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Why did Civil War break out in 1642?

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Why did Civil War break out in 1642? Many factors led to the outbreak of civil war, while there can be no one certain cause, many different events and issues contributed to the war. This is a topic of much debate, many historians have differing views on the start of the war and the events that led to it. The Whig interpretation is an overriding belief that parliament should have had more control. While studying the period in the eighteenth century, they were influenced by their time, they thought that England had the greatest Parliamentary system in the world, and thought that a civil war was inevitable as the child (parliament) was beginning to conflict with its parent (the monarchy and Charles I). They blamed the war on long term political causes like the tension between the King and Parliament. Marxist historians from the 1920s through to the 1950s believed that events were caused by class conflicts. They studied the ideals of Karl Marx, perhaps one of the most influential figures in the birth of communism, they came to the conclusion that the Gentry was attempting to gain power by attacking the old order of things, the King and the Aristocracy. ...read more.


There were political factors the led to the outbreak of war, the power struggle between the king and parliament, pitting the Divine Right of Kings and the Royal Prerogative against Parliament and the will of the people. Certainly the Eleven years personal rule would have contributed greatly to the tension between monarch and parliament, but would this have been sufficient to start a war? Most definitely not, Parliament had been able to prevent any further attempt at this with the Triennial Act and had removed Strafford and Laud the 'evil advisors' this would be enough to keep the King in line, at least for the time being. The issue of religion was also very contentious, the people were growing increasingly concerned over the apparent reintroduction of Catholicism. The attempt of Charles I to introduce the Anglican prayer book into Scotland was an abysmal failure, and eventually led to the First Bishop's War, the Godly Puritans of Scotland resisted and ultimately managed to force Charles I to recall Parliament in order to fund his war. ...read more.


When the Long Parliament met in 1640, there was no possibility of a civil war as Charles I had very little support, politically or military. Inflation had hit England hard in the 1640's and the peasants were suffering immensely. Charles I needed to focus his attention on foreign affairs, the Irish had so far been quelled by Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. Once he was executed by Parliament for treason there was no authoritarian to subdue the violent Irish people. This led to a lot of tension between Charles and Parliament over how to handle the situation. The Scots also proved troublesome, after the Bishop's wars hostilities were rife between the two countries even though Charles was the reigning King of both countries. The Civil war was a combination of long term, short term and trigger causes, there was no single event that led directly to war, however many key issues such as the personal rule and high levels of tension between King and Parliament led to a Civil War. Matt Sharpe 22/11/02 ...read more.

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