1642-49 From Civil War to Revolution


What motivated men to take sides?

  •     Traditional explanations:
  •     Royalists: north and west of England, less advanced economically
  •    Parliamentarians: London and south-east, wealthiest parts of country
  •    The Problem of Neutralism
  •   Vast majority of PN tried to avoid taking sides in the war
  •   Neutralism grew as war progressed
  •  1645 local gentry in 10 counties made Clubmen Associations
  •  Clubmen aimed at using military force to keep royalist & parliamentarian armies out of their counties
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What motivated men to take sides?

  •  Feared Parliaments attacks on King would lead to widespread social revolution & eventual anarchy
  •  Felt the established Church must be defended
  •  Feared religious radicalism had been released by Pym
  • Feared that King, misled by evil advisers had been making attempts to destroy Parliament and English liberties
  • Committed to reducing or abolishing bishops power
  •  Therefore, religion was a key factor
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How did each side finance war?

  • ·      Both sides sometimes resorted to confiscation of opponent’s property and stealing
  • ·      ROYALISTS
  • ·      Charles reliant on gifts from wealthy royalists
  • ·      Royalists eventually copied parliamentary methods but less successful
  • ·      Often relied on Free Quarter- taking of good promising owners would be compensated
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How did each side finance war?

  • ·      PARLIAMENT
  • ·      Monthly assessment: direct tax on income and wealth
  • ·      Excise tax: tax on range of goods including beer and wine
  • ·      End of 1640s MA collecting £90,000 a month
  • ·      Gentry eventually supported Parliament as their army was better and more regularly paid
  • ·      Meant were less likely to resort to plunder
  • ·      However 1645 growing discontent among parliamentary supporters about crushing      taxation that PN was now paying
  • ·      Parliament set up County Committees to supervise collection of taxation
  • ·      These became hated as local gentry saw them as “social upstarts”
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Consequences: Parliaments financial

Consequences: Parliament's financial organisation

  • ·      Had some negative effects on Parliament
  • ·      Both sides of PN desperate to end taxation of war
  • ·      Also concerned at how County Committees had destroyed local independence of gentry
  • ·      PN desperate for a speedy settlement that would restore normality
  • ·      PN also desperate to disband NMA
  • ·      Fears of growing religious and political radicalism in NMA was even more vital that it be disbanded quickly
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Was Parliamentary victory always inevitable

  • ·      Factors that allowed Parliament to win:
  • ·      Greater finances
  • ·      Control of London and SE England
  • ·      London centre of printing- easier to produce propaganda
  • ·      Control of navy: prevented Charles receiving supplies from Ireland
  • ·      Alliance with Scots Covenanters
  • ·      Weakness in royalist leadership
  • ·      Parliamentary became more likely during war but WASN’T inevitable until 1645
  • ·      June 1645: King’s main army destroyed at NAESBY
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Search for Allies

  • ·      Royalist attempts:
  • ·      Sept 1643: Charles signed CESSATION with Irish Rebels, Irish troops would come and fight on royalist side
  • ·      This was propaganda disaster for Charles when made public
  • ·      Troops of little use
  • ·      Parliamentary attempts:
  • ·      Sept 1643: Parliament signed alliance with Scots Covenanters
  • ·      Scots would provide army of 21,000
  • ·      Pym also established COMMITTEE OF BOTH KINGDOMS to coordinate finance & fighting of war


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Civil War in Scotland & Ireland

  • Not all Scottish nobles were Covenanters
  • Earl of Montrose led royalist forces against Covenanters in Scotland & won no. of battles
  • Sept 1645: Battle of Philiphaugh: Covenanter army crushed Montrose's forces
  • Ended Charles' military hopes in Scotland
  • Outbreak of Irish Rebellion made civil war more complicated through religion
  • War in Ireland particularly brutal
  • 1642: Catholic rebels formed Confederation: now known as confederates
  • Opponents were Protestants of Ulster commanded by Earl of Ormond
  • Sept 1643: Ormond signed 1 year truce under Charles' order allowing Irish troops to fight for King
  • Troops had little impact
  • Reinforced that Charles was sympathetic to Catholics
  • Sept 1646: Confederate army defeated Covenanters giving Confederates back control of Ireland
  • By 1646 Confederates unwilling to give further help to Charles
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Parliamentary Leadership

How important was Parliamentary leadership in winning war?

  • Charles was poor war leader, allowed quarrels to develop that obstructed war effort
  • E.g. poor leadership: Battle of Edgehill Oct 1642
  • Didn't take opportunity to take London after Parliamentary forces retreated
  • However Parliamentary leadership just as split
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Tension & Division Parliament

By 1643

  • "Peace Group"- wanted settlement, unhappy seeing King humiliated
  • "War Group"- felt King must be defeated in war & have harsh conditions imposed
  • Dec 1643: death of Pym deprived Parliament of leadership
  • Splits became more intense
  • 1644: Battle of Marston Moor: Parliamentary victory meant Charles lost control of northern England
  • "War party" in Parliament appointed military leaders based on social status
  • 1644: Essex's entire force captured
  • 1644: Manchester allowed royalist army to withdraw even though near victory
  • End 1644: peace negotiations failed as Charles confident he might win
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Events to Parliamentary Victory

  • Feb 1645: NMA Ordinance
  • Parliamentary Army of 21,000
  • Commanded by Thomas Fairfax
  • April 1645: Self-denying ordinance
  • All MPs to give up military commands
  • Get rid of incompetent commanders (Essex & Manchester)
  • Now general determination among MPs to end war
  • June 1645: Battle of Naesby: Charles' main army destroyed
  • Parliamentary victory now inevitable
  • May 1646: Charles surrenderd to Scots
  • Greatest concern among MPs now was radicalism of NMA
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Search for Settlement 46-47

  • July 1646: Charles presented with NEWCASTLE PROPOSITIONS
  • Included: Triennial Parliaments
  • Parliament nominate King's chief ministers
  • Parliament to control militia
  • Anglicanism abolished, no toleration
  • Majority of PN desperate for permanent settlement 
  • Would return to traditional government
  • Overwhelming fears of radicalism in NMA
  • MPs and gentry want to disband army ASAP
  • Thought permanent settlement was inevitable 1646-47
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Role of King 1646-47

  • Charles had no intention of giving up powers
  • Saw all enemies of traitors
  • Felt he lost war because he gave up divine powers
  • Knew enemies were deeply divided
  • Didn't want to accept Newcastle Propositions- logic to this
  • Charles seemed to be being proved right
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Development radicalism NMA

How did religious radicalism develop in NMA?

  • 1640s breakdown of religious censorship as quarrel between King and PN resulted in collapse of authority
  • Breakdown allowed radical groups to expand
  • Majority of NMA just wanted pay arrears and indemnity
  • Cavalry were more educated: 
  • Felt their lives had been changed by army experience
  • NMA had defeated King- believed they were an "instrument of God"
  • Saw themselves as "army of Saints"
  • "Independent" beliefs grew among many soldiers
  • Prepared to accept national church but each congregation to decide on own form of worship
  • Cromwell increasingly seen as spokesman of Independent religious sects
  • Horrified at developments in Army
  • "Gangraena"- document about religious extremism in army revealed fears of MPs and PN
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Cromwell's Role

  • By 1645: Cromwell incresingly attacked by Parliament for promotion of soldiers with radical religious views
  • He was an "old style puritan"
  • Believed "godliness" could be found in all religious radical groups
  • Believed England could be a godly nation
  • Attacked social hierarchy
  • Horrified MPs
  • One hand he was social & political "conservative"- wanted return to traditional forms of government 
  • Other hand wanted some form of religious liberty for radical groups & to eventually create "godly" nation
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1646 Divisions in Parliament


  • Wanted speedy settlement with King
  • Wanted national Presbyterian Church settlement
  • Feared growing radicalism in Army
  • Aimed to Disband Army


  • Wanted strict conditions imposed on King
  • Accept state church but should be some external liberty of worship
  • Close links w/Army- only they could guarentee their demands


  • Based in London, John Lilburne & Richard Overton
  • Existing forms of government should be replaced with more democratic system
  • Belief all men are born equal
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Politicalisation of Army

Why did the Army emerge as a Political Force?

  • Blame lies with Political Presbyterian MPs
  • Assumed they could disband NMA with no pay arrears
  • Insult to honour of Army
  • Several petitions sent by army w/ help of Cromwell to Parliament
  • Majority of demands were material (pay arrears)
  • Owed £3m in arrears
  • Would've settled for less
  • March 1647: Parliament issued "Declaration of Dislike"
  • Ordered NMA to disband at once
  • No indemnity offered
  • PP began attempt to raise new army led by Presbyterian officers
  • They overreacted to moderate demands of Army
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  • May 1647: MPs voted to disband the Army with 8 weeks pay arrears
  • Too late- Army felt it's honour had been insulted
  • Attack on Army by PP turned them into political force
  • May 1647: Army issued "SOLEMN ENGAGEMENT" -refused to disband until grievances listened to
  • June 1647: "Declaration of Army"- set out its political demands
  • Regular parliaments, religious liberty
  • Punishment of leading PP's
  • References to "free-born Englishmen" Influence of Levellers?
  • July 1647
  • Army occupied London, PP leaders fled
  • Army emerged as dominant political force
  • Made settlement more difficult
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Cromwell's Role Politicalisation NMA

What was Cromwell's role in politicalisation of Army?

  • He was torn between his two instincts
  • Natural political "conservative"- deeply concerned about radicalism in Army going out of control & didn't want any major changes to society
  • Religious radicalism- he wanted to see religious liberty established and believed Army was an "instrument of God"
  • He felt unless he took control of demands radicalism would go out of control
  • This is why he agreed to capture the King 
  • Cromwell and his son in law HENRY IRETON seen as main spokesmen of Army
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Heads of Proposals

June 1647

  • These were drawn up by Ireton 
  • Parliament would nominate King's advisers for 10 years
  • Bishops remain in national church but lose power to force attendance at Church
  • Biennial Parliaments
  • Some Leveller grievances would be redressed
  • Charles would remain at heart of government, Anglican Church would remain
  • They reveal Ireton & Cromwell's desire to return to traditional forms of government 
  • Charles has been criticised for not accepting these
  • He didn't realise only the Army could enforce a settlement
  • He began to play Army off against Parliament
  • It was Charles betryal of Army 1647-48 that cost him his life
  • Charles believed he had more power than he actually did 
  • He had a "lack of political reality"
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Splits in Army 1647

By October 1647

  • Junior officers becoming disillusioned with lack of progress in final settlement
  • Junior officers wanted wide range of reforms
  • Growing suspicisons among this group that Cromwell & Ireton were pursuing selfish motives
  • These feelings were exploited by the Levellers
  • Levellers & Leveller propoganda began to infiltrate lower ranks of army
  • Produced by Levellers
  • Attack on Army grandees for not pushing for radical political reforms
  • How did Cromwell & Ireton react?
  • Increasingly concerned about the demands of some agitators & their leveller allies
  • However trying to crush Leveller influence in Army might provoke a mutiny agaisnt senior officers
  • Conviced Charles even more that his enemies were falling apart
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Agreement of the People Oct 1647

  • This was Levellers blueprint for a future settlement
  • All men born equal
  • Complete freedom of worship
  • No mention of role of King or House of Lords, basically arguing for a democratic republic
  • Levellers began a campaign in Army to have agreement accepted as plan for future settlement
  • Cromwell & Ireton increasing fear of Army Mutiny
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Putney Debates

Oct-Nov 1647

  • Cromwell desperate to maintain Army unity
  • Cromwell had no intention of accepting the agreement but during debates he emphasised that both sides could find common ground
  • He spoke little in the debates Ireton was left to defend the grandees against agitators
  • Most arguments based around Ireton & the agitators on the franchise 
  • Ireton argued it must be based on ownership of property
  • Some Levellers pushed for full adult male franchise
  • Others argued men recieving charity should be excluded
  • Reveals key weakness of Levellers- unable to agree on a common programme
  • Opposing views of agitators & grandees couldn't be reconciled
  • Putney debates ended as Cromwell realised not much more could be gained and Charles actually escaped from Army control November 1647
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The Second Civil War

24 December 1647: PP MPs presented Charles with 4 Bills

  • Immediately rejected by Charles
  • Charles instead signed an "Engagement" with Scots Covenanters
  • This would:
  • Introduce Presbyterian Church as national church in England 3 years
  • Charles provided with army of 20,000
  • Scots did realise however that Charles' promises were worthless
  • Would now be difficult for Charles to appeal to English supporters as a defender of Anglican Church
  • January 1648: Parliament pass "VOTE OF NO ADDRESSES"- all negotiations with King to be broken off
  • Charles had temporarily reunited Parliament and the Army against him
  • Many MPs were horrified by King's actions, knew Charles was planning a series of royalist risings
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Second Civil War 1648

  • Why was there no negotiated settlement 1646-1647?
  • 1. Terms offered to Charles unacceptable to him
  • Not prepared to give up prerogative rights
  • Felt he made enough concessions 1641
  • 2. Charles aware there was growing resentment throughout nation at "parliamentary tyranny"
  • Hatred of monthly assessment/excise taxes
  • Hatred of County committes
  • Hatred of Army
  • 3. Little agreement among vicors of 1646 about peace terms
  • Fully Presbyterian Church would've pleased most MPs but not the Political Independent MPs or Army
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Events of 2nd Civil War 48

  • Charles cut off from political and military realities
  • Could only see the divisions of his enemies
  • Many Covenanters unhappy that he refused to sign the Covenant 
  • NMA discipline had been reasserted
  • Most of PN wanted settlement, didn't necessarily support King's actions
  • June 1648: Scots Army invaded N.England
  • August 1648: Battle of Preston
  • NMA crushed Scots Covenanter Army 
  • This ended the Second Civil War
  • BUT: August 1648- Vote of no addresses overturned in Parliament
  • MPs aware that hatred & fear of NMA, high taxation and religious radicalism were far more important than distrust of the King
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Events of 2nd Civil War 48

  • Sept 1648: Parliament began negotating with King at Newport (Newport Negotiations)
  • Evidence suggests they might have been near to agreement
  • But Charles refused to abandon the Prayer Book for a "Directory of Worship"
  • Charles made comments about no being bound to a mock treaty
  • Could have been planning to decieve them again?
  • Many prominent Political Independent MPs now prepared to deal with the King- becoming concerned with rumours of radicalism in Army
  • THEREFORE superficially the prospects of a settlement looked closer than ever
  • But for Cromwell and Ireton this was the moment of truth- attitudes had changed
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English Revolution 1648-49

  • Army leaders began to support some of the views of ordinary soldiers
  • Republicanism became serious political solution
  • May 1648: At a "godly prayer meeting" there was a promise to bring Charles to account for his crimes
  • At first Cromwell didn't play a big part as he was fighting in 2nd Civil War
  • Fairfax refused to become more politically involved
  • The main instigator of events over the next few months would be Ireton
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48-49 The Regicide & Revolution

  • 20th Nov 1648: Remonstrance of Army
  • Presented to Parliament, demanded King be brought to justice
  • 6th Dec 1648: Prides Purge
  • Colonel Thomas Pride with 1000 NMA soldiers surrounds Parliament buildings
  • 45 MPs arrested, 186 secluded, 86 withdrew in protest, 80 stayed away
  • Only 71 MPs left to bring King to justice "RUMP"
  • 6th Jan 1649: "Rump Parliament" establishes High Court Of Justice to try King for high treason against people of England
  • March: Act abolishing monarchy and House of Lords is passed
  • May: Rump declares England to be a Commonwealth
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Why demand death of King?

Why did the Army demand the death of the King?

  • Atttidues of most MPs by late 1648?
  • "Conservative" case for compromise strengthened
  • Rebellions revealed popular hatred of parliaments attempts to reform religion
  • This is why PP's in Parliament took lead in restarting negotiations with King
  • Also explains why Vote of No Addresses was repealed and why NMA's REMONSTRANCE was rejected
  • Even some Political Independent MPs agreed to restart negotiations- many concerned about the rumours of radicalism in NMA about bringing King to justice
  • The Army and "Providence" by late 1648
  • Here politicalisation of NMA reached its logical conclusion
  • Charles' negotiations with Scots and secret Engagement proved he couldn't be trusted
  • Therefore pointless to negotiate as he couldn't maintain any agreement 
  • The Army claimed he had forfeited his right to be regarded as God's anointed
  • By rejecting God's verdict in the 1st Civil War he had rejected God himself
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NMA's Remonstrance Nov 1648

  • Drawn up by Ireton who played lead in bringing King to trial
  • Even Ireton was unsure about what to do with the King if he was put on trial
  • There was no mention of the abolition of the monarchy
  • After the Purge only 71 MPs were left to carry out the will of the Army
  • At this point it was unclear what would happen next
  • Cromwelll still tried to persuade the King to make concessions but he refused 
  • Cromwell intrepreted this as PROVIDENTIAL sign he had been waiting for
  • He now pushed for a public trial, Charles must be found guilty and executed as imprisonment would leave him to plot
  • However no one was really sure of what to do after Charles was dead
  • It was 2 months after his execution that the step was taken to abolish the monarchy and establish the republican Commonwealth
  • Seems main reason for abolition of monarchy was lack of suitable replacement for Charles
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The Trial

  • Rump establushed High Court of Justice to try the King, House of Lords objected 
  • Rump said it could pass laws without them
  • Charles refused to recognise the Court for a week and was sentenced to death for "drivers and high crimes and treasons"
  • Only 59 commissioners signed the death warrant- may have been forced to by Cromwell & Ireton
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The "English Revolution"

  • No hint of any mass popular enthusiasm for English Revolution
  • Charles was actually more popular at the time of his death than any other
  • Day before Prides Purge most MPs said negotiations with King should continue 
  • Key feature of Revolution is that it was carried out by a minority 
  • By late 1648 Cromwell and Ireton felt there was no option other than to execute the monarchy
  • Why was he executed?
  • Much of the blame lies with Charles himself 
  • Emergence of radicals especially in Army was major factor
  • Two key factors were NECESSITY and PROVIDENCE
  • Necessity: Distrust of the King and lack of any alternative settlement 
  • Charles would never agree to any kind of settlement 
  • An agreement with Charles was impossible and there was no alternative
  • Providence: To Army victory in war had been decided by God's judgement 
  • By restarting war Charles had mocked God's judgement therefore he was a man of blood
  • This was what drove men like Cromwell
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Radical Groups Late 1640s

  • Levellers
  • Most important group to appear during Revolution
  • John Lilburne, John Wildman, William Walwyn and Richard Overton
  • They began to publish a stream of pamphlets
  • In autumn 1647 they collaborated with militant army agitators producing "THE CASE OF THE ARMY TRULY STATED" and the first "AGREEMENT OF THE PEOPLE"
  • They played a major part in the Putney debates
  • Cromwell and Ireton feared that if they ignored them it might lead to an army mutiny
  • HOWEVER: Cromwell aware ordinary soldiers support for Levellers depended whether they got paid or not
  • Cromwell also aware that it was fear of Levellers that was dangerous 
  • When an army mutiny happened it was easily crushed: shows Leveller's impact was more exaggerated
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The Whitehall Debates

  • 14th Dec 1648- 13 Jan 1649
  • Ireton and Cromwell probably allowed these debates to take place as they wanted to ensure army unity as the trial of King was about to take place
  • Levellers had drawn up "AGREEMENT OF THE PEOPLE"
  • They hoped Rump would accept it and dissolve itself so more democratic elections were held
  • When it was obvious Rump wouldn't carry out reforms Levellers felt betrayed
  • Leveller's anger mainly directed against Cromwell and they wrote more pamphlets
  • Feb 1649: Lilburne and Overton were arrested & sent to Tower of London
  • Still issued a third "AGREEMENT OF THE PEOPLE"
  • April/May 1649: Increasing discontent in Army over pay arrears 
  • Mutinies took place in Army but were easily crushed
  • After this little heard from Levellers again
  • Rump ensured Army had regular pay
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What was "Leveller Cause"

  • Most common arguments between Levellers:
  • Existing political establishment should be replace with one 'agreed by the people'
  • All men equal and government was based on consent of people
  • Some wanted monarchy and House of Lords abolished
  • Complete religious toleration
  • All equal before the law
  • The most comprehensive and radical programme to appear during Revolution
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The Diggers

  • Thought of themselves as the "True Levellers"
  • Followers of Gerald Winstanley
  • Attempted to set up communities that cultivated the land in common
  • First Digger Commun 1649 chased out by property owners
  • They were quickly destroyed by local opposition
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Religious Millenarian Groups

  • The Fifth Monarchists
  • Most powerful of the Millenarian groups
  • In early years of Republic posed real threat to the state
  • Believed there would be 4 great earthly monarchies with fourth monarchy being reign of ANTICHRIST
  • After this King Jesus would return and end the world
  • They were influential in the Army, led by Colonel Thomas Harrison
  • He was most vocal senior officer in demanding death of King
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Effect of religious & political

The Effect of the Radical Political and Religious Groups on the English Revolution

  • The Levellers
  • Their influence on NMA overall was small
  • Many soldiers who supported them were only concerned with getting their pay back
  • When they were paid Leveller influence died down
  • They didn't propose on giving the vote to women 
  • They rarely agreed on social/economic reforms
  • Little support was given to them
  • The Diggers
  • A small, insignificant minority of people
  • The Fifth Monarchists
  • Influenced Army's demand to try the King and execute him, had even greater influence 1653
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Cromwell and radical

What was Cromwell's opinion of the radical groups?

  • Desired wide religious toleration especially for all Protestants who did not disturb public peace
  • Also assumed the fear of Levellers was greatly exaggerated
  • Wished to preserve hierarchy of society
  • This is why he was keen to persecute the Levellers
  • Fear they created smong gentry made his aim of achieving religious liberty more difficult
  • Also why throughout this period Cromwell was in a dilemma
  • Wanyed religious liberty and some reform but the PN exaggerated the threat of radicals & viewed any form of toleration as leading to chaos and anarchy
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  • It was fear of radical groups that was important
  • None of them achieved more than a temporary, local popularity
  • Most important group were the Levellers but in many ways their influence was negative
  • Fear of Levellers encouraged the growth of "conservatism" throughout the period
  • Meant the PN became even more desperate for a return to traiditonal forms of government
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