Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Republic of Britain

Britain became a Republic for eleven years, between 1649 and 1660 no King or Queen reigned in Britain, we take a look at how this came around

Charles believed he had a “Divine Right”

After the Wars of Scottish Independence during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries England and Scotland were in a constant state of war with each other but by 1549 England and Scotland seemed to have settled into a relative state of peace with each other, however on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 and of the accession of Charles I in 1625 things took a turn for the worse.

Charles I, had a vision to bring together the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland into a newly united kingdom, but many of the Parliamentarians and English subjects were against this move as they thought it might destroy the English traditions and way of life.

At that time parliament had little power, Charlie and Parliament were in a constant power struggle, and with his dogged belief that he had “a divine right” to impose his will upon Parliament and his subjects, his actions were increasingly opposed by many, including one Oliver Cromwell.(Keep an eye out for this guy)

Many of Charlie's opponents mysteriously disappeared as the struggle for power continued, matters became worse when he began to levy taxes on the people and, in particular, the English and Scottish churches without parliamentary consent, this led many to increasingly be seen as those of an autocratic and tyrannical supreme monarch.(you can say that again)

The decapitation

Accused of being a tyrant, traitor and murderer

Enough was enough and in 1649 Charles I was arrested and accused of being a “tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England."(they didn't mince words in those days)

Enter a Dutchman by the name of Issac Dorislaus, as there were at that time, no law in England that could deal with the setting up a court and trying a King.

Issac Dorislaus was charged with the job of writing a law allowing such a trial to proceed, he based his law on an old Roman law which stated, that a military body could legally overthrow a tyrant.

The military body was seen as the government and so the trial began, 135 judges were chosen to try the King but many feared the consequences of such a trail and come to the date of the trail only 68 turned up.

It was not only the judges that had second thoughts, many of the MP’s in Parliament questioned the action, those that expressed a doubt were stopped from attending the trial and only those who were in favour of it (Main supporters of Cromwell) were allowed in, the total was thought to be around 46 and of those only 26 voted in favour, there was clearly no support to try Charles.
Portrait of Oliver Cromwell by Samuel Cooper.

However, the trial took place and Charlie one, of England, was found guilty and sentenced to death; his execution took place In London on January 1st, 1649.

Britain became a Republic for eleven years

The monarchy was abolished on the 6th February, 1649 Parliament issued the statement that "the office of the king in this nation is an unnecessary burden and dangerous to the liberty, society and public interest of the people."

Britain became a Republic for eleven years and between 1649 and 1660 no King or Queen reigned in Britain.
A Council of State was set-up instead of the monarchy and Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed 1st Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (See I told you he played a blinding part)

Cromwell, however, proved to be no better than the King and ruled for 4 years and 261 days, after his death on 3 September 1658 Richard Cromwell (his brother, nothing like keeping it the family) became the 2nd Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland he only lasted a year and in 1659 the Council of State ruled without a leader.
Cromwell dissolving The Long Parliament,

In 1660, Charles II became king of England, and the monarchy was restored. The Republic of Britain was no more.

No comments:

Post a Comment