Oliver Cromwell was born in 25 April 1599 in a town in England called Huntington. He went to school at Huntington Grammar School then went to Sydney Sussex Collage at Cambridge. He studied law at Cambridge and then went to London and became the MP for Huntington in 1628 and MP for Cambridge in 1640. In 1630’s Oliver Cromwell became Puritan due to a religious crisis and started to become a Radical Puritan when he elected to represent Cambridge, first in the Short parliament, then in the Long parliament.
In Parliament, Oliver Cromwell was a strong critic of King Charles the 2nd and in 1642, when King Charles the 2nd started the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell started to raise troops and joined the Parliamentary forces, fighting against King Charles the 2nd. It is in the English Civil War where Oliver Cromwell gains his renown and fame. In the beginning of the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell became a cavalry commander. Even though he had no military experience, he had a good knowledge of horses due to his experience of being a large landowner.
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Oliver Cromwell rose thought the ranks really quickly first a colonel in 1643, then in 1644, Oliver Cromwell became Lieutenant-General of the ? Eastern Association Army and in 1645 he became Lieutenant-General of the New Model Army. The reason why Oliver Cromwell became such a good cavalry commander is because he knew a well-disciplined army is very important in war. Oliver Cromwell first noticed that Prince Rupert’s cavalry were not very well disciplined and they do not rally after a charge, instead, Prince Rupert’s cavalry just pursuit their own targets.
In the first major battle in the English civil war at the battle of Edgehill, Prince Rupert’s cavalry did not return to the battlefield until 1 hour after the initial charge at the Parliamentary forces in which Prince Rupert’s cavalry horses did not have the strength to mount another charge against enemy forces. Oliver Cromwell saw Prince Rupert’s cavalry tactic flaws and made sure that his cavalry did not have the same flaws. Oliver Cromwell trained his cavalry to keep together after a charge so the cavalry can charge again and again.
Oliver Cromwell’s cavalry was called the Ironsides due to how they cut their way though Royalist forces on the battlefield. In February 1645, Parliament decided to create the New Model Army, which is an army full of professional solders with it’s commander-in-chief being General Thomas Fairfax. The Head of cavalry was Oliver Cromwell and The New Model Army had 22,000 men who all received proper military training and when the New Model Army went to battle, they were very well disciplined. In The New Model Army, officers were promoted based on how good they were, not their heritage.
This is the first time a working class person can become an army officer. The first battle that the New Model Army was an important victory for the Parliament’s forces as it was the turning point of the English Civil War. The New Model Army first major battle took part outside the village of Naseby in Northampton shire on 14 June 1645. The battle for Naseby was a complete disaster for King Charles the 2nd. King Charles the 2nd complete stock of weapons and ammunition was in the Royalist baggage train, which was captured by the Parliamentarian forces during the battle for Naseby.
This is an important fact as King Charles the 2nd could not supply weapons or ammunition to his army and so he could not raise another army strong enough to defeat the Parliamentarians army. In January 1647, King Charles the 2nd fled to Scotland where the Scots betrayed King Charles the 2nd and gave him back to the Parliamentarians. Charles was imprisoned in Hampton Court, but in November 1647 he escaped and managed to raise another army and convinced the Scots to help him. But in August 1648, The New Model Army defeated the Royalist army and the Scots.
Oliver Cromwell and most of the New Model Army decided to overthrow part of parliament who wanted to disband the New Model Army because they did not get their pay, that part of the parliament believed the New Model Army had too much power and they did not wanted to execute King Charles the 2nd. In 1649 King Charles the 2nd was executed outside his Whitehall Palace. The Parliament passed a series of new laws. The monarchy, the House of Lords and the Anglican Church were abolished and the land own by them was sold and the money was us to pay the wages of the soldiers.
People were no longer fined if they did not attend the local church but they were still expected to go to some religious practice. In August 1649, Cromwell and 12,000 soldiers arrived in Ireland to put down the rebellion. During the next ten years of bloodshed around one third of the Scottish population was killed or died of starvation. More then half that were killed were Catholic and Oliver Cromwell and his 12,000 men killed them. When Oliver Cromwell went back to England, the parliament was still called but it was Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army who were in charged.
In December 1653 the New Model Army decided to make Oliver Cromwell as England new ruler. The army wanted him to be king but Oliver Cromwell refused and instead took the title Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. However Oliver Cromwell had as much power as the king had. When the House of Commons opposed his policies in 1655, he closed it down. Now Oliver Cromwell is the king of England in all but name. Oliver Cromwell imposed military rule on England. He divided England into 11 districts with each to be run by a Major General who are just a governor of each districts.
The laws in each district are all different to each other. In some districts bear-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing and wrestling were banned. Betting and gambling were also forbidden. Large numbers of ale-houses were closed and fines were imposed on people caught swearing. In some districts, the Major-Generals even closed down theatre In 1655 Edward Sexby, John Wildman and Richard Overton were involved in developing a plot to overthrow the government. They were discovered and were forced to flee for their lives.
In 1658 Cromwell announced that he wanted his son, Richard Cromwell, to replace him as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. The English army was unhappy with this decision as Richard did not have any experience. Oliver Cromwell died on 3rd September 1658. His son became Lord Protector but in May 1659, the generals forced him to retire from government. Oliver Cromwell was a hero because he played an important part of showing how important the parliament was and how the king does not always act on people behalf and sometimes act on their own selfish needs and how their lives are similar to other people.
During the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell was considered a hero due to how he commanded the cavalry on the battlefield and his tactics. In the end of the English Civil War, some of Oliver Cromwell’s achievement was how he tried to form a new Parliament and when that did not work he used the army officers as the Government. Oliver Cromwell is also a villain because of how many innocents he and his men killed and as Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, Cromwell started to become more ruthless and started to kill anyone in his way.
There is a common saying, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” This saying is proved as Oliver Cromwell become the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, he starts to corrupt and when he went to Scotland to put down the rebellion, he killed many innocents who most were Catholic because they were Catholics. In the end Oliver Cromwell can be consider both a hero and a villain due to how Cromwell was before the English Civil War started and after Oliver Cromwell becomes the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth and after he killed so many Catholics, Oliver Cromwell could be consider as a villain and a Tyrant.