The merits of the contest between William of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex, for the English throne, depended upon the question whether or not the office of King of England was to a certain degree an elective office; whether it was an institution created for the public good and over which the people had reserved to themselves a certain degree of control, or whether the kingship was merely a species of property, the accession to which was to be governed by the same laws which determined the succession to an estate in real property. The claim of Harold to the throne rested upon his election by the Saxon Witenagemote; that of William upon his relationship to Edward the Confessor and that monarch's recognition of him as his heir. The decisive battle of Senlac ended in the death of Harold and at once gave to the William, the control of a large portion of the country including London. His later campaigns extended his authority over the rest of the realm. History, in giving to the Duke of Normandy the title of William the Conqueror, accurately described the ground upon which his claim to the throne of England was in reality based. William, however, preferred to consider himself as the rightful King of England by the nomination of his predecessor, and to regard his victories, not as those of conquest of a foreign country, but as the overthrow of traitors in rebellion against their rightful lord.