User:Atcovi/History/Reading for Absolutionism/Page 8

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The Commonwealth: (1649 – 1660)

With English Civil War over and Charles I gone, England needed a new leader. With the new leader came an entirely new government and lifestyle that English people were not very used to. The new government would be called the Commonwealth and the new leader would be the leader of victorious New Model Army, Oliver Cromwell, who was given the title Lord Protector. Under the Commonwealth there would be no monarchy whatsoever. England would become a republic, which is a government that is ran by the people not just one person, and the king and queen would be abolished. The House of Commons, which consisted of mainly Puritans, remained in place as the only group that would make up the English Parliament. Just as the monarchy was abolished, so was the House of Lords. The Anglican Church was also abolished. While it was not specifically written in any government documents, the Commonwealth was a government that operated on the principles of the Puritan religion. Puritans derive their name from the idea of being “pure” and lived by a very strict moral code. Cromwell, who was a Puritan, worked with a predominantly Puritan Parliament to close all theaters, close all taverns (bars), outlaw gambling, and outlaw dancing. Many English people saw these activities as leisurely enjoyment and were angered by it. Although angry, no one challenged Oliver Cromwell because he had the loyalty of the very powerful and ever growing New Model Army. While the Puritans were tolerant of other Protestant sects and Judaism (Jewish), they were very harsh towards Catholics whom were seen as still loyal to Charles I. Although the Commonwealth was in place for 11 years, it was not very popular amongst the English people. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, less than two years after his death the Commonwealth crumbled due to lack of support by the English people.

Charles II: (1660 – 1685)

After his father’s death and his exile from England, Charles II became King of Scotland for two years. After a failed attempt to overthrow Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth, he fled to mainland Europe for fear of being assassinated by supporters of the Commonwealth. He remained in hiding until 1660 when Parliament invited him back to England to become the king after Oliver Cromwell’s death and the collapse of the Commonwealth. Learning from the mistakes of his grandfather (James I), father (Charles I), and his predecessor (Oliver Cromwell) Charles II made major changes in an effort to return England to a state of normalcy. Under Charles II England re-established a monarchy government, brought back the House of Lords as the second house of Parliament, and brought back the Anglican Church (Church of England). Charles II was not believer in absolutism therefore he worked very closely with Parliament to bring back all of the things the Puritan based Commonwealth eliminated. Theaters and taverns were re-opened and gambling and dancing were no longer outlawed. While Charles was Catholic, he did not force his religious beliefs on the people of England. All religions were tolerated while Charles II was king. The only thing that Charles II forbid were laws based on Puritan values, which were widespread when he took over following the Commonwealth. He also signed the Petition of Right in agreement stating that he would only raise taxes with the approval of Parliament. While his time on the throne was not without conflicts or issues, England became a much happier place during Charles II’s time as king. For the most part the people of England liked him. After sitting on the English throne for 25 years Charles II died in 1685. While Charles II fathered 11 illegitimate children he had no legitimate children with his wife to take his place as king when he died. Having no heir to the throne, the English throne passed to Charles II’s brother James

James II: (1685 – 1688)

When James II was crowned king he returned to the old Stuart ways of grandfather (James I) and father (Charles I). Unlike his brother (Charles II), James II was believer in absolutism just as his grandfather and father were. He openly too clashed with Parliament over his absolutist leadership style and religious beliefs. As a Catholic he began appointing many of Catholic friends to positions in the House of Lords. Other members of House of Commons and House of Lords, who were members of various Protestant sects, were angered by this and fearful of a return to the days of “Bloody” Mary and his father Charles I. This began another bitter quarrel between the king and Parliament which became known as the Glorious Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution: (1688)

Fearful of James II as king Parliament invited James II’s nephew William to become king of England. At the time William was living in the Netherlands and was married to James II’s oldest daughter Mary. They were supported by Parliament because they were both Protestants despite their parents being Catholic. When William and Mary arrived in England, James II fled to France because he had no support from the English army or Parliament. In France James II was taken in by his cousin King Louis XIV (The “Sun” King). Since James II had left England, it was declared that he had abdicated (stepped down). With a vacant throne William and Mary were crowned king and queen of England. Because a change (revolution) of leadership in England had taken place without any fighting or bloodshed, this event was labeled the Glorious Revolution. There were some attempts by James II to re-take the English throne. The most notable is when he went to Ireland and tried to raise an army in an effort to invade England and re-capture the throne, but it was a massive failure as he was easily defeated by an English army personally lead by King William III.

English Bill of Rights: (1689)

Before being officially named king and queen of England, William and Mary had to sign the newly written English Bill of Rights in agreement. While it said many important things, the most important thing is that it placed severe limits on the power future English monarchs. England had always been a pure monarchy, but under the English Bill of Right a constitutional monarchy was established in England. A constitutional monarchy is when a monarch powers are limited by a constitution. The constitution specifically states what the king or queen can and cannot do. In short, the English Bill of Right put the king under the control of Parliament. It is important to note that the constitutional monarchy is also known as a limited monarchy. A constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy is the exact opposite of an absolute monarchy.


William III and Mary II: (1684 – 1702)

If you are following the Stuart family tree, William is the son of James II brother Charles II. Since Mary is James II’s daughter, that would make William and Mary cousins. While this sounds gross it was quite common amongst royalty to marry within the family. As king and queen, their time on the throne is the only time in English history where the king and queen had equal power. They are more popularly known for the college that was founded in their honor in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1693 just one year before Mary II died of smallpox. William III and Mary II never had any children, and William III never married after Mary II’s death. William III never had any children when he died in 1702 after being seriously injured when thrown from his horse combined with an awful case of pneumonia. With no heirs from either William III or Mary II, the English throne was passed to Mary II’s sister Anne.

Anne I: (1702 – 1714)

Anne I’s time on the throne was relatively uneventful except for one important historical occurrence. In 1707 the Act of Union officially combined England, Wales, and Scotland to become one country which known today as the United Kingdom (U.K.). The northern tip of Ireland would be added to the U.K. in 1800. It is pretty safe to say that Anne I’s life was pretty tragic. Her husband died in 1708 and during her lifetime she was pregnant 18 different times only successfully giving birth to a living baby once, William. In 1700 William died of smallpox at the age of 11. At the time of her death in 1714 there were no heirs to the English throne produced by Anne I. Anne I would be the last Stuart monarch. In a very controversial and complicated process the English throne passed to her cousin George I, who would be the first king of the Hanover monarchy.

Section # 6 Questions (Part I)[edit]

1. What is the name of English government that was established at the end of the English Civil War, and who was the leader of it?

  • Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell

2. What type of government would England become under the Commonwealth?

  • A republic

3. What three things would be abolished by the Commonwealth?

  • Kings and queens, House of Lords, and Anglican Church.

4. What religion was unofficially forced on the English people under the Commonwealth?

  • Puritanism

5. Why was the Commonwealth so unpopular amongst the English people?

  • Because it outlawed activities of leisure.

6. Why did no one ever attempt to overthrow the Commonwealth?

  • Because Cromwell had the great support of his army.

7. What two things contributed to the collapse of the Commonwealth?

  • The lack of support from the people and death of Oliver Cromwell.

8. Who was invited to England to be the new king after the collapse of the Commonwealth? How was this new king related to the Stuart monarchy?

  • Charles II

9. What are 7 things that Charles II either brought back or re-established that were outlawed or abolished by the Commonwealth?

  • House of Lords, Anglican Church, Theaters, taverns, gambling and dancing.

10. Was Charles II a believer in absolutism? How did this affect his relationship with Parliament?

  • No--they worked together well and had no conflicts.

11. What were the only types of laws outlawed during Charles II’s time on the throne?

  • Puritan laws

12. Did the people of England like Charles II for the most part?

  • Yes

13. What was James II’s relation to Charles II?

  • Brothers

14. Was James II a believer in absolutism? How did this affect his relationship with Parliament?

  • Yes--they both clashed all the time.

15. What was James II’s religion and how did this affect his relationship with Parliament? Explain your answer.

  • Catholicism-James II brought Catholic friends into the parliament. The Puritans in Parliament were angered by this.

16. Who was invited to be King and Queen of England by Parliament when James II was king? Why did Parliament invite these two people?

  • James II’s nephew William; They were both Protestants.

17. How were the king and queen who replaced James II related to James II?

  • William III was nephew/Mary II was not related

18. Why did James II leave England without a fight even though he was the King?

  • Because he had no support for himself.

19. Why was the Glorious Revolution given its name?

  • No blood/actual fighting took place.

20. Where did James II eventually try to raise an army in an attempt to take back the throne of England?

  • Ireland

21. What document did monarchs William III and Mary II have to sign in agreement before they could be crowned King and Queen of England?

  • English Bill of Rights

22. What type of monarchy was established in England as result of the English Bill of Rights? Explain how this type of monarchy is different from an absolute monarchy?

  • constitutional monarchy, monarch powers are limited here and not limited in absolute monarchy.

23. What is another name for a constitutional monarchy?

  • Limited Monarchy

24. How were King William III and Mary II related?

  • Cousins

25. What is unique about the power William III and Mary II had as King and Queen of England.

  • They have a new type of government upon them.

26. Who became the next monarch after the death of King William III and Mary II? What was the relation of this monarch to King William III and Mary II?

  • Anne I--Mary II's sister.

27. What was Anne I’s biggest accomplishment during her time as Queen of England?

  • Act of Union

28. Who is the last Stuart Monarch?

  • Anne I

29. Who did the throne pass to after the last Stuart Monarchy?

  • George I