Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 415
  • Published: June 15, 2005
Read full document
Text Preview
There have been a lot of heroic figures throughout the history of world. They contributed their lives to their own nations, and sacrificed themselves as victims in order to achieve better goodness. Oliver Cromwell is one of those heroic figures who contributed his entire life to take back the tradition of England, which was deteriorated by King Charles I. Cromwell however isn't a typical hero- in actual facts many people wouldn't even consider him to be a hero at all. Cromwell is a controversial figure who still has people wondering. Even now in the new millennium, people are still contemplating his place in history- hero or villain? Cromwell proudly took his place in a documentary on the top ten best Britons, and ironically, also in the top ten worst Britons. In this essay I will assess whether these acts made him a hero or a villain, using contemporary views, quotes and other sources which give different interpretations.

"The days of Oliver Cromwell were marvellous days of freedom, prosperity, and peace." And so quoted a puritan Baptist in 1685, puritan believers as such felt that they had much more freedom under Cromwell's government. This quote is considered very biased as Cromwell (being a puritan himself) gave puritans greater freedom.

He was said to have wanted a greater religious tolerance in the country, therefore he let Jews live in England for the first time since 1290, and let Quakers hold their own religious ceremonies.

Another quote by a well-known name in history Samuel Pepys, who was a member of the government under the king Charles II in 1667 talks about Cromwell's superb and powerful leadership, "People look back on the days of Oliver Cromwell and praise him so. What brave things he did, and oh how the neighbouring princes did fear him." The fact that Pepys was a royalist is what makes this quote so interesting, as the association between them was far from friendly. So this just goes to prove the greatness of his leadership, and the braveness of his army.

Not only did he have an influence on his opposing enemies, but he even succeeded in uniting Britain. For the first time in history, the commonwealth was safe, and England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland were joined in a constitutional union.

Source F states that this was done shortly after his army defeated the Scots and

Charles Stuart's Royalist army in the battle of Worcester.

One of Cromwell's major assets was the New Model Army, which he established and used to defeat the King's army. Some people believe the New Model Army was disciplined and efficient, with a great founder and military leader. It had Generals of great capability, not great nobility, unlike the King's army, which consisted of people from wealthy backgrounds, and famous ancestries. This may have been the reason for its success; but some say it also had God's hand on its side.

Ignoring the major bias in most sources and some research, they show Oliver Cromwell was a hero who never gave up on what he was trying. He helped the Parliament to fight against the king with his full courageous behaviour, and persuaded people to join his force. Without his effort, the Parliament was never able to take back what the king had taken from them. His success not only took his traditions back, but also stopped entire nation becoming deteriorated by giving up its own religion. Cromwell was a total patriot who contributed a large portion of his life into the nation fighting over the king who became an anti-patriot.

After Cromwell defeated the king's army in 1649, he faced a dilemma - should the country be ruled by Parliament, a Monarchy, or Major Generals? In December 1653, after variations of all methods were tried, Cromwell was appointed 'Lord Protector' of England and he ruled the country with a Parliament and a Council of State. In some ways, this was believed to be a positive step forward for Cromwell. Cromwell nobly turned down the crown, as he knew his army would not...
tracking img