The Royalist Defeat

Civil War

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  • The Royalist Defeat
    • Royalist Advantages Early On
      • The king was able to call upon many of the gentry and thus acquire both money and skilled horseman
      • He was able to call upon foreign rulers, particularly his relatives in the United Provinces
      • Unlike parliament he had a unified command and a clear strategy
    • Failure of Leadership by Charles I
      • Failure of Administration
        • Lieutenant Generals were chosen for their social and political status rather than military expertise
        • Charles replaced early commanders with his nephews Rupert and Maurice
      • Lack of Control
        • The Northern and Western armies failed to link up with Charles at his base in Oxford
        • There were rivalries between Rupert and Digby (secretary of state)
        • Military Mistakes
          • Charles failed to take advantage of early strength
          • After the stalemate at Edgehill, Charles had the opportunity to advance to London. They were forced back to Turnham Green because of slow progess
    • Divisions within Royalist Ranks
      • The king aimed at military victory. He took advice from Henrietta Maria, militarists such as Rupert and extremists such as Digby
      • In the autumn of 1643 the king retaliated against parliament's Scottish alliance by agreeing to a truce with the Catholic rebels in Ireland
        • He wanted to free the experienced English troops in Ireland in order to use them himself
    • Lack of Resources & Fewer Long-term Advantages
      • The north, south west and west midlands were poorer than parliamentarian counties
      • Parliamentary garrisons such as that at Gloucester were not only strategically important but were also able to harass the countryside upon which the royal armies depended
      • Parliament were in control of the navy and most of the major ports
      • Those cavaliers who left their estates in order to serve the king were increasingly less able to bear the burdens of financing him
    • The Role of John Pym (up to Dec. 1643)
      • He held together a fragile coalition in parliament made up of the 'peace party', 'war party' and 'middle group'
      • He persuaded conservative MPs to adopt radical measures
        • He used the failure at Edgehill to persuade MPs to establish compulsory weekly assessments (taxes) in London
          • Parliament assumed powers of taxation. Pym laid the basis of a reasonable effective financial structure
      • In December 1642 he was able to reduce localist obstruction by establishing the Midland and Eastern Associations
      • Alliance with Scottish Covenanters
        • Dangers
          • The Scottish rebels had enabled the opposition in the Long Parliament to challenge Charles
          • There were too many moderates, which would make a settlement with the king even harder to achieve since his genuine devotion to the Anglican Church would not allow him to accept a Presbyterian settlement
        • Pym avoided a total commitment to Scottish Presbyterianism by agreeing to call an Assembly of Ministers to devise a scheme of reform
        • The Scots would make a powerful ally
    • The Defeat of the Royalists at Marston Moor, 1644
      • Military significance
        • It secured the north for parliament and reduced royalist control to its western heartlands
      • Political significance
        • It was Cromwell's cavalry which tipped the balance at Marston Moor. It had sufficient discipline to regroup and attack the royalist centre
        • Parliament had sought to recruit men of religious zeal and commitment to the cause
    • Parliament's Military Re-organisation
      • Self-denying Ordinance
        • It admitted faults on all sides, and proposed a separation of military and political functions which would create a new central army
          • Parliament members within this army would thus be removed and allow it to function without political interference
            • As members of the House of Lords, the old generals would lose their places
      • The New Model Army
        • The Lord General was Sir Thomas Fairfax
        • Philip Skippon was Major-General of the Infantry
        • Advantages
          • Fairly well paid
          • Well-drilled and disciplined
          • Not attached to any regional location
          • The core of the army came from the old army of the Eastern Assocation and carried over the principles of promotion by merit
        • The first success was at Naseby in June 1645
          • Significance
            • The kings army was destroyed
            • It was a turning point, it was not the end of the war
            • The New Model gained in confidence and experience
            • Fairfax gained local support in the follow-up at Somerset
            • Rupert surrendered the last remaining royalist stronghold in the south-west, Bristol


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