The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

Henry VIII was a bad person

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,796 times Debate No: 48718
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




During this debate, I will be arguing that Henry VIII was not a monster like many people portray him as. I know that he did bad things, but he also did good things for England as well.

First round is for acceptance only.

Thank you.


I accept and thank my opponent for opening this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, let me thank simpleguy for accepting this debate.

I understand and agree that Henry VIII did bad things in his reign, however, I feel that many people forget the good things that he did. One of the good things that he did was set up the English navy, which protected, and continues to protect every person inside the UK. Without the English navy, England would probably have been invaded along time ago, and would not be a separate country right now. There is nothing bad about this.
Also, Henry authorised the translation of the Christian bible into English. If he hadn't have done this, every single English-speaking Christian would have to learn another language in order to read the bible. If this was the case right now, then chances are that many people would be put off from turning Christian, just because of the fact that they would have to learn another language in order to read the holy book. I'm sure you will be able to come up with bad points to this, however, I feel that all of them would be out ruled by this fact.
Henry also founded the Church of England, now one of the largest denominations in the Christian religion. Yes, of course this had bad side effects, but it also has good ones which have lasted further than the bad ones. For example, a lot of people who are Christian, don't agree with catholic ways. People may want to spread God's word by becoming part of the church, however, I'm sure most people will be put off by the fact that they would not be able to marry, or have children. In the Church of England, they are free to do so, and also spread God's word at the same time.

Good luck with this debate simpleguy, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.


Firstly, I would like to clarify a few things regarding the resolution itself.

The primary topic of this debate is that "Henry VIII was a bad person." I would like to remind voters that bad people can still do good things. I am sure Hitler has done at least one good thing in his life, but that does not make him a good person. In order to determine whether or not someone is a bad person, we must weigh out the good things and the bad things they did, and see which side is stronger.

Now onto the rebuttal. My opponent has listed three things to support the argument that Henry VIII was not a bad person. I will respond to them one by one.

The Royal Navy

Although Henry VIII did increase the number of ships in the navy, he was not the creator. His father had already begun a programme for the building of warships for the navy[1]. There is obviously nothing bad in adding more ships to the navy, but there's nothing too good about it either. He was simply doing his job and continuing his father Henry VII's legacy. Furthermore, even with the number of ships Henry VIII created, they needed to hire merchant ships for some battles[2].

Translation of the Christian bible

I believe Con is mistaken about the history of this event. I will give a brief historical recount of what occured around this time. William Tyndale was the man responsible for printing the New Testament of the bible in the English language. However, he was continuously chased down by both the bishop and the king, ultimately capturing him, having him strangled and then burnt at the stake. The king's men would also buy hundreds of copies and then proceed to burn them. It is only after succumbing to public pressure that Henry VIII decided to authorise the translation[3].

The Church of England

The question we have to ask ourselves here is whether Henry VIII did this for his own sake or for that of the people. It doesn't matter if people benefit from its creation, it is the motive that counts as we are discussing whether Henry VIII was a bad person not whether his actions were good. He assumed the position of the Head of the Church of England due to several divorce rejections by numerous popes [4]. From this we can see that Henry VIII's main motivation was to break away from papal jurisdiction and gain even more power for himself. Pro also makes the mistake of claiming that Catholicism forbids marriage, with is simply untrue, as seen here [5]. I also propose the idea that people could've spread their own idea of Christianity without the creation of a formal church.

I will now move on to show the abhorrent and terrible things that Henry VIII has done, things that Pro has obviously left out in his argument.

Killing people

I think we can all agree that killing people is a bad thing, and a lot more permanent than the 'good' things that he did. People cannot freely practice their religion if they are dead. The first killings happen two days after his corronation as king, where he arrested two of his father's ministers and had them executed [6]. In our day and age, that would already be enough to claim he is a bad person. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The next victim to fall to this terrible man was Thomas Walsey, a Catholic Cardinal. Although the cardinal served the king well, he was falsely charged with treason and died simply because he did not meet the demands of this control freak quickly enough [7].

Henry VIII then falsely accused his second wife of adultery as she could not provide him with a male child (Henry thought females didn't count) and had her subsequently beheaded. This man is clearly unable to feel remorse as he marries again a mere 24 hours later [8].

There are numerous other bad things Henry VIII had done, but I believe this is enough for now to show the terrible murderer he was and his need of absolute control. His indifference to human life clearly outweighs the small things he has done that may have benefited society - mainly due to selfish motives.

[2] ibid
[3];(Ctrl+f Henry to navigate easier to the part I used)
Debate Round No. 2


Firstly, let me apologise for the mistakes which I made. I realise that it will cost me many points, if not the whole debate. However, I plan to continue, I might as well.
You mentioned killing people as a bad thing that Henry VIII did, and I agree with you that killing people is a very horrible thing to do. However, Henry VIII did not reign during our time, the 21st century. Instead, he reigned during the 1500's. In those days, killing people was a lot less rare for the monarchy. Rulers before Henry VIII killed people, so why couldn't Henry? Of course, this is not acceptable now, but in those days, it was more common and acceptable for the monarchy to kill people.
I now await my opponents next argument, and again apologise for the mistakes which I made in round 2.


At this point I would like to note that my opponent has agreed with all of my points, the only matter of contention now is that it was acceptable back in those days for the monarchy to kill people, thus Henry VIII was not a bad person.

I believe Con is sorely mistaken in this regard. We judge people by our current standards in society. For example, you wouldn't hear someone saying that the Salem Witch trials, where they burnt supposed 'witches' as a good thing, but back then, the people would've thought it was completely justified. We must judge them based on what our stands of good and evil are as of now. There's no use hypothesising whether something was acceptable or not back in those days, what matters is whether they are good or bad given our upbringing and education. Hitler killed a lot of people, but so did a lot of Nazis, does that make them any less of a monster? No, no it doesn't. Murder was murder, and it hasn't been condoned for over a millenia before King Henry VIII was ever conceived. Furthermore, his murder was not even justified, as you saw in my example, he killed people for the smallest of reasons - he had a superiority complex. This is clearly the behaviour of a bad person in any society and has been for many centuries.

Since Con has accepted every other argument of mine I have nothing else to add.
Debate Round No. 3


Yes, we do judge people by todays standards, however, sometimes we have to realise that things were different in those days. If it was normal to Henry to kill people, and people of that time thought it was normal, then what was going to stop Henry from killing people?
Thank you for debating this topic. Good luck in the voting period.


simpleguy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by knightj 2 years ago
I've changed the word 'monster' to bad person instead in order to give us both a wider range of arguments.

Posted by simpleguy 2 years ago
Change the word monster to a bad king and I'll accept, as he was definitely a human.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro successfully dismantles every single point brought by Con. His rebuttals were backed by valid sources. Con concedes Pro's contention in the end and pro successfully concluded "Judgements should be made based on our standards". Con failed to clarify his resolution in the beginning. I'm rewarding arguments to Pro for the obvious rebuttals and sources(as his arguments are the only ones present with it) while Con made no attempts to disprove the alternate.