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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 1: Cromwell in his own words – Source 4

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Cromwell’s reply to Parliament, when asked to be king, 1657

(W.C. Abbott (ed.), The writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Vol. III, pp.442-44. 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 Parliament in 1657.


What's the background to this source?

Cromwell was already Lord Protector. In 1657 Parliament asked him to accept the ‘Humble Petition and Advice’. This was basically a new constitution or plan for government, which would make Cromwell king.


It's worth knowing that...

Cromwell eventually refused the crown. We do not know for sure why he did this.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. Study the notes that support this source. What was Cromwell offered?
  2. What does this suggest about Parliament’s view of Cromwell?
  3. Study the source. What was Cromwell’s response?
  4. Some critics accused Cromwell of greed and ambition. Does this source support that accusation?
  5. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?