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Why did the civil war break out in 1640

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  • Pages: 8
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  • Category: Civil War

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The English civil war, this period was otherwise known as the English revolution due to its significance left a very bold mark in history; it has sculpted the way we live today, and has caused shirt and long-termed effects. It has dramatically changed parliament, society and royalty, and the ruling of our country. In this essay I am aiming to achieve the conclusion of why the civil war broke out, and hopefully will reach an informative conclusion. What is a civil war? A civil war is a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.

Many of them are well known ands studied in history, and the English civil war is one of them. In 1600’s, parliament and king ruled England. Lives were very different to ours, but most of the decisions that were made then have influenced and created ways of life today. There was no technology, or hygiene, and everyone was divided into a social group, depending on status or wealth. The civil war was conflict between power for king and parliament, and also Catholicism and Protestantism. Parliament was divided into the House of Commons and the house or lords, two very well – known groups today.

Charles I was the reigning king at the time, He was son of James I and Anne of Denmark, and was born in 1600 in England. Charles was heir to the throne, and was crowned at the age of 25, in 1625. England was protestant in this time. He was a very greedy king, but also strong-willed and determined, who longed for power, wealth and money. The trouble was, the power of parliament was growing, and the king wanted and needed money. Charles I made many mistakes, which made him very unpopular with citizens and parliament, therefore the civil war broke out and had very destructive consequences.

The war between parliament and royalty broke out in 1642 and ended in 1646, a total of 4 years. During the sixteenth century, the power of parliament was very high, and had gradually been growing. By 1620’s, Charles could no longer rule by himself. The king took this opportunity to ask Parliament for money in financial difficulties such as war, or to ask them for permission to issue taxes for citizens to pay all around the country, as they were responsible for ruling the country and making important financial decisions as well as Charles.

Charles made many bad mistakes, which were the causes for war. At the beginning of his reign in 1625, Charles got off to a bad start. Firstly, he married a catholic. As the country was protestant, parliament refused to give him much-needed money, but he collects it anyway and demolishes parliament. He ruled with parliament for 11 years. Charles made a very significant but also unnecessary drastic decision, which would change everything. Although it did this was a temporary action, and nowadays parliament rules our country. In 1629 Charles was officially independent.

Next, he introduced unpopular taxes. These taxes were called “ship money “, generally used to raise money to improve and support the navy at war, by people on the coast at times of warfare. In 1635 and 1636, Charles foolishly demanded ship money even n though at the time there was no war. Many people refused to pay the yearly payment, and they were arrested for this. These actions made Charles I even more unpopular. In 1630’s Charles also tired to make the church more catholic in his reign, which was not appreciated or welcomed by the protestant country. His ideas and schemes upset people.

People who were found guilty or writing pamplets attacking the Church and monastery were severely punished. He made churches more decorated and elaborate and discouraged the clergy from preaching sermons about the bible. Extreme Protestants, known as the puritans were particularly angered by these changes. Many people even believed he wanted to bring the Catholic Church back, perhaps because this was his wives religion. Charles final big mistake, which along with the others was very destructive, was that he tried to extend his policies into Scotland. In 1697, he made the terrible mistake of trying to change the Scottish rules.

He tried to make them use the English prayer book, when they refused he sent an army to them, but when they were beaten the Scots demanded compensation. Charles had ran out of money, taxpayers refused to issue more taxes for him, so in 1640 he had to return to parliament and beg for money. Charles made many small mistakes that still made a large difference to the build up of the civil war these were known as “the triggers”. Parliament demanded more power. In 1640, Charles attempted to arrest 5 MP’s, Parliament took control of the army, 19 propositions were made and parliament demanded more power.

These all contributed to the declaration of war that Charles made in 1642. As parliament took control of the country’s army, Charles developed one. The royalist supporting army was called cavaliers. The parliament supporters were called roundheads. They wore pot helmets to protect their heads, iron back and breastplates; a charge of gunpowder and an iron gauntlet protected their right arm. The cavaliers wore more expensive, ornamental clothing and armour. They wore a calibre belt wit ha gun, a belt to support the gun, a stained yellow coat, a stand to support their musket when firing and they carried their bullets in a round bag.

Charles was faced with many demands by parliament, overall 19 propositions, and had to make a compromise; as a result of this many changes were made. Here are some of the compromises and demands: Parliament demanded they have regular meetings, Charles agreed that parliament should meet every 3 years and cannot be ended without MP’s permission. Parliament demanded that Charles’s ministers should be punished if they have behaved badly, and Charles agreed that his minister whom behaved badly would be executed after being tried by MP’s.

Parliament demanded that Charles should take his advice from sensible ministers, and that some of them should be from parliament. Charles made no response or agreement to this issue. Parliament demanded tat the changes Charles and archbishop Laud made to the church must be reversed, Charles agreed that they would not be reversed, but archbishop laud would be jailed. Parliaments demanded that taxes should not be raised without their agreement; Charles agreed that ship money would be made illegal. Parliament demanded that Charles should end his special courts; Charles agreed tat they would be abolished.

Charles and parliament had many problems, most of which had been caused by Charles actions. They were all linked to money, religion and power. The problems linked to power were: Charles had demolished parliament, all affairs of state had to be agreed with parliament, all ministers must be appeared by parliament, parliament must control the education of the kings children, and control the army, the power of the bishop was reduced, the king feared he would loos control of his country and could make no actions without parliaments agreement.

The problems caused by religion were: Charles married a catholic, Parliament wanted to make the church more protestant, whereas Charles wanted to make it more Catholic, the church must be reformed as parliament wants and laws against Catholics must be enforced. These are the problems linked to money: Parliament refused to supply Charles with the money he wanted and needed, parliament did not like the taxes Charles introduced, Charles collected ship taxes but does not need it, then makes it illegal. These problems were what caused the civil war, and conflict between the two divisions, but Charles was responsible for most of these.

Most people would typically believe that gentry (upper – class wealthy people) supported Charles, in fact many disliked him. In fact in Lancashire, 272 members of the gentry supported him, and 138-suppored parliament, and 9 changed sides. People often believed that most MP’s supported parliament, but this judgement was incorrect too, in fact almost half of MP’s all over the country were on Charles side. Many people believed that the country was divided into royalist and parliament supporters, but this view was not true, and between 1/3 and 2/3 of gentry did not take part or sides.

People did not choose which side to support as a matter of principle, but tended to support the side whose army controlled their area or the side their local lord supported, or mostly the person with the highest chance of winning. It had no connection to different areas of the country. The civil war claimed the lives of thousands, one in every ten men were killed. It was very destructive and caused much negative impact. Many people died of starvation, houses and land were and possessions were burnt and destroyed. Battles between cavalier and roundhead armies were very violent and occurred all over England.

Many people were arrested and beheaded. Charles used very violent, unnecessary tactic, killing many of his country in the process. Hundreds of rebellions took place, in which England was invaded several times and many people were massacred. When there was a rebellion in Ireland, Charles fled his country. Scotland occupied several castles in England, and crossed the border. Parliament won the war with a lot of help from the Scottish. Finally, the roundheads proved the most strongest, victorious army. He admitted defeat to parliament and gave himself up to the Scottish on May 5, 1646, having refused to accept their religion.

He was imprisoned several times; Charles was taken to court and charged with legality of the court, tyrant, murder and being enemy of the nation. He was found guilty and was sentenced to death and beheaded in 1649, January 30th, in his palace in Whitehall. Oliver Cromwell was King in all but name. He had lead the roundheads, and had many supporters. He was a very good, determined man, and charged Charles. Oliver Cromwell deserved the crown, but became chairman of council of state, which governed England, and died in 1658.

After Charles death, the restoration of the monarchy took place in 1660, and King Charles II; Charles son was made king after failure to find a successful form of republican government. Parliament ruled during the 11 years England was reined without a monarchy. I do not think Charles was a good king. He was very greedy, and did not think about others of the consequences of his drastic actions. He was very selfish and his actions only benefited himself. I think the trial was well – deserved as he killed many people, and many people died and were injured all because of his foolish actions.

He is a very bad role model for a king. All of his actions were harmful to others, and were extremely selfish. Charles did not deserve o be a King, as he had no respect for his country and caused many problems and death and sadness in his destructive behaviour. He treated others very unfairly too. He did not respect other people wishes, or believes, and wanted his own ways at al times. When he did not get what he wanted, the consequences were severe, and he was too demanding. He was a murderer, thief and committed many other crimes.

Although I believe Charles was a very bad king, I think some of his mistakes were accidental and many aspects and changes have remained to this very day, and influenced politics and royalty. Parliament rules our country, and there is little conflict between royalty and parliament, today they work together to find solutions and compromises, and do not resort to violence or drastic measures. There is no or little divide or conflict between religions and is a stronger sense of equality. Our country is ruled much more sufficiently, we have freedom of speech and respect, and hopefully, will remain this way.

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