Do You Think That Charles I or John Pym Was More to Blame for the Outbreak of the Civil War in the Summer of 1642?

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There were a number of factors and subsequently a number of people who were crucial in aggravating the outbreak of the first English civil war, but most of these people were apart of two prominent parties, namely the royalists and parliamentarians. Of these two groups, two figures outstand as bitter rivals, King Charles I and John Pym; together they contributed most significantly to the disagreement and aggression between Parliament and King. However, ultimately I believe Pym to be the lesser of two evils. The relationship and status of the monarchy in parliament’s eyes had already been in a state of decline even before Charles’ reign. His predecessor had been known as the ‘wisest fool in Christendom’ and there was a lot of resentment towards the former king, James, not only because of the number of times he dissolved parliament but also from his abuse of power and alienation of them through royal prerogatives, which were justified by his own ‘divine right of kings’ belief. It could be argued that Charles was pulled into an uphill battle from the start and was not to blame for the damaged relationship between the commons and himself, however, during Charles’ reign, he made no attempt to reconcile relations even repeating the ideals of his father through the ‘divine right of kings’ and also through the arrogance of his attitude and subsequent dissolution of parliament on many occasions. History seemed to more or less be repeating itself, with 1629 marking the start of the ‘eleven years tyranny’ through which Charles ran solely without parliament. By his own accord, he then enforced a number of taxes and reforms that were heavily criticised by both parliament and public alike. Among these were the religious reforms brought on by the resented Archbishop William Laud, who was suspected of Roman Catholicism which together with the fact Charles’ wife was Catholic, alienated parliament further and fed a rumour of a Catholic conspiracy. Other reforms brought on such...
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