Edward IV completely ruined his chances in his first reign by not stabilizing himself on the throne as he was too occupied dealing with rebellions. He proved himself able when he re-gained the throne in 1471 because he showed that he was willing to compromise to his people and his excellent memory made it possible for him to sympathize with his people. Edward gave out instructions personally by word of mouth which was potentially what made his Finance Policy so successful.
Personal involvement made it possible for him to be given more benevolences for example in 1473, Edward kissed an old lady’s hand and she gave him a sum of money which she then doubled, the fact that he was using every resource effectively yet not to excess suggests that he was an efficient ruler. In 1471, Edward transferred i?? 21,000 from the Exchequer to the Chamber Finance, this new system that he created stopped corruption and enabled him to have control over his finance as he would personally check and sign accounts as opposed to his first reign, implying that he was effective in trying to restore an efficient government.
Edward became more aware of the events happening around him so that he could be able to use it for the crown’s own advantage and restore his finance policy. For example he did not attaint the Duke of Warwick and the Duke of Montagu so that his brothers; Richard Duke of Gloucester and George Duke of Clarence married the Warwick’s and Montagu’s daughters. This enabled them to inherit their lands, not only did this increase the crown’s powers and respect but also their income as they had more domains.
In 1472-5, Parliament granted him four tenths and fifteenths which raised the royal income, suggesting that he was effective. Furthermore; in 1475 he became the first king in over 200 years to achieve absolute solvency, suggesting that he successfully established his finance policy and therefore supports the view point that he re-established effective royal government. Ross argued that Edward did increase royal income but never to the full amount he could have had however, it’s clear that the fact that he inherited one of the most serious debt in English history and achieved solvency was disregarded.
He not only achieved solvency but raised the country’s income to approximately i?? 70,000 per annum, this was a remarkable event that implied efficiency and success in re-establishing an effective government. He is effective in dealing with the rebellions and the use of nobility. In his second reign he certainly wasted less time dealing with protestors, an example of this were the thirteen attainders passed in 1471, suggesting that he was more interested in re-establishing an effective government.
In his second reign also, he is able to stabilize rebellion as he had gained control of rebels for example, Henry VI which was murdered and Edward, Prince of Wales who was killed at the battle of Tewksbury in 1471, leaving no Lancastrian heir to seize Edward’s throne therefore, decreasing rebellion. The specific use of the Woodvilles in own right or as links to the families they married into made it possible for Edward to control more members of the nobility as they were all related to the royal family. This successfully decreased chances of rebellion and furthers the idea that he re-established a more balanced, effective government.
Edward managed to tame his new creations for example, Hastings and Herbert; as they were reliant on him for survival avoiding over-mighty nobles, this also made it difficult to be overthrow him and therefore allowed him to rule successfully. The execution and attainder of George Duke of Clarence in 1478 implies that Edward maintained rebellion to the bare minimum furthermore; being the only rebellion during his second reign in 1471-83 supports the claim that he successfully re-established royal government.
Edward continues his Burgundy alliance which helps him to regain the throne in 1471; this implies he had a balanced sense of judgment and trustworthy allies. His foreign policy can be regarded as successful because achieved some of his goals. Although it can be argued that he completely lost his chances through indolence, events like the invasion on France in 1475 proves differently because even though there was no war, he the signed treaty of Picquigny and compromised his daughter to marry the French heir.
Moreover, he received a pension from the French king and an instant payment of 50,000 crowns, showing that he was able to negotiate successfully. This promotes the idea that he established an effective government because he developed a Foreign Policy with positive outcomes, bearing in mind the state of the country. In 1473, Edward starts plans to invade Scotland in vengeance for supporting Lancastrians, this was carried out in 1482 by Edward’s brother; Richard Duke of Gloucester. Despite Edward’s absence resulted in the capture of the King of Scotland’s brother and the city of Edinburgh.
Edward planned another invasion on France in 1480 that was never acted upon however; this was minimal compared to his other successes. Further plans to invade France were made in 1483; he also took strong action against piracy which successfully decreased these attacks. Edward’s constant invasion plans and negotiations demonstrate that he was interested in obtaining status abroad. It also supports the idea that he re-established an effective government due to the constant invasion plans and attacks in his foreign policy.
Edward was highly interested in justice and his personal motto was ”modus et ordo” meaning method and order. He strengthened his justice policy by dealing with banditry, even though he would sometimes bend the law to suit his own purposes. For example in the matter of the Neville inheritance when he paid John Tailor to have the verdict he wished. Edward supported the Stanleys in their feud with the Harringtons who were supported by Edward’s brother Richard of Gloucester. Edward gave several orders for the Harringtons to give Hornby Castle to the Stanleys however; Edward could not force them to do so.
The fact that he ordered the Harringtons to give Hornby Castle implies that Edward’s sense of justice was not very balanced as bastard feudalism continued to be a problem. However, he took personal interest in cases, for example in 1473-75 when he traveled to attend some hearings; he was especially interested in troubled areas. In 1475 at Hampshire; Edward witnessed a case where twenty people were charged for breaking the law, ten of them were tried and eight were found guilty, suggesting that he maintained law and order.
Despite the continuation of bastard feudalism, he had many other successes in his justice policy and those who served him remained loyal until his death, supporting the idea that he re-established an effective government. Edward seemed to have become a more precautious King as most of his new statutes and actions took place within a brief period after he regained his throne in 1471. He was determined to put right what was wrong as quickly as possible, suggesting that he was effective in re-establishing the royal government in England. Even though his justice policy wasn’t brilliant, Edward made sure the laws were enforced.
Despite having minimal invasion plans that were never acted upon for example France in 1480, his foreign policy was also successful because of many triumphs such as the invasion in Scotland. He dealt rebellions and protestors so effectively that there were hardly any, suggesting that he was an efficient ruler. More importantly, his financial policy is significant and is certainly one of the main reasons why Edward was more successful in his second reign. All these accomplishments support the view that Edward IV re-established an effective government and was efficient in doing so, notably showing the importance of his reign.