The English Civil War. I like to think of it as a midlife crisis for the 17th century United Kingdom. A struggle for power over money, religion and parliament, what did it accomplish? The aim was to abolish the monarchy, but that didn’t go so well. King Charles I fought hard against Parliament to retain his position, but eventually succumbed after the second civil war and was executed by the people to put an end to the fighting. Charles II then escaped to Holland to plan his return to his rightful throne. After finally putting an end to kings and queens for good, or so they thought, the people decided it would be wise to elect the military leader Oliver Cromwell as “Lord Protector”. As the role of a “Lord Protector” had not fully been established, Cromwell ruled as a king. Which, if you are following, doesn’t make much sense at all. Charles II came back to fight for his throne in the final civil war, but was chased out by the Parliamentarians. When Cromwell died, he passed the lordship on to his son, Richard Cromwell. Richard Cromwell was not quite as forceful as his father, and the people begged for Charles II to return to rule England as king.
- What did all this fighting and bloodshed accomplish?
- Did Oliver Cromwell intend to take advantage of the war to take control of the country?
- Did the idea of the “Divine Right of Kings” have a factor in the people’s wanting to abolish the monarchy?
- Did this event have an effect on the ego of future kings?
- Will future kings become more or less invested in the idea of the “Divine Right of Kings”?
- Was it Richard Cromwell’s decision to step down? Was he threatened?
- Were the commoners actively involved or was it mainly the upper class who had a say?
I do believe I may have an unhealthy obsession with the British Monarchy. Obviously, this is the first thing that caught my attention in this topic, as it could well have been the end of kings and queens in Britain. Could you imagine? I believe the world would be very different today had they truly abolished the monarchy back then.