Ann Boleyn and the American Culture


       She captured the heart of Henry VIII and hastened Reformation

 By the time young America created the Declaration of Independence, the mindset of their population had already formed core beliefs about how a government and the people should interact; government would operate by consent rather than decree.  Then and today, few realize that this uniquely American marriage of freedom and justice shares a near link with the infamous Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.

In the novel, Bartholomew Stovall – The English Immigrant, Bartholomew knew his destiny.  As a slave, he was forced to accustom his master’s rules.

By the time Bartholomew had earned his freedom in 1688, he understood that governing in the New World was much like that in his mother country, England.  It was a government of representation and was imposed by a fair legal system, elected by the people.  These facts helped Bartholomew to understand that, should he follow the path that was presented to him with nobility, the truth would be rendered, and he would find his destiny.

This provincial government Bartholomew found in America was a byproduct of the successful Protestant Reformation in England between 1500 and 1650.  During a time of deep rooted religious oppression, noted authors were writing essays supporting the Enlightenment, and others were interpreting The Holy Bible from the Greek and Latin scrolls to English books, so “Even the plowman could read Gods word and form a personal relationship through prayer.”

But the turning point in England’s history had little to do with reformation.  Britain and their provincial experiment, America, as well as large portions of the civilized world, should credit Anne Boleyn for their freedom to worship and to live in a true Godley spirit.  It was Anne Boleyn, the former Queen’s maid and then second wife of King Henry VIII who used her charm, wit, and flirtatious manner to repel the forces of intolerance.

                                                                 .  .  .

King Henry’s attraction to Anne Boleyn was not a quick romance.  At first, she denied his advances, as well as the ‘formal request’ for her to become his solitary mistress.  The king was taken aback by her refusal.  Anne was steadfast against his charm, but the two did become close.  Finally, she confessed her love for him, but reasoned that it would all be in vain because he was a married man.

With her refusal, the king became open with his intentions to marry Anne Boleyn, going so far as to summon the Pope and requested that his marriage to the Queen, Catherine of Aragon be annulled.  But the Pope refused the request leaving Henry livid.

But liberation for the protestants took a huge leap forward in November 1528.  On this date, King Henry VIII summoned Parliament and gave a masterful speech at Bridewell, London.  The King confessed that he had been living in mortal sin, caused by his arranged marriage to his late brother’s wife, Catherine.

He quoted passage from the Holy Bible in Leviticus Chapter 20 Verse 16:

If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an impurity; he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.”

The King may have convinced the gathering when he stated that he lived in “detestable and abominable adultery”.

                                                                        .  .  .

History has proved that King Henry VIII wanted to be rid of Catherine because she was barren and had not produced him a male heir.  He was also infatuated with Anne Boleyn and wanted her as his queen and beds maid.

But history also proved that by bringing his request to Parliament, Henry was seeking support for his cause from the nobility of the country he ruled.  He knew that he could not ‘decree’ to the Pope, thus he enrolled the help of the people to absolve the authority of domestic matters from a foreign entity.

Henry’s plea to Parliament was the turning point in England’s history.  In incremental events, Henry VIII achieved his objective. On November 3, 1534 the Parliament of England passed the first Act of Supremacy, appointing Henry VIII as The Supreme Head of the Church of England. Finally, Henry was able to discern the legal sovereignty of the civil laws over the laws of the Church in England.  This is to say that Henry could grant himself a divorce and then marry Anne Boleyn.

This sweeping turn of events altered England’s business model drastically.  With Henry’s plea to Parliament England was now governed by consent rather than decree.  It was a mindset that followed those who formed the laws and labored the fields of the New World.

About bartholomewstovall

Author of Bartholomew Stovall. A novel about the immigrant who came to America in 1684.
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