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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 1: Cromwell in his own words – Source 2

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An order from Cromwell about the publication of pamphlets, 29 November 1654

(W.C. Abbott (ed.), The writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Vol. III, p.522. Published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1947)

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Abbott, ed. Writings & Speeches of Oliver Cromwell

What is this source?

This is an order sent by Oliver Cromwell to Edward Dendy, Sergeant at Arms.


What's the background to this source?

The events in this document show why Cromwell often found himself torn in half. Cromwell thought people should be able to exchange ideas about politics and religion. He thought that this was a way for the population to become more religious and godly. On the other hand, he would not put up with attacks on his authority.


It's worth knowing that...

There were so many different political and religious views in Cromwell’s time that it was difficult not to be criticised by someone.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What orders did Cromwell give?
  2. What did the Sergeant at Arms have to do?
  3. What does this source tell us about opposition to Cromwell?
  4. Do you think Cromwell’s main concern about the pamphlets really was that they dishonoured the nation and disturbed the peace?
  5. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?