• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Cromwells contribution was greater off the battlefield than on it. How far do you agree with this view of Cromwells role in the First Civil War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Cromwell's contribution was greater off the battlefield than on it". How far do you agree with this view of Cromwell's role in the First Civil War? Many historians have argued that Cromwell's rise to prominence was through his work during the First Civil War (1642-1646). This work can be split into two sections: on the battlefield and off the battlefield. On the battlefield, his main success came during the Battle of Marston Moor and Battle of Naseby, whilst off the battlefield he was instrumental in passing the Self-Denying Ordinance which created the path to victory for Parliament. Cromwell's early military engagements in East Anglia had been relatively successful compared to other parliamentary generals during the first two years of the First Civil War. The Eastern Association, Cromwell's army, were successful in several minor battles, namely Gainsborough, Winceby and Grantham. This prevented the Royalists from controlling Lincolnshire. These victories had provided much-needed propaganda for parliamentary newspapers, during a year in which the Royalists were clearly the stronger side. In addition, Cromwell also stopped the proclamation of the Royalist commission of array in Hertfordshire. However, it should be noted that these triumphs were trivial, and when placed in the context of the entire war its only function was to delay the southward march of the Earl of Newcastle's army. ...read more.

Middle

It may appear that all Cromwell's military actions all resulted in victories. This is not the case. Even in 1643, Cromwell had some failures as a soldier. Although he was successful in East Anglia, he completely failed whenever he tried to participate in wider military engagements. By the summer of that year, his military position was as dire as other parliamentary generals, and thus was in no position to provide military support. Meanwhile, Cromwell's military failures after Marston Moor include the Battle of Newbury and Battle of Donnington Castle. However, these failures were minor and did not have as much an impact as his victories. For instance, the Battle of Marston Moor was not decisive, so the loss at Donnington Castle did not mean that parliament lost the opportunity to win the war. On the other hand, Essex's loss at Lostwithiel was much more consequential since it negated the advantage gained at Marston Moor. One might wonder whether if Essex had not lost at Lostwithiel, parliament would have won the war much earlier due to the advantage gained at Marston Moor. Therefore, Cromwell's military failures are cancelled out by his more important successes. These military successes turned Cromwell into a parliamentary hero. As a result, he was able to advance his political influence. In the political arena, Cromwell was able to a more integral part than before the civil war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cromwell's paucity of political aptitude is also seen when he attacks Manchester in November 1644. This attack split parliament into rival two factions: peace party and war party, which would have consequences after the war. Although Cromwell did try to unite the factions together, he was responsible for the breakout in the first place, thus implying a negative contribution off the battlefield. Therefore, one finds that Cromwell's contribution off the battlefield is not as desirable as his military contribution. His political contribution alone could not have won the war for parliament, whereas his military contribution on its own could have won the war for parliament. In conclusion, Cromwell's role on the battlefield and in the political arena cannot be underestimated; in both areas he was useful and helpful towards parliament's cause. However, Cromwell's role main role was on the battlefield where he led many parliamentary armies to victories in full-scale battles as well as minor skirmishes, which eventually ensured triumph for parliament over the king. These victories allowed him to acquire an increased status not only militarily but also politically, which gave him more influences in parliamentary affairs on and off the battlefield. Nevertheless, politically he did not architect any notable event, even the Self-Denying Ordinance wasn't devised by Cromwell. On the other hand, militarily he guided a parliamentary side from near defeat in 1643 to victory three years later. Thus, this gives the impression that Cromwell's contribution was greater on the battlefield. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Interpretations of Cromwell's actions at Drogheda - Explain how Cromwell's actions at Drogheda have ...

    This source is unreliable because it was written by Cromwell to parliament and all Cromwell wanted to do is impress parliament. Source C says, Cromwell had killed many of them then he thought that the rest will surrender, then there will be no more killing.

  2. HENRY V-CRIMINAL OR WAR HERO?

    Henry takes his responsibilities seriously for his country. Thirdly, in the scripts of Henry V it shows Henry as a religious man, which leads me to believe he isn't a war criminal. To show that Henry is religious, Shakespeare uses constant references to God in his speeches throughout the play.

  1. Oliver Cromwell - Hero or Villain?

    It was a tragedy that touched many hearts. But why did it happen, and who was responsible? Charles I, became a prisoner of the New Model Army, who tried to make a deal with him, but because he still believed that god meant him to be a powerful king, he

  2. An unmitigated disaster. How valid is this assessment of Oliver Cromwells experiment with the ...

    (Major-General Edward Whalley to Secretary Thurloe, 24 November 1655) This letter, but also the process Whalley is taking to have this man removed shows the Major General system to be incredibly centralised, as he is looking for direction, orders and support in the tasks they carry out. However, he is a Major General, he should have the power to either have Boteman taken care of or removed himself.

  1. How far do you agree with Elton's interpretation of the roles of Somerset and ...

    In a similar vein to his belief that he could appease the religious extremes, attempting to pacify a discontented populace with piecemeal anti-enclosure measures and a fake reform programme was equally naive. Somerset fell from grace because of his own inability to rule; Elton's assessment was clearly correct: "Somerset was ...

  2. The roles and leadership of Charles Stuart and John Pym in the English Civil ...

    Then there was the 'War group', led by Sir Henry Vane, Sir Arthur Haselrig and the republican Henry Marten. This group openly sought a total victory against the Royalists and wanted to severely reduce the kings powers. Then, the middle group between these two extremes was led by John Pym

  1. Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain?

    After the war, Cromwell told parliament-"This is the hand of God, and to Him alone belongs the glory", once again this shows us that Cromwell was very Godly. It was a remarkable achievement for a man who probably had no military experience before 1642.

  2. What were Cromwell's Religious aims?

    A law was soon passed which made these even stricter and Cromwell made some efforts to enforce these laws. Cromwell ensured that the system of Triers and Ejectors was working efficiently and correctly so that only godly ministers would be put in place in parishes so that they could teach the people about the 'true' god.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work