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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the nature of opposition to Thomas Wolsey from 1515 to 1527 and his methods of dealing with his opponents. Many men were against the Cardinal and wanted to reduce the power he held in both the Church and the state. This thesis deals with only those men who were of great enough prestige and power to be a threat to Wolsey's position. William Warham was both a political and religious figure. His political career and opposition ended early in this period. He continued, however, to oppose Wolsey's efforts to erode the ecclesiastical position of Canterbury. This activity brought him into direct conflict with Wolsey as legate a latere from the Pope. Wolsey used this position granted by the papacy to increase his own power in the Church in England. In his opposition Warham used great restraint, but he was to a degree successful in preserving the prerogative of Canterbury. Wolsey's lay opponents were Edward Stafford and the men who made up the Howard faction. Stafford early opposed the Cardinal's foreign policy. Stafford's own indiscretions made it relatively easy for Wolsey to eliminate him. The Howard faction consisted of more discreet men, Thomas Howard II, Charles Brandon, and Thomas Boleyn. Talents, family connections, and their realization that they had to perform appointed tasks within Wolsey's policies protected them. Their opposition to the Cardinal in this period was not active. They consolidated their positions and refrained from antagonizing the Cardinal. They defended each other verbally whenever the Cardinal showed signs discrediting any one of them before the King. They clung together and waited for their foe to err, and when he did they engineered his ruin. This thesis does not deal with their activities after 1527 when they actually brought about Wolsey's downfall. The method of research used was to compare the Letters and Papers ... of Henry VIII with the accounts of certain contemporary writers, particularly Polydore Vergil and George Cavendish.

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Second Committee Member

Donald D. Sullivan

Third Committee Member

Louis Creighton Tulga



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