Origins of the English Civil War

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The English Civil War of 1642-1651 can be considered as a feud between the King and the English Parliament. Long before the onset of the civil war, Parliament and king Charles I had distrusted each other. As a result, Parliament often refused to finance the king’s wars. Unable to gain enough support from Parliament, Charles I challenged local control of nobles and landowners, who composed of the majority of Parliament, by “levying new tariffs and duties, attempting to collect discontinued taxes, and subjecting English property owners to…forced loan and then imprisoning those who refused to pay…as well as quartering troops in private homes” (Craig et al. 560). Parliament attempted to control the king’s power when it presented to Charles the Petition of Right in 1628. This petition required that there would be no loans or taxation without the consent of Parliament, that Charles would not be able to imprison any free man without due cause, and that no troops would be quartered in private homes. Although Charles initially agreed to the petition, he dissolved Parliament in 1629 and did not recall it again until 1640. Parliament’s resentment of the king’s tyrannical actions combined with its resistance to control the king refused to grant Charles financial support for the war with Ireland in 1640. Charles retaliated and made inevitable a civil war when he dissolved Parliament once more and arrested five of its members (Taylor vii). The resulting tension between Charles and Parliament eventually erupted in a Civil War in 1642 and lasted until 1651. Many scholars have been associating the phenomenon of the English Civil War to a variety of causes and motives. Among Parliament’s support... ... middle of paper ... .... Furthermore, Charles I had attempted to make himself the first despot by reducing Parliament to a nullity (Macaulay 64). It should be noted that during the time of Charles I, the king had no standing army, and that the king could not legally raise money without the consent of Parliament (Taylor 3, 4). However, because Charles had always been in favor of the notion of absolute monarchy (Taylor viii), he had dared to make extraparliamentary actions without the consent of Parliament. These included the trespass onto the constitutional rights of the English people, levying taxes without the consent of Parliament, imprisoning civilians and court nobles alike without due cause, and quartering troops in private homes during times of war (Macaulay 63-64). All these actions challenged local control of nobles and landowners (Craig et al. 560).
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