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Queen Elizabeth I is considered by many to be the single most effective monarch of England, presiding over a golden age in both growth of economic and political power and of culture. In many practical ways, she was simply a more successful ruler than her Stuart successors.
The first element of her success was that she was unambiguously Protestant. The Pope was increasingly seen by the English, especially in the wake of the martyrdom of so many Prostestants under "bloody Mary", as a hostile foreign power attempting to overthrow the English government. The Stuarts' connections with Roman Catholicism were a major problem.
Next, Elizabeth was far more financially prudent than the Stuarts, keeping strict fiscal discipline when possible, and rarely asking Parliament for money. Next, she was more pragmatic in both diplomacy and religious policy, often succeeding by means of diplomacy and strategic negotiation. Finally, she was responsible for the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a momentous military victory for England, not equaled by any campaign of the Stuarts.
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