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Was Charles I's choice of advisors the main reason for the political instability that existed in the years
Of all the causes of political instability in the years 1924-46 most seem to stem from Charles I choices
of advisors: Buckingham was a cause for Parliamentary concern, Laud for religious tension and
Wentworth's eventual execution led to deep distrust between Parliament and Charles.
That Charles was a King who was at least partly to blame for his execution is undisputed however
many of Charles' initial problems were inherited; his father, James I, had already somewhat degraded
the image of the monarchy with his antics and the manner in which he ran his royal court. However
the largest problems Charles inherited was the Duke of Buckingham.
Along with Buckingham came a string of military disasters, including the Mansfield expedition, and the
naval expedition to Cadiz. Buckingham lacked an attention to detail as well as carefully planned out
expeditions, his position was completely owed to nepotism, and whilst nepotism was forgivable,
Buckingham's constant foreign policy failures were not and caused much friction with Parliament,
whom Charles already resented for placing limits on his power. One of his Charles first acts was to
dissolve parliament in 1625, and again in 1626 after attempts to impeach the Duke of Buckingham
over war against Spain. Buckingham was one of the biggest causes of friction between Parliament and
Buckingham's poor diplomacy also led to other issues namely war and religion. In 1623, Buckingham
attempted to negotiate a marriage of Charles with the Spanish Infanta Maria however his behaviour
was such that he returned with a call for war with Spain. He later negotiated the betrothal to Henrietta
Maria of France, with the promise that she would be permitted to practice her religion in England.
Buckingham had already stirred up religious tensions between Puritans and Armenians at York house
and had failed to support Protestants at La Rochelle where he was in personal command. Many now
considered the Royal Court to be secretly Catholic and this bred distrust.
However, Buckingham was assassinated early in Charles reign, and so most of the kingdom's religious
issues fall on another of Charles advisors: Laud. Religious tensions between Armenians and Puritans
had already been present during James I's reign, but this was exemplified by Charles promoting of
Armenian Clergy. This, along with the traditionally Catholic practices now made mandatory in all
churches, led to much backlash from the public. Laud, dealt with this quickly, going so far as to both
organise executions and run Puritans out of England. However, when Laud and Earl Strafford, another
advisor in Ireland, extended their programmed of reform to Scotland, attempting to introduce the
English Book of Common Prayer, a war was waged in Ireland and Scotland separately. The two advisors
prevented a united kingdom and led to the Charles and his court being widely disliked.
There are other factors at play and whilst the King and his advisors are partly to blame some must also
lie on the shoulders of Parliament. Parliament had instantly distrusted Charles, he had promised to
fight against the French only for his soldiers to arrive there and be given the command to defend
them. Such a flighty King must be controlled and so only granted poundage and tonnage for a year so
that Parliament would have to be called on a regular basis. Furthermore, they only granted a quarter
of what was needed to wage an effective war, and were very critical, perhaps rightly so, of his
advisors, all this led to political tension between Parliament and Charles, who resented their attempts
to prevent his absolute rule. Eventually, his anger was too much, and he dissolved parliament in 1625,
and again in 1626, only calling upon them when he desperately needed money. When they were
recalled they refused to grant Charles any money until their grievances were heard, releasing the ten
propositions, and then 19 propositions gradually increasing that would turn Charles to `a mere
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phantom of a King.' Parliament's attempt to disrupt Charles Divine Right to rule was the main reason
for political conflict between the King and themselves.
Charles ruled mainly through his advisors and their mistakes are outlined above, personally the largest
cause for political cause was derived from his decision to rule without Parliament for eleven years.…read more