The Biography of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), an English lawyer, statesman, author, and philosopher.
He is best known for his book “Utopia” and his defense of the Roman Catholic Church against the Protestant Reformation.
He is also remembered for his refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England, which ultimately led to his execution.
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Early Life and Education of Sir Thomas More
Thomas More was born in London in 1478 to Sir John More, a lawyer, judge, and Agnes Graunger.
He attended St. Anthony’s School in London and entered Oxford University at 15.
After two years, he left Oxford without a degree and began studying law at New Inn, London, and Lincoln’s Inn.
Thomas More was born in the Italian town of Ypres between 1478 and 1483. His mother, Katherine Chivalle, was a gentlewoman, and his father, Thomas Morel, was a public servant and member of Parliament.
He spent his early childhood in London, where he attended Westminster School as a boy before studying at Oxford University.
Sir Thomas More was born in London, England, in 1478. He was the only son of John More, a prosperous mercer, and his wife, Agnes.
At his birth, More’s father was living in Aldgate by Bow. His mother died two years later; as a child, More lived with his father and unmarried sister, Margaret.
He studied at Oxford University in Oxfordshire between 1503 and 1506. While he did not achieve any degree or honors at Oxford, his reputation as an excellent Latin scholar became well-known. It gained him some minor appointments as a lecturer at Magdalen College by 1522.
Legal Career and Political Life of Sir Thomas More
More was admitted to the bar in 1501 and quickly gained a reputation as a brilliant lawyer. He was appointed to various government positions, including undersheriff of London and a member of Parliament.
In 1516, he became a member of the Privy Council and was later appointed Lord Chancellor, the highest legal office in England.
However, he resigned from the post in 1532 over his disagreement with King Henry VIII’s actions in separating from the Roman Catholic Church.
Thomas More’s career as a lawyer was brilliant and successful. His intellectual gifts made him one of the most respected lawyers in Europe, and his skill at campaigning and manipulating the law ensured that he was known as one of the greatest orators of his age.
Thomas More was famous for defending Catholic causes. Still, he also believed that people should not be imprisoned for their beliefs, and he helped establish an important precedent in English law on freedom of religion.
More’s political career was short but significant. He was a close friend and adviser to King Henry VIII.
More served on the king’s council and in the House of Commons, where he helped write the Ten Articles against heresy and eventually became an original author of the Act of Supremacy and Five Points.
When Henry VIII died, Francis, I offered him a high office in France, but More refused”.
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Religious Beliefs and Martyrdom
Any biography of Sir Thomas More will be incomplete without stating he was a devout Roman Catholic and opposed the Protestant Reformation.
He wrote several works defending the Catholic Church, including “A Dialogue Concerning Heresies” and “The Confutation of Tyndale’s Answer.”
However, More’s opposition to the king’s actions regarding the Church led to his downfall.
He refused to take an oath acknowledging Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. More was found guilty of treason in 1535 and was executed by beheading.
Thomas More was an English philosopher and writer who led the new Luther movement.
More was executed for refusing to accept the king’s authority. He is best remembered for his Utopia, a book that describes an imaginary future society.
In it, he proposed that people are happier in Utopia than they would be under the rule of corrupt governments.
The most important factor in Thomas More’s beliefs was his belief that if a ruler were to be evil and lead people astray, they would not receive grace or salvation.
If the people allowed this evil ruler to rule them, they would doubt themselves and their Catholic faith and perhaps even turn away from God altogether.
Therefore, there should always be a good leader guiding an ignorant people, who would naturally do unto others as they would have them do unto themselves – Matthew 7:12-14.”
In addition to his legal and political career, More was a prolific writer. His most famous work, “Utopia,” published in 1516, is a political satire and critique of English society.
The book depicts an imaginary society on an island free from the social and political ills of Europe.
More also wrote several religious works, including “The Sadness of Christ” and “The Four Last Things,” as well as several letters and poems.
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Legacy of Sir Thomas More
The best way of rounding up this biography of Sir Thomas More is stating he was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1935 and is celebrated as a martyr and saint.
He is also recognized as a scholar and humanist who significantly contributed to literature and philosophy.
More’s commitment to his religious beliefs and refusal to compromise his principles in the face of political pressure have made him an enduring symbol of integrity and conscience.