The origins of the civil war

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The Origins of the Civil War 16401642
The Election of the Long Parliament
Anticourt consensus
A consensus is a general agreement or shared attitude. The Anti court Consensus is
referring to the majority of MP's who assembled in November 1640. These MP's agreed that
the courts policies had to be stopped. In November 1640 Parliament was united in a set of
negative attitudes:
Wanted to punish the Kings advisors "Windibank, Finch especially Laud and
Determined to stop a move of the church into Catholicism. Laudian changes had to
be reversed.
They wanted to restore Constitutional balance between the rights of the subjects
and the rights of the king. They believed the last 10 years had been Charles attempt
to set up a semiabsolutist state.
Wished to eliminate the financial innovation of personal rule: Forest law, Ship
They wanted to get rid of the court of Wards which had doubled its income during
the personal rule, as well as Star Chamber and High Commission Basically all
prerogative courts were to be abolished.
Many MP's believed that the Parliament of 1640 would be the last chance to reverse the
trends of the 1630's before England became a Roman Catholic dominated absolutist state.
Many were apprehensive about Wentworth, whose record in Ireland indicated a minister
who could ruthlessly get things done and could make absolutism work.
The Aims of MP's
MP's saw that their job in Parliament was to restore the old constitution as they saw it not
to start a revolution. The MP's were united in their fear of popery and fear of absolutism. In
1640 no one could foresee that in 1642 a section of Parliament would find itself at war with
the king, there would be an armed rebellion and that in 1649 finally the execution of

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The First Session of the Long Parliament Nov 16401641
The fall of Wentworth (Earl of Stratford) Nov 1640 May 1641
First target of the anticourt consensus were the Kings evil advisors. Laud was arrested and
sent to the tower eventually executed in 1645 (WOOO). Wentworth was feared in Ireland
and hated in England; English Gentry believed he was trying to set up an absolutist state in
England. Parliament was determined to eliminate the threat of a ruthless minister.…read more

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John Pym and Opposition to the Crown
Some MP's worried about the legality of Wentworth's execution, but he presented these
measures as being necessary to safeguarding the freedoms of the commons, he played on
fears of Catholic conspiracy. Prominent supports of Pym like Sir Henry Vane and Oliver St
John. Pym had a strategy to replace Charles advisors with his own men, putting them on the
council could influence the king.…read more

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The Emergence Divisions
Pym saw Henrietta Maria and her associates at court as being dangerous influences on
Charles. Henrietta Maria never understood the ideas behind the English constitution, in such
sensitive times her ignorance was to be of critical importance. Edward Hyde was a
"Constitutional Royalist" ­ these were people who had opposed royal policies during the
1630's, they saw them as radical and undermining the constitution. They disliked Laudian
changes to the churches and they agreed to the execution of Wentworth.…read more

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Now the oppressive rule of Wentworth had been removed the Catholic Irish had risen
against the Presbyteries, 4,000 Protestant died in the massacres. Horror stories which
circulated grew more and more distressing. The revolt was, once again, damaging to
The rebels claimed (falsely) to be acting in his name
As the full implications of the revolt sank in, one question was paramount. An army
would have to be raised to squash the rebellion.…read more

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The Militia Ordinance of 1642, this ordered the appointing of officers to the military with
orders that they make sure the Militia was prepared. Issued by Parliament. (In theory only
could be issued by the king)
The Commission of Array
The King did not have a great deal of success in getting the county militias to support
him. By the summer Parliaments position seemed to be stronger despite Hyde's
skilful royalist propaganda.…read more


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