Associated Controversy: what factors account for limited success of protectorate 1653-1658?

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  • Associated controversy: what factors account for limited success of protectorate 1653-1658?
    • Cromwell
      • A great soldier but not a constructive politician
        • Effective politician as his lack of practical ideas allowed him to blame failure on others
      • Did not initiate any experiment of the period
      • His control of the army never wavered
        • Never in danger of being overthrown
    • Instrument of government 1653
      • Putting King on trial = last minute decision by army grandees to abolish monarchy
        • Most assumed once king was defeated there would be a negotiated settlement
      • Instrument established Cromwell as Lord Protector
        • To be assisted by Council of State, chosen by protector
          • Had the power to nominate successor
      • Parliament to meet every 3 years for at least 5 months
        • Now single chamber (no House of Lords)
      • Protector could veto any bills contrary to Instrument
    • First Protectorate Parliament 1654-1655
      • 400 MPs for England, 30 each for Scotland + Ireland
      • Only parliament could draw up new constitution
      • Wanted religious doctrine for CofE
      • MPs wanted Parliament to have more power than the Protetor
    • Second Protectorate Parliament 1656-1658
      • Called year early due to desperate financial position - high levels of debt
      • 1656 100 MPs excluded by army, 30 stay away in protest - only 66% full
        • Lots of opposition to Major Generals wanting act passed giving them money collected from tax on Royalists
          • Major Generals abolished + act defected
      • Humble Petition + Advice 1657 - new constiution
        • Wanted Cromwell to accept crown but refused it
      • Savage new laws against Catholics
    • Constitutional problems in 1657
      • Humble Petition had widespread support BUT new constitution failed to reintroduce effective parliamentary government
      • 100 MPs exluded in 1656 allowed back
      • Continued sqabbling led to dissolution of parliament in 1658
        • Cromwell was a great believer in 'healing + settling' but he had ultimately failed
    • Rule of Major Generals 1655-1656
      • Government introduced Major Generals when stories of Royalist conspiracies were increasing
        • Army commanders already interfering in local government so this was nothing new
      • Country divided into 100 military districts to raise new militia
      • Had to introduce godly reformation + reformation of manners
      • Unpopular - tried closing down alehouses + suppressing sports + Local gatherings
    • Religion
      • Cromwell was an Independent so didn't want coercive national church
        • cut him off from Anglicans + Presbyterians
      • Increasing numbers of 'gathered churches' in 1650s
        • Also increasing numbers of Quakers
      • Cromwell thought religious people may attempt an uprising if given the chance
      • Material state of church dieteriorated
    • Military dictatorship?
      • Instrument of Government drawn up by cavalry commander of NMA
      • Cromwell = Lord Protector as he was commander of army
        • Power from victory over Royalits
      • England divided + ruled by Major Generals
      • Censorship of printing press
    • Not seriously oppressive/ militaristic
      • Army wanted civilian government with regular parliaments
      • Major Generals had limited amount of force + spent most of time hunting for rebels/ Royalists
        • Their rule was only temporary
      • Strong military government = only way to keep peace
    • Collapse of the Interregnum 1658-1660
      • Sparked by Cromwell's death in Sept 1658
      • Richard Cromwell lacked his father's experience
        • Had no influence over army
      • Army tried to call Rump again
      • Long Parliament agreed to Restoration of Charles II
        • Seemed only alternative to another Civil war or military dictatorship

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