English Civil War There Is Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

" (Stoyle, 2005)

While the hope was that following the retreat of the Scots was the "...resurgence of English power" would ensue, these hopes were in vain because in October 1641 "Ireland - whose inhabitants were simultaneously appalled by the prospect of a puritan Parliament achieving political dominance in England...burst into rebellion." (Stoyle, 2005) Resulting was that in just a few weeks the power of the English in Ireland "had been reduced to a handful of coastal enclaves." (Stoyle, 2005)

The English government was "paralyzed by internal quarrels" and nothing was left that could remedy the situation. Stoyle writes that "by early 1642 both Scotland and Ireland had achieved a de facto independence, and English power in the Atlantic archipelago was weaker than it had been for centuries." (2005) the self-confidence of the English is stated to have "crumpled beneath the impact of these successive hammer-blows and, as they watched the countries that they had long regarded as satellites spinning out of their control, Englishmen and women grew increasingly concerned about the territorial integrity of England itself." (Stoyle, 2005)


Ashton and Parry write that the root of the problem between the king and the parliament was that of 'distrust'. There was one group that believed that it would only take a show of force to end the problem however, others simply did not trust the king. Complicating matters was the lower classes which were in a crisis and the ever deepening chasm between the lower and ruling class driven by the "fear of papists, the sharp decline of trade and industry, and an upsurge of class-feeling and class-hostility." (1970) as the crisis over the Earl of Strafford reached a crescendo on May 5, 1642 the "Bill of Attainder has passed the Commons and was now before the Lords" and the king was "making desperate efforts to save the earl from execution" there was great doubt that this bill would pass the lords. At this time there was a plot afoot to rescue the earl from the Tower and in the House of Commons a debate was interrupted "...a sudden noise from the direction of the gallery..." while Robert Mansell "drew his sword and bade them stand like true Englishmen, no man being able to report the cause of their fright, but no man stayed with him. But he advanced alone out of the Hall towards the House of Commons, with his sword drawn...." (Ashton and Parry, 1970) it is stated that at this time rapidly spreading throughout London was "the cry...that the Papists had set the Lower House on fire, and had beset it with arms." (Ashton and Parry, 1970) reading of this work reveals that time and time again frightened towns and villages prepared for battle that never arrived to be waged upon them. On the 15th day of February Ashton and Parry relates that petitioners numbering nearly 1,000 arrived in London with a petition from Leicestershire and another 1,500 to 3,000 followed two days later arriving from Sussex. The petitions were for applying pressure on the House of Lords for their consent "to the demands of the majority of the House of Commons for the removal of evil counselors from about the king, for the expulsion of bishops and poppish peers from the House of Lords and for the putting of the Tower of London, the forts and militia of the kingdom into the hands of such persons as the two Houses could trust." (Ashton and Parry, 1970) Stated to be the most "prominent theme in all these petitions was the decay of trade and industry." (Ashton and Parry, 1970) the economy was paralyzed in London and had spread outward into England due to the uncertainty of the political situation. This petition laid the blame of the economy on the ongoing disagreements between the king, Lords and Commons..." (Ashton and Parry, 1970) Pearl (1967) writes that the disagreement in the view of the aristocracy and gentry was that it "was essentially a conflict over political power and public safety."

It is written in the work of Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner entitled: "Classical Liberty and the English Civil War" that "the need to secure, life, liberty and estates against such encroachments continued to be asserted throughout the period up to the start of the fighting in the autumn of 1642." (2002) Orr (2003) in the work entitled: "Treason and the State: Law, Politics and Ideology in the English Civil War" that revolutionary "political thinking such as one might attribute to the likes of Hobbes, Milton, Sidney or Harrington, was the fruit of this era not its cause."


This work has demonstrated the truth in the statement of thesis in this work which posited that while a general debate among historians exists as to precisely what started the English Civil War that indeed disagreement among the king and the House of Lords and the House of Commons as well as the failing economy both were basis for the beginnings of the English Civil War and that both of these were inherently dependent upon one another. These combined with the fear of the public at large for the safety of their lives and estates served to drive the English Civil War.


Ashton, Robert and Parry, Raymond Howard (1970) the Civil War and After, 1642-1658. University of California Press, 1970.

Donogan, Barbara (2008) Civil War in Three Kingdoms: Huntington Library Quarterly. Vol. 71 No. 3, September 2008.

Gelderen, M.V. And Skinner, Q. (2002) Classical Liberty and the English Civil War. Cambridge University Press 2002.

Hughes, Ann (1998) the Causes of the English Civil War. Macmillan, 1998.

MacCormack, J.R. (1956) the Irish Adventurers and the English Civil War. Irish Historical Studies Vol. 10, No. 37. March 1956. Irish Historical Studies Publications Ltd.

Orr, Alan (2003) Treason and the State: Law, Politics and Ideology in the English Civil War. Cambridge University Press. Early Modern British History.

Pearl, Valerie (1967) the 'Royal Independents' in…

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