A2 Civil War Charles' Ruling Style and Personality

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  • Charles I- Personality and ruling style
    • Quotations from Charles I
      • 'The question now is not whether a Service Book is to be received or not.. but whether we are their King or not'
      • 'I cannot defend a bad nor yield in a good cause'
    • L.J Reeve: 'Charles the  First and the Road to Personal Rule' 1989
      • 'He was a loving husband, father and friend'
      • 'Outwardly reasonable, his mind was often fixed and closed'
      • 'He was never entirely sure of himself... moralistic and judgemental.. not a political man... deep commitment to uniformity and symmetry
      • 'He was authoritarian and paranoid about loyalty'
      • 'externalised his failures by blaming others, such as subversive elements in parliament'
      • 'allergy to compromise'
      • 'viewed criticism or opposition as persecution, insubordination or subversion'
    • Conrad Russell, 'The Causes of the English Civil War' 1990 NEW BRITISH HISTORY
      • 'His analyses of situations are often shrewd'
      • 'a want of confidence in his political abilities'
      • 'He never accepted that political process demanded bargaining and concessions'
      • Habit of backing down when he said he never would, too late
      • 'obsessive concern about his subjects' loyalty'
      • Tended to stake his authority on insignificant matters, where wiser kings would keep it in reserve'
      • 'I find civil war without him almost impossible to imagine'
    • Kevin Sharpe: 'The Personal Rule of Charles I' 1992 REVISIONIST
      • preoccupied with visual representation and the power of image
      • ''obsession with ordering...was the defining feature of Charles as man and monarch'
      • Once Charles had made up his mind... a decision all but hardened into an inviolable resolution
      • Charles I viewed the process of government not, as his father had, as a series of manoeuvres... but as the devising of the right rules and the implementing of theme
      • 'Charles was neither autocratic nor tyrannical'  referring to personal rule 'not aimed at absolutist ends'
      • 'a staunchly legalistic strain to Charles's theory and practice of kingship'
      • Identifies what he calls 'conservatism central to Charles' personality' and suggests that Charles was not an innovater
        • Conservative aims and radical style
      • 'Charles, by contrast [with James] was a man of principle'
      • Controversy Link: the revisionist Sharpe is far more positive about Charles than are other historians: he blames the civil war mostly on short term factors

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