Consequences of Charles' actions, the Civil War and the Restoration

After Charles’ execution

  • After Charles' execution England became a republic called the Commonwealth (1649-60). At first Parliament ruled the country, but in 1653 Oliver Cromwell dismissed Parliament and ruled as Protector.
  • The army became important. Under the Protectorate (1653-1660), England was governed by eleven Major-Generals – Cromwell's government was a military dictatorship.
  • The Puritans became powerful. During the Protectorate, churches had to be plain, and dancing, the theatre, pubs, gambling, Maypoles and even Christmas were banned.

The political poor

Even poor people became political:

  • The Levellers wanted to give ordinary men the vote. Cromwell crushed the movement.
  • The Diggers thought everyone should own the land together. They set up a commune where everyone was equal. It was destroyed by a mob.

Following the restoration

The Civil Wars, however, did not assure the power of Parliament or Protestantism:

  • In 1660, after the return of the monarchy, Charles I was declared to be a saint by the Church of England.
  • In 1660 the Protectorate collapsed, and Charles' son Charles II became king. This is called the Restoration.
  • Charles II quarrelled with Parliament and may have been planning to turn England into a Catholic country.
  • By the time Charles II died in 1685, it was by no means sure that Parliament or Protestantism in England were going to survive.