The Rule of the Major Generals

Decent Essays

The Major General rule was an idea by Cromwell to help reduce the threat of royalist conspiracy and to help further his need for ‘healing and settling’. However, the rule lasted less than a year due its unpopularity and lack of support from the local gentry. In addition, the Major Generals themselves were either inconsistent in their application of the aims or were negligent in their duties. Furthermore, the unrealistic aims of the rule set them up for failure before the rule had even begun, historian Farr comments on the limits of the generals’ power and the fact that it’s no wonder the rule failed as the scope of the tasks were impossible to fulfil.

Whilst all of these factors play a part in the failure of the Major Generals rule, the most significant is its negligence by the Major Generals themselves. Its unpopularity and unrealistic aims could have been overcome if every generals was both optimistic about their role and fully committed to the cause. The lack of responsibility of the Major Generals led to the public not thinking they could support the rule, and rather than help the rule, cause its demise. Farr further suggests that it was its practical failure, rather than alleged unpopularity which led to the rule failing. However, Sharp explains that the establishment of the Major Generals did more to alienate the gentry than any other move and in terms on of ‘healing and settling’, it was a disaster.

The rule of the Major Generals was not popular, the gentry deeply

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