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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 3

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A document setting out the wishes of Parliament, December 1640

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/474/8)

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SP16/474/8; list of demands from Parliament, 1640

What is this source?

This source set out clearly what MPs thought the powers of Parliament should be.


What's the background to this source?

Charles I managed to rule his kingdom without calling Parliament from 1629-40. During that time he introduced changes to the church. He also raised money through new taxes that were not approved by Parliament. However, by 1640 he needed more money to fight a war against the Scots. He was forced to call a Parliament.


It's worth knowing that...

There were two Parliaments in 1640. The Short Parliament only lasted a few weeks in early 1640. Then Charles ended it. By November Charles was forced to call another Parliament, the Long Parliament. Both Parliaments had many complaints about different aspects of the king’s Personal Rule.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

What was James trying to say? Try to identify parts of the speech showing that:

  1. What were the demands of the MPs?
  2. Does this source suggest that relations between Charles and Parliament were good or bad?
  3. Does this speech seem more or less respectful towards Charles than other sources in this case study?
  4. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?