Causes of the English Civil War Assignment

Causes of the English Civil War Assignment Words: 2251

What caused the English Civil War? The English Civil War took place from 1641 to 1651, and involved a series of conflicts between the parliamentarians lead by Oliver Cromwell, and the royalists. The causes of the English Civil War covered a number of years. The reign of Charles I had seen a marked deterioration in the relationship between Crown and Parliament. This breakdown may well have occurred as early as 1625.

There were both short term and long term causes for the civil war, which included; the kings negative attitude towards parliament and parliamentarians, the fact that the royals had less money available then their rivals, and finally, the King’s marriage to a French catholic princess, which caused a threat to the Church of England and Scottish churches. One major factor of why the civil war broke out was religion. Charles upset many people over the decisions and propositions he made.

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For example he had a clash with parliament over whether the Church of England should be reformed into the model that he wanted or whether, as Parliament wished, that it should move to a Puritan model with the abolition of the Bishops. Religion had divided the country since Henry VIII, and it was not easy to please everyone. Charles had a really bad relationship with parliament which proved to be a vital point in the outbreak of civil war. Charles clashed with the Scots over religion on several occasions. The end of Charles’s independent rule came when he attempted to apply the same religious policies in Scotland as he had in England.

The Scottish Church had independent traditions; however, Charles wanted to impose a uniform church throughout Britain, by introducing a new, High Anglican, version of the English Book of Common Prayer. This did not go well with the Scottish people it eventually led to a riot in Edinburgh. In February 1638 the Scots formulated their objections to the royal policy and put in a document called the “Loyal Protest”, which rejected all his proposals. In spring of 1639, King Charles I accompanied his forces to the Scottish border, to end the rebellion known as the Bishops War, but, after an nconclusive military campaign, he accepted the offered Scottish truce . The truce proved temporary; and a second war followed in summer of 1640. This time, a Scots army defeated Charles’ forces in the north, and then captured Newcastle. Charles eventually agreed not to interfere with Scotland’s religion, and paid the Scots war-expenses. This had an impact on the financial resources available to the monarchy, thus resulting in a further long term cause of the civil war. A further major cause of the civil war was Money. In 1635 Charles ordered that everyone in the country should pay Ship Money.

This was historically a tax paid by coastal towns and villages to pay for the upkeep of the navy. The logic was that coastal areas most benefited from the navy’s protection. Charles decided that everyone in the kingdom benefited from the navy’s protection and that everyone should pay. Ship Money was very unfair as Londoners could claim exemption, while other towns weren’t allowed to challenge the amount of their assessment. On August 4, 1635, a second order of ship money was issued targeting the sheriffs and justices of inland as well as of maritime counties and towns, demanding the sum of ? 08,000. This was judged on personal as well as real property. Payment was, however, refused by John Hampden, a wealthy Buckinghamshire gentleman (landowner). The case was heard before all the judges in the Exchequer Chamber. Hampden lost the case, 7 judges to 5, and ship money continued to be applied, provoking yet more opposition, until, overtaken by events, it was made illegal by the Long Parliament in 1641. The case also encouraged others to refuse the tax, and by 1639, less than 20% of the money demanded was raised.

The court case may have found for Charles by a very small margin, which in effect gave Charles the power to do whatever he wished, but on the other hand alienated almost the entire nation, including many who fought for Charles in the Civil War. Even so, ship money was a financial success for Charles. England had general money problems in the 1620’s to 1640’s. Charles should have set a better example to his people with regards to spending. Charles spent a great deal of money on works of art by Rubens and Van Dyck which didn’t go down well the public. After Charles tried to change the way Scots followed their religion they nvaded in 1639. Parliament refused to finance the War due to their objection to two of Charles’s closest advisors who they believed were abusing their authority and power. Charles dismissed Parliament after it had sat for just three weeks. This was followed by the English forces being defeated in several areas of the north. As Charles was short of money to fight the Scots, he had no choice but to recall Parliament in 1640 as only they had the necessary money needed to fight a war and the required authority to collect extra money. Charles also had to later pay the Scottish war expenses.

In return for the money and as a display of their power, Parliament called for the execution of??the Earl of Strafford who was known as “Black Tom Tyrant”. Strafford was one of the main advisors of Charles, who attempted to get Strafford released from the Tower but failed. On May 12th 1641 Strafford was executed after he was tried for treason and charged with planning to use his Irish army to defeat Parliament. The loss of his closest advisors caused Charles resentment and eroded his power, as Parliament now controlled the Kings ministers. He also lost his powers to impose taxes, causing the monarchy further financial constraints.

Although it may seem unimportant, Charles’ personality was a major factor in the events leading to civil war. To start with, Charles hadn’t expected to be King at all – his elder brother, Henry, had been expected to take the job, but when he died suddenly in 1612, Charles became the heir to the throne. Charles also believed in the Divine Right of Kings. He thought, as his father had before him, that Kings were appointed by God, and could not be wrong. He disliked having to rule with Parliament, and thought that he should be able to do anything he liked.

This caused much friction between him, the MPs and the whole country who believed the Parliament should have more say in how the country was run. One of the major reasons for the war was the struggle for power between Charles’s supporters and the parliamentarians. The relationship between Charles and Parliament was very controversial. This was not anything new as Charles Father James clashed with Parliament on many occasions. James expected the parliament to do what he what he wanted and expected them no to argue with his decisions. Parliament had one major advantage over James – they had money and he was continually short of it.

Parliament and James clashed over custom duties. This was one source of James income but Parliament told him that he could not collect it without their permission. In 1611, James suspended Parliament and it did not meet for another 10 years. James used his friends to run the country and they were rewarded with titles. This caused great offence to those Members of Parliament who believed that they had the right to run the country. In 1621, James re-called Parliament to discuss the future marriage of his son, Charles, to a Spanish princess.

Parliament was outraged. Spain was still not considered a friendly nation to England and many still remembered 1588 and the Spanish Armada. The marriage never took place but the damaged relationship between king and Parliament was never mended by the time James died in 1625. Charles followed his Father’s footsteps and could never get along with Parliament. From 1625 to 1629, Charles argued with parliament over most issues, but money and religion were the most common causes of arguments. In 1629, Charles copied his father. He refused to let Parliament meet.

Members of Parliament arrived at Westminster to find that the doors had been locked with large chains and padlocks. They were locked out for eleven years – a period they called the Eleven Years Tyranny. In 1640 after 11 years Charles recalled Parliament to get the necessary money to fight the Scots and gain the authority to collect extra money. In return the Earl of Strafford was executed which had negative implications. All these reasons were building up for some time; however there was some short term causes that triggered the war. These happened between 1641 and 1642.

Due to the parliamentarian’s decision to execute Strafford, the English control over Ireland loosened and Irish rebellion resulted in 1641 as they feared an anti ??? catholic invasion by the English long parliament. The war continued in Ireland until the 1650s, when Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army decisively defeated the Irish Catholics and Royalists, and re-conquered the country. John Pym subsequently issued the Militia Bill which listed all the issues of Charles reign and suggested less power for Bishops and said that Parliament should have power over the Church and the appointment of Royal ministers.

It was passed by 11 votes. However, it was after this that the King made a foolish move. On the advice of his Queen (who was used to French politics, where the King had much more power over the way the country was run), Charles decided to arrest the five ringleaders, including Pym. On 4 January, 1642, Charles attempted to get into the Commons to arrest the five MPs, and found that after he and his guards had battered the door down, the MPs had been warned and weren’t there. This action turned most of Parliament against him once more, because it was held to be a breach of Parliamentary privilege.

On the next day, the escaped MPs paraded up and down London, guarded by the Trained Bands, an army of part-time soldiers. After this, Charles fled to Nottingham, and it was there, on 22 August, that he raised his standard, marking the start of civil war. The causes of the war were all interlinked. The differences over religion and how the church should be run caused war with the Scots. This in turn led to the virtual bankruptcy of the King, causing him to recall parliament and they in turn, held Charles to ransom over their demands.

The resulting power struggle between the two factions also resulted in the Irish rebellion and subsequent arrest of the Members of Parliament. The American civil war took place from April 12, 1861??to April 9, 1865. It had many similarities and differences with the English civil war. There were many causes of the American civil war and one of them like the English civil war was money. In America there were taxes paid on goods brought into the country from foreign countries. This tax was called a tariff. Southerners felt these tariffs were unfair and aimed toward them because they imported a wider variety of goods than most Northern people.

Taxes were also placed on many Southern goods that were shipped to foreign countries, an expense that was not always applied to Northern goods of equal value. Tariffs were a major reason why the American civil war broke out. This was similar to the taxes Charles issued on England as ship money was collected to pay for the navy who guarded the coast which benefited many coastal towns and villages. Another factor of the American civil war was power. Unlike the English civil war the American civil war was fought between the north half of the country and the south.

In the years leading to the civil war the political power in the federal government was changing dramatically. Northern and mid-western states were becoming more and more powerful as the populations increased. Southern states lost political power because the population did not increase as rapidly. As one portion of the nation grew larger than another, people began to talk of the nation as sections. Whereas the power struggle in England was between king and country, in America the north section of the country wanted power to be concentrated with central government and the south wanted power to be devolved to the states.

The difference between the American and English civil war was that the main cause of the American war was slavery and this was not the case in England. The northerners were against slavery whereas the south was determined to retain it and proclaimed it was sanctioned in the Bible. The reason which most caused the war was to do with power. Although religion and money were symptoms of the war, the struggle for power between Charles and Parliament would have continued even in the absence of the other causes; due to Charles belief in the divine right of kings and his decreasing popularity in the country.

This resulted in the increase in support for the parliamentarians. The ultimate trigger of the war was when the king and the parliament clashed over power to control the army. This resulted in the king, ordering the arrest of five Members of Parliament. This continuous fight for power eventually led to the outbreak of the English civil war, and superseded the other causes. By Farhan Chatha

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