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King James I of England

James was the last living heir of King Henry VIII, as Henry’s sister was James’s great-grandmother. James was born to Mary, Queen of Scots in June of 1566, and was the heir to the throne of Scotland. He became king of Scotland in 1567 when his mother surrendered the throne. He became the Stuart King of England, which means that he was king of both Scotland and England. James I had a much different view on the Parliament than all other kings had, and had a view of the bible that every man should be able to read it.

     Parliament, which was the first big organization to have lots of judges working together, held that the rule of England was supposed to be a partnership between it and the King. James I thought he should be free to change, update, and revise the laws as he saw fit. This debate would eventually lead to a civil war during the reign of James’s son Charles.

     Although Queen Elizabeth I of England maintained religious tolerance during her reign, when James I, her great grandson, came to power, he advanced the Episcopal church as the state religion. This caused turmoil in both Scotland, where the Presbyterians had a strong control, and England, where there were still many Catholics. The Hampton Court Conference was called in 1604 to address some of the proposed reforms. One of the decisions made by the conference was to create an “Authorized Version” of the Bible for the Episcopal church. James I backed the idea that every man should be able to read the Bible, and the translation is today known as the King James Version of the Bible.

     Although James I wanted to have complete power, Parliament would not allow it. However he was successful in spreading the bible across the world. James I developed arthritis, gout, kidney stones, and several other ailments as he aged. He died in 1625 and is buried at Westminster Abbey. James was succeeded by his son Charles.


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