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Oliver Cromwell and Opinions of Him Essay

Interpretations of Oliver Cromwell have changed over time, from a mass murderer to a hero. These interpretations have changed over time as a result of;

-Certain events that affected people; laws etc: e.g. the execution of Charles I and the massacres of Drogheda and Welford etc. -The country they were in and how the people who had most of the power thought of him: e.g. Charles II etc. -What type of person you were classed as: e.g. lord, servant etc. -What religion you were and what experiences that religion have had: e.g. Catholic, Puritan etc. These are the main things that affected what people thought and how they acted towards him. So what did people think of him over times?

In most of his earlier years Oliver Cromwell was a middle class citizen, however this changed when he received an inheritance from his uncle. This not only changed him financially but from then on he was recognised as a wealthy man who owned land and money. To add to this he also joined parliament which soon lead to him being in the civil war, making him recognised as a hero and a great cavalry leader by most of the public. This soon meant that he was one of many to sign the letter for the execution of Charles I for high treason and were recognised as heroes. Soon after he helped England become a common wealth county with the rest of the parliamentarians. Meaning he was recognised as a saviour of England!

When Oliver Cromwell was in the army he was a cavalry leader and became known as a great one because of his knowledge and it was this that lead him to win many battles against rebels and many other armies, making him known as a hero but by some a murderous tyrant. He was also known for treating his army men well as well as respecting them for example when some of his own men rebelled he did not kill them but only the four ringleaders to set an example. This made people think that he was a powerful and proud military leader. However he was accused for ordering the massacre of 3000 men, women and children in Drogheda and 2000 in Welford both in Ireland because they were Catholic. This changed the thoughts of people to become twisted about Oliver Cromwell and made him seem more like a murderous tyrant than a hero.

When Oliver Cromwell grew in power he created laws which some people liked and others disliked. These laws obeyed the daily laws in which a puritan lives their lives. Although the puritans liked it, many people felt offended because they had to obey the rules of a religion in which they did not worship and felt as if they were ordered to do it. To add to this some of the laws were outstandingly strict, for example you were not allowed to walk for leisure. This made people think of him as a saviour to some but a tyrant to others.

When Oliver Cromwell was awarded the role of Lord Protector many people like the Puritans liked it although the Catholics disliked it. In this role he had the task of ‘healing and controlling’ the land. Also although people did not like this they could not argue as he was the ‘Lord Protector’.

When Oliver Cromwell died many people mourned including his family and many Puritans, however other people celebrated such as the Catholics. Although the funeral was the most important part of it because it would show how important he was and because his funeral costed nearly £70,000 he was mourned upon by many people as this costed more than some kings’ funerals. And so to some then he was remembered as a murderous tyrant however to others he was remembered as a hero.

When Charles II came to power he mocked Oliver Cromwell in every way he could because he was one of many MPs to sign the treaty to accuse his father of high treason. To add to this the Dutch were on his side, as he fled there for his life when his father was executed and spread rumours of Cromwell bringing corruption in England, Scotland and Ireland. This made people think that Oliver Cromwell was evil and had changed some of their interpretation by rumouring.

In the Victorian era Oliver Cromwell was hated and despised upon by many people because many people who worked in most of England’s more liberating jobs were Irish. And so on one occasion when Queen Victoria was planning to visit Manchester she did not because there was a statue of Oliver Cromwell situated there, this was a bad thing because if she went she might be despised by the Irish for liking him as a person making Oliver Cromwell seem a tyrant. This also occurred in the 1900 when Oliver Cromwell was compared to Hitler and mocked upon.

In the twenty first century we have mixed thoughts about him because although comments have been made about him we cannot justify most things such as the massacre in Ireland as there was no proof that he ordered the soldiers to kill the people or that he was even involved in any of this. And so we can sometimes only have opinions that have no justifications.

In my opinion Oliver Cromwell was a stern puritan although he did revolutionize most things and even become Lord Protector. So I think he was a noble man who was wrongly mocked and despised of!!!


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