Oliver Cromwell

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Oliver Cromwell: A Visionary Among Parliamentarians Due: January 11, 2013 6 Oliver Cromwell rose from his humble heritage in English society to become the Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the first and only man without royal blood to do so. His played a prominent role in bringing about the trial and beheading of King Charles I; he took control of the Parliament’s professional Army and went forth on the most cruel military action England had ever undertaken against the neighbouring nations; and he accomplished a level of religious freedom that had been unaccepted in England for the past hundred years.
Oliver Cromwell was indeed a unique leader, one who wanted what was best for his fellow countrymen and completely devoted himself to his life as a Parliamentarian. Oliver Cromwell should be judged by history for his actions as a visionary who championed Parliamentarian values. Everything Cromwell did was what he believed to be in the best interest of England and its people. Oliver Cromwell supported the Parliament and continued to be an active member of it even though King Charles I had distanced himself from the Parliament and was ruling according to his own will with no regard to the law.
Cromwell had played a substantial role in the execution of King Charles I, not because he entertained any selfish ideas concerning Charles’ throne, but because he truly believed England would be better off without the trouble-causing head of state. Through this, he taught the people the fundamental value of holding their rulers accountable. [1] Cromwell also helped to form the New Model Army. The New Model Army was a professional army formed in a sense by the people for the people. Social class had no worth in the Army, all men were equal and were recruited according to ability, not wealth or social status. 2] Cromwell was well known for his aptitude for military tactics and strategies; he lead his regiment, the Ironsides, to victory in every battle they fought. He fought to protect England from invaders, from the disputing neighbours, Scotland and Ireland, and also to keep 6 the order of government he believed would work best for both the upper and lower class of citizens. Cromwell used the authority given to him as the Lord Protector in an attempt to reform the people of England, in what he called “Godly reformation”.
Cromwell devised a programme designed to cleanse the people of their sinful habits such as drinking, immorality and general trouble-making. [3] He was a man who sought to give England “not what they want, but what is good for them. ”[4] Oliver Cromwell was not the sort of man to support a ruling of the Parliament and then sit back and hope it was carried through; he personally ushered in the end of the English Civil War by defeating an uprising of Charles II supporters in 1650 & 1651.
Despite continued opposition throughout his years, Cromwell did not back down or leave the public to fend for themselves, instead he led them ceaselessly until there was peace once more among the countries. The definition of a visionary is someone who acts bravely in support of an idea, despite all odds and then popularizes it. [5] An example of Cromwell having done this was with the proposal of overthrowing Charles I, as Cromwell was a big contributor to that final decision, not merely because of his voiced support but also the leading effect he had on people.
They were prone to following his lead, not only because he was a very influential and intelligent man, but also because he was not afraid of changing tradition and he constantly had England’s best interests in mind. During his lifetime, Oliver Cromwell successfully served England as a Member of the Long Parliament, as the New Model Army’s leader and as their Lord Protector. Oliver Cromwell’s strong Puritan beliefs lent an extremist edge to his decisions and actions during his life, however, faith did not hold superiority over his Parliamentarian contributions.
Cromwell may have held fast to the Puritan religion, but it did not keep him from being a fierce and merciless soldier on the battlefield, fighting for the Parliament’s professional Army. Cromwell was born 6 a commoner of humble beginnings but achieved his respect and lofty position in the Long Parliament due to his rise through the military until he was Commander-in-Chief of the New Model Army, in which he aided the recruitment and command. He also created and led the formidable cavalry force called “the Ironsides”, who were reputed for their courage and strength in battles and remained undefeated .
He was convinced that he and his Ironsides were doing the will of God, and accordingly attributed all of their victories on the battlefield to the glory of God. Regarding the Battle of Marston Moor, Cromwell is recorded to have said in a letter to his brother-in-law “truly England and the Church of God hath had a great favour from the Lord, in this great victory given us, such as the like never was since this war began. ”[6] Cromwell preferred his soldiers to be of the same religious beliefs as himself as he enlisted them, although many of his men would become Puritans while in the service of the New Model Army under Cromwell’s leadership.
In a letter to his nephew, Colonel Valentine Walton, on July 5, 1644, Cromwell spoke of his unfaltering loyalty to the Parliament and his desire to see due authority to be granted to the Members of Parliament: We study the glory of God, and the honour and liberty of parliament, for which we unanimously fight, without seeking our own interests… I profess I could never satisfy myself on the justness of this war, but from the authority of the parliament to maintain itself in its rights; and in this cause I hope to prove myself an honest man and single-hearted. 7] Cromwell sought what he called “liberty of conscience”; a range of freedom granted to the various Protestant groups in England to practice their faith in peace, not being bothered by anyone and to not be a bother to anyone themselves. [8] For the past hundred years, England had not tolerated any sort of people with differing religious backgrounds to populate its land, but in 1657, Cromwell established the religious acceptance of Jews so that they were once again able to live within England’s borders and he 6 encouraged their immigration. 9] It was well known amongst the people around Cromwell that he was a man who lived by his faith, who promoted Puritanism to others and changed the principles of the Parliament that differed with what he believed in. However, Cromwell was quick to take action on Parliamentarian business when needed, his motions to change the Church and such other endeavours temporarily forgotten as he was sent out on political business.
As England prepared for a fully launched civil war, Oliver Cromwell was one of the MP’s who was sent out to places such as Huntingdon nd Elys to recruit men “for the defence of the realm”. [10] Oliver Cromwell may have been a very strictly religious man who wanted to serve God in everything he did, but his real ambition was to see the Parliament granted the authority it deserved and to improve the laws the people lived by. Oliver Cromwell was a very authoritative and influential figure in his time, and became to the people “a king in everything but name”, although he was never truly their “King”. Cromwell served England as their Lord Protector, yet he refused the offer to become the next King of England on multiple occasions. 11] Cromwell was a solid supporter of the execution of King Charles I, once he realized that Charles had gone too far from the Parliament to be reasoned with. Cromwell later defeated and exiled the heir to the throne, Charles II, thus leaving England without their traditional monarch. Having said this, it should be understood that Cromwell was not against the monarchy; he had wished to replace the late Charles I with one of his sons but none proved to be suitable. The original heir, Charles II, was not crowned the next king as the young prince had taken up an allegiance with the Scots and attempted to invade England. 12] On March 17, 1649, not long after the execution of Charles I, the Long Parliament passed an act stating that the monarchy had been terminated, thus making England a 6 Commonwealth and free state, and also promoting the Rump Parliament and Council State to the position of being the overriding authority of the nation. [13] For the five years during which Oliver Cromwell held the title of Lord Protector, he ultimately had the ability to make laws and govern the people as he saw fit. He wished for the government to work smoothly and in co-ordinance with one another, but had no patience for those that did not.
Oliver Cromwell had the Rump Parliament disassembled on April 20,1653, with these words; “You have sat here too long for the good you do. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! ”[14] The responsibilities and influence once held by the Rump Parliament were handed over to the Barebones Parliament; the Nominated Assembly that Cromwell constituted in July of 1653. The members of this Parliament were selected for their religious spirit and open-mindedness and were expected to bring uprightness into the Commonwealth. [15] His influence over the New Model Army as a definite contributing factor to Cromwell’s position as Lord Protector. Cromwell faced his share of opposition against his restrictions on drinking and merrymaking, and often had to resort to using military force to carry out his laws as he did not have the ultimate authority of punishment that a King would have. Oliver Cromwell was the king-like figure of England, but he never accepted the crown nor the title of King of England. Oliver Cromwell accomplished much during his time as a politician and Member of the Long Parliament, the colonel of England’s first Parliamentarian army, and in the resurrected position of Lord Protector.
He was a key figure in the English Civil War and in the regicide of King Charles I, and then took the full responsibilities of ruling the country without a king to lead them. Cromwell should be viewed by history as a visionary who achieved much for the sake of England and against all odds championed the Parliamentarian values. Bibliography Halsall, Paul. ”Oliver Cromwell: A letter to his brother-in-law after the Battle of Marston Moore. 1644” Modern History Sourcebook. 9 January 2013. http://www. fordham. edu/halsall/mod/1644cromwell-marston. asp Morrill, John. “Oliver Cromwell”. BBC History. 7 January 2013. http://www. bbc. co. k/history/british/civil_war_revolution/cromwell_01. shtml Author Unknown. “Oliver Cromwell”. Heritage History. 8 January 2013. http://www. heritage-history. com/www/heritage. php? Dir=characters&FileName=cromwell2. php Phillips, Charles. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain. Leicestershire, Hermes House, Anness Publishing Ltd, 2006: 150 + Plant, David.
“Biography of Oliver Cromwell. ” British Commonwealth and Civil Wars. 2 January 2013. http://www. british-civil-wars. co. uk/biog/oliver-cromwell. htm Trueman, Chris. “The New Model Army”. History Learning Site. 5 January 2013. http://www. historylearningsite. co. k/new_model_army. htm Author Unknown. “The Rump Dissolved. ” www. parliment. uk. 5 January 2013. http://www. parliament. uk/about/living-heritage/evolutionofparliament/parliamentaryauthority/civilwar/overview/rump-dissolved/ ——————————— [ 1 ]. John Morrill, “Oliver Cromwell”, BBC History. (February 17, 2011) http://www. bbc. co. uk/history/british/civil_war_revolution/cromwell_01. shtml [ 2 ]. Chris Trueman, “The New Model Army”, History Learning Site. http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/new_model_army. htm [ 3 ]. “Cromwell and Religion”, The Cromwell Association. 2001-2005 http://www. olivercromwell. rg/cromwell_and_religion. htm [ 4 ]. “Quotes of Oliver Cromwell”, The Cromwell Association. 2001-2005 http://www. olivercromwell. org/quotes1. htm [ 5 ]. Dictionary. com, “Visionary”, http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/visionary? s=t [ 6 ]. Paul Halsall, “Modern History Sourcebook”, (July 1998) http://www. fordham. edu/halsall/mod/1644cromwell-marston. asp [ 7 ]. Wikiquote, “Oliver Cromwell”, http://en. wikiquote. org/wiki/Oliver_Cromwell#Quotes_about_Cromwell [ 8 ]. “Cromwell and Religion”, The Cromwell Association, 2005 http://www. olivercromwell. org/cromwell_and_religion. htm [ 9 ]. “Oliver Cromwell”, Heritage History, 2007-2012 ttp://www. heritage-history. com/www/heritage. php? Dir=characters&FileName=cromwell2. php [ 10 ]. John Morrill, “Oliver Cromwell”, BBC History. (February 17, 2011) http://www. bbc. co. uk/history/british/civil_war_revolution/cromwell_01. shtml [ 11 ]. David Plant, “Biography of Oliver Cromwell”, British Civil Wars and Commonwealth, http://www. british-civil-wars. co. uk/biog/oliver-cromwell. htm [ 12 ]. Ibid. [ 13 ]. Charles Phillips, “Commonwealth and Protectorate”, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain. (Anness Publishing Ltd. 2006, 2011) 154 [ 14 ]. Ibid. , 154. [ 15 ]. www. parliament. uk,

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