Was Religion the Cause of the English Civil War?

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Was Religion the Cause of the English Civil War?

By | September 2013
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Was religion the cause of the English civil war?

Religion was one of the causes of the civil war between crown and Parliament. However, the war was also caused over arguments about tax and divine right.

The status of the monarchy started to decline under the reign of James I. James was a firm believer in the divine right of Kings. This was a belief that he was appointed by God to rule the country and that God could never do wrong, so neither could he. James expected Parliament to do what he wanted; he did not expect them to argue.

One major advantage Parliament had over James was that they had money and James was short of it. James and Parliament continuously argued over tax. Parliament told him he could not collect it without permission. James suspended Parliament in 1611. His friends were used to run the country and in return were rewarded with titles. This caused offence to many MP’s, which believed it was their job to run the country.

James recalled Parliament in 1621 to discuss the future marriage of his son, Charles, to a Spanish princess. Parliament was outraged. If this marriage happened, would the children be brought up as Catholics? Fortunately, the marriage never took place, but the relationship between Parliament and King was never mended by the time James died in 1625. This was one way religion caused the civil war.

Charles had a very different personality to James. He was conceited, arrogant and also a strong believer in the divine right of Kings. He’d seen the damage between Parliament and his father, but blamed it entirely on Parliament because a King appointed by God could not be wrong.

From 1625 to 1629, Charles argued with Parliament over many issues, but money and religion were the most common cause of argument. 

Charles ruled by using the Court of Star Chamber. To gain money, everyone was fined heavily. Rich men were often persuaded to buy titles and if they didn’t they would be fined the same amount as the title...
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