Why did the governments of the interregnum fail to find an acceptable settlement in politics and religion? (45) Essay

Words: 884
Pages: 4

The governments of the interregnum failed to find an acceptable settlement predominantly due the power vacuum which was left by the King when he was executed. This wasn't helped by the lack of legitimacy of the regicide where only 59 MP's signed Charles' death warrant. However one could argue that Oliver Cromwell, Parliament and The New Model Army's want and desire for more power also led to the failure to find an acceptable settlement.

After Charles was executed several political problems arose because there was no direction of settlement due to the degree and nature of the reform. As a result of this, two sides formed, the army who were religious radicals and parliament, who were after a conservative settlement. The result of the
…show more content…
The Quakers consisted of around 50,000 people and were led by George Fox. A Quaker believed in an 'inner light' where everyone can access the word of god, which began to question whether the State needed authoritative figures like the New Model Army or the gentry.

The New Model Army was deeply involved with religious radicalism, and in particular the Quakers. James Naylor is a prime example, who was a leading Quaker in 1656, and in October that year, Naylor rode a donkey into Bristol with women followers. This act was supposed to mimic that of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, an act of blasphemy. The issue that arose for Cromwell and his Protectorate was the level of toleration that should be shown. This wasn't helped by clauses 35-37, which Lambert wrote to protect the army, which stated that Naylor had done nothing wrong. However, Cromwell questioned whether the Naylor Crisis was an anomaly, and that he should allow religious freedom across England and decides to side with parliament. In March 1657, Cromwell accepted the Humble Petition and Advice as it allowed him to nominate his successor, making Cromwell "King in all but his name" (Sherwood). This therefore shows a shift towards a more conservative regime due to the tradition of there being a monarch. Therefore, religious radicalism did pose threats to Cromwell's regime, however it was effectively crushed and Cromwell brought back the tradition of the monarch for the latter stage of the