Why was there so much hostility towards Charles by 1640?

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Nishaant KaushalHistory12V

Why was there so much hostility towards Charles by 1640?

In 1629 Charles prorogued Parliament, and instigated Personal rule, which would last until 1640. Although the King was entitled to do this under the Royal Prerogative his actions caused discontent among those who provided the ruling classes, such as the gentry.  In 1633, Charles appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury. Together, they began a series of anti-Calvinist reforms that attempted to ensure religious uniformity, however this caused mass opposition among puritans.

Parliamentary Privileges vs. Royal Prerogative

There were a number of issues that had begun to ruin the relationship between the Crown and Parliament. One such issue was that, just like James before him, Charles had a strong belief in the ‘Divine right of Kings’. In 1610 James even stated that kings were ‘not only Gods Lieutenants upon Earth, and sit upon Gods throne, but even by God himself, they are called Gods’. Charles therefore believed that he had the power to do as he wished, without opposition. However Parliament had issues with this. They believed that the king had to act within the law.

Charles believed that the King had the power to make decisions that were beyond the competence of Parliament. For example, in regards to Foreign Policy, the King believed he had ultimate power. This meant that he was free to make and break alliances, arrange Royal marriages and take England to war. In addition to this he was supreme leader of the Army. Thus meaning that it was his army, and took its orders only from him. Also he could call and dissolve Parliament at his own pleasure. Therefore, if he wished he could ‘progrove’ Parliament, and interrupt its sitting for as long as he liked.

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Parliament had begun to realise that it very much had its own rights. The greatest, and most important right, was there Freedom of Speech. This meant that the Crown accepted that Members of Parliament had the right to discuss matters which affected the Commonwealth. These included things such as taxation, the Poor Law, the state of highways and Crime. Another right of Parliament was that the King had no right to enter the House of Commons chamber. This way the king had no way of interfering with Parliament when it was in session.

Arminianism and the fear of Catholics


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