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To what extent was the foreign policy of Philip II consistent? Free essay! Download now

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To what extent was the foreign policy of Philip II consistent?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 2100 | Submitted: 02-May-2007
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Essay investigating the extent of the vvariations that existed withing Philip II's foreign policy


. The questioning of the reasons behind this inconsistency would also prove to generate friction between the conflicting views of Agent and Structuralist historians. The Agent school of thought would dictate the stance that Philip was directly responsible for a sporadic foreign policy while Structuralists would enforce the motion that there existed external factors out with monarchist control which forced an inconsistent foreign policy. As well as this, one must also investigate the intensity at which this inconsistency existed. Some Historians would argue the point that the foreign policy of Philip was largely consistent in terms of its defensive and pragmatic approach up until 1583, when it adopted a more aggressive nature as a reaction to the increased pressure of imperial overstretch on the economy of Spain. This can therefore present a distorted impression of the overall manner of Philips foreign policy in that it does not take into account the less volatile years of Philips reign.

A large majority of Historians would make the point that Philip possessed a wide variety of conflicting motives which dictated the style of his foreign policy. However there is debate amongst Historians as to which of these were of the largest concern to Philip. Leopold von Ranke states that religion was the key factor of influence and that Philip believed his personal success was measured by the extent to which he upheld and defended Catholicism. Parker would reiterate this view but would describe Philip as a messianic imperialist whose main preoccupation was an ambition to create a united European Empire of Christianity, which he would defend from the Turkish infidel. This school of thought would be supported by Philip’s participation in the Holy League that waged war against the Ottoman Empire in 1571 and his inclusion of Jesuit missionaries in the crew of the Armada fleet whose unfulfilled aim was to administer a process of conversion to Catholicism as soon as they landed in Protestant England.

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