Why did the governments of the interregnum fail to find an acceptable settlement in politics and religion? (45)

887 WordsNov 15, 20134 Pages
The governments of the interregnum failed to find an acceptable settlement predominantly due the power vacuum which was left by the King when he was executed. This wasn't helped by the lack of legitimacy of the regicide where only 59 MP's signed Charles' death warrant. However one could argue that Oliver Cromwell, Parliament and The New Model Army's want and desire for more power also led to the failure to find an acceptable settlement. After Charles was executed several political problems arose because there was no direction of settlement due to the degree and nature of the reform. As a result of this, two sides formed, the army who were religious radicals and parliament, who were after a conservative settlement. The result of the…show more content…
For example, the military wanted a radical religious reform, led by John Lambert, whereas the civilians (or parliament) wanted a more moderate, parliament endorsed regime, led by figures such as Lord Broghill. Therefore, Cromwell was a major source of division and was said to be an "ideological schizophrenic" (Worden). Furthermore "division was made worse by Oliver Cromwell" (Worden) which is seen with the fluctuation of Cromwell's views between 1649-58, beginning with the dissolution of the Rump Parliament, because he favoured the Nominated Assembly, devised by fifth-monarchist Thomas Harrison, however the Assembly was named the Barebones Parliament. Despite Cromwell initially siding with a "Godly rule" (Smith), he reverted back to the regime to protect tradition, helped by Lambert who ended the Barebones Parliament due to the fear of the increasing power of religious radicals. Therefore, it was the indecisive nature of Oliver Cromwell that led to the failure in attempting to create an acceptable settlement in politics and religion. Religious radicalism was fundamentally linked politics. Following Civil War in 1642, religious radicalism evolved due to the collapse of censorship and the Church of England which brought social upheaval across England, making it increasingly difficult for Cromwell to achieve an acceptable settlement. The less influential groups amongst society were the Diggers and Fifth Monarchists who believed that

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