Charles I Civil War Essay Topics

Interpretations

The Traditional View

In the 19th century, Whig[an error occurred while processing this directive] historians saw the Civil War as the inevitable outcome of England's long-term march towards Protestantism and democracy. They were opposed by Tory historians [Tory historians: Historians who were supporters of the monarchy.]  historians, who portrayed Charles as the defender of the Church of England, wrongly attacked by an aggressive Parliament.

The Marxist historians

Marxist[an error occurred while processing this directive] historians believe that all history is a class war. They suggested that the Civil War was a war of the middle class merchants and tradesmen against the gentry. The conflict was not a 'civil war', but 'the English Revolution', because it was the time when the capitalist [capitalism: An economic system based on privately owned, as opposed to state-controlled, businesses and the creation of profit.]  middle class seized power in England.

The Revisionists

The Revisionists[an error occurred while processing this directive] suggested that the Civil War was not the result of long-term developments at all. The Civil War flared up suddenly in 1642, when relations broke down between an incompetent king and the aggressive leaders of the Long Parliament.

Recently, historians have pointed out that the Civil War was not the 'English Civil War' at all, but involved the whole of the British Isles.

Films

There have been two significant films about the Civil War, both of which concentrate on the personality of Oliver Cromwell rather than the events of the Civil War.

The 1980s BBC TV series By the Sword Divided showed the effects of the war on two families, one of which supported King Charles I, the other Parliament.

Whose side would you have been on – king or Parliament? What was it really about – the power of the king, religion, or was it just 'a misunderstanding'? Was it a great moment in Britain's constitutional [constitution: A set of laws by which a country is governed.]  history, or a tragic waste of human life?

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