Bad King John and the Great Charter – II

Lead: Pressed by enemies on all sides, England's King John comes to rough terms on the field at Runnymede.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his sixteen year reign, beginning in 1199, John seemed to antagonize nearly every part of his Kingdom. The youngest son of powerful parents, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and successor to his popular rival and brother, the warrior King Richard, Lion Heart, John never captured the affection or support of the barons, his most powerful subjects. His policy of ruthless taxation, England's loss of vast territories in northern France and his running battle with Pope Innocent III over the appointment of church leaders further complicated an already troubled reign.

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Bad King John and the Great Charter – I

Lead: King John is usually listed as among the worst English monarchs. He came by such a reputation the hard way. He earned it.

 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: The youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, John had a hard act to follow. His father was a world-class monarch with enormous holdings in England and on the Continent. His mother was a force of nature, having been the Queen of both France and England, the advisor and occasional adversary of husband and sons. John's brother was Richard I, known affectionately as Lion Heart, the popular warrior king whose sibling rivalry with John had consumed nearly all their adult lives. John became the ruler nearly everyone loved to hate and this included contemporary chroniclers and later many historians.

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Henry’s Wives: Catherine of Aragon

Lead: Increasingly desperate to produce an heir to the throne, Henry VIII cast around for a way to get rid of his inconvenient queen.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: They put the proposal to her. She was to abdicate her marriage and retreat to a nunnery. Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England made no reply. The next day her husband joined in the campaign, "all the world," he said, "agreed that their marriage was unjust, unless you volunteer to enter the nunnery, you will be forced to go. Again she listened quietly.

 

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Arrest of the Five Members

Lead: In early 1641, Parliament and King Charles I of England had reached a dangerous impasse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Taxation, the war with Scotland, the rights of Parliament, and royal manipulation of the courts were among the subjects of a contentious and sometimes bitter struggle between a majority of the House of Commons and the government of Charles I, but it was religion that generated much of the passion of those years. For nearly a century, the Puritans, a minority in the Church of England, had been agitating for an end to corruption in the clergy, a simpler form of church worship, and greater control of congregations by the local churches.

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Sir Francis Drake III

Lead: His voyage around the world behind him, Sir Francis Drake, Queen Elizabeth's Golden Admiral, intensified his campaign to make miserable the life of the King of Spain.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Returning from the East in 1581, Drake made Plymouth his home and was elected mayor of the town. He served with distinction, revamping the municipal water system with such care that his improvements lasted for decades. Ever restless, he returned to the sea which was both the love of his life and source of his fortune. In 1585 Elizabeth sent Drake back to the Caribbean where, over a period of months, he renewed his reputation as the scourge of Spain. His occasionally brutal capture and sacking of Cartagena in Columbia, St. Augustine in Florida, and Santo Domingo, combined with attacks on the Cape Verde Islands, were not as successful or lucrative as previous forays, but caused enormous financial distress to the Spanish and confirmed their hatred for el draque or the dragon, as he was coming to be known. This campaign and other conflicts with England so incensed Spanish King Philip II that he made the fateful decision to assemble a huge naval Armada to invade the island kingdom.

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Sir Francis Drake II

Lead: Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to forage and loot the lands of the Spanish King, Francis Drake embarked on a voyage that took him around the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1572, after a lengthy apprenticeship, Drake took two tiny ships on a cruise into the Caribbean. His vessels may have been small but his ambition was hefty. He attacked the town of Nombre de Dios in Panama and though not completely successful since he was wounded in the attempt, the foray netted substantial plunder and made him a rich man. Ever the adventurer, he and a small group of his men crossed the Isthmus of Panama and from a high western ridge vowed that he would someday explore the vast Pacific Ocean that lay before him. Elizabeth was engaged in one of her occasional diplomatic flirtations with the Spanish government and, while privately pleased at Drake’s success, could not acknowledge him publicly. For several years, he dropped out of the public eye, quietly helping to suppress a rebellion in Ireland.

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Sir Francis Drake I

Lead: Part scoundrel, part tyrant, part patriot, Francis Drake, for generations of his countrymen, was the symbol of England’s greatness.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Drake was born in Devonshire, southwestern England in the early 1540s, the last years of the reign of King Henry VIII. His father was a tenant farmer, but also an ardent Protestant lay preacher. In 1549 the family had to flee to southeast England during one of the Catholic uprisings common to the West Country. In those the years the nation was struggling over whether to stay with Protestantism or return to the Roman Catholic Church. Drake’s lifelong and enthusiastic commitment to the Protestant faith and apparent delight in tweaking the tail of Catholic Spain may be traced to the experiences of his troubled youth.

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Pseudocyesis of Mary Tudor II

Lead: Scorned by a nation appalled at her bloody attempts to restore Catholicism and abandoned by her Spanish husband, Queen Mary of England was further weakened emotionally by a series of false pregnancies.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: If she was to return England to the Catholic fold Mary knew she would need a long reign and an heir who shared her convictions, but her choice of her husband was a bad one. Philip was the heir to the Spanish throne and though he was the Queen's husband, from the beginning, he neither liked or was liked by the English people. The presence of the future King of Spain gave a bad odor to Mary's religious program and whipped up English nationalism.

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