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Were the MPs of the Rump primarily responsible for their expulsion in 1653?

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Were the MPs of the Rump primarily responsible for their expulsion in 1653? The historical debate asks whether the Rump were revolutionaries who became corrupt - thus justifying their expulsion in 1653 - or whether it was a premeditated act by Cromwell and the army that overthrew an otherwise well-running Parliament. Roger Lockyer supports the former argument; he suggests that Cromwell gave the Rump every opportunity to hold new elections, and it was only after recurrent provocations that he retaliated. Blair Worden, on the other hand, argues that the Rump was expelled because they were going to hold new elections; the army would be threatened by the votes of a conservative population, and Cromwell stepped in to defend them. It could be argued that the Rump was corrupt through self-perpetuation; following his return to London after the Battle of Worcester, Cromwell immediately began to put pressure on the Rump to call new elections. ...read more.


Lockyer argues that the Rump's inactivity was what pushed Cromwell's patience to the point of dissolving them: they introduced a series of Acts apparently in order to promote godly reform - the Act against non-observance of the Sabbath, the Adultery Act and the Blasphemy Act - but none were ever really enforced. The Act for the Propagation of the Gospel in northern England and Wales was introduced in April 1651, but no money was provided for it, and so it too failed to have any effect. These events suggest MPs were guilty of completely disappointing the aims of what they claimed to be fighting for - and so when Cromwell marched into Parliament in April 1653 to illegally dissolve the Rump, it is unsurprising that there was no great reaction from the country. ...read more.


Accounts from a conversation with Bulstrode Whitelocke in 1652 stress the army's distaste for the Rump, with Cromwell calling them 'hopeless'. These events make the proposition of his premeditating the Rump's dissolution all the more likely. Worden asserts that the Rump had never regarded itself as anything more than an interim government, and believes they were planning new elections with a free vote. This could justify Cromwell's dissolving them; he was stopping a radical vote that could have potentially resulted in the army's disbandment. Ultimately, the decisive moment was when Cromwell illegally dissolved the Rump. The fact that he had to subvert the law stands as evidence for his personal corruption; the Rump upheld a legitimate authority and was, by law, entitled to remain in sitting. Their wrongdoings rarely exceeded inactivity, which was in itself of no great consequence to the nation, and so their expulsion was more likely the result of Cromwell's ulterior motive and personal aversion to them. ...read more.

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