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After the revolt Scottish insurrection in Ireland in 1641 was to further complicate the situation, making Charles I increasingly dependent on parliament. In protest against the abuses of the absolutist king he took form a parliamentary majority representative of a social bloc composed mainly by the gentry (gentry), marginalized by the privilege granted by the sovereign to the high court nobility (especially of Catholic extraction), and the productive classes agricultural (yeomen) and the urban middle class, especially the south and east, the richest and most developed in the country. To mix and to dominate the majority was strict puritanism supported in parliament by John Pym (1584-1643). It imposed the death sentence of Strafford (1641), the abolition of courts dealing and episcopate, and then execution of the same Laud (1645). Formally, the civil war broke out in 1642, as a result of the dispute between the king and parliament on the direction of the military campaign against the Irish rebels. It ended with the mass in the indictment of Charles I in 1648 and with his beheading in 1649. In the ups and downs of the fighting - which they saw at first dominated the "cavalry" the real "round heads" (from ' hairstyle typical of supporters of parliament) - counted very intervention of Scots (1643) was decisive but the reorganization of parliamentary operated by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), who formed the army of "new model" (New Model Army) on the track body chosen - hotly Puritan - of which he was commander, the Ironsides (hips iron). So were won the decisive battles of Marston Moor (1644), Naseby (1645), and Preston (1648) against the Scots, meanwhile, they had been convinced by Charles I to go with him. After the Scots had handed the king a parliament purged by Cromwell and his complete control, that, under the pressure of the more extremist Army (levellers, diggers, etc.), Demanded the death penalty for the sovereign in expiation of the crimes committed "against the people". After a summary trial, Charles was beheaded in January 1649. He was so fine season of absolute monarchy in England and was proclaimed the Commonwealth, that the republic. In an atmosphere of Puritan rigor and burning social protest was suppressed the House of Lords and the House of Commons, which was participating now a small number of revolutionaries loyal to Cromwell (Rump Parliament, lopped Parliament), it was entrusted with the legislative function. At the head of the State Council he will put the same Cromwell, undisputed head of the army, which monopolized the government and control of the parliament and the country, even at the cost of disavowal and repression of the most revolutionary bands in the demand of extremist social leveling . With resolute energy in a couple of years he put down the uprising in 1651 and the Irish again defeated the Scots who wished to bring to the throne Charles II, son of the deposed monarch. At the end of this process of concentration of power, Cromwell dissolved parliament in 1653 and proclaimed himself "Lord Protector", initiating a phase of personal dictatorship that was to last until his death. Reunited Britain, Cromwell - rejoining ideally inspiration Elizabethan and part of a mercantilist policy - intervened to defend the English maritime trade, by enacting the first Navigation Act (Act of Navigation, 1651), and then waging a war against ' Netherlands (1652-54), who was forced by the Treaty of Westminster to recognize the excellence of British interests on the sea. He also renewed, in alliance with France, which gave way to this Dunkirk, the war against Spain (1654-59) and the colonial expansion (which incidentally had been continued under the Stuarts), occupying Jamaica (1655). On the death of Cromwell (1658), his son Richard, designated to succeed him, but lacks the charisma father, it was ousted at the initiative of General George Monck (1608-70), which enjoyed strong loyalist of Scotland, Catholics and troops Republican now tired of the Cromwellian dictatorship. Charles II (1660-85), from his exile in France, but was able to be called by the new parliament, elected in 1660, to resume his father's throne, assuming the guarantee of parliamentary rights, religious freedom and new social rights.

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