Document Commentary Cromwell Hero or villain?
Cromwell - hero or villain?
This document was written by John Morrill, a professor of British and Irish history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Selwyn College. He is also the author of Oliver Cromwell (Oxford University Press 2007). Morrill wrote this article for the BBC History Magazine and he says that, despite the fact that Cromwell has been described as everything from a “towering champion of social justice” to “a canting hypocrite,” he has never really ceased to give rise to debate and argument and Morrill also suggests how Cromwell will be remembered in history.
He is also described as a great ...view middle of the document...
By ensuring that his “Model Army” was well supplied with food, weaponry, clothing and all other necessary equipment, Cromwell gained its unfailing support for the majority of the civil wars and under his leadership, it was never defeated in battle. He was either loved or loathed by his contemporaries according to their political ideals. His opponents were those in conflict with him over his anti-Laudian beliefs as well as those who refused to agree with his ambition to reach a peaceful solution in negotiation with the king.
After the “Petition of the Twelve Peers” had been presented to him on 28th August 1640, King Charles had been forced to recall Parliament in that November - a desperate attempt to obtain finances for his war with the Scots following the two Bishops’ Wars.
It was in the early months of this sitting that Cromwell spoke most fiercely about the reformation of the church and was the first to demand the abolition of Archbishop Laud’s Arminian ideals and nullifying of all bishops’ authority.
All attempt s at reconciliation between Parliament and King failed and in 1649 Cromwell was the main signatory on Charles’ death warrant.
John Morrill cites the fact that when John Hampden and John Pym, were “the respectable leaders in the Long Parliament” at the start of the civil war, Cromwell was “a vicious extremist” and goes on to say that David Hume went even further with his description as “the most frantic enthusiast ... most dangerous of hypocrites ... who was enabled after multiplied deceits to cover, under...