If you had lived in the 17th century would you have backed King Charles I or Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War? For a bit of fun why not answer these questions and find out?
What is your view of politics?
A An elite should govern us
B Every-one should have an equal say in government
What is your view of the monarchy?
A The Queen should have much more power to set laws
B The Queen should be a figurehead only
What is your view of religion?
A People should follow a structured form of worship set by the state
B People should be free to worship in an informal way
Mostly A’s – You would have been a Royalist. You would have said that the King is a divine ruler appointed by God. He should be able to rule without Parliament, choosing what laws and taxes he wishes to impose without interference from a Parliament which represents the people. You would also have said that the King is the Head of the Church of England which should be the state religion; form and structure is required to worship God, informality shows a lack of respect.
Mostly B’s – You would have been a Parliamentarian. You would have said that the King should only be a figurehead for the people, he is not divinely appointed by God and so should rule according to the wishes of the people. You would also have said that it is the role of Parliament to set laws and taxes; members of Parliament should be elected by the people. You would have believed that worship should be simple and from the heart, arguing that Jesus criticised the religious leaders of his day for their insistence on form whilst ignoring the needs of the people.
Of course, it was not quite that simple! Although Parliamentarians wanted the people to have more of a say in government it was only a limited number of people from certain classes in society who had that right. There was no universal suffrage – no votes for women or for men who did not belong to the right social class. As for religion, it went without saying that you would have been a Christian. Also, both Parliamentarians and Royalists felt the need to impose their form of worship on everyone whereas people today would say that there should be much more freedom to choose, and acceptance of those who choose to worship differently or not at all.
So, now you know which side you would have been on why not read ‘The Cavalier Historian’ and see what might have happened to you if you had lived through the English Civil War!