In the 1630’s and 1640’s Britain was divided by civil war. The British
civil war forced fathers and sons, cousins, brothers and friends to
choose sides and fight against the enemy which would often mean family
members. The two sides (the Royalists, who fought for King Charles the
second, and the Parliamentarians, who fought for parliament) both had
strengths and weaknesses. It is these that decided the course of the
war but it is commonly argued that the reason for the result was the
Royalists inability to capitalise on an early advantage and
parliaments growing strength.
King Charles’ army seized an early advantage in the first civil war.
Large parts of the country such as South Wales and the South West were
on the side of the King. In addition to this he soon gained control of
most of northern England. The King, at this stage of the war had
superior troops to those of Parliament and had greater resources
despite Parliament controlling most trading centres and ports.
Charles’ initial plan to march on London was a sound one; however, in
order for him to have achieved victory in this manner it was crucial
that Charles capitalized quickly and decisively upon his early
advantage. Unfortunately for him by allowing his army to be drawn into
battle at Edgehill he missed the opportunity to do this. However, the
door was not shut entirely in the Kings face and most historians agree
that were it not for the battle fought for Parliament by the voluntary
London Trained Bands at Turnham Green then the king would probably
have had an open road to London. As Angela Anderson puts it, ‘’Had...
... middle of paper ...
...rmation of the New Model army a
Royalist victory began to look less and less likely.
Even at this stage, when Parliamentary victory looked inevitable it
was not certain that it would come quickly. It was only Charles’ error
in being drawn to battle at Naseby and the re-emergence of the
neutralists that brought about the collapse of Royalist forces within
Ultimately it was not Royalist weaknesses or parliamentary strengths
which caused the first civil war to end as it did but a balance of the
two. Parliament would not have been able to capitalise on their
resources if the king had had similar resources and the same goes for
their strong command structure, being at odds with the poor discipline
of the King’s troops. The Civil war ended as it did because of
Parliamentary strength and Royalist weaknesses.
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