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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others – Source 5

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A summary of Cromwell’s character by a royalist

(Earl of Clarendon, Edward Hyde: The History of the Great Rebellion, Vol. III, part 1, p.432, p.509. Published at Clarendon Printing House, 1767-1786)

Clarendon; 'History of the Great Rebellion'
Clarendon; 'History of the Great Rebellion'
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Clarendon; 'History of the Great Rebellion'
 

What is this source?

These are two extracts from ‘The History of the Great Rebellion’ by the Earl of Clarendon, Edward Hyde (1609-1674).

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What's the background to this source?

Working out the viewpoint of this source is an interesting challenge for an historian. The writer had no reason to like Cromwell, but may also have had reason to dislike the royal family.

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It's worth knowing that...

Machiavelli was an Italian political writer. He wrote a book called ‘The Prince’, which explained how rulers stayed in power.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. According to source 5a, what were people’s attitudes towards Cromwell?
  2. Does source 5b tell us anything about Cromwell’s bad qualities?
  3. Does source 5b tell us anything about Cromwell’s good qualities?
  4. Why might an enemy of Cromwell have written about Cromwell’s good points?
  5. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?