Causes of The English Civil War In this assessment I will be analysing the many causes and roots of the English Civil war which broke out in 1642. The English civil war was a long chain of conflict and rivalry, which was set between two very powerful forces, who consisted of The Royalists (King Charles I, and his supporters), and the Roundheads (Parliament, and their supporters).
The feud erupted on the 22nd of August 1642, and lasted for 7 years, when its final action took place in 1649. There were many reasons for this intellectual battle, including political arguments, economical arguments and also religious arguments, which will be categorised and stated in this essay. To begin with, one of the fundamental causes of The Civil War includes a religious argument, about James I’s and Charles I’s dedication to the ‘Divine Rights of Kings’.
The Divine Rights of Kings was a religious doctrine, which states that a monarch is to have no authority to the will of his/her people, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of only God. James and Charles were both very firm, believers of The Divine Rights of Kings especially that, as to begin with James expected a great amount of attention from Parliament, by letting him make his own decisions, and did not expect any of his decisions to be argued with.
However at this time, Parliament consumed a major advantage over James, as parliament contained a great amount of money, whereas James was constantly short of it. It was from his father that Charles acquired to also be a very strong devotee to the Divine Rights of Kings, as he realised the damaged relationship which was left between his father and Parliament, and blamed this action entirely on Parliament. This led to a complete ignorance with the Parliament, from Charles, and set his Godly rights to do as he pleased.
But this action was considered a huge shock to Parliament, during this time, as parliament had experienced to be more powerful under the period of the Tudors, and anticipated current Kings and Queens to listen and abide by their commands, just like Elizabeth I had done, by being a succeeding sovereign, listening wisely to the Parliament, and standing by their rules. But the actions of Charles meant that the power of Parliament had been undertaken by the monarch, and their reputation continued to weaken. Because of this parliament now despised Charles very much. All these actions shows that The
Divine Rights of Kings is implied as a very significant reason to foundation of the civil war, as it is considered as the main reason for the start of the whole dispute and disagreement between the Royalists and Roundheads. This whole feud continued to develop, as parliament were increasingly getting more frustrated, with the fact that James I and Charles I, were acting even more foolishly upon idiotic decisions they made. An important political reason for this is that both Charles I and James I, thoughtlessly and carelessly, choses the most unhelpful advisors for themselves.
James I choose the Duke of Buckingham, for the most idiotic reason; because he was good looking. James thought that the Public would be attracted to this reason, but unfortunately were not, as Buckingham came out to be very stupid and a waste of choice. Charles also foolishly chose his advisor, by selecting his best friend the Earl of Strafford, which was a he mistake as he public hated him, which led to a bad impression on the king. Another action that Gave Charles a bad impression was the amount of money that was wasted by him, by spending a hefty amount on insignificant things, such as cloths, parties and palaces.
But this meant that Charles was continuously losing his money, and therefore, always ended up asking Parliament for more money. Charles found other ways to get more money, as he also need money for a war taking place against Spain at the time. One way Charles’s used was asking Parliament to increase taxes, so that he could gain the money he needed, but unfortunately this didn’t happen as Parliament refused to give the money to Charles, as Parliament had a list of demand to get more power off the King.
But Charles did not take any of this, as he would not allow his power to be destroyed and taken away by Parliament, and in a terrible rage of anger he made the simple decision to shut down Parliament in 1629 for 11 years, which changed England politically, as it meant that there was now less control over England, to guide its path! making this decisions also lead to consequences, as now that Parliament was gone, he needed to depend another resort to get more money.
In 1635, Charles decided made a very important economic decision to resort to the ancient custom of demanding ship money. Ship money was an ancient tax, when kings were able to order coastal towns and villages to pay for the expenses of the navy and ships. However, Charles demanded more ship tax the following year, and intended to ask for it every year. But this gained Charles a vast amount of complaints. Especially when in 1637, a man named John Hampden was prosecuted for refusing to pay ship tax. This made people very angry. And eventually in July 1641 ship tax was abolished.