the establishment of the protectorate


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The establishment of the protectorate
After barebones fell England technically didn't have a constitution or a government. However there
had always been a group of army officers who had prepared a constitution with moderate reforms
that might command widespread support.
The aim was for it to allow civilian constitutional government and would satisfy some of the demands
for reform from the beginning of the civil war. It would also give the army a permanent life as an
accepted, settled part of government by laying down n law a permanent `standing army'.
The leading thinker in all this was John Lambert who at the beginning of Barebones drew up the
Instrument of Government. Therefore we can see that the coup of 12 December was not a
despairing gesture by the moderates as they knew the constitution had already been given to
Cromwell and the majority of council officers were behind it
On 16 December 1653 Cromwell accepted the Instrument of Government and became Lord
The main provisions of the Instrument sated that the Lord Protector would be Head of State and in
control of the army with the consent of parliament
A council was named with a system of replacing councillors in which parliament had a part and every
male over 21 with either land or goods worth £200 should vote
Yearly revenue was established to support a standing army of 30,000plus navy. There was also to be
religious toleration for all except Anglicans and Catholics. There would be a permanent yearly sum of
£200,000 to support the protector's government.
This was all seen as a move towards a more settled `conservative' regime. However there were
some more moderate reforms such as control of the executive and some electoral reforms.
It can be argued that it was a sensible bid to produce a settlement. It was not just a swing towards
conservatives or a puppet Constitution controlled by the army. The army's power remained behind
the scenes and the success of the constitution depended on the Lord Protector`s ability to balance
civilian and military interests.


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