Why Civil War Broke Out In England In 1642

1023 words - 5 pages

In 1642, King Charles raised his royal standard in Nottingham, marking the beginning of the English Civil War. The next ten years saw the Cavaliers (supporters of the King) and the Roundheads (supporters of the parliament) engaged in a vicious battle for their respective leaders with the Roundheads ultimately victorious. This essay will attempt to explain why civil war broke out in England while summarizing the story behind the antagonism of the two parties.
One of the key factors that led to the civil war was the contrasting beliefs of King Charles and the parliament. The monarchy believed in the divine rights of kings, explained by Fisher (1994, p335) as a biblically-based belief that the king or queen's authority comes directly from God and that he is not subjected to the demands of the people. On the other hand, the parliament had a strong democratic stance and though they respected and recognized the king's authority, they were constantly desiring and fighting for more rights to power. Although climaxing at the reign of King Charles, their antagonism stretched for centuries long before his birth and much of the power that once belonged to the monarchy had shifted over to the parliament by the time he came into power.
Customarily, whenever a new monarch came into power, the parliament would vote the amount of tonnage and poundage (the allowance of the king or queen) to give him or her for their entire lifetime. However, they only voted for a year's allowance for King Charles. Cust (2005, p. 45) suggests that the reason behind the parliament's action was because of their disagreement with King Charles concerning England's involvement in the Thirty Year War. As this was his main source of income, King Charles was expectedly unhappy with the parliament's decision.
Summoned by the King on numerous occasions, the parliament steadfastly refused his requests for financial aid. Instead, they used the parliamentary meetings (that the King had intended for financial purposes) to voice their displeasures concerning his policies. Having already been dismissed twice by King Charles, the parliament was called for a third time in 1628. Under pressure by the parliament and in need of finances, King Charles was forced to sign the "Petition of Rights" which prohibited the King from transgressing specific laws, some of which he had infringed during his reign. Although the King was granted the funds that he needed, the continual complaints and criticism of the parliament towards him led to their dismissal once again. Having came to the realization that the parliament was not needed if finances were not needed, King Charles made peace with England's enemies, which ended their involvement in the "Thirty Years War". His evaluations were true and the parliament was not called on again for another eleven years.
Without the financial backing of the parliament, King Charles's was forced to seek his own means of finances. He gained a significant amount of...

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