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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 1: Cromwell in his own words – Source 5

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A speech by Cromwell to MPs, responding to the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’, 3 April 1657

(W.C. Abbott (ed.), The writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Vol. III, pp.445-46. Published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1947)

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Abbott, ed. Writings & Speeches of Oliver Cromwell
 

What is this source?

These extracts come from a speech that Cromwell made to a Committee of MPs in April 1657.

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What's the background to this source?

In 1657 Cromwell and the MPs agreed a new constitution for ruling the country called the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’. Cromwell accepted this constitution, but he refused their offer to become king.

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It's worth knowing that...

In the years after the wars Cromwell and Parliament were anxious to achieve stability and peace in the country. However, Cromwell often clashed with MPs on the issues of liberty (freedom) and being tolerant (allowing people to have different ideas and ways of doing things).

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What did Cromwell say were the main concerns in the world?
  2. What does this source show us about Cromwell’s relationship with Parliament?
  3. Study the notes that support this source. Why did Cromwell’s beliefs often cause him to disagree with MPs?
  4. Why was Cromwell such a strong supporter of civil liberty (freedom)?
  5. Some critics accused Cromwell of greed and ambition. Does this source support that accusation?
  6. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?