds, was also a pagan fertility rite. But after the 1559 Elizabethan Church Settlement, Protestants attempted to eliminate any Roman Catholic customs and ceremonies that had a stronghold on the common people. Symbols of traditional Catholicism (paintings, statues, altars, rood screens and carvings) were destroyed by Elizabethan commissioners, although many were hidden in an effort to preserve them. The 125 holy days of the Catholic calendar were replaced with about 30 Protestant holy days and festivals; but some, like May Day, could not be eliminated. The Major-Generals’ attempt to ban Christmas was almost universally unpopular and ensured their puritanical administration would never be accepted. Only slowly were traditional forms and ritual altered in a Protestant direction. Some festivals once organised by the pre-Reformation church eventually became embedded folk customs.

  • Sermons – effectively government-written homilies – were used by authorities to teach the morality of the Old Testament and reinforce a pattern of obedience to one’s superiors. Catechisms – simplified instruction books on the basics of the Protestant message – were circulated. Over the period, governments sought to increase the number of clergy with university degrees (23 per cent in 1580 to 84 per cent in 1640). Wrightson concludes that by 1650, England probably never had a better manned and financed Church or a more active preaching ministry, yet it failed to eradicate popular beliefs.

  • Institutional forms of religion were only a thin ‘veneer’ over the continuity of many forms of popular religious beliefs, according to Barry Reay. People transformed the new Protestant beliefs and traditional popular beliefs into new forms. The Bible became a holy talisman, through which God could speak to people. Common people clung to their magic charms and spells in their daily lives and simply added Christian prayers to them. They were often oblivious to (or uninterested in) contradictions in their belief structure and, not appreciating explanations of misfortune in their lives offered by the church, preferred traditional ones. Long-established rituals were more comforting than personal faith, despite the disapproval of the established church.

  • Outright attacks on magic, witchcraft and other forms of popular religion by the authorities were even less successful. Church court records provide evidence that popular religious customs continued. Some parish clergy and JPs responsible for administering the edicts of the established church and government tended to enforce only requirements they favoured or knew their communities would not resist. Regular church attendance was poor (about 20 per cent). When people did attend, the effect was often negligible or negative. There was a considerable degree of religious indifference.

  • Belief in superstition, magic and witchcraft declined only gradually through 1558–1667. Acts against witchcraft were passed in 1563 and 1604, making it a capital offence. Accusations of witchcraft increased in times of economic hardship when people were less willing to give to charity, but generally those who practiced magical arts were still valued by their communities. Practices that were outlawed – such as Candlemas – were transferred from churches to homes. Popular literature such as ballads, almanacs, and chapbooks helped to preserve many elements of traditional culture as folklore satisfying important emotional needs. People proved reluctant to part with things that gave them reassurance, protection or comfort. The decline over time of traditional practices and beliefs appears to have had more to do with the gradual secularisation of society and the growth of legal toleration than initiatives of governing authorities. There is also some debate as to whether the propensity of some festivals to turn into disorder and rioting that was difficult to control did genuinely cause the governing class to abandon popular culture over the period. However, it is clear that by 1660, separation was being drawn between church and civic or communal festivities.

Topic One: Essay Two

Explain the factors that eventually led to Elizabeth I’s decision to sign the death warrant of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587. Evaluate the political and religious consequences of Mary’s execution for Elizabeth and England between 1587 and 1603.



The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • In 1559, Elizabeth returned England to Protestantism, and hoped to embrace Catholics into her Church Settlement. Under the Act of Uniformity, a shilling fine was levied for each failure to attend church on Sundays and other designated days. A person upholding the Pope as the rightful head of the Church would lose property for the first offence, all goods and liberty for the second offence, and be executed for the third. For the first ten years of Elizabeth’s reign, this legislation against Catholics was not strictly enforced, and it appears many conformed to the Elizabethan Settlement because it did not threaten them too much. In 1564, a national survey of JPs for the Privy Council revealed that there were large numbers of ‘Church Papists’ — Catholic sympathisers who attended Anglican worship to stay clear of trouble, while in the north, Marian priests continued to say Mass with little interference from the authorities. However, Elizabeth’s hope that the advantages of conforming would eventually win over the Catholic laity was to face major challenges during the 19 years of Mary Queen of Scots’ presence in England.

  • Mary Queen of Scots’ arrival in England (1568), the Rebellion of the Northern Earls (1569), and the excommunication of Elizabeth by Pope Pius V (1570) signalled a complete change in Elizabeth’s position. In Catholic eyes, she was now certified a heretic and a usurper. Mary Queen of Scots was Elizabeth’s cousin and an accessible successor, with (to Catholics) a sounder claim to the throne than Elizabeth. English Catholics were urged to disobey Elizabeth and actively seek to supplant her. Mary was to become the focus for even further plots and rebellions against Elizabeth.

  • In 1571, the Ridolfi Plot sought to marry Mary to the Duke of Norfolk and replace Elizabeth as queen. After discovery of the plot, Parliament and most of her Privy Councillors wanted Elizabeth to execute both Mary and Norfolk. However, Elizabeth believed that executing a divinely appointed legitimate monarch without absolute proof of Mary’s personal involvement in the plot would set a dangerous precedent and give England’s enemies cause to launch a crusade against her. The St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Protestants in France in 1572 made that possibility appear very real.

  • With the arrival of seminary and Jesuit priests trained at Douai (in the Netherlands), Rheims (in France), Valladolid (in Spain) and Rome (in Italy), through the 1570s and 1580s, it was clear the Catholic community in England was being given external sustenance and encouragement. The mission of these priests was to prepare the way for the re-conversion of England once a Catholic regime had been established.

  • The Papacy actively encouraged rebellion, assassination and foreign conquest. Both King Philip II of Spain and the Guise party in France were prepared to lend their support to plots to remove Elizabeth and replace her with Mary (Ridolfi 1571, Throckmorton 1583, Parry 1585, and Babington 1586). In these circumstances, harbouring Mary came to seem increasingly like aiding the development of a mortal enemy within. She posed real challenges to the security of the state, Elizabeth’s life and continuance of the established Church.

  • The assassination of William of Orange (by a Catholic) and the potential for Spanish domination of the Netherlands in 1584 made it clear that England had an important role in ensuring the survival of Protestantism in a European-wide conflict and that the Catholic forces of the Counter-Reformation were virulent and merciless. Parliament passed the Bond of Association and ordered all Catholic priests to leave the country or be executed.

  • The outbreak of war with Spain in 1585, Philip II’s preparations for an armada to invade England and the discovery in Mary’s communication of her agreement to the Babington Plot brought unanimous demands for her execution from Elizabeth’s Privy Council and the 1586 Parliament.

  • Elizabeth did agree to put her on trial for treason at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire. Mary was found guilty and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth refused to sign the death warrant until February 1587. Even then she refused to let it be sent to Fotheringhay. William Davidson, her secretary, was persuaded by the Privy Council to release it and Mary was executed on 8 February, passing her claim to Elizabeth’s crown to Philip II of Spain.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • Immediately, Elizabeth wrote to the young King James VI of Scotland (who was now her heir), apologising for his mother’s death. She refused to speak to Cecil for a month and imprisoned Davidson. James declaimed his mother’s execution but said he blamed the English Privy Council rather than Elizabeth and took no further action. Sixteen years later, he inherited the English throne with Cecil’s son as his chief minister. The execution of Mary had opened up the succession to James and gave Elizabeth a legitimate Protestant heir.

  • The French protested strongly. However, King Henry III was more worried about the growing power of Spain and the threat of civil war in France. By the end of Elizabeth’s reign, England and France were allies.

  • England and Spain were already at war. Mary’s passing of her claim to the English throne to Philip II made little difference to his planned invasion of England. The Armada did set sail the following year but was destroyed before it could transfer an army to England’s shores. Despite the building of further armadas, Philip’s intentions never came to fruition.

  • However, the consequences for English Catholics who were seen as potential traitors were severe. There were proactive attempts to penalise Roman Catholics through the late 1580s and 1590s. The fortunes of Catholic families diminished. The Act to retain her Majesty’s Subjects in their True Obedience made it treason to persuade someone to be a Catholic. Recusancy fines were increased to £20 a month, with higher fines imposed for hearing or saying Mass. In 1587, recusants defaulting on payment of their fines could have their land seized. The Five Mile Act 1593 required recusants to be confined to within five miles of their homes. These acts of suppression meant that by 1603 there were only about 40 000 Roman Catholics in England (1% of the population), but may have provoked the Irish Catholic rebellion of the 1590s.

  • The Act against Jesuit and Seminary Priests meant that Catholic priests failing to leave the country within 40 days were to be executed, and anyone helping or harbouring a priest was liable to suffer death. The Privy Council claimed that the priests were sentenced not for their beliefs but for their implied treason and at their trials all faced the Bloody Question: Whose side would you take if the Bishop of Rome [the Pope] or other prince by his authority should invade the realm? The courage with which execution victims faced their deaths ensured Catholicism survived. Over the period, about 250 Catholics were put to death or died in captivity, among them 180 priests.

  • Mary’s execution in 1587 had removed a major internal threat to Elizabeth’s reign. English Catholics were reluctant to support Spain’s armadas, and there was no further rebellion. Only a tiny minority became involved in plots. Elizabeth’s greatest ally had been the political and largely instinctive loyalty felt by most Catholic gentry towards their monarch. She had the good sense not to jeopardise it. Even in the 1580s and 1590s, those occasionally guilty of recusancy were welcome at court and sat in the House of Lords. It has been calculated that recusancy fines were levied on only 220 people between 1581 and 1593.

Topic One: Essay Three

Explain the factors that led both James I and Parliament to consider and eventually reject the Great Contract of 1610 as a means of financing government.

Evaluate the consequences of the decision for the financing of Stuart government till 1629.

The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

The antiquated and archaic nature of the state in Early Modern England made the financing of government extremely difficult. The Crown was always short of money, and the state appeared to have limited means to tap the wealth of the country. The regular finances of the Crown, known as Ordinary Revenue, were:



  • Crown Land: The Crown still owned large estates, and this generated an income in the form of rents or they could be used as collateral if the monarch needed to borrow money. Sale of Crown land could raise ready money but would decrease royal assets.

  • Revenue from Trade: The Crown had the right to regulate trade by imposing tariffs, or customs duties, on imports and exports. The value of such duties varied according to the level of trade. Customs duties included Tonnage and Poundage on wool and wine and impositions that were levied on a wide range of goods. Because there was no paid bureaucracy, collection of customs duties was sometimes rented out to customs farmers, who paid the Crown an annual sum for the right to collect the duties and pocket any surplus over and above what they paid the Crown.

  • Feudal Dues: The old feudal relationship of service in return for land had been superseded by one where the Crown obtained money in lieu of feudal obligations. These included:

  • Purveyance – the right of the Royal Household to buy goods and services at below market prices.

  • Wardship – When the heir to an estate was a minor or a woman, the estate was taken over by the Crown and guardianship was sold through the Court of Wards. All profits from the estate accrued to the guardian and the Crown until the heir came of age or the heiress married.

  • Entry Fees – when an heir took over an estate, a fee was payable to the Crown.

  • Distraint of knighthood – all those with an income of £40 per year had the right to ‘take up’ knighthood. Few did and so paid a ‘one-off fine’ when their property was valued at this level.

  • Monopolies: The Crown could sell, or grant as patronage, monopolies of particular goods and services, eg soap manufacture, importing sweet wines, the licensing of inns. Monopolies were unpopular, as they increased prices and reduced the quality of goods and services.

  • Income from the Church: The Crown had a right to ‘first fruits’ and ‘tenths’. The former was the income derived from a clergyman’s first year’s income and the latter one-tenth of his subsequent income. In some cases, bishoprics were left vacant so the Crown could collect revenue from diocesan lands.

  • The Monarch was expected to rely on these sources of revenue in all but emergencies (such as war), when they could ask Parliament to vote taxes, or ‘Extraordinary’ revenue, to meet additional costs.

  • Fifteenths and tenths were a tax on ‘movables’ (chattels, livestock, merchandise) and land. One-fifteenth of the value in rural areas and a tenth in urban areas was levied on counties.

  • Subsidies were worth much more and were a direct tax on an individual’s income. However, the lack of a paid bureaucracy made tax assessment and collection unreliable. It was customary to evade tax by underestimating your income.

  • Taxes could be levied only with Parliament’s consent, as Parliament represented the communities that were being taxed. However, if Parliament were not sitting in times of emergency, the monarch could require a forced loan equivalent to a subsidy from communities.

  • James had inherited this ramshackle revenue system with a debt up to £400 000. The customs revenue was last revised in 1558, and reassessment of Crown lands was long overdue. He had appointed competent Treasurers in Dorset and Salisbury, but they were unable to bring about the necessary reductions in expenditure. James’s extravagance, particularly to Scottish courtiers, made MPs unsympathetic to pleas of royal poverty.

  • Requisitioning officers for James’s court had used purveyance regularly, oversupplying the royal households with discounted supplies and on-selling the surplus for personal profit. In 1606, the Crown’s right to impose (Impositions) duties to regulate trade was confirmed by Bates’ case, but they remained a sore point with the governing class. The 1608 revised Book of Rates added “new impositions” that proved very unpopular with merchants. Both purveyance and impositions became ongoing grievances aired by the governing class in parliament.

  • The Great Contract of 1610 drawn up by Salisbury was a major attempt at financial reform to fund government by regular taxation. It required that Parliament should vote the King ‘supply’ to eliminate his accumulated debt and grant ‘support’ through a permanent tax on property each year. In return, the crown would surrender many of its despised feudal prerogatives and abolish purveyance and the Court of Wards. However, MPs returned to the Commons after the summer recess with the same story – that Impositions was the one single issue that concerned most of their constituents. James complained that they were too slow in their decision-making and made it clear that if the Commons wanted Impositions drawn into the Great Contract, he would have to be suitably compensated. The Commons announced that they would not proceed with the Great Contract.

  • Parliament was alarmed at the possibility that the annual sum might prove too sufficient – especially during periods of good trade and buoyant customs (hence the attempt to include Impositions). It might mean that the King could dispense with calling Parliament at all. Moreover, the sums involved were so large (the equivalent of three subsidies a year) that they were beyond the Commons’ constituent’s comprehension. There was also skepticism about James’s ability to restrain his generosity and keep to the limits of his expanded income.

  • Meanwhile, James feared losing elastic feudal revenues in favour of a fixed income that might prove insufficient, thus leaving him at the mercy of Parliament, and thereby demeaning his majesty. Rather than give up Impositions without compensation, he dismissed Parliament.
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