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English Civil Wars - Definition, Causes and Results

English Civil Wars - Definition, Causes and Results



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The English Civil Wars (1642-1651) stemmed from conflict between Charles I and Parliament over an Irish insurrection. The first war was settled with Oliver Cromwell’s victory for Parliamentary forces at the 1645 Battle of Naseby. The second phase ended with Charles’ defeat at the Battle of Preston and his subsequent execution in 1649. Charles’ son, Charles, then formed an army of English and Scottish Royalists, which prompted Cromwell to invade Scotland in 1650. The following year, Cromwell shattered the remaining Royalist forces and ended the “wars of the three kingdoms,” though Charles II eventually ascended to the throne in 1660.

The civil wars of seventeenth-century England also involved the two other kingdoms ruled by the Stuart dynasty, Scotland and Ireland. The invasion of England by a Scottish army seeking religious concessions in 1639 and again in 1640 precipitated political deadlock in London, which paved the way for a rebellion by Catholic Ireland (October 1641). The struggle between King Charles I and his Westminster Parliament over who should control the army needed to crush the Irish insurrection in turn provoked the outbreak of civil war in England (August 1642). Initially northern and western England, together with much of Ireland, stood for the king, while the southeast (including London), the Royal Navy, and Scotland fought for Parliament. However, at Marston Moor (July 2, 1644) Charles lost control of the north; and the following year, at Naseby (June 14, 1645) the Parliamentary forces led by Oliver Cromwell routed his main field army.

Having pacified all England, Parliament turned to the conquest of Ireland and Scotland. Since 1642 the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny had controlled Irish affairs and periodically aided Charles. However, any chance of rekindling the Royalist cause in Ireland ended in September 1649, when Oliver Cromwell massacred the combined force of Irish Confederates and Royalists at Drogheda and, the following month, captured the Confederate fleet in Wexford.

The Cromwellian reconquest of Ireland dragged on until the fall of Galway in April 1652 because of the outbreak of the third English Civil War. Early in 1650, Charles II, son and heir of the executed Charles I, cobbled together an army of English and Scottish Royalists, which prompted Cromwell to invade Scotland; at the Battle of Dunbar (September 3, 1650) he won control of most of Scotland. The following year at Worcester (September 3, 1651) Cromwell shattered the remaining Royalist forces and ended the “wars of the three kingdoms.”

The English conflict left some 34,000 Parliamentarians and 50,000 Royalists dead, while at least 100,000 men and women died from war-related diseases, bringing the total death toll caused by the three civil wars in England to almost 200,000. More died in Scotland, and far more in Ireland. Moreover, the trial and execution of an anointed sovereign and the presence of a standing army throughout the 1650s, combined with the proliferation of radical religious sects, shook the very foundations of British society and ultimately facilitated the restoration of Charles II in 1660. This was the last civil war fought on English—though not Irish and Scottish—soil.

The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


"The Causes And Effects Of The English Civil War" Essays and Research Papers

The Cause and Effect of the Civil War Though slavery was a key cause of the Civil War, it was not the sole reason for it. To hold slavery as the sole reason for the Civil War is incorrect as there were numerous economic, political and moral reasons behind the strife. Sectionalism (between the Northern and Southern states), Economic (between the industrial North and agrarian South), and Political differences (such as the South's deeply held belief in states' rights) all contributed to the conflict.

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Causes of the English Civil War

to the English Civil War in 1642 and which ended up with the public execution of Charles I. This essay will discuss and deal with the different factors that gave rise to the English Civil War. As was said above, one of the main problems of Charles’ reign was the lack of money and, undoubtedly, this was a good reason for a civil war. Everything started when the Parliament asked Charles to go to war with the Catholics in Spain. Charles did not have the needed money to face this war and so.

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Causes of the English Civil War

Causes of The English Civil War In this assessment I will be analysing the many causes and roots of the English Civil war which broke out in 1642. The English civil war was a long chain of conflict and rivalry, which was set between two very powerful forces, who consisted of The Royalists (King Charles I, and his supporters), and the Roundheads (Parliament, and their supporters). The feud erupted on the 22nd of August 1642, and lasted for 7 years, when its final action took place in 1649. There.

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The English Civil War: Causes

‘The English civil war started in 1642, primarily because of religious disagreements’. How far do you agree with this statement? On 22 august 1642, Charles 1 declared war against hi enemies in parliament. This led to a civil war where 1 in 10 men died. In this essay I am going to explain the main causes of the civil war and then I am going to see how much I agree with the statement. Charles got off to a bad start in 1625 when he married a French, catholic princess called Henrietta Maria. This was.

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Causes and Effects of the Civil War

Did you know America's bloodiest battle fought on their own soil was the Civil War? The Civil War was fought on American soil between the northern states and the southern states. Many causes provoked the war, which would affect the nation for decades to come. Slavery, the Missouri Compromise, and John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, were some of the many causes. In turn hundreds of thousands of soldiers died, the South's economy was devastated, and the northern ideals flourished. In.

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Causes and Effects of the Civil War

that in the Civil War, America lost the most men ever? After four years and over 600,000 American lives, the Union (North) prevailed in wearing down and forcing the Confederacy (South) to surrender. Eli Whitney's cotton gin, the Missouri Compromise, and the Dred Scott case contributed greatly to the Civil War. After the Civil War, the Southern economy was devastated with millions of homeless, while the northern economy boomed. Eli Whitney created one of the first causes of the Civil. In 1793 Eli.

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Cause And Effects Of The Civil War Essay

many causes and effects of the civil war, some well known, while others not so much. Some of the causes include the preservation of the Constitution, the social and economic differences between the North and the South and Slavery. There were many effects as well, such as the advances in weaponry, the advances in the medicine industry and the population decrease. These causes and effects had a great impact on the American people and history as we’ve come to know it. One cause of the Civil War was.

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The Civil War and Its Effects

Civil war From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see civil war (disambiguation). See list of civil wars for individual examples. A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified.

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Cause And Effect Essay: The Effects Of The Civil War

American had much to boast about in 1850, their nation was vastly larger, richer, and more powerful than in the 1800 but only eleven years later, the nation fell into civil war. America had struggled throughout time before the arrival of the civil war. The effect that lead to civil war was the Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854 (Bleeding Kansas), Compromise of 1850, Panic of 1857, Dred Scott Decision (1857), John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry, and Election of Abraham Lincoln. The Missouri Compromise was.

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Cause And Effect Essay: Causes Of The Civil War

Causes of the Civil War The Civil War is an immense part of American history. It grasped battles all over the States with the Union against the Confederates, both fighting for the morals they believed were correct. Slavery was a big factor in the Civil War, with triggers that took a part in sparking the War such as, the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, the election of Abraham Lincoln, and the battle of Fort Sumter, which was the first battle of the Civil War. All of these events hold a special place.

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The Origins & Causes of the English Civil War

We English like to think of ourselves as gentlemen and ladies a nation that knows how to queue, eat properly and converse politely. And yet in 1642 we went to war with ourselves. Pitting brother against brother and father against son, the English civil war is a blot on our history. Indeed, there was barely an English ‘gentleman’ who was not touched by the war.

Yet how did it start? Was it simply a power struggle between king and Parliament? Were the festering wounds left by the Tudor religious roller coaster to blame? Or was it all about the money?

Divine right – the God given right of an anointed monarch to rule unhindered – was established firmly in the reign of James I (1603-25). He asserted his political legitimacy by decreeing that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority not the will of his people, the aristocracy or any other estate of the realm, including Parliament. Under this definition any attempt to depose, dethrone or restrict the powers of the monarch goes against the will of God. The concept of a God given right to rule was not born in this period however writings as far back as AD 600 infer that the English in their varied Anglo-Saxon states accepted those in power had God’s blessing.

This blessing should create an infallible leader – and there is the rub. Surely if you have been given power to rule by God, you should demonstrate an ability to wield this responsibility with a degree of success? By 1642 Charles I found himself nearly bankrupt, surrounded by blatant corruption and nepotism and desperate to hold onto the thin veil that masked his religious uncertainty. He was by no means an infallible leader, a fact that was glaringly obvious to both Parliament and the people of England.

Parliament had no tangible power at this point in English history. They were a collection of aristocrats who met at the King’s pleasure to offer advice and to help him collect taxes. This alone gave them some influence, as the king needed their seal of approval to legitimately set taxes in motion. In times of financial difficulty that meant the King had to listen to Parliament. Stretched thinly through the lavish lifestyles and expensive wars of the Tudor and Stuart period, the Crown was struggling. Coupled with his desire to extend his high Anglican (read here thinly disguised Catholic) policies and practices to Scotland, Charles I needed the financial support of Parliament. When this support was withheld, Charles saw it as an infringement on his Divine Right and as such, he dismissed Parliament in March 1629. The following eleven years, during which Charles ruled England without a Parliament, are referred to as the ‘personal rule’. Ruling without Parliament was not unprecedented but without access to Parliament’s financial pulling power, Charles’s ability to acquire funds was limited.

Above: Parliament in the time of King Charles I

Charles’s personal rule reads like a ‘how to annoy your countrymen for dummies’. His introduction of a permanent Ship Tax was the most offensive policy to many. Ship Tax was an established tax that was paid by counties with a sea border in times of war. It was to be used to strengthen the Navy and so these counties would be protected by the money they paid in tax in theory, it was a fair tax against which they could not argue.

Charles’s decision to extend a year-round Ship Tax to all counties in England provided around £150,000 to £200,000 annually between 1634 and 1638.. The resultant backlash and popular opposition however proved that there was growing support for a check on the power of the King.

This support did not just come from the general tax paying population but also from the Puritanical forces within Protestant England. After Mary I, all subsequent English monarchs have been overtly Protestant. This stabilization of the religious roller coaster calmed the fears of many in Tudor times who believed if a civil war was to be fought in England it would be fought along religious lines.

While outwardly a Protestant, Charles I was married to a staunch Catholic, Henrietta Maria of France. She heard Roman Catholic mass every day in her own private chapel and frequently took her children, the heirs to the English throne, to mass. Furthermore, Charles’ support for his friend Archbishop William Laud’s reforms to the English Church were seen by many as a move backwards to the popery of Catholicism. The re-introduction of stained glass windows and finery within churches was the last straw for many Puritans and Calvinists.

Above: Archbishop William Laud

To prosecute those who opposed his reforms, Laud used the two most powerful courts in the land, the Court of High Commission and the Court of Star Chamber. The courts became feared for their censorship of opposing religious views and were unpopular among the propertied classes for inflicting degrading punishments on gentlemen. For example, in 1637 William Prynne, Henry Burton and John Bastwick were pilloried, whipped, mutilated by cropping and imprisoned indefinitely for publishing anti-episcopal pamphlets.

Charles’s continued support for these types of policies continued to pile on support for those that were looking to put a limit on his power.

By October 1640, Charles’ unpopular religious policies and attempts to extend his power north had resulted in a war with the Scots. This was a disaster for Charles who had neither the money nor the men to fight a war. He rode north to lead the battle himself, suffering a crushing defeat that left Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham occupied by Scottish forces.

Public demands for a Parliament were growing and Charles realised that whatever his next step was to be, it would require a financial backbone. After the conclusion of the humiliating Treaty of Ripon that let the Scots remain in Newcastle and Durham whilst being paid £850 a day for the privilege, Charles summoned Parliament. Being called upon to help King and country instilled a sense of purpose and power into this new Parliament. They now presented an alternative power in the country to the King. The two sides in the English Civil war had been established.

The slide to war becomes more pronounced from this stage onwards. That is not to say it was inevitable, or that the subsequent removal and execution of Charles I was even a notion in the heads of those who opposed him. However, the balance of power had begun to shift. Parliament wasted no time arresting and putting on trial the Kings closest advisers, including Archbishop Laud and Lord Strafford.

In May 1641 Charles conceded an unprecedented act, which forbade the dissolution of the English Parliament without Parliament’s consent. Thus emboldened, Parliament now abolished Ship Tax and the courts of The Star Chamber and The High Commission.

Over the next year Parliament began to introduce increased emboldened demands, and by June 1642 these were too much for Charles to bear. His bullish response in barging into the House of Commons and attempting to arrest five MPs lost him the last remnants of support among undecided MPs. The sides were crystallized and the battle lines were drawn. Charles I raised his standard on 22nd August 1642 in Nottingham: the Civil War had begun.

Above: King Charles preparing before the Battle of Edgehill

So the origins of the English Civil War are complex and intertwined. England had managed to escape the Reformation relatively unscathed, avoiding much of the heavy fighting that raged in Europe as Catholic and Protestant forces battled in The Thirty Year War. However, the scars of the Reformation were still present beneath the surface and Charles did little to avert public fears about his intentions for the religious future of England.

Money had also been an issue from the outset, especially as the royal coffers had been emptied during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. These issues were exacerbated by Charles’s mismanagement of the public coffers and through introducing new and ‘unfair’ taxes he simply added to the already growing anti-Crown sentiment up and down the country.

These two points demonstrate the fact that Charles believed in his Divine Right, a right to rule unchallenged. Through the study of money, religion and power at this time it is clear that one factor is woven through them all and must be noted as a major cause of the English Civil War that is the attitude and ineptitude of Charles I himself, perhaps the antithesis of an infallible monarch.


The Glorious Revolution, also called “The Revolution of 1688” and “The Bloodless Revolution,” took place from 1688 to 1689 in England. The event ultimately changed how England was governed, giving Parliament more power over the monarchy and planting seeds for the beginnings of a political democracy.

Effects of the Great Awakening The Great Awakening notably altered the religious climate in the American colonies. Ordinary people were encouraged to make a personal connection with God, instead of relying on a minister. Newer denominations, such as Methodists and Baptists, grew quickly.


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English Civil War

(in Russian, the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century), a victorious bourgeois revolution which led to the consolidation of capitalism and the establishment of a bourgeois system in England one of the early bourgeois revolutions. The first revolution of European scope, it ushered in the era of the decline of the feudal structure in Europe, initiating the replacement of the feudal structure by the capitalist structure.

By the middle of the 17th century, England had achieved significant success in the development of industry and trade. The development of new forms of production&mdashcapitalist manufacturing (mainly scattered)&mdashwas the basis of the country&rsquos economic progress. However, the system of industrial monopolies cultivated by the Stuart kings, in addition to guild regulation which held sway in the cities, narrowed the field of activity for the manufacturing entrepreneurs. The principle of free competition and free enterprise thus became one of the bourgeoisie&rsquos main demands in the revolution. The early penetration of capitalist elements into the countryside led to the development of capitalist renting and the appearance of classes of capitalist tenants on the one hand and rural hired farm laborers on the other. The English nobility split into two groups, one of which&mdashthe &ldquonew nobility&rdquo&mdash adjusted to the conditions of capitalist production and made an alliance with the bourgeoisie. Peasant ownership in England was threatened with extinction the liberation of the copyhold and its transformation into the freehold was the basic condition for the preservation of the peasantry as a class in England.

One of the most important features of the English bourgeois revolution was the distinctive ideological draping given to class and political aims. It was the last revolutionary movement in Europe which was carried on under the medieval banner of a struggle of one religious doctrine against another. The assault on absolutism in England began with the assault on its ideology, its ethics, and its morals, which were embodied in the doctrine of the semi-Catholic state Anglican Church. Bourgeois revolutionaries came forward as church reformers&mdashthe Puritans. The preaching of the Puritans laid the basis for the revolutionary ideology of a popular anti-feudal uprising. By the start of the 17th century, two basic groups had taken shape in Puritanism: the Presbyterians and the Independents.

The Tudor kings had managed to mask absolutism in parliamentary forms of government. But the Stuarts&mdashJames I (1603&ndash25) and Charles I (1625&ndash49)&mdashcame into conflict with Parliament. The conflict became particularly sharp under Charles I. A nonparliamentary regime embodying a decadent form of absolutism was established in England as of 1629. Charles I, along with his advisers, the earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud, began to implement a firm course in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The policy produced discontent and rebellion and increased emigration to North America.

The plundering of Irish landowners continued, and the policy of church uniformity in a country where Catholicism was dominant and which was oppressed by foreign conquerors strained relations to the limit.

In Scotland the attempts to introduce church uniformity led to a national uprising against Charles I in 1637, to the establishment of the so-called Covenant, and, in 1639, to the Anglo-Scottish war, in which English absolutism suffered a defeat. This defeat and the peasant and city uprisings which erupted in the 1620&rsquos and 1630&rsquos hastened the start of the revolution. The Short Parliament (Apr. 13&ndashMay 5, 1640) refused to grant subsidies for the conduct of the Scottish war. The lack of funds on the one hand and discontent among both the lower classes and the financiers and merchant class on the other made Charles&rsquo situation hopeless. A new parliament was called, which subsequently received the name of the Long Parliament (Nov. 3, 1640&ndashApr. 20, 1653), and the revolution began.

The Long Parliament destroyed the basic instruments of absolutism: the prerogative royal courts&mdashthe Star Chamber and the High Commission&mdashwere liquidated all monopolistic patents and privileges were eliminated and their holders dismissed from Parliament and a bill preventing the dissolution of an existing parliament without its consent was adopted. Strafford, the king&rsquos closest adviser, was brought to trial in Parliament and executed on May 12, 1641. Later, Archbishop Laud and other advisers of the king shared his fate.

However, differences in Parliament began to appear even in 1641. The landlords and the bourgeoisie thwarted the resolution of the elimination of the episcopy and reorganization of the church on Calvinist principles they feared that the principle of equality and self-government, after triumphing in church affairs, would influence the political system in the country as well. The fear of deepening the revolution was still more obvious in the bitter struggle which developed in the Long Parliament in the discussion of the so-called Grand Remonstrance, which was adopted Nov. 22, 1641, by a majority of only 11 votes.

By August 1641 power in the state had in effect passed to Parliament. The secret of its victory lay in the fact that the insurgent people&mdashfirst and foremost London&mdashstood behind it and foiled, in particular, the king&rsquos attempt in January 1642 to arrest the opposition leaders, including Pym and Hampden. On Jan. 10, 1642, Charles went north to the protection of the feudal lords.

On Aug. 22, 1642, the king, who was then in Nottingham, declared war on Parliament. The first civil war between the royalist Cavaliers and the parliamentary Roundheads began. The economically developed southeastern counties, led by London, supported Parliament, while the comparatively backward counties of the south and north supported the king. Regular armies were created. The indecisive policy of the &ldquomoderate&rdquo majority of the Parliament, the Presbyterians, led to the defeat of the parliamentary army in the first battle at Edgehill on Oct. 23, 1642 furthermore, it allowed the royalist army to establish a base in Oxford. At this critical moment, the mass peasant movement in the countryside and the plebeian movement in the cities unfolded it was echoed in Parliament by the revolutionary democratic line of the Independents led by O. Cromwell. Cromwell strove to transform the army into a popular revolutionary force capable of achieving victory. The old command&mdashmainly Presbyterian&mdashwas broken up. It was decided on Jan. 11, 1645, to create a new parliamentary army, the so-called New Model Army. On June 14, 1645, the reorganized parliamentary army routed the royalist army at Naseby. By the end of 1646, the first civil war had ended in a victory for Parliament. Charles I surrendered himself to the Scots, who delivered him to Parliament on Feb. 1, 1647.

The new nobility (the gentry) and the bourgeoisie considered the revolution basically concluded: their primary aims had been achieved. The Ordinance of Feb. 24, 1646, eliminated knightly holding and all the duties to the throne which stemmed from it, and by the same ordinance large landowners appropriated the right of bourgeois private property to the land, which had previously been their feudal property. The abolition of monopoly rights partially reestablished the principle of free competition in industry and trade the operation of legislation against enclosure was suspended. The entire weight of taxes for military needs was shifted to the shoulders of the working people.

This was the context in which the popular masses took up the revolutionary initiative themselves. They not only foiled all the plans of smothering the revolution they even attempted to turn it on to a democratic course. The autonomous party of Levelers, whose leaders included J. Lilburne, separated from the Independent Party.

In an effort to suppress the revolutionary strivings of the people, Parliament attempted to disband part of the revolutionary army in the spring of 1647. Threatened by disarmament and suspicious of the Independent officers, called the &ldquoGrandees,&rdquo the soldiers began to choose so-called Agitators, who gradually gained the leadership of military units and of the army as a whole. A conflict between Parliament and the army began. The threat of political isolation moved O. Cromwell, who had initially supported the subordination of the army to Parliament, to head the soldiers&rsquo movement in the army in order to halt any further movement to the left. At a general review of the army on June 5, 1647, the so-called Solemn Oath not to disperse until the demands of the soldiers were met and the rights and freedoms of the English people were secured was adopted. Together with the broad peasant and plebeian masses, the army became the basic moving force of the revolution in its bourgeois democratic stage (1647&ndash49). In June 1647 the army took the king captive in August it launched a march on London, which resulted in the expulsion of Presbyterian leaders from Parliament.

The extent of the gulf between the Independents and the Levelers in their conceptions of the goals of the revolution became evident at the council of the army in Putney, Oct. 28&ndashNov. 11, 1647, at the Putney Conference. As opposed to the Levelers&rsquo demand for the establishment of a parliamentary republic with a single-chamber parliament and the introduction of universal suffrage (for men), which was formulated in their project for the political structure of the country (the Agreement of the People), the &ldquoGrandees&rdquo laid out their own program, the Heads of Proposal, which would have retained a two-chamber Parliament and a king with the right of veto. The conflict between the &ldquoGrandees&rdquo and the Levelers led to the dissolution of the council. The disobedience of certain regiments demanding the adoption of the Leveler program was cruelly suppressed. The army was in the hands of the &ldquoGrandees.&rdquo At this time the king fled from captivity, having concluded a secret compact with the Scots.

The second civil war, which erupted in the spring of 1648, forced the Independents to seek a temporary reconciliation with the Levelers. But the acceptance of a considerable part of the Levelers&rsquo program by the &ldquoGrandees&rdquo meant that the social program of the Levelers&mdashin particular, with respect to the question of the fate of the copyhold&mdashwas only a more radical variant of the &ldquoGrandee&rdquo program and &ldquo. that only the intervention of the peasantry and the proletariat, &lsquothe plebeian element of the cities,&rsquo could seriously advance the bourgeois revolution . . .&rdquo (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 17, p. 47). In the battle at Preston (Aug. 17&ndash19, 1648), Cromwell inflicted a decisive defeat on the Scots and English royalists. On Dec. 1, 1648, the king was taken into custody. The army again occupied London and decisively purged the Long Parliament of its Presbyterian majority (Pride&rsquos Purge, Dec. 6, 1648). On Jan. 6, 1649, a high court was established to review the case of the king. On January 30, Charles Stuart was executed as &ldquoa traitor and a tyrant.&rdquo

On May 19, 1649, England became a republic in which supreme power was vested in a single-chamber parliament the House of Lords shared the monarch&rsquos fate. In actuality, the republic of 1649 was an Independent oligarchy. Executive power was exercised by the State Council, which consisted of &ldquoGrandees&rdquo and their parliamentary confederates. The confiscated lands of the king, the bishops, and the Cavaliers were sold off for next to nothing thus the republic enriched the bourgeoisie and the new nobility. At the same time, it did not satisfy a single demand of the lower classes. The Leveler leaders were thrown into prison, and Leveler uprisings in the army in May 1649 were suppressed. The Levelers were defeated, in particular, because they bypassed the basic question of the revolution&mdashthe agrarian question. They opposed the socialization of property and the equalization of wealth. It was the so-called true Levelers, the Diggers, who expressed the interests of the popular lower classes in the period of the revolution&rsquos ascendance. They demanded the abolition of copyhold and of the landlords&rsquo power, insisting that communal lands be turned into the common property of the poor. The Diggers&rsquo ideas were reflected in the works of their ideologist, G. Winstanley, in his Declaration From the Poor Oppressed People of England. The destruction of the peaceful Digger movement for the collective cultivation of communal wastelands (1650) marked the final victory of the antidemocratic force with respect to the agrarian question.

The Independent republic combined socially protective functions in internal policies with annexationist strivings and a policy of suppressing the liberation movements of peoples under English domination. Cromwell&rsquos military expedition to Ireland (1649&ndash50) was aimed at the suppression of the national liberation uprising of the Irish people. The regeneration of the revolutionary army was completed in Ireland. A new landed aristocracy was created there as a stronghold for counterrevolution in England itself. The English republic dealt equally mercilessly with Scotland, annexing it to England in 1652. The republic&rsquos antidemocratic course in the resolution of the agrarian and national questions narrowed its social base, leaving only an army of mercenaries as its support, maintained at the expense of the popular masses. The dispersal of the Rump of the Long Parliament and the unsuccessful experience of the &ldquoGrandees&rdquo with the Short (Barebone) Parliament of 1653&mdashwhich, unexpectedly for its creators, embarked on a path of social reform, including the abolition of tithes, the introduction of civil marriage, and so on&mdashpaved the way for a military dictatorship, Cromwell&rsquos Protectorate (1653&ndash59).

The constitution of the Protectorate&mdashthe so-called Instrument of Government&mdashgave such broad powers to the protector that it could be considered a direct preparation for the restoration of the monarchy. Cromwell dissolved the first (1654&ndash55) and second (1656&ndash58) parliaments of the Protectorate and assented (1657) to the reestablishment of the House of Lords, all but assuming the throne of England himself. Within the country, he struggled against both royalist conspiracies and popular movements. Continuing the expansionist policy of the republic, the Protectorate declared war on Spain and organized an expedition to seize its West Indian possessions (the Jamaica Expedition, 1655&ndash57).

Shortly after the death of Cromwell on Sept. 3, 1658, the regime met its downfall. The republic was formally reestablished in England in 1659, but the entire course of events determined in advance that it would be short-lived. Frightened by the strengthening of the democratic movement, the bourgeoisie and new nobility began to incline toward &ldquotraditional monarchy.&rdquo In 1660 the Stuarts were restored. They agreed to sanction the basic conquests of the bourgeois revolution, guaranteeing economic domination to the bourgeoisie. The coup of 1688&ndash89, the so-called Glorious Revolution, formalized the compromise between the bourgeoisie, which henceforth would have access to state power, and the landed aristocracy.

The English revolution gave powerful impetus to the process of so-called primary accumulation of capital&mdashthat is, the &ldquodepeasantization&rdquo of the countryside, the transformation of peasants into hired workers, the acceleration of enclosure, and the replacement of peasant holdings by large farms of the capitalist type. It guaranteed complete freedom of action for the bourgeois class and paved the way for the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, just as Puritanism broke the soil for the English Enlightenment. In the area of politics, the revolutionary struggle of the popular masses in the middle of the 17th century secured the transition from the feudal monarchy of the Middle Ages to the bourgeois monarchy of modern times.


English Civil War Weapons

The seventeenth-century English Civil War witnessed the evolution of personal and portable firearms. However, the simple pike still had its purposes, as edged weapons were wielded alongside mortars, cannons, and muskets. Below is a description of English Civil War weapons.

Primary English Civil War Weapons

The Mortar

This device is easy to maneuver and can be used by one man alone. An explosive shell is fired high into the air and explodes on impact. Although it was difficult to aim, this weapon was the most destructive of those used in the Civil War.

The Cannon

The cannons used in the Civil War were very heavy and difficult to move. The largest needed a team of 16 horses to move them. More commonly, smaller cannon were used but even these required at least 4 men to move them. For this reason they had to be put into position before a battle began. The missiles fired from the cannon were usually balls of iron, but sometimes stones were used. After the cannon had been fired the soldiers operating it had to go through a strict procedure of cleaning, loading the weapon and loading the gunpowder before it could be fired again. Aiming was difficult and the cannon were more effective as a means of instilling fear into the enemy than actually causing damage.

The Musket

There were two types of musket the matchlock and the flintlock, which could be as long as five feet and had a firing range of up to 300 yards. They were both loaded in the same way gunpowder was poured into the barrel and packed in hard with a stick. Then the lead ball would be put in followed by wadding to hold the ball in place.

To fire the matchlock, the most common type of musket, the soldier would empty gunpowder into a pan and cover it to protect it. He would then press a lighted piece of flax into a metal trigger called the serpent. When the gun was fired the lighted flax in the serpent would come down into the pan and light the gunpowder. The flame from this would then enter the barrel of the gun and ignite the gunpowder that had been poured into it and the lead ball would be fired.

To fire the flintlock was slightly easier but more expensive. The pan would be filled in the same way but the serpent contained a piece of flint which, when it struck the pan, would produce a spark which would ignite the gunpowder.

Both weapons were dangerous and clumsy to use. Some of the longer muskets needed a rest to balance the barrel on because they were too heavy to hold. They were impossible to reload quickly and were most effective when a group of musketeers fired a volley of shots at the enemy.

The Pike

The Pike was one of the most commonly used weapons on the Civil War battlefield. The pike was a long wooden shaft with a steel point on the end. They were cheap to make, soldiers required very little training to use them and they could be very effective especially when used in a group. Pikes were supposed to be sixteen feet in length but often soldiers sawed a few feet off the ends to make them easier to carry.

The Pikemen often formed the front line of an army. Operating together they had to lower their pikes to prevent a cavalry charge from breaking the ranks. The cavalrymen’s horses would be injured by the pike and would fall to the ground unseating his rider who would then be an easy target for the musketmen or for the sword. If the army was surrounded then the pikemen would form a circle and lower or raise their pikes to provide a ‘hedgehog’ of cover.


Factors that led to civil war

Whig school of thought

According to Whig school of thought, the Civil War resulted from a protracted struggle between the Monarchial rule and parliamentary rule (White 3-5). In this case, the parliament wanted the conventional rights of people preserved, whilst the royal leadership wanted to expand its right in a way that would allow it to dictate issues (Backman 4-6).

Marxist school of thought

According to Marxist school of thought, the English Civil War was purely a class war (Henry and Delf 5-7). That is, those who benefited a lot from the dictatorship of Charles the first such as lords and church leaders, strongly defended his leadership, whilst parliament with the support of middle classes such as industrial and trading groups strongly resisted the monarchial leadership (Coates 2).

Revisionist school of thought

Revisionist, on the other hand, indicated that the English civil war arose from different factors each having a significant impact. For instance, Anglican doctrines were to be imposed on the Scottish and were strongly resisted (Coates 4). King Charles then had to use the military to enforce his directive. With this, he also forced the legislature to raise the tax in order to get sufficient amount of money to sustain the army (Backman 7). However, other groups still resisted his directive as no side was willing to compromise.

Local demands and problems

The monarchial leadership was also resisted as a result of local displeasures (Backman 10-13). For instance, the livelihood of many people was negatively impacted after the enforcement of drainage-schemes. With this, many people thought that King Charles was too insensitive to local grievances (White 4). This aspect saw many easterners join parliament a group that played a role in resisting the tyrannical leadership of King Charles.

Unwilling to convene parliament

Since the King was not able to raise money or revenue through the legislature, he was not willing to convene it (Henry and Delf 23-25). This meant that he would use other orthodox means to raise money. He started by bringing back into effect some outdated principles. For example, those who failed to turn up for coronation of the king were to pay a certain fine. The King also introduced ship tax payable by inlanders for sustenance of the Royal Navy. The wealthy were also compelled to purchase titles. Those who refused were fined heavily (Henry and Delf 9). Some people refused to pay any of these taxes arguing that they were unlawful. They were taken to courts and fined heavily for refusing to abide by the set laws (Backman 5). This aspect provoked widespread fury against the king’s leadership.

The constitutionality of parliament and a show of power

Before the civil war, the English Parliament did not have any permanent responsibility provided for in law and constitution. The parliament only convened on temporary basis and only served as an advisory committee to the royal leadership (White 6-10). The king also would dissolve it whenever he wanted. As such it lacked legal powers to force its will upon the government. This issue did not please many people especially parliamentarians.

As a show of power and strength, in 1941 parliament ordered for the execution of Strafford, the key adviser to the King. In addition, parliament demanded for the abolition of the Star Chamber court (Backman 23-33). This issue savored the relationship between the king and parliament, with the king leading an army to parliament to arrest his main opponents.

The concern of parliament with regard to the petition of right

When the king married Henrietta Maria, a catholic, many people raised concerns over the issue (White 3). The concerns were centered on a possibility of raising catholic children including future monarch leaders. This was a deep seated issue based on the fact that England was officially protestant under the Church of England (White 4). The other aspect is the decision by the king to intervene on the European Protestant war. This meant that the expenditure would increase something that parliament was unwilling to sanction.


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