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King Charles I

On January 30, 1649 there occurred something that had never before happened in
the course of history, and this was a regicide. Regicide is when a king is put to trial and
sentenced to death by his own subjects. This happened for the first time in England to
King Charles I. Charles was a tyrant king from the beginning of his reign. Eventually
England grew sick of this tyrant king and Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the pack.
Charles attempted to terminate Parliament, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s
back, and now civil war was upon the people of England.

It seemed as though Charles I could do nothing right, but its not as though he
tried. Up until the end of the English Civil War there had been many disputes over
religious, political, economical and social matters. The English economy was crashing,
Charles did not bother taxing people. He instead began to sell common lands to
aristocrats. This enraged the peasants and middle class, making Charles many enemies.
The main reason for the selling of these lands was to fund an attack on the Scots. At this
time England’s army was almost nonexistent and there was little money to fund one. So
selling the common land was Charles’ only option in his mind. This did not sit well with
the people of England.

Before Charles came to power, it was the idea that the Anglican
Church would not have any religious icons like that of the Roman Catholic Church. But
once Charles came to power, he began to place golden crosses, tabernacles, and tapestries
throughout Anglican Churches. This was not taken very well by the Protestant people of
England. So by now Charles has made himself many enemies. It finally turned into a
conflict once Parliament had been called. The members of Parliament quarreled with the
king about his wrongs to his subjects. But the king was not going to listen, he wanted
things his way and no one else’s. And now civil war was knocking on the king’s door.
Two sides had been formed to fight the war. There were the Cavaliers who were
in favor to the king and the Roundheads who were Puritans and they fought for the
common people. The Roundheads were led by Oliver Cromwell. The first battle of the
English Civil War was the Battle of Naesby. Although it was a Royalist victory, it
showed the Roundheads what they needed to work on. They lacked organization. Oliver
Cromwell saw this and brought together a group of men and trained them to the best of
his ability. Once he saw they were obtaining the skills of a soldier he went off to fight.
They met up with the Royalists at the Battle of Edgehill. Oliver Cromwell’s New Model
Army quickly defeated the Cavaliers. Soon the power would be shifting in England and
Charles I would be brought to trial and found guilty of high treason. This crime was
punishable with death by way of decapitation.

Once the king had been executed it was time for England to find a new ruler. The
people turned to Oliver Cromwell. With Cromwell the new appointed ruler, England
would become a republic and Cromwell was the Lord Protector. His rule is known as a
military dictatorship. Cromwell ruled England up until his death. His son tried to
succeed him and was unable to be a success. So there was a restoration of the Monarchy
with Charles II coming to power. Charles II removed the country’s blue laws and
restored full power to the Anglican Church. He also developed political parties. There
were Tories who supported the king and there were Whigs who supported Parliament.
After Charles II died, James II came into power. James appointed Catholics to positions
of power and Whigs and Tories became united. The next rulers of England were William
of Orange and Mary who was James II’s daughter. They were invited by Parliament to
take control of England. This is known as the Bloodless Revolution. King William and
Queen Mary helped to restore England and bring it back to being a world power.
William and Mary introduced a Bill of Rights. In the Bill of Rights it said that,
Parliament would be called annually. Parliament was also given the power to control the
king’s revenues. Subjects were given the right to petition the king. There could be free
elections and debates at any given time. There was a change to they judicial system,
everyone was given the right to be tried by a jury and the right of bail. The king would
not be able to suspend any law without Parliament agreeing. England would not be able
to have a standing army during peace time. And no Roman Catholic could hold or share
the throne. This would be called a Constitutional Monarchy. It created a balance in the
English government helping it become a world power for many years.

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