Edexcel A level history option 1C, Britain 1625-1701: conflict, revolution and settlement. The quest for political stability (Charles II)

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  • Created on: 15-06-18 11:30

Charles II

1.  The Quest for Political Stability

Why was the monarchy restored in 1660 only to collapse 28 years later?

·         In January 1660, troops led my Monck entered London to restore order after an attempt by the army to remove the rump had led to riots and demands for free elections.

·         In February, he allowed the members of the Long Parliament who were excluded in Pride’s Purge to return so that they could dissolve themselves.

·         In April, a convention parliament was elected, and they were presented with the Declaration of Breda issued by Charles II on the 4th April 1660.

·         Charles has spent the majority of his exile in France, but as a restoration began to look more likely, he moved to Protestant Holland. The declaration promised cooperation and harmony with the political nation, an amnesty for all actions during the war and Interregnum period, except for those who signed the death warrant of Charles I, settlement of outstanding issues in collaboration with parliament, arrears of pay to the army and religious toleration.

·         On the 5th of May, parliament voted that the government should now consist of king, Commons and Lords, and on the 25th May Charles II landed at Dover. As the Declaration of Breda satisfied the desire of parliament, there were no preconditions to his rule, and there is no evidence of questions being raised when Charles insisted that his reign be dated from the moment of his father’s death.

The Restoration Settlement 1660-64

·         The conditions of the restoration were established after the return of Charles II. The convention parliament was dissolved in December 1660, and after a failed rebellion by the Fifth Monarchists in 1661 reignited fears of radical groups, the new elections produced a heavily royalist parliament, nicknamed the Cavalier Parliament.

·         The effect of the Cavalier Parliament was to weaken the restrictions on the king’s power and undermine the work of the convention parliament. They attempted to remove parliamentary control of the militia and the triennial act of 1660, as well as reinstating the prerogative courts.

·         The militia act of 1661 stated that the king alone was in supreme command of the armed forces, and a revised triennial act introduced in 1664 did not actually enforce any mechanisms for calling parliament every three years.

·         In a meeting at Savoy House in 1661, the job of the Cavalier parliament was to come to an agreement upon the details of the organisation of the Anglican church.

·         The act of uniformity was passed in 1662, restoring the Laudian Church and setting conditions so stringent that 1800 ministers were forced to resign, and so were expelled from their livings. In this sense, the act of uniformity created more dissenters than it eliminated.

·         In 1661 an act had been passed ensuring that only those who had taken Anglican communion could chosen to sit on


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