Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mary Ailes

Committee Members

Pradeep Barua, James Rohrer


Catholic;Elizabeth Tudor;Mary Stuart;Mary Tudor;Protestant;Reformation


Religion in the 16th century was an all-encompassing, facet of daily life for monarchs and laymen alike. Given the change brought by the Reformation, Mary and Elizabeth Tudor as well as Mary Stuart had to cope with unique challenges in regards to their religious policies, and how well they rose to meet these challenges throughout their reigns can be used to determine how successful their respective policies were. Mary Tudor, although coming to the crown inheriting a position as head of the English Church was determined to reinstate Catholicism as the official English religion. Instead of using her power, however, she insisted on reestablishing the English Catholic faith not through royal mandate, but rather through the rule of law. Elizabeth Tudor sought to reverse the immense success of Marian policy by re-launching the second phase of the English Reformation using her religious settlement which had to factor in external and external considerations. Her settlement fell short of Protestant expectations and faced backlash from not only English Catholics, but more radical English Protestants. Although queen from shortly after birth, Mary Stuart was not present in Scotland during its religious Reformation, with her mother acting as regent in her place. When Mary returned to Scotland from France, she found a nation who had determined their own religious sovereignty and sought stability by keeping the religious status quo. Compared and contrasted side by side, each of these monarchs approached the delicate question of religious policy differently, yet all enjoyed varying measures of success within the policies that they implemented. The challenges that they faced were momentous, yet they conquered them in an age when female rule was suspect, if not outrightly despised



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