In the 1620s, when Charles became king arguments started between him and the parliament over who has the right to rule England. In august 1642 Charles declared war on the Parliament which ended peace that had lasted 100 years whilst risking the lives of every man, woman, and child. After imprisoning Charles in 1645, the Parliament had decided that he could no longer be trusted and declared his execution on 30th January 1649. This essay looks at the reasons which explain why the English executed their king.
The first main reason why the English executed their king was because of problems before the war. In 1629 Charles introduced ‘ship money’ without taking the Parliaments permission and also announced that whoever refused to pay would be imprisoned. This angered the English because whilst they were working hard to earn money, Charles was wasting every penny on himself, expensive paintings and clothes. This also had a negative effect toward Charles because they thought that he was breaking the law by making them pay ship money whilst also having to pay taxes. Another problem before the war was that Charles had married Henrietta Maria, a French catholic. This angered the English not only because they were all Protestants who had a deep hatred for Catholics because they had killed many Protestants, but because they thought that Charles was a traitor by being a secret Catholic. Marrying Henrietta Maria was a very bad decision made by Charles because this also made puritans hate him. Puritans were extreme Protestants. There were not many of them in the 1620s, but they were rich and influential. This was a problem for Charles because the puritans could have influenced or bribed the rest of England to hate their king. One other problem before the war was that Charles was the opposite leader to what the English had wanted. He would stammer and was shy, but England wanted a strong leader for their country. This angered the public because they wanted the person who represented their country to look strong and powerful so England looked the same. But having a weak leader like Charles, would lead people to think that England was weak and a joke of a country.
Another main reason why the English executed their king was because of mistakes during the civil war. In 1642 when Charles declared war on the parliament, he had made innocent people fight for him. Even though the parliament did the same, Charles made the mistake of not supplying his soldiers with any armour to protect them. He did not pay them for the battles that they had fought in and also did not train them. This angered the English because after risking the life of every man, woman and child, Charles still had the nerve of making them fight in battle without any experience or training and also threatened to imprison them if they refused. On the other hand, Cromwell, the leader of the parliaments army had paid, trained and also gave armour to their soldiers. This led the English to think that England would be in safer hands if led by the parliament because knowing that the parliament has equipped their soldiers with armour and training makes them think that they care for their people more than their king. This made England dislike Charles more and fight for the parliament, the opposite party. One other mistake that Charles had made during the civil war was that he had recruited catholic mercenaries. These men had fought in Europe, murdering innocent Protestants. This was one of the worst mistakes by Charles because as most people already thought that he was a traitor by being a secret catholic, this would have proven their doubt as they would have imagined that he was recruiting his own people. This made the English dislike Charles more as they now knew that he was a secret catholic and that it did not matter to him if any innocent Protestants got killed. This also was a really bad decision by Charles as this gave the parliament an