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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others – Source 2

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Extracts from the Humble Petition and Advice, 1657

(Acts and Ordinances, published by Parliament, 1657)

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Extracts from the Humble Petition and Advice, 1657
 

What is this source?

These are extracts from the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’. This was a constitution or system for government drawn up in 1657.

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What's the background to this source?

In 1657 Cromwell gave up trying to rule with Parliament. He brought in a system of rule by military commanders called Major Generals. This proved unsuccessful and unpopular. This in turn led to the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’. Cromwell accepted the terms of the Humble Petition. However, he refused to become king, which many MPs had wanted as well.

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It's worth knowing that...

The Humble Petition did not stop disagreements between Cromwell and Parliament. The main issues were 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 powers did the Humble Petition give to Cromwell?
  2. What limits were there on his power?
  3. What clues do we get from this source about the threats that MPs feared in the 1650s?
  4. What overall impression does this source give of what MPs thought of Cromwell?