What problems did Elizabeth face in 1558? At the start of her reign in 1558, Elizabeth faced many problems it was a very tumultuous time for her. These problems included Gender, Religion, Finance and Foreign policy. One factor Elizabeth had to face, which was seen as a huge disadvantage, was her gender. This was because the society was very patriarchal, male dominated, meaning that she was seen as week and less capable of being a good leader. This was a problem for Elizabeth as she had to do more to prove that she could be a good leader.
This leads onto the fact that her sister Mary wasn’t a good leader so therefore there were low expectations of Elizabeth, This also meant Elizabeth had a lot to prove in order to be a good leader. Although this was a problem for Elizabeth, there were also positive factors to her gender. One of these was that Elizabeth was very good at using her flirtatious charm to get what she wanted. Another reason Elizabeth’s gender wasn’t too much of a problem was that she asserted her royal authority; it was her divine right to become the queen as god had chosen her.
Another problem Elizabeth had to face in 1558 was deciding what religion to become, whether she would keep England as a catholic settlement or to change England to a protestant settlement. If she decided to keep England a catholic settlement it would keep her strong alliances on side; Spain and France, this would be good as Elizabeth was worried that Spain and France would go to war against her if not. Also if Elizabeth decided to stay Catholic, the pope and the House of Lords would be on her side.
This means she would be able to pass laws easier. However Elizabeth could also have chose to turn England into a protestant settlement, this would suit her better as she herself, was a protestant. Also, it would keep the Privy Council and the House of Commons on side meaning it would be easier for Elizabeth to get her own way with the Privy Council. Finally, many hard line Protestants returned to England when she was pronounced queen, meaning she found it her duty to the people to turn England into a protestant settlement.
Next on her problem list was Elizabeth’s finance/ inheritance, Elizabeth had a very weak financial inheritance. This meant that she had to do as much as possible to improve her economy to make England a strong country. Therefore, Elizabeth had to try to put off and stay out of wars for as long as she potentially could in order to build up her army and navy and save up enough money for weapons in order to go to war and be strong. This meant Elizabeth had to try to keep foreign countries such as Spain and France on side, limiting her foreign policy.
The final problem Elizabeth had to face in 1558 was the foreign policy. Due to the fact that England had become embroiled in the Italian wars, Elizabeth faced loosing Calais and had to decide whether or not it was worth fighting for. There were many reasons for fighting to keep Calais, the loss of Calais would be damaging to the economy, it would be a major blow to England’s prestige, England would no longer have the same domination over the straights of Dover and finally, the loss of Calais would have a huge impact to Elizabeth’s pride of a queen who was opening her reign.
Whereas, on the other hand there were also a lot of reasons against fighting for Calais. One of these is the fact that Elizabeth had inherited a very weak economy and therefore, she did not have enough money to fight for Calais or prepare to fight. Another reason is that the succession of Calais was realistic and necessary as England couldn’t beat France alone and therefore, had no intensions of going to war with them.
Finally, overall the port was a financial drain. This was a very big problem for Elizabeth when she first come to her reign in 1558 as she had to decide what was best for her and England’s economy. Also due to the fact that England was relatively weak when Elizabeth came to the throne, Elizabeth had to think about building strong alliances and marrying. The strongest powers during 1558 were France and Spain.
Therefore, in order to achieve all of her priorities, these being; make a strong ally, build up her army and navy and avoid war and Catholic league, Elizabeth had the problem of deciding whether there was a possible suitor and whether to marry them. Overall, I think the biggest problem Elizabeth faced was her Gender. I think this because as she was a female she had a lot more to prove and a lot more to lose. This would be an extremely hard problem for Elizabeth to overcome as it could always be used against her.