(1) James I used to be seen as a lazy, foolish and unsuccessful king. More recently, however, he has come to be regarded as quite an effective ruler. Which view do you think is right and why?
Both views of James I - the lazy and foolish king, and the effective ruler have a degree of validity.
James I had characteristics that would cause him to be regarded as foolish. His court was often filled with Scottish cronies and characters such as Rober Carr who seemed to provide no service except to leech of monarchal funds. James had inherited financial debt coupled with an Irish war, two circumstances that would most likely discourage the mass distribution of funds and titles to people such as Carr (Viscount) and others. Apart from financial moves, some political moves seemed foolish. An example could be made when James after a promise to refuse the toleration of a Catholic presence in England granted Lady Francis, his Catholic wife, a chapel for both herself and her court. The natural situation resulted and disdain by parliament and his wife after he removed the chapel and sent her friends back to France. Instances such as these fueled the growing power of parliament. Although Parliament still viewed itself as subordinate and a tool of the king, events such as this and James I's financial troubles and subsequent taxations without parliamentary consent, and ideas such as feudal taxation could be viewed as avoidable problems James could have resolved.
On the other had,however, James could be considered effective under the circumstances. A Scottish king ruling England and trying to achieve unity and respect from his followers could certainly benefit from the distribution of funds to important people. Aside from this James was also a very scholarly king as demonstrated by his book, the "Trew Law of Free Monarchy" in 1598 pushing his view of the divine right of kings, and his theological dealings and discussions with puritains [sic], Presbyterians, Calvinists and the Church of England. His choice of advisors such as Salisbury and George Villiers (Duke of Buckingham) seemed reasonably apt as well as his fimness of authority reflected in his relatively tolerant reign and dealings with dissenters such as the Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes and the Catholics. All in all James appeared to be a ruler of moderate means injected into difficult situation.
This essay earned a grade C
The student displayed some knowledge of James I and the main events of his reign, but was rarely specific or detailed, and made errors on some of the few occasions when trying to be specific. Only one date appeared anywhere.
Weaknesses of expression meant that it is often far from clear just what point was being made.
NB You need a lot more beef than this to get a good grade.