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Civil War: Charles I

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“Charles I was most to blame for causing the Civil War, 1642-45”. Do you agree?

Charles I was most to blame for causing the civil war, but parliament didn’t help matters when they wouldn’t help the King. Charles’ bad start to being king didn’t help get trust from his people and other factors contributed to the start of a Civil war.

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Charles I had a very bad start as king, he held all the blame at this point, because of his bad start people didn’t trust him much and he also had a stammer and was shy so people thought it would be more likely for him to let a war happen.

Charles needed a stronger personality to be able to rule, people disliked Charles even more when he made the Duke of Buckingham chief minister as he was very unpopular and selfish. Things didn’t get any better when Charles married a catholic wife with a strong personality.

People feared that as England was protestant, and Charles married a catholic wife, because of her strong personality she might make England catholic. Parliament was partly to blame for the earlier tension as they tried to refuse customs taxes to Charles.

When Charles decided to rule for 11 years without calling parliament this created more tension, putting even more of the blame onto Charles. Without parliament Charles ran out of money so he started bending the rules, he charged ship money, to all countries. When Charles started breaking his own laws more people got annoyed and the tension rose again. An example is when he held trials for people he disliked without using a jury. Everyone thought a king should make the laws but once they are made should obey them. The archbishop of Canterbury started changing the churches to look more beautiful, this angered people because they thought he was gradually and secretly trying to make England catholic. Puritan leaders disliked Laud’s changes so Laud had their ears cut off, branded and then they were put in prison!

In Scotland the puritans were the strongest group and Laud tried to make the churches more lavish and beautiful too, because of this the Scots rebelled violently. Charles sent an army to try and defeat them but they failed, this put Charles into even more debt than he was already in so now he needed parliament’s permission to raise money for another army, parliament would only give money if the King reformed his ways, he refused then closed parliament immediately. Then Charles made new and highly unpopular taxes to make a new army to fight the Scots which again, lost. This increased his debt, the Scots then invaded England so Charles had to call parliament to get money.

Parliament led by John Pym had demands, they were: to stop Laud’s changes to the church, to appoint new ministers recommended by parliament, no taxes without parliaments permission, no trials without juries, execute unpopular ministers like Strafford and call parliament every three years. The fact that Charles was so desperate got him to agree to all of parliament’s demands. Parliament were so desperate to have Strafford executed that they declared him guilty without even asking for proof! Charles had no choice but to sign the death warrant and felt humiliated at falsely killing his best adviser.

Trigger factors contributed to the event of the civil war one of which is the Grand remonstrance. Half the MP’s led by John Pym thought Charles could not be trusted so made new demands like reducing the power of Bishops and all the advisers for the king should be appointed by parliament. They planned to publish their criticisms of the king for the public to read! Half the MP’s were against this, this was when two sides began to emerge making a civil war a possibility. There was an Irish rebellion which added to the stress of things by Catholics who massacre Protestants. It was a violent rebellion but some exaggerated rumours went around. People believed Charles was behind the rebellion as a plan to make England Catholic. The King would need an army to stop the revolt but parliament might not trust him not to turn against him. Charles also attempted to arrest five leading MPs who criticised him which made him even more to blame for the civil war. However if the MPs hadn’t have criticised him then he wouldn’t have tried to arrest them. He marched into parliament with his soldiers, but the MPs had fled. Parliament made this proof that Charles I wanted to crush them and would unless they were
very strict with him.

Puritans in parliament voted for the abolition of bishops this move upset many moderate MPs which helped two sides emerge and put some of the blame onto the Puritan parliamentarians. Charles needed an army so he could crush the rebels but parliament again thought he would use the army against them instead so they put the army under their control instead. Some MPs were very suspicious of the king and wanted to take control of almost all government matters including the education of the King’s children! A few MPs thought this was going too far so switched to Charles’ side.

After all this Charles finally declared war on Parliament. Both sides raised armies and in August 1642 Charles raised his royal standard at Nottingham declaring war. It could be argued that Charles I was most to blame as he was the cause for most of the bad and harsh actions parliament took but if parliament just did as the King asked and did not try to rebel the civil war would not have happened.

Cite this Civil War: Charles I

Civil War: Charles I. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/civil-war-charles-i/

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