The English Civil War Essay

2216 words - 9 pages

The English Civil War


The English Civil War was a complicated, intellectual war between the two most powerful forces in England: Parliament and the King. Conflicts between the two powers began when King Charles I dissolved Parliament in 1625 because they would not give him the money he demanded to fund his war against Spain. Parliament, who was lead by John Pym, felt that the King was showing favouritism towards the Roman Catholics, especially since Charles had recently married the Roman Catholic French Princess. Although Charles recalled Parliament in 1626, he proceeded to dissolve the second Parliament mainly because it attempted to impeach him. John Pym, who had been prevented from being elected to the second Parliament, was re-elected into the third Parliament and was looking for revenge on King Charles. He refused to give Charles supplies for his war until certain issues such as forced loans, compulsory billeting and arbitrary imprisonment had been addressed. The King attempted to bargain with Parliament, agreeing that Parliament could no longer be dissolved and that it had to be called regularly. When the Irish rebellion broke out, Pym took the opportunity to blame Charles and his administration for the rebellion. Pym stated that the parties at fault should be dismissed and replaced with people approved by Parliament. Charles attempted to impeach Pym and others, but word of his plans leaked out and the individuals got away. This was the beginning of conflicts between Parliament and the King and although discussions between the two groups went on until March of 1641, war was inevitable. When the war began, it was clear that the King held the upper hand. However, after four years of fighting (1642 - 1646), Parliament emerged victorious, lead by Oliver Cromwell who had obtained leadership after the Marston Moor battle. Although it took more then eighteen years for the results of the civil war to settle, there were no long term effects of the war. While there were minor reforms to the system, the people, the Church and the Monarchy of England went back to living their lives relatively the same as they had before the start of the English Civil War. Violence during the English Civil war effected hundreds of thousands of English civilians. However, “while violence killed thousands of people...the impact of the war - as a war - was surprisingly limited.” Casualties during the war were high: 190 000 people died in England and 868 000, or 11.6% of the population, perished within the British Isles. This number was only a third of the amount of people who died in England during the great plague of 1570 - 1670. King Charles II was content with putting things aside and starting over again, and it seemed like the people of England were too. Although women and children lost husbands and fathers, their loses were quickly replaced by new husbands or relatives to help out. By the end of the war, most people simply wanted to get on with their lives...

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