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Charles I: an absolute king

When James I died in 1625, his son Charles I come to the throne, who was in the tradition of a long line of rulers who took for granted the king’s absolute power to make and administer laws, to rule without parliament and to reject laws enacted by it. In this period England was in the process of great changes such as the ascent of middle class, composed by landed gentry and professional people, and the continuing religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. In Charles’s first parliament of 1625, there were 100 lords in the Upper House and 500 men in Commons, that were much richer than the lords in the Upper House. In 1628 a law known as the Petition of Right, which limited the power of Charles in several ways, created the first major clash between parliament and the king, with the consequent dissolution of the parliament and assertion of Charles as an absolute king. Still in 1640 the king had to call for twice in the same year the parliament: the first time it lasted a brief period of 3 weeks in fact it was called “Short parliament”; and the second time, it was known as “Long Parliament”, in which there was Oliver Cromwell.

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