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To What Extent Was the Foreign Policy of King Philip Ii of Spain Motivated by Religion Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on April 17, 2015
  • Length: 3,258 words

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Below is an essay on "To What Extent Was the Foreign Policy of King Philip Ii of Spain Motivated by Religion" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

“First and foremost for the things that concern the service of God, our Lord”. This quote by Philip at the beginning of his reign taken from his first address to the Cortes of Castille shows how Philip was determined that religion was to be the focal point of his policy. However other concerns have been attributed to be the driving force behind Philip II’s foreign policy such as; the Spanish “reputacion”, another interpretation is that there was no plan set out at the beginning of the reign and rather it was a reactionary policy, aggression and the establishment of a universal monarchy have been argued to have been some influence on Philip’s policy by early 19th century historians. However recently Parker, echoing 19th century historians has argued that Philip had a “Grand Strategy” driven by a sense of “messianic imperialism”.

The confessional divide between Protestant historians and Catholic historians has fuelled the debate. From the 16th century onwards protestant historians created the Black legend. It derived from the supposed atrocities committed by under Alva’s rule in the Low Countries, with the introduction of the council of Troubles. The fear of the Spanish inquisition and the rumours of its brutality in its determination to seek out heresy, has also fed the Black legend. The writings of Protestant historians such as Motley and Oman can be taken to reflect more the attitude of the writer then the true events of the period. They wrote in a way that identified progress with Protestantism and Catholicism with reaction and superstition. They believed that the thought behind Philip’s foreign policy was to create a Universal Monarchy by means of a Catholic Plot.

Other proponents of religion as a main factor include Geoffrey Parker who wrote that Philip had a ‘grand strategy’ and that was to spread Catholicism and to fulfil the Habsburg moto “the world is not enough”. Parker has reinstated the 19th century view in a much more subtle and sophisticated way...

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