Monarchy's Fall: Charles I, Parliament, and the Petition of Right

Categories: Louis Pasteur


Monarchy, an institution as old as the world itself, has seen kings rise to power, governing in ways that resonated with the prevailing societal norms. This essay delves into the historical context of absolute monarchy, focusing on two distinct figures: King Louis XIV and King Charles I. Louis XIV stands out as an outstanding example of an absolute monarch, aiming to establish supremacy in Europe. Meanwhile, Charles I, driven by the divine right of kings, faced conflicts with Parliament and religious struggles during a transformative period in England's monarchy.

Early Years of the Kings

In the early 17th century, a child born in 1600 was poised to inherit an unquestioned office — the kingship. Yet, as the years unfolded, Charles I witnessed the crumbling of the English monarchy, a tragedy in which he played a central role. Thwarted by powerful subjects, Charles experienced humiliations and, ultimately, met his demise before reaching his fiftieth year. The traditional role of Parliament, a national council of wealthy men, and its dynamics with the Crown form a backdrop to this unraveling of monarchical power.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Comparison

star star star star 4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Parliament, consisting of influential figures like Bishops and greater Lords, played a pivotal role. Summoned occasionally, its primary function was to grant gifts to the King, not as a right but as an act of grace. These grants, though crucial in times of need, were not permanent. Charles I's virtues paradoxically contributed to the destruction of the Crown, signaling the end of an era in which kings had governed England for untold years.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Charles' Flaws of Character: Jealousy and Angry Temper

Charles I's reign marked a departure from the peace and prosperity that had characterized England for two decades prior. His flaws, including jealousy, an angry temper, and a lack of patience, played a significant role in exacerbating complications with France and Spain. Despite a long stretch of wealth, the nation faced increased financial strain as war loomed on the horizon.

Charles, starting his reign with a dearth of experience and an inability to judge men effectively, clung to absolute principles. When rebellion loomed, he found himself in need of both an army and the support of common people. The religious struggle against Catholicism further complicated matters. The first Parliament of Charles, convened for national unity, inadvertently initiated the Scottish Revocation, sparking troubles between Scotland and England that would resonate in the future.

The first Parliament, called in 1625, faced the pressing issue of supporting a war against Spain. However, the conflict of interest between the Crown and powerful landowners emerged. While these landowners eagerly advocated for war, they were reluctant to provide the voluntary aid necessary to fund it. The subsequent dissolution of Parliament due to pestilence and the emergence of a second Parliament highlighted the growing tensions and foreshadowed more significant clashes.

The Government of Charles

As Charles I's government approached war with France, a confluence of factors paved the way for hostilities. Personal grievances between Charles and his French brother-in-law, Louis XIII, coupled with disputes over sea rights and the lack of a French navy, contributed to the volatile situation. Despite financial strain and ongoing conflict with Spain, Charles sought to play the mediator between the French King and Protestant families, further complicating his position.

The war, however, proved disastrous, altering the course of English history. Its failure stripped another prop from the tottering structure of kingly power. Faced with worsening financial constraints and the impossibility of withdrawing from the war without jeopardizing England's position, the Council reluctantly decided to convene a third Parliament in 1628.

The third Parliament, summoned amid a dire need for financial support, became a battleground for the struggle between the monarchy and Parliament. Charles, addressing the Parliament, faced a demand for a permanent law known as the "Petition of Right." This petition sought to restrain the King's will, hamper executive control, and crucially, recognize the possessions of subjects through individual ownership.

Charles, recognizing that accepting these petitions would entail the destruction of the crown's power, attempted to resist. However, the lords, resentful of his delaying tactics, supported the commons. The Petition of Right emerged as a turning point, symbolizing the erosion of royal authority in England. The stage was set for a clash between monarchy and Parliament, a clash with ruinous consequences either way.


In conclusion, the reign of Charles I became a pivotal moment in English history, marked by the unraveling of the monarchy's traditional power. Charles' personal flaws, conflicts with Parliament, financial strains, and military failures all played significant roles in this transformative period. The Petition of Right, with its demands for limiting the King's authority and recognizing individual property rights, emerged as a symbolic battleground.

The dilemmas faced by Charles — whether to accept the Petition and risk royal power or resist and face the consequences — encapsulated the broader struggle between monarchy and Parliament. The Petition of Right, once accepted, would redefine the relationship between the Crown and its subjects, heralding a new era of parliamentary influence.

Foreshadowing the impending clash, Charles found himself caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of political maneuvering. The lords' support for the commons signaled a seismic shift in the power dynamics, as the monarchy faced the reality of limitations imposed by the representatives of the people. The Petition of Right, though seemingly a legal document, became a symbol of resistance and a precursor to the tumultuous events that would unfold in the years to come.

In retrospect, Charles I's reign stands as a cautionary tale about the consequences of absolute power, the complexities of governing, and the delicate balance between monarchy and parliamentary authority. The Petition of Right, born out of this tumultuous period, echoes through history as a testament to the enduring struggle for individual rights and limitations on unchecked power.

Updated: Jan 11, 2024
Cite this page

Monarchy's Fall: Charles I, Parliament, and the Petition of Right. (2016, Jul 15). Retrieved from

Monarchy's Fall: Charles I, Parliament, and the Petition of Right essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment