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

Describing Oliver Cromwell as a self made man does not get things quite right. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Describing Cromwell as a self-made man, risen from obscurity, does not get things quite right. Discuss. There are conflicting views on Oliver Cromwell's rise to prominence, and whether he should be seen as a "self-made man". His prominent role in the Long parliament has lead some historians to believe that family connections were an essential factor in Cromwell being able to accumulate so much power so quickly. Despite Cromwell's political inexperience, he sat on all eighteen committees in the parliament's first session, and only six days after its start, it was him who presented the petition of John Lilburne against sentence passed on him by the star chamber. Gaunt raises the point that, as a relatively obscure figure, it seems that Cromwell must have had some assistance from within parliament in order for him to have such a prominent role in the proceedings- thus going against the concept of the "self-made man". ...read more.


Coward even goes as far as to describe Cromwell as a "political liability": he repeatedly got into trouble in parliament due to his excitability and impetuosity, for example in the row over the Huntingdon trials in 1630. His speech as the seconder of Vane's motion to sequester charges against thirteen bishops in October 1640 was so undiplomatic that Sir Simonds D'ewes, who was at first in favour of the motion, felt obliged to change his viewpoint and speak against it. This lack of political tact seems to go against the idea of a man who had "risen from obscurity" on his own merit- suggesting that some other key factor must have lead to his being able to do so. Cromwell did find success, however, as the country slid into civil war- as Morrill points out, Cromwell was one of a few who took initiative in these conditions- this can be seen in the way he energised the militias of his home counties. ...read more.


In conclusion, Cromwell cannot be seen as a completely "self-made man". Family connections to leading critics of royal government at the very least helped to account for his prominence so early on in the Long Parliament, despite his lack of political experience, but the view of Cromwell as a 'puppet' to those who helped him to gain his position does not seem accurate. His apparent lack of political tact also implies that Cromwell had some help in securing his position in the Long Parliament, although later, at the break of the civil war, he worked on his own initiative very successfully. His belief that he was part of a divine plan motivated and sustained him, and over time this became an increasingly important factor in his rise to prominence- overtaking the initial 'push' that his family connections gave him. However, it does seem unlikely that Cromwell would have risen to prominence in the way that he did without having connections to "pull him into the orbit" of the great reformers at Westminster. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Did Oliver Cromwell achieve his objectives from 1642 to 1658?

    5 star(s)

    National Church was a failure, but there were a number of reforms he made which were far from failures. The Triers and Ejectors scheme which I described earlier had many beneficial effects, Richard Baxter; a minister of the time said of the Triers and Ejectors, "saved many a congregation from ignorant, ungodly, drunken teachers."

  2. History Independant study - Oliver Cromwell

    Similarly, Cromwell had won the civil war and although Charles believed 'he was responsible to God alone for his actions,'10 by losing the war he had lost his throne and his rights as King.

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

    Barnard also states that a certain Major General, Worsley, was unique due to his range of work in local aid, 'Worsley also sought to improve poor relief, to provide work and to control the prices and distribution of vital commodities'.

  2. Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain?

    Cromwell also led the armed forces of Parliament to victory in the English Civil War. The second-last phase of his life was Ireland. After the execution of Charles in September 11th 1649, he ordered the conquest of Ireland, massacring civilians at Drogheda and Wexford, and the remaining population was constrained by the Act of Settlement in 1653.

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