Assessment Schedule – 2009 History: Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay (90657) Judgement Statement


The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include



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The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • Now that a parliamentary solution to the Crown’s financial problems had dissolved, James (and later Charles) was forced to set about reconstructing royal finances on a prerogative basis despite Parliament’s displeasure.

  • Salisbury devised a scheme for the sale of baronet titles, which raised a total of £90 000 1611—1614.

  • James hoped to raise money by obtaining a large dowry from the marriage of his sons, Henry (till 1612) and Charles.

  • Looking for large profits in 1614, he sponsored the Cockayne project, but instead it collapsed the woollen cloth trade, bringing an economic downturn.

  • After 1614, there were no more attempts at economic reform and Cranfield urged retrenchment with little success until he was impeached for corruption.

  • James was forced to increasingly use feudal devices such as wardship, purveyance, monopolies and forest fines as the revenue from Crown lands declined. These measures were increasingly vilified by the traditional governing class. Parliament was so angry it impeached two monopolists and passed a bill in 1624 restricting the Crown’s right to grant further monopolies.

  • Although the governing class resented paying for a Crown increasingly unable to live on its own, the Court increasingly felt Parliament was no longer fulfilling its role in supporting the Crown and this justified the use of prerogative measures to raise money such as the forced loans of 1622 and 1623. Even when a popular war with Spain was begun, Parliament granted subsidies only on the proviso that accounts and receipts were obtained to prove proper expenditure.

  • Charles was unable to get enough finance from Parliamentary means despite being involved in wars with both Spain and France because he was never prepared to trade the settling of grievances for subsidies. The two subsidies voted in 1625 and the five voted in 1628 were all he obtained. A single subsidy yielded only £55 000 by 1628.

  • Charles, therefore, also resorted to prerogative measures such as forced loans in 1625 and 1626 on all subsidy payers (in effect community taxation without parliamentary sanction), impositions and the technically illegal collection of Tunnage and Poundage (Parliament had granted it for one year only). The Commons later told Charles “there were never any monies demanded and paid with greater grief and general dislike of all your faithful subjects”. The loans were seen to be attacking the fundamental liberties of English subjects, but the Five Knights Case 1627 upheld the Crown’s right to imprison non-payers of forced loans without trial.

  • Charles did extract loans from the City of London, but only by giving it the last major body of crown lands. The ruinously expensive wars with Spain and France and falling returns from customs duties because of the recession in trade had adversely affected his income.

  • Charles made his position plain when he said to the 1628 Parliament that if it failed to provide him with funds to meet the common danger, then “I must...take those other courses which God hath put into my hands.” Parliament offered five subsidies to grant Tunnage and Poundage but expected him to safeguard the liberties of the subject by acceptance of the Petition of Right. When, after the assassination of Buckingham, it became clear that, despite the Petition of Right, Charles intended to continue resorting to extra-Parliamentary taxation, Parliament passed the Three Resolutions.

  • Charles decided to rule without Parliament. He imprisoned nine MPs as well as those refusing to pay forced loans, impositions, and tonnage and poundage. He believed the governing class had brought these measures on themselves by not granting the revenues that traditionally were due to him.

  • The failure of the Great Contract had led to a severe breakdown of trust between king and governing class over financial issues.

Topic One: Essay Four

Explain the factors that led to Charles I’s decision to allow William Laud and Thomas Wentworth to enforce royal authority.



Evaluate the consequences of this decision for the multiple kingdoms of Charles I between 1630 and 1642.

The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • Charles’s court was cultured and dignified. He preferred ritual, ceremony and order. He paid little attention to public opinion and saw no reason why he should explain his policies. He emphasised that the Crown’s authority and prerogatives must be respected. Charles’s belief in the principle of ‘divine right’ and that all privileges of parliament derived from the monarch made it difficult for him to understand the conflicts he had experienced with his parliaments between 1625–29 and led him to rely on loyal crown servants to enforce his authority.

  • As head of the English Church, he made it clear he personally favoured Arminian teachings, particularly because they supported the divine right of monarchs. By appointing Arminians to key positions in the church, Charles could establish a network of loyal and disciplined clergy who would reinforce royal policy from the pulpit. After suspending the orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, for refusing to licence sermons supporting the forced loans of 1626, Charles had complete freedom to promote Arminians when offices became vacant.

  • When Abbott died in 1633, Charles appointed William Laud to his office. A client of Charles’s favourite, Buckingham, Laud had been rapidly promoted since 1626 to Bishop of London, Chancellor of Oxford University (where clergy were trained) and the Privy Council. His opening sermons to the 1625 and 1626 Parliaments urged obedience to the sovereign as being necessary for the maintenance of the divine order. As Bishop of London, he also declared that the institution of bishops was jure divino (by divine right), and he had enforced visitations to crack down on clerical nonconformity. Charles appreciated his single-mindedness, sincerity and bureaucratic efficiency. Laud would reliably and strongly enforce royal religious policy.

  • Buckingham’s assassination in 1628 and the Three Resolutions episode in Parliament had inflamed the political situation, pushing Charles into resorting to personal rule. To some, he appeared to be setting up a continental-style absolutist state, having rejected the traditional basis of government by co-operation with the governing class. However, personal rule without parliament was legal and allowed him greater freedom of action to impose his will in foreign policy and resolve his financial crisis. Convinced of a conspiracy by restless spirits ‘that all things may be overwhelmed with anarchy and confusion,’ he determined to maintain what he saw as the divinely ordained order in both Church and State.

  • Through the 1630s, Charles pursued efficient and effective maintenance of royal authority – a policy given the name of ‘Thorough’. He relied on the prerogative courts and councils to enforce this. The Council of the North, under Thomas Wentworth, was especially active in imposing royal decrees. Wentworth had been imprisoned as a nonpayer of the forced loan in 1627 and an active critic of Buckingham in the 1628 Parliament, but late in that year he entered the King’s service as Lord President of the North and a member of the Privy Council. His declaration that ‘The authority of the King is the keystone which closeth up the arch of order and government’ indicated that he did not blame Charles for the political conflict, but the poor advice of his ministers. In the role of leading the Council of the North (essentially controlling a third of England), Wentworth excelled, closely supervising JPs, enforcing law and order, reducing the power of local magnates and clans, and, through the Poor Law, protecting the powerless and destitute.

  • As a consequence, in 1633, Charles sent him to his most lawless region. As Lord Deputy of Ireland between 1633 and 1639, Wentworth was entrusted with imposing order, raising revenue and strengthening the Anglican Church.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • The consequences of Laud’s appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury were the tightening of royal control of the Church throughout the multiple kingdoms through rigorous discipline of dissidents, as well as attempts to improve the economic foundations of the Church.

  • Laud used the High Commission and instituted metropolitan visitations to discipline not only Puritan clergy, but also lenient bishops. Surplices and vestments had to be worn, altars were moved to the east end of the church and railed off, and lecturers (preachers) were regulated and private family pews removed. To Laud, the altar was ‘the greatest place of God’s residence upon earth’.

  • Laud tried to regain impropriated tithes and adjust tithes in order to improve the economic position of the Church and raise the education level and social status of the clergy despite alienating many gentry. He was seen as undermining not only the Protestant nature of the Church in England (teaching about predestination now became a crime), but the social structure as well.

  • Laud’s membership of the Privy Council involved him in politics and the Star Chamber judgements. His brutal treatment of Prynne, Burton and Bastwick in 1637 gained him the abhorrence of most gentry for what was seen as his abuse of power and lack of respect for rank and dignity.

  • Laud was seen as an enemy of Parliament who hoped to become Richelieu of England. His actions in England, on behalf of the King, inflamed religious issues and stimulated anti-Catholic feeling dating back to the Armada and further compounded by the Gunpowder Plot, the Thirty Years War and Court Catholicism.

  • Laud’s work in Ireland and Scotland aggravated the opponents of Charles in the three kingdoms. In Ireland, he supported the centralising policies of Wentworth, which alienated both Catholics (by trying to regain church lands) and Calvinists (who resented the imposition of Laud’s brand of Protestantism). In Scotland, Laud drew up the new Scottish Prayer Book, and the resulting ‘Bishops Wars’, were seen as being fought to oppose an alien king, who had attacked their property rights and now sought to dictate how they worshipped and what they believed. Without the support of Scottish nobility or the Kirk, royal authority throughout Scotland ceased to exist. In this sense, Laud played a key part in precipitating the crisis of 1640.

  • By 1641, Laud had been imprisoned in the Tower by the Long Parliament, and many of the ‘innovations’ he was accused of had been removed. Laud was made a scapegoat for the political and religious ills of the country but, without Laud, the policies of Charles I during the 1630s would not have been carried out with such efficiency.

  • Wentworth’s mandate from the King had been to make royal authority in Ireland effective by extending law and order and promoting the Church of England in Ireland. He was to reverse the situation by which expenditure on Ireland had outstripped income from it by £20 000 a year, by bringing in money from customs and the development of industry and trade. He pursued Laud’s church policies, regained impropriated tithes, exacted feudal revenue, hounded political opponents and pressed the royal claim to lands. Wentworth also had success in trebling the size of the Irish army and giving it better training and equipment, and developing the navy as a means of protecting maritime trade to rid the Irish sea of pirates.

  • Wentworth’s advocacy of Laud’s policy in Ireland secured the enmity of the New English, bolstered by the Scottish Presbyterian settlers, and had the undesirable effect of strengthening links between the New English and the Protestant opposition to Charles in England. Similarly, the English governing class felt sympathy for the Scottish cause against Charles’s imposition of the new Prayer Book, and he had difficulty raising a willing and effective English army to suppress the Covenanters during the Bishops Wars.

  • The Scottish rebellion led to the recall and ennoblement of Wentworth (as Earl of Strafford), but his failure to put down the Scots forced the King to call the English parliament. The English governing class feared Strafford and saw his rule in Ireland as a blueprint for the kind of tyranny Charles would impose on them. The English parliament, therefore, impeached Strafford and forced the King to have him executed. Wentworth’s removal caused alarm in Ireland at the ‘hot’ Protestantism of the English Parliament and at its sympathy for, and possible collusion with, the Scots. In October 1641, this instability fostered the Irish Rebellion and forced the issue in England of whether or not the King could be trusted with command of the armed forces. Conflict over this and Charles’s attempted coup by trying to arrest parliament’s leaders eventually led to the collapse of royal authority in his multiple kingdoms and the outbreak of Civil War in July 1642.

Topic One: Essay Five

Explain the factors that led to Charles I’s decision to arrest five members of Parliament in 1642.

Evaluate the immediate and long-term consequences of this decision for Charles I’s relationship with Parliament between 1642 and 1649.

The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:


  • The Long Parliament was called in 1640 with Charles I desperate for Parliament’s aid to contain an armed rebellion by the Scots that had escalated to an invasion of the north of England. However, Parliament had a number of past grievances with the King, developed through the previous years of his reign, that they wanted resolved before they granted him subsidies.

  • Their grievances involved:

  • Charles’s association with despotism through his mismanagement of parliament 1625–29, his claim to rule by divine right alone, the years of personal rule 1629 to 1640 and dismissal of the Short Parliament 1640. This had resulted in the alienation of the governing class to what they believed were

arbitrary taxation: Tunnage and Poundage, impositions, forced loans, ship money, forest fines, distraint of knighthood.

arbitrary imprisonment: Five Knights case, Sir John Eliot, use of Star Chamber, John Hampden’s case.



arbitrary government: Thorough policy under Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, in the northern counties and Ireland.

  • Charles’s association with Catholicism through his marriage to Henrietta Maria and tolerance of Catholicism at court, his promotion of Arminianism through Archbishop William Laud in the Church of England and the use of harsh enforcement through bishops and the Court of High Commission.

  • Throughout the Long Parliament, therefore, John Pym and other leaders aimed:

  • To do away with evil counselors (eg Strafford and Laud), so that the ‘natural advisors’ from the governing class could be listened to. This challenged Charles’s right to appoint ministers.

  • To attack the instruments of Charles’s personal rule and make him more economically dependent on Parliament. This subverted his prerogative right to raise revenue.

  • Ensuring a permanent place for Parliament in the machinery of government. This changed the authority kings normally exercised over Parliament.

  • Pym and his group considered that by their proposed legislation they were restoring the traditional balance between King, Lords and Commons under the constitution; but Charles saw them as restricting his prerogative rights.

  • The passage of the Triennial Act placed a three-year limit on any period of personal rule, forcing the King to summon Parliament after that time.

  • The Act against the dissolution of Parliament meant the king could not dissolve Parliament without its own consent.

  • By the Tunnage and Poundage Act, the King was forced to give up the right to impose any customs duties without Parliament’s assent.

  • Revenue-gathering innovations (such as ship money, forest fines and distraint of knighthood) used during the personal rule were abolished, conflicting with the monarch’s prerogative rights of extra-ordinary taxation.

  • Prerogative courts used to enforce royal policy during the personal rule, eg Star Chamber, High Commission, and regional councils were abolished attacking the King’s rights as the fount of justice.

  • The “Root and Branch Petition” calling for the abolition of the episcopacy infringed on the King’s rights as Head of the Church.

  • Further challenges to the royal prerogative in the second session of the Long Parliament such as the “Grand Remonstrance” arose from the need to have an army in Ireland to put down the Catholic rebellion there. It split the Commons over whether Parliament should have the right to veto the King’s appointment of ministers and control of the militia simply because they suspected he might use those powers to reverse the gains they had already made. The printing of the Grand Remonstrance without seeking the consent of the Lords was especially inflammatory. It seemed that the House of Commons was appealing to the masses for support. Further rumours abounded about the impending impeachment of 12 bishops and Queen Henrietta Maria.

  • The Grand Remonstrance had been passed by the narrow margin of 11 votes. Moderate Royalist support was beginning to emerge, led by Lord Falkland and Edward Hyde. They were concerned at the flood of radical political and religious pamphleteering caused by the relaxation of censorship and the scarcely controlled London mob. Charles, on the other hand, represented stability.

  • Charles returned from Scotland, having failed to win support from their nobility. But encouraged by the swing of moderates to him after the Grand Remonstrance, he offered the Secretary-ship to Falkland and the Chancellorship to Pym. Pym declined it. Perhaps underestimating his opponents, after several hours of discussion with his Queen, Charles, on 4 January 1642, decided to send 500 soldiers to arrest five leading MPs (including Pym) while they sat in the House of Commons. They were warned and fled. Charles’s action was met with cries of ‘privilege’. The resort to force was ill-conceived and ill-timed.

  • Charles had accepted the attack on his prerogative rights during the first session of the Long Parliament because he was facing a Scottish rebellion and occupation of northern England without the means to prevent it. No doubt he considered that once the crisis was over, he could regain his authority. However, the massacres in Ireland at the beginning of the second session forced Parliament to countenance even greater challenges to the royal prerogative in order to protect the gains already made. Believing his opponents were losing moderate support, he took a precipitate action to grasp the initiative and forestall his enemies. Charles had unwittingly made it clear that he did not intend to permanently accept any limits to his authority.

The candidate’s response to the second part of the essay question could include:

  • The fiasco of the attempted arrest of the Five Members confirmed suspicions that Charles could not be trusted to accept the recent changes and caused the Long Parliament to further attack the royal prerogative by excluding bishops from the House of Lords and passing the Militia Ordinance, granting control of the militia to Parliament itself.

  • Concerned for his family’s safety, Charles left London on 10 January and called the Commission of Array, attempting to secure the support of the county militias. Parliament offered him the Nineteen Propositions (claiming control of Ministers, the militia and Church matters as well as guardianship of his children). As a basis for negotiation, it left little room for compromise. Charles formally declared war on Parliament on 22 August 1642. He now chose armed conflict to defend what he believed were his God-given royal powers.

  • John Pym’s death in 1643 took away the glue and organising force that had unified Parliament in its opposition to the King. But the Solemn League and Covenant that Pym helped cement gained Parliament a military alliance with the Scottish Covenanters in return for a commitment to introducing in England a national Presbyterian system of church government. This made agreement with the King even more difficult to obtain and entrenched deep religious-political rifts among the Parliamentarians.

  • During the first Civil War, most believed Charles had been led astray by ‘evil counsellors’ (they had fought absolutism and Roman Catholic influences rather than Charles himself) and anticipated a settlement. But the creation of the New Model Army provided a religious-political force capable of revolutionary action. The Army was increasingly to regard itself as the instrument of God’s providence, especially after victory at Naesby in June 1645. When Charles’s opponents interpreted his actions as consistent with resisting God’s verdict, it gave rise to new ideas and radical political forces including Republicanism and the Leveller movement.

  • Once he had lost the Civil War, Charles still believed it would be impossible to have a political settlement that did not include him in a central role. He attempted to play off different rebellious power groups against each other – the Scots, Parliament and the New Model Army leadership. His stubbornness and duplicity through this period made it difficult to arrive at a compromise or feel that he could be trusted. Charles believed any agreements could be broken and that his only duty was to regain his rightful God-given place as monarch. Charles believed all his opponents were traitors acting against the law and his God-given authority, and he steadfastly refused to accept any limitation to his prerogative powers or alteration of the Church. He believed his enemies would eventually fall out among themselves.

  • When the Presbyterians in Parliament (led by Denzil Holles) tried to disband the army without the arrears of pay it was due in 1647, they alienated, united and politicised the army. Taking possession of the King, the Army Council presented him with the ‘Heads of Proposals’ and strengthened their position by occupying London (6 August).

  • But Charles’s escape and actions in the Second Civil War only entrenched the determination of some of his opponents to sweep away the powers of “this man of blood” (who had refused to accept God’s judgement on his rule) altogether. He had shown once again he could not be trusted to abide by any changes won by Parliament or the army. Only his removal would allow the necessary conditions for a permanent settlement.

  • Army leaders purged Parliament so that it could use the remaining 60 MPs to put the King on trial. After his execution in 1649, the monarchy was abolished.

Topic One: Essay Six

Explain the factors that led to Oliver Cromwell’s decision to become Lord Protector in 1653.



Evaluate the extent to which Cromwell’s political and religious aims for the Protectorate were achieved between 1653 and 1658.

The candidate’s response to the first part of the essay question could include:

  • On 7 February 1649, monarchy in England was officially abolished as being ‘unnecessary, burdensome and dangerous’. Overriding all of this was the ghost of Charles I, and questions over the legality of his execution.

  • The execution of Charles I created a power vacuum in England. It was filled by a variety of political experiments of doubtful legality that had difficulty finding stability and acceptance in a time of chaos and turmoil.

  • England now officially became a Commonwealth, with the House of Lords abolished. Conservatives realised they were under a military regime using the Rump Parliament as a cloak of legality and respectability. Seizure of power by the army had alienated the majority of the traditional governing class, who recognised the threat to their own status and authority. Furthermore, they could not accept a government associated with regicide. All males over the age of 18 were required to swear the ‘Engagement Oath’ to be ‘true and faithful’ to the Commonwealth. This was too much for many gentry, who preferred to drop out of public life.

  • Between 1649 and 1653, Cromwell became the arbiter of English affairs despite the fact that military campaigns took him away from politics at first. As the Commonwealth’s most successful general, Cromwell was required to ensure her security from outside threats and used the army to re-impose English control of Ireland and suppress Charles II’s attempt, with the support of the Scots, to invade England. He also put down a Leveller mutiny in the army at Burford. His experiences of leading the army to victory over all opponents, combined with his deep religious convictions, made him believe that he and the army were God’s chosen instruments.

  • On 17 May, the Rump Parliament (the 60 to 70 survivors of Pride’s Purge from the elected Long Parliament of 1640) enacted that England should be governed by a Council of State with 40 members (31 MPs and 9 army officers). The Rump Parliament itself continued in constant session. It had to cope with dislocation caused by the Civil Wars, the expectations of a politicised army, the hopes of republicans, an economic slump and pressures for religious reform.

  • By 1653, the Rump Parliament’s continued obstruction of even modest social, legal and religious reforms and avoidance of the prospect of new elections frustrated army leaders. Cromwell found himself having to choose between his role as an MP and army commander-in-chief. Having no large group of civilian MPs to support him, Cromwell chose to break all links with traditional forms of government and used the army to dissolve the Rump. The New Model Army was now the sole political authority directing affairs and Cromwell its most important leader.

  • The Barebones Assembly that replaced the Rump was simply a reflection of the army leadership’s desire (and perhaps Cromwell’s) to experiment with ‘godly reformation’ in England. It was an appointed group of 140 gentry selected for their ‘godliness’ with 5 representatives from Scotland and six from Ireland. Despite constant divisions between radicals and conservatives, they did introduce civil marriage, registration of births, deaths and marriages, more humane treatment of the mentally ill and simplified law court procedures. However, an attempt to abolish tithes upset those who were still profiting from their impropriation of what was meant to be a source of Church revenue, and moderates in the Assembly voted to dissolve themselves and hand power back to Cromwell. Cromwell, himself, appears to have been seriously alarmed at the confused wrangling within the Assembly.

  • A council of army officers then devised the Instrument of Government. England was to be ruled by a Lord Protector (Cromwell refused the title of monarch) chosen by Parliament for life. He would be assisted by a Council of State. A Parliament of 400 would represent England, Ireland and Scotland and would be called every three years to sit for five months. The Engagement Act was repealed to allow a greater number to be willing to serve. A standing army of 30 000 men would be maintained under the Lord Protector. Religious toleration would be granted except to Anglicans and Catholics.

  • Cromwell had become Lord Protector because he was the only choice. He had led the army to a remarkable series of victories and sympathised with many of its aims and aspirations. The army trusted him and he could control its more radical elements. As a typical country gentleman concerned for law and order and stability, he had some standing with the conservative governing class. It seemed that without him, the country might descend into chaos. To some extent, he also saw himself as God’s chosen instrument for that time. ‘I am one of those whose heart God hath drawn out to wait for some extraordinary dispensations.’



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