The traditional description of the reigns of Edward and Mary as a time of crisis has long been questioned. Initially, some historians extended the time-scale of the mid-Tudor crisis to include the last years of Henry and the early part of Elizabeth's reign as they realized that many of the signs of weakness evident under Edward and Mary were also present from at least 1540 until 1563. Now, however, the very designation 'mid-Tudor crisis' is being challenged and may very well soon fall into disuse [51]. No longer are the middle decades of the sixteenth century described as a period of chronic instability, mismanagement and political conflict. Cooperation and constructive responses to problems are the themes emphasized by historians today [51; 154]. Similarly, some of the political leaders of the age have been reassessed. Somerset, traditionally described as the 'Good Duke', so unusually tolerant in his religious beliefs and enlightened in his social policies, is now seen as a figure more typical of his age in demanding religious uniformity as the linchpin of order, and a practical social programme of reform for political rather than idealistic ends [26]. Northumberland, too, has been transformed from an overambitious, generally disastrous factional leader into a statesman of great stature [22; 113]. The focus of the new research has been mostly on the domestic political scene rather than on the making of foreign policy. Nevertheless, the reassessment of domestic politics has important implications for any discussion of England's relations with Europe.