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Oliver Cromwell – Hero or Villain?

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Oliver Cromwell was born on April 25th 1599 in Huntington, England and died September 3 1658. He was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. However, he was a controversial figure and in this essay I will determine whether Cromwell was a hero or villain.

Oliver Cromwell was a strong character who was a great leader, rising from modest origins to lead the country. Cromwell was instrumental in leading the New Model Army during Parliaments war with Monarchy. When the new republic was in turmoil, Cromwell was the natural choice to lead it and bring together the divided factions: a nearly impossible task. As Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, he rose to enjoy the powers, if not the title, of king.

Secondly, he tried to rule with toleration and moderation. He aimed to heal the division in the country, not to rule for the benefit of just one side. He allowed Catholic, Protestant and Jew to worship to their own conscience. His aim was for a programme of Christian evangelism alongside a broad religious toleration.

Furthermore, Oliver Cromwell tried to be just and fair. He also aimed for Parliament to develop strategies for long-term settlement. He introduced reforms to make the legal, judicial and social systems more humane. He promoted soldiers on their ability not their social status which helped eradicate a lot of corruption within the military. His policies, although not always successful, aimed to essentially unify the country as oppose to bring more division. He had also only supported the execution of the king when he saw no other way forward, after Charles refused to abdicate.

Another point I would like to make is that Cromwell completely re-established England as a leading power in Europe. With a strong Army and Navy, Cromwell also looked to raise both England’s status and profit abroad.

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