Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Collapse of the English Republic

In Search of the Republic--14

The English experiment with republic government turned out to be a short and unhappy affair.

In addition to the politcal and religious settlements, one of few major accomplishments of the republic was an anchievement sought but never accomplished by the Stuarts: the unification of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The civil war did not end until their conquest by the New Model Army.

Despite Cromwell's hope for good laws from Parliament, it's members seemed divided among themselves. Moreover, they sensed the continuing threats from royalists on the one hand, and the radical Levelers, Diggers,  and Ranters on the other. And throughout the commonwealth period, the threat of intervention from the army loomed over the Parliament.

In 1653 it finally happened. Cromwell and the Army expelled the Parliament. In its place Cromwell establised a new Nominated Assembly of  "saints."  This, too, proved short lived. Cromwell dismissed it after five months.

The republic was replaced by the "Protectorate."

Oliver Cromwell

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