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

Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, c.1642 - c.1658 - Did Oliver Cromwell Achieve his Objectives?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, c.1642 - c.1658 Objective B - Did Oliver Cromwell Achieve his Objectives? To begin answering this question, one must first identify what Cromwell's objectives actually were. The three main aspects that really concerned Cromwell were political, social and religious. Oliver was a very undecided man and often his aims were unclear. He is one of the most controversial figures in history and head of Britain's only republican government to date. There is little doubt that his religion was most important to Cromwell, and that his aims in this area spilled over into his other policies. Almost everything he did was mingled with the idea of providence or the will of God as he saw it; he often used God to cloak his true ambitions. Cromwell's main objectives were indisputably the "healing and settlement" and Godly reformation of the country. The problem that arises is that they are incompatible and almost contradict each other; this incompatibility and contradiction goes as deep as his own personality. The most important factor in Cromwell's life was God. Cromwell was originally from the lower gentry and a social conservative at heart, but a radical zealot at the same time. This most unusual radical conservatism (or in the words of Blair Wordon - "ideological schizophrenia") was the cause of most of the failures he suffered; he could never satisfy both sides effectively. It is possible that this was genuine schizophrenia, as before he found God he was diagnosed with "melancholy" [depression] by a physician. ...read more.

Middle

Two things they hated were religious liberty and the army (mainly because of the army's huge influence in government), and Cromwell was strongly associated with both. It took Cromwell weeks to decide not to accept the crown. His eventual decline of the offer was ultimately down to his strong will to do God's bidding. By providence God had shown that the capital punishment of Charles I was right, and the army had fought a most unpleasant civil war for parliament and a change in the constitution. He knew that the army would have been likely to rise up against him if he accepted, as this is just what they had fought to remove. However, Cromwell was not at all happy with the execution; his conservative side longed for a peaceful settlement with the king. What probably took him so long to decline was that he knew the crown could have provided the settlement the country needed. It is clear that the majority of the population were in a way lost without a divine king to rule them, and this can be seen with the benefit or retrospect as the crown was back only two years after Cromwell's death. However there is in addition a less spiritual reason; if Cromwell had accepted he would have had reduced powers to carry out the reforms he wanted; his powers as Lord Protector were far greater than the king's. Perhaps he was also contemplating whether or not the crown was one of his objectives. ...read more.

Conclusion

A modern and impressive navy was also constructed, and most of the old rivalries disappeared. Indeed, people like Thomas Mainwaring in particular held banquets at which old civil war adversaries dined together. An obvious example of Cromwell's own personal achievement was his military prowess. He rose through the ranks to become head of the best army England had known, and it was this position that enabled him to take on the role of Lord Protector after the regicide. Cromwell's main objective of Godly reformation was essentially a failure that resulted in the restoration of the monarchy a mere two years after his death. The reasons for this failure are twofold: The apathy or unwillingness of the population towards becoming God's nation and Cromwell himself. He could not manage to create one stable government in all his time as Lord Protector. And although he failed in his main task in the long run, it was a noble attempt that set a precedent in world politics. The progress made to settle and heal the country made their mark too. Cromwell's zeal had got him to the number one spot in the country, but once there he was did not appear to be able to make good his ideals. Cromwell's early life and upbringing as an English gentleman held him back from any tangible radical reformation and the ideas of settlement and reformation were in continuous conflict in his mind. All quotes are taken directly from, or from sources in: "Stuart England (1603-1714)" - B. Coward 1 James Leggett JP 2177 ...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)

    Let him be protected." However the various sects of the Protestant church grew further apart, all becoming more intolerant of each other, creating the opposite of Cromwell's goal, a splintered Protestant Church. This hugely frustrated Cromwell, he claimed, "everyone desires to have liberty, but no-one will give it."

  2. Oliver Cromwell - Hero or Villain?

    I mean what was he trying to prove? What did that baby ever do to him? And all of this, just because he thought that it was his duty. The army also thought that it was their duty too. (Well, we all know who that was down to- don't we!)

  1. Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain?

    It should have been obvious that he was a Taurus. The third phase of his life was military. In 1642, Cromwell was an active and committed officer in the parliamentary army. In 1643, he was promoted to colonel and given command of his own cavalry regiment.

  2. What was the Edwardian Reformation and how successful was it?

    However the Prayer Book was never intended to be this revolutionary, and we can see in the objection made by Cranmer when John Knox complained of the communiants kneeling to take the sacraments, leading to the so-called Black Rubric, that he was had developed his own thought-patterns.

  1. Why was Thomas Cromwell able to make such extensive reforms in Government, when Cardinal ...

    he realized that he needed the money and agreed to grant an amnesty to it in 1523 (partly also due to the fact that he was concerned that revolts would arise). Cromwell on the other hand, passed a statute to face this problem.

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

    This only helped to boost Parliaments situation as due to the lack of discontent amongst the farming majority, and the co-operation from county committees they were able to get the best out of the counties that they ruled over, and got many farmers to join their armies.

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

    Moreover, the Major Generals were instructed to observe all disaffected, idle and loose people as they were also consider a threat to the regime. Cromwell and the Major Generals were aware of social security as they were looking after and caring for the republic's people and those who were considered

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

    that his family connections must have at least played a part in pulling him "into the orbit" of these influential figures at Westminster. However, Coward also stresses the danger of assuming that "family relationships are necessarily the basis for firm political alliances".

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