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Important Terms, People, and Events


Council of State -   · Governing and advisory body set up in February 1649 after the beheading of Charles I. Cromwell was its first chairman. After Cromwell assumed the title of Lord Protector, the Council of State functioned as his personal advisory committee, not unlike the Privy Council of King Charles I.
Levellers -   · A political faction that favored a radically republican and democratic form of government. The Levellers, who had a strong base of support in the army, were opposed to the power of the landed nobility and favored more equal political representation. Disappointed with what they saw as Cromwell's conservative political leanings, the Levellers threatened armed revolt on more than one occasion.
Lord Protector -   · Title Cromwell received in 1653, effectively granting him the position of ruler of England. As Lord Protector, Cromwell had complete control of the army, as well as the power to call and dissolve Parliament. In many ways, the office of Lord Protector gave Cromwell as much power as the kings he replaced.
New Model Army -   · Name of the consolidated armed forces under Cromwell's leadership at the end of the English Civil War. The New Model Army was a standing army composed of men, including officers, from diverse backgrounds. Previous English armies were commanded by officers drawn almost exclusively from the English noble classes.
Presbyterian  -   · Protestant denomination inspired, like Puritanism, by the teachings of John Calvin. The Presbyterians tended toward a less austere form of worship than the Puritans, and their politics in Cromwell's time tended to favor a more moderate, conciliatory policy toward Royalists.
Protectorate -   · Term describing the governing regime in England from 1653 to 1660. During the Protectorate, the country had no king in power but was governed instead by Cromwell, in collaboration with the Army and, at times, with Parliament.
Puritan  -   · Protestant denomination inspired by Calvinism to which Cromwell belonged. The Puritans were particularly concerned with the state of the Church of England, which they felt needed to purify itself by abandoning rituals and forms of worship identified with Roman Catholicism. Puritanism was often characterized by austerity and by a very strict moral outlook.
republican -   · A school of political thought that believes in a popular government where the power to make laws rests in the hands of representatives elected by the people. A republic may have a king who serves in an executive capacity, but who cannot, in principle, use his power to put his own needs over the wishes of the people.
Restoration -   · The period when the royal Stuart family returned to the throne, effectively ending the Protectorate. Charles Stuart, the son of the deposed King Charles I, became King Charles II of England in 1660, and the English form of government returned to a system wherein the crown reigned supreme.
Royalist  -   · Noun or adjective denoting those who supported King Charles I and the idea of a monarchy during the era of the English Civil War.


Charles I  -  King of England from 1625 to 1649, when he was deposed by Parliament and beheaded. Charles I was a member of the royal Stuart family and the son of King James I, who ruled from 1603 to 1625. Charles I's two sons would go on to become Kings Charles II and King James II, respectively. His wife was Queen Henrietta Maria.
Charles Stuart -  The son of King Charles I, who later became King Charles II of England at the time of the Restoration in 1660. As heir to his deposed father's throne, Charles Stuart was the central figure of Royalist opposition to Cromwell's government. Many areas of England and Scotland were in favor of Charles's reclaiming the throne, and these Royalist areas remained a threat to the Protectorate regime throughout the 1650s.
Oliver Cromwell  -  Born in 1599, a member of the lesser gentry who later became a leading figure in the English Civil War and in the non-monarchic government that replaced the regime of the beheaded King Charles I. He was Lord Protector of England from 1653 until his death in September 1658.
Elizabeth Bourchier  -  Nee Bourchier, wife of Oliver Cromwell. Elizabeth's family connections were instrumental to Cromwell's political rise in the 1640s. She bore Cromwell eight children and outlived him by fourteen years, dying in 1672.
Henrietta Maria -  Queen of England, wife of King Charles I. Originally from France, Henrietta Maria was a Roman Catholic and was permitted to celebrate private Catholic masses in the royal palace. This enraged many members of Parliament, especially the Puritans. Henrietta Maria was the mother of Kings Charles II and James II, the second of whom practiced Catholicism openly as king.
Henry Ireton -  Cromwell's brother-in-law. Ireton commanded troops in the English Civil War and became a close friend of Cromwell's. He was second-in-command to Cromwell during Cromwell's Irish campaign, and died in Ireland in 1651.
John Pym -  Leader of the Long Parliament who was instrumental in moving the House of Commons along the road of opposition to King Charles I. Cromwell allied himself with Pym during the 1640 and 1641 sessions.
John Hampden -  Also a leader of the Long Parliament, along with John Pym.


Barebones Parliament -  Parliament called by Cromwell in 1653. The members of the Barebones Parliament were handpicked by Cromwell and the Council of State, largely from among the lesser gentry and merchant classes. The name itself comes from the fantastic name of one of its members, Praise-God Barebones, a Puritan leather merchant. A coup d'état in December 1653 caused this Parliament to hand its power back to Cromwell, who was proclaimed Lord Protector that same month.
Drogheda  -  Irish town taken by Cromwell and his army in September 1649 as part of his anti- Catholic crusade in Ireland. The siege lasted for eight days, and when Cromwell's troops finally entered the city over a thousand inhabitants of the town were massacred.
English Civil War -  War fought between 1642 and 1646 between supporters of King Charles I and supporters of the English Parliament. Parliament's army won, and the end of the war set the stage for King Charles I's removal from the throne, as well as allowing Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell to rise to primary importance in the English government.
Grand Remonstrance -  An act of Parliament passed in November 1641 that listed Parliament's numerous grievances against King Charles I. This act was a major step on the road to the English Civil War, as it explicitly marked Parliament's opposition to the overall course of Charles's reign.
Long Parliament -  Parliament called to session by Charles I in 1640 that enacted reforms such as the Triennial Act and was openly hostile against the Royalists. Cromwell sat in this Parliament, which did not bend to Charles's wishes and eventually took up arms against him in the English Civil War.
Penruddock's Rebellion -  Royalist rebellion against the Protectorate that occurred in March 1655 under the leadership of John Penruddock. This was the most significant outbreak of violent Royalist opposition to Cromwell's government during the years of the Protectorate.
Rump Parliament -  Parliament which convened after the beheading of King Charles I and was later forcibly disbanded by Cromwell in April 1653. The Rump Parliament was known for its slow-paced reform efforts and generally conservative outlook on what the English constitution should look like.
Triennial Act -  1641 act of Parliament that stipulated that the king must call a Parliament into session at least once every three years. This act displeased King Charles I, who had a history of ignoring Parliament and only calling Parliamentary sessions to help him raise revenues to pay for wars and other expenditures of the Crown.

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