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Oliver Cromwell - Hero or Villain? Watch

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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    Then you have fallen victim to the same anachronism you picked out so cleverly in your first post! Just because the social changes seem somewhat minute in comparison to the revolutions we have been used to since the early 20th century does not mean they were not radical during those times.

    On your second point, I think it was Christopher Hill who challenged the 'top down' English Revolution historiography, he argued instead for a bottum-up view where the pamphleteers, NMA, The Diggers and The Levellers who spurred on social change during the time. But I'd always argue that the extent to which power was concentrated in the '1% percent' during those times must mean that change could only have come from the individuals at the top, during those times.
    You're welcome to your opinions. As I said, the fact that most of Cromwell's changes were quickly reversed (we are discussing Cromwell specifically), not least the Republic, plus a host of things already discussed, suggest that he wasn't all that revolutionary personally, other than in some of his actions, he was conservative-minded. I'm not arguing that there weren't big social changes and realisations at that time (not least the realisation you mention of people like Levellers that a wholly different society was possible - derived from their experiences of army service, the destruction of the monarchy - an extraordinary act - and their readings of the Bible), just that they aren't attributable to Cromwell, other than indirectly.

    I also made it plain in my subsequent paragraph that obviously they were revolutionary times and that the transit to a system less dominated by a Monarch was wholly revolutionary. Although the whole use of the term "revolution" is also, of course, anachronistic.

    I agree very much with Hill's analysis, indeed, I suspect the whole series of upheavals and Parliament's war with the King were essentially the result of upwards pressure from below. It's nice to hear him mentioned in the discussion.
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    A villain.

    Not sure whether he was worse than Thomas Cromwell, the Mandelson to Henry VIII.
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    (Original post by Angry Spartan)
    First Protectorate Parliament - Dissolved as soon as he was able to due to the Parliament being slow in accepting any of the bills that it was asked to do. What followed then was the extremely unpopular Rule of the Major-Generals.
    While I cannot remember details of each Parliament, I certainly remember that the Rule of the Major Generals had pragmatic reasoning in its implementation. It was an attempt to safeguard the revolution from royalist threats - namely the Sealed Knot of Penruddock's Uprising fame.

    You'll notice that martial law is pretty commonly symptomatic of most revolutions in its 'transition' phase. Even America, a beacon of democracy, at least in its founding years, maintained martial law under Andrew Jackson after war with the Brits. I suppose the litmus test in distinguishing between martial law as a means to gain despotic power and martial law as a means to restore law and order is in how much effort is made in getting rid of martial law. Cromwell, for one, certainly did not put any effort in into withholding elections.

    Also, though by no means a defense of military rule, the Major-Generals hugely benefited the downtrodden with regards to almshouses, Poor Law, tax collection (wealth distribution).
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    Write your essay about how calling a man from the mid 17th century a 'hero' or a 'villain' (in the modern construction of those concepts) is a completely facile and a-historical exercise, and that the people who write these exam questions are stupid.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    You're welcome to your opinions. As I said, the fact that most of Cromwell's changes were quickly reversed (we are discussing Cromwell specifically), not least the Republic, plus a host of things already discussed, suggest that he wasn't all that revolutionary personally, other than in some of his actions, he was conservative-minded. I'm not arguing that there weren't big social changes and realisations at that time (not least the realisation you mention of people like Levellers that a wholly different society was possible - derived from their experiences of army service, the destruction of the monarchy - an extraordinary act - and their readings of the Bible), just that they aren't attributable to Cromwell, other than indirectly.

    I also made it plain in my subsequent paragraph that obviously they were revolutionary times and that the transit to a system less dominated by a Monarch was wholly revolutionary. Although the whole use of the term "revolution" is also, of course, anachronistic.
    With all due respect, you're very inconsistent with your use of 'revolution' :rolleyes:.

    But hey, semantics shpemantics.
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    (Original post by geetar)
    Write your essay about how calling a man from the mid 17th century a 'hero' or a 'villain' (in the modern construction of those concepts) is a completely facile and a-historical exercise, and that the people who write these exam questions are stupid.
    Go away, Foucault.
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    With all due respect, you're very inconsistent with your use of 'revolution' :rolleyes:.

    But hey, semantics shpemantics.
    Shall I write some more for you to go through with your bold marker?
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Shall I write some more for you to go through with your bold marker?
    Please!
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    Go away, Foucault.
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    Please!
    Lol. OK. Cromwell was magic/deranged/incredible/tyrannical/conservative/socialist/reactionary/revolutionary.

    Pleaser delete where required.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Lol. OK. Cromwell was magic/deranged/incredible/tyrannical/conservative/socialist/reactionary/revolutionary.
    And in bold .
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    And in bold .
    Excellent use of both strikethrough and bold!

    I am going off to worry about my incoherence in understanding the term "revolutionary" now.
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    While I cannot remember details of each Parliament, I certainly remember that the Rule of the Major Generals had pragmatic reasoning in its implementation. It was an attempt to safeguard the revolution from royalist threats - namely the Sealed Knot of Penruddock's Uprising fame.
    Of course 'safeguarding the revolution' was a factor in establishing the Major-Generals, but Royalist support, in terms of actual willingness to rise up, was pretty limited. Penruddock's Uprising was a complete flop and the only threat to the republic was the Third Civil War. Once Ireland and Scotland had been subdued, any chance for a Royalist invasion (A successful one at that) were fairly unlikely.

    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    You'll notice that martial law is pretty commonly symptomatic of most revolutions in its 'transition' phase. Even America, a beacon of democracy, at least in its founding years, maintained martial law under Andrew Jackson after war with the Brits. I suppose the litmus test in distinguishing between martial law as a means to gain despotic power and martial law as a means to restore law and order is in how much effort is made in getting rid of martial law. Cromwell, for one, certainly did not put any effort in into withholding elections.
    Not sure I particularly agree with that comparison. The direct military rule came after the transition should have effectively been finished from the First Protectorate Parliament. I lean to a view that this method was a way to just get things done without a Parliament holding things up all the time. The Royalist threat in 1657 was minimal, and it returned in 1660 due to a failure on Cromwell's and Parliament's part for not bringing forward a stable and respectable solution to the turmoil that had been created.
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    (Original post by Angry Spartan)

    Not sure I particularly agree with that comparison. The direct military rule came after the transition should have effectively been finished from the First Protectorate Parliament. I lean to a view that this method was a way to just get things done without a Parliament holding things up all the time. The Royalist threat in 1657 was minimal, and it returned in 1660 due to a failure on Cromwell's and Parliament's part for not bringing forward a stable and respectable solution to the turmoil that had been created.
    Precisely! The Parliaments were obstructing this transition, prolonging tension and disorder!
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    (Original post by TheUbermensche)
    Precisely! The Parliaments were obstructing this transition, prolonging tension and disorder!
    One could say that there was never supposed to be any transition. Parliament never went to war to remove the monarchy, or execute Charles for that matter. Many of the MPs that sat during the 1650's wanted a return to monarchy, or something that resembled it at least. They didn't want a whole, new and radical style of government. They wanted the old system.
 
 
 
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