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Document Commentary Oliver Cromwell, Hero or Villain

  • Date Submitted: 03/24/2011 05:17 AM
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Document Commentary Cromwell Hero or villain?

Document Commentary
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 military leader who was never defeated, as well as being an excellent politician capable of making the toughest of decisions and, despite his strong puritanical faith, how he became one of the chief instruments in the execution of Charles I.
Oliver Cromwell was born 25 April 1599 in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, but, because his father, Robert, had been a younger son and only a modest member of the middle echelons of the English gentry, the family ranked among only the minor land owners of East Anglia.
His political career began when he was elected as an MP to represent Cambridge in 1640. He was an active and very noticeable Member from then until 1642 after which he appeared only between military campaigns until his appointment to Lieutenant General in 1647.
A conversion to a strong belief in the Puritan faith before the start of the Civil War led Cromwell to fervently believe in liberty of conscience and to campaign for the freedom of Protestant groups to practice their faith undisturbed.  
Despite having originally been the leader of only a minor cavalry troop, his military campaigns in Scotland and Ireland, especially Drogheda and Wexford, led Cromwell to be appointed Lord Protector of the Realm, the only non-royal to hold that rank, and, after dismissing the Rump Parliament...


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