ABSTRACT: Throughout the Tudor era, the Crown turned to debasement of the currency — the replacement of the gold or silver content of coins with a base metal — as a non-parliamentary method of raising revenue. Tudor kings and queens used debasement to tax their subjects without the consent of the people that is guaranteed in English common law. The heaviest period of debasement occurred from 1542 to 1551 during the reigns of Henry and Edward. Throughout this period, England also experienced the greatest increase in prices. From 1485 to 1603, agricultural prices increased by 338% and industrial goods increased by 131%. Contemporaries began commenting on the high prices in the late 1540s and the Crown, needing a scapegoat, blamed the wealthiest members of society. But it was the Crown that made life more difficult for its subjects by contributing to price increases through its policy of debasement.
AUTHOR: Marcus Witcher earned a BA from the University of Central Arkansas where he majored in history and minored in economics. He is currently a graduate student in history at the University of Alabama where he intends to earn his MA and PhD. Most of his research focuses on integrating the fields of economics and history and he plans to write his dissertation on destructive entrepreneurship in the United States from 1950 to the present. Mr Witcher can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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