The Parliament

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The royal council slowly formed into a Parliament. The first time the word Parliament was found in official documents was during Henry III's reign. It was still mostly informal, and not an official body. The right to vote in Parliamentary elections for county constituencies was pretty much the same everywhere in the country, allowing one vote to everyone who owned the freehold of land to a rent of 40 shillings a year (Forty-shilling Freeholders). The rise of Parliament's power was held back by civil war. By the end of the “Wars of the Roses,” the king had the most power again. The Crown was at the height of its power under the rule of Henry VIII. The great struggle between the Crown and Parliament happened under James I's successor, Charles I. The House of Commons sent Charles the “Petition of Right,” claiming to have their rights again, in 1628. Though he accepted the request, he later closed Parliament and ruled without it for over a decade. It was only after he had financial problems as a result of war, that he was required to call Parliament so they could authorize new taxes. The new Parliament was fairly rebellious, so the king shut it down three weeks after; this was called the “Short Parliament.” This did not help the king with his problem, so he found out that he needed to call another Parliament. Their struggle for power with the king led to the “English Civil War”. Those supporting the Parliament were called Parliamentarians or 'Roundheads'. In 1649, Charles was put to death by the “Rump Parliament” and replaced by the military dictator Oliver Cromwell. After Cromwell's death, however, the monarchy was restored in 1660.
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