Describe the causes, participants and outcome of the English civil war.
The English Civil War began due to a disagreement over the nature of the nature of the government of England. Royalists, who supported King Charles I, called for the monarchy to remain the central power within England whilst Parliamentarians, who supported Oliver Cromwell, believed that a democratic government was the best form of government. This eventually broke out into a civil war which lasted from 1642–1646 and then again in 1648-49, which saw the Parliamentarians seizing control of the country and King Charles being executed. Oliver Cromwell then took control of the country, declared it a commonwealth, and then eventually turned it into an early form of dictatorship with himself as the sole ruler. Eventually support for his leadership waned as many people objected to his harsh rule and the role of the Church of England within society. Eventually the monarchy was reinstated in 1660 after the death of Cromwell and a military coup which deposed his son as his ruling heir. King Charles’ son, Charles II, was then asked to become the leader of the country once more. However, he was only granted power by the authority of parliament and only remained in power for as long as they so wished.
The English civil war saw the creation of a parliamentary system of government which severely reduced the power of the English monarchy and created one of the first informal democracies in Europe since the Roman Empire 1000 years earlier.