The English Civil War

Chronicling the Events from 1640 to 1660

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In 1642, there was a dispute between King Charles I and the British Parliament on who would be suppressing the Irish Catholic rebellion. This caused a civil war between the two forces and caused two wars to be fought, Edge Hill and Marston Moor. The Parliament won the first phase in 1646 but Charles I was able to escape his detainment thus engendering a second phase. The final battle was fought in Preston in 1649 and ended with the successful victory using the lead of the new model army. In that same year, Charles I was executed. Oliver Cromwell soon figured out that Charles II was establishing a Royalist party and quickly defeated it but wasn’t able to capture Charles II. With Cromwell’s death in 1658, Charles II came back to power in England in 1660, much to the delight of the people.

Root Causes

The main root cause was due to the reign of King James. He wanted to control the Parliament and make them do whatever he wanted. However, Parliament strictly disagreed with this idea and controversy ensued. They fought over custom duties because James wanted to collect the money whenever he desired but, the Parliament only allowed him to collect the money with their permission. Aggravated, James suspended the Parliament in 1611 and brought in his friends to help him rule the country, giving them special titles. In 1621, the Parliament was released and even more chaos was generated. Parliament disagreed with the marriage between the Spanish princess and were still mad about the Spanish Armada. This permanently caused damage within the relationship between Parliament and the King.

Direct Causes

The grudge against the Parliament continued with the son of King James I, Charles I. He secretly suspended the Parliament, not allowing access to Westminster in 1629. Soon, this era was known as the Eleven Years of Tyranny. He taxed the people over the limits and taxed for trivial matters, such as ships. In 1642, the Parliament regained the power to collect money that Charles needed. This exacerbated the relationship between the two and Charles sent 300 soldiers to arrest his critics. At this moment, Charles revealed his true side and raised an army to fight Parliament. This is what caused the English Civil War.

Key Figures

Course of the War

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There were multiple outcomes of the two wars: the trial and execution of Charles I; the exile of Charles II; and the English monarchy was replaced with Commonwealth of England and to the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The monarchy was later restored to the rule of Charles II after the death of Cromwell.

"You had better have one King than five hundred" -King Charles II speaking to Parliament

In this quote, Charles II is telling the British Parliament why he should be King and rule instead of five hundred Parliament members. This is a powerful statement as it goes to show just how odd and unlikely it would be to have five hundred people trying to rule at once. Charles II also displays a strong reason as to why he should come back and stay in power.

Main Significance

The British Parliament gained more power over the people

Commenced the Age of Reformation in England

Restored power back to Charles II's family (the Stuart's)