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Army Radicalism

  • By 1648 the army were owed 18 weeks pay - caused resentment of Parliament
  • Became incrementally more involved in politics: Solemn Engagement at Newmarket (MAY 1647) - Heads of Proposals (AUG) - Case of the Army Truly Stated  (OCT) 
  • Divisions between rank and file and 'grandees' gave rise to influence of THE LEVELLERS - a pressure group of junior officers who were strongly republican and determined to reach Army involvement in a political settlement.
  • This developed into quite universal ideas about enfranchisement and equality. Putney Debates (OCT - NOV) and the Agreement of the People (OCT)
  • Historiographically there is debate about the actual extent of Leveller influence: some say it did not go beyond a small group of junior officers, some say there is evidence for huge public support. 
  • They were also masters of propaganda, must be considered that their radical ideas influenced the decisions of the rest of the army, who felt the need to respond to pressure from rank and file. (LEAD TO PRIDE'S PURGE? DEC 1648) Also increased reactionism of moderates. 
  • Meant the higher ranks of the army are looking inward to sort out divisions, and the Engagement happened without them - now considering themselves a key player this would have angered them.
  • Many in the army also wanted an independent religious settlement - desire for this had come about during Civil War after radical preachings of army chaplains like Hugh Peter.
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Parliament

  • Divided nature of Parliament after the Civil War: - war and peace parties died out after end of ECW but crucial divide between Independents and Presbyterians remained. 
  • Presbyterians wanted a religious settlement - Independents religious toleration. Religious issues were hard to discuss in Parliament. 
  • Presbyterians were convinced of absolute necessity of King's involvement in a settlement - Independents did not trust him and wanted to limit his power.
  • This division and ideological disparity only went towards prolonging Parliament negotiations
  • E.G Treaty of Newport discussions (SEPT - NOVEMBER 48) overstretched their 30 day limit.
  • Parliament also guilty of mistreating the army - Holles attempted to disband them with only HALF their owed pay.
  • This exacerbated their resentment towards their former masters and increased their desire to get involved in politics.
  • If learnt from army mutinies of 1646-47 it is arguable that we never would have got to Pride's Purge.
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Charles' actions

  • Some historians say that regicide was the result of long-term anti monarchial sentiment BUT equally viable that it was antagonism directed specifically at Charles.
  • MAIN mistake was prolonging negotiations - some records suggest he was doing this purposefully to divide his enemies thinking they would turn to him for stability. 
  • I.E rejecting the Newcastle Propositions (JUNE 1646) and others.
  • In actuality this only prolonged the time in which the army would become increasingly bitter
  • Engagement with the Scots in December 1647 whilst gaining an ally unified the army and Independents against the revived Royalist threat and was a contributing factor in the causes of the Second Civil War. 
  • Politically the SCW was crucial because it not only strengthened the Presbyterian case for a negotiated settlement but increased the army's being against any such settlement. 
  • Furthermore the Engagement arguably encouraged the Vote of No Adresses in January 1648 which stopped negotiations with Charles completely. 
  • Charles did not assess his threats enough - didn't recognise the importance of the Army as a key player 
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