The Policies of Two Radically Different Rulers and their Underlying Principles

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Oliver Cromwell and Charles II ruled Great Britain in succession in the 17th century. They both ruled radically different forms of government – a Republic and a Monarchy, respectively – and both had different fields of expertise and experience when they took power. Oliver Cromwell and Charles II had similar domestic policies during their reign, specifically pertaining to religious tolerance and the rights of citizens. The two rulers differed in their foreign policy, specifically pertaining to their motives for exploration and conquest.

Charles II and Oliver Cromwell took similar positions in regards to domestic policy. One way in which the two were similar was their policy toward religious tolerance. Both men both ruled during tumultuous times – England was nearly evenly divided between the Anglican Church and the Puritans. Despite the delicate situation that both men were in, they extended religious tolerance to many others. Cromwell, in particular, readmitted the Jews to England because of their potential contribution to the merchant class . Charles II focused largely on allowing Catholics the freedom of religion. However, unlike with Cromwell, Charles’s friendliness to Catholics led to a significant public distrust of the monarch and fear that he was attempting to bring back Catholicism. The anti-Catholic hysteria reached its peak during the Popish Plot, which led the public to demand Charles to expel his son and heir to the throne, James II, because he was a devout Catholic. Charles’s refusal to expel his son had long lasting consequences on his reign, as the public and Parliament were never able to trust him again .

In addition, both men tried to impose their own religious beliefs on the public. Charles re-established th...

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