Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?
Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan MP from Cambridgeshire when Charles I raised his standards in Nottingham, 1642. This was the start of the civil war. Cromwell introduced a new model army to the Parliamentarians which was a superior fighting force that led to the defeat of the Royalists. This influenced people to believe that he were a hero as they were against King Charles I. Cromwell seemed as the only person that would stand up to him. When the king was executed in 1649, the country became republic and the army took control. As Cromwell was in charge of the army, he quickly became the most powerful man in England. Although he was seen by many as a hero, he also polarized people’s opinions. This makes it hard to find a reliable, non-biased source as many of them are controversial. This essay will assess Cromwell’s characters and actions to determine whether he was a hero or a villain.
Oliver Cromwell achieved great things in his lifetime. In 1645, he re-organised the army to form the new model army, giving wealth to the soldiers and giving the country a superior fighting force.This lead to Cromwell been seen as a hero which is why, when the king was executed, he gained control over the army and also a large amount of power over England. Cromwell’s skill as a soldier, along with his new model army, led to the defeat of the Royalists at the battle of Naseby in 1645. This broke the power of the king. Cromwell also went on to win many other battles. In 1651 Cromwell went to battle with Charles II. His new model army ,with 28 000 soldiers, intimidated Charles’s 16 000 soldiers, and the battle was soon won by Cromwell, crushing Charles II’s hopes of becoming a king. This was seen as the final conflict in the interminable Civil War. After this the country became republic meaning no monarch reined over England. Many people joined Cromwell and saw him as a hero. They had grown tired of the monarchy and saw Cromwell as a leader of change.
Among many of the changes Cromwell made, one major decision was to last until the present day. Cromwell instigated a shift in power from the monarchy to parliament. Although England remained a republic all through Cromwell’s life, this change in power that occurred when England returned its monarchy is still seen as an influential and popular move by Cromwell. This is why for the majority of the public Cromwell was a hero. Since Cromwell’s reign as lord protector England has never returned to being a Republic. Due to Cromwell’s persistence of sharing power with parliament, no subsequent monarch had full control over the country. This was the start of the shared power for parliament, allowing a wider pool of people to have an opinion. This power sharing achieved success with the people, and still exists today, with parliament having much more involvement in creating laws and policy along with the monarchy. Overall, the evidence of Cromwell’s achievements suggests he did great things for England. Many people certainly saw this, suggesting Cromwell really was a hero.
When Cromwell became lord protector over England, it gave him power to control and mould the country in which ever way he required. Cromwell wanted to pass new laws but parliament repeatedly refused them which angered him. In 1652, Cromwell had had enough of being told what to do. In retaliation he closed down parliament, but this reminded people of their previous King’s actions, when Charles I raised his standards in parliament. Cromwell started to introduce new laws across the country; Sunday was to be a day of rest. No-one was to work and fines were given if people were out on the streets unless they were going to church. Also, due to Cromwell being protestant, theatres and playhouses were closed as they were believed to be places of the devil. Christmas day was even abolished in 1652 and it seemed to everyone Cromwell was against any act of merriment. Cromwell’s popularity...
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