The search for settled government 1646-1653

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  • The search for settled government 1646-1653
    • Victors divided
      • Parliament concerned by growing number of radial groups
        • wanted quick settlement to avoid anarchy
      • Parliament divided by hardliners or moderates
        • Hardliners = disbanding of army will allow King to dictate settlement
        • Moderates = wish to pay off Scots quickly, disband NMA + send some to Ireland
      • Also divided in religious terms
    • Army politicised
      • Owed £3million in arrears + frightened of Cavalier backlash when disbanded
      • June 1647 - seized Charles + took charge of London
      • Army officers + men elected a 'General Council of the Army'
    • Army divided
      • Rank + File distrustful of officers - seen as corrupt
      • Influenced by ideas of levellers
        • Leveller inspired mutinees 1647+1649
      • Apparently patched up at Putney Debates 1647 BUT divisions clear
    • Levellers
      • Group of intellectuals who wished for end of tyrannical Kings + Parliaments
        • wanted end to central government + have decisions made at a local level
      • Led by John Lilburne
      • Not a serious threat
      • Not a coherent party - not well organised, had no clear programme
    • Scots
      • 1646 - had the King + wanted Presbyterian church in England too
      • Scots handed over King Jan. 1647
    • Intransigence of the King
      • All parties 1646-48 thought King would be restored to power
        • Charles thought he could use this to his advantage
          • Thought he could retain prerogative powers
      • Charles believed God had turned against him
      • He played for time - helped spark second civil war (1648) in negotiations with Scots
      • Army leaders + Rump decided to execute him Jan 1649
    • Reasons for Charles' execution
      • Not for ideological reasons
      • Mostly practical reasons - could be no lasting settlement with the King
        • Charles not prepared to negotiate properly + sparked second civil war
          • Army called him 'this man of blood'
    • King's refusal to negotiate with rebels
      • Thought his enemies would fall out among themselves (they did)
      • Thought God had moved against him
        • He had given up God given powers prior to the war
      • Would rather be a martyr than give up powers


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