The English Revolution Characteristics Causes consequences stages End

English Revolution

Series of confrontations between the supporters of the absolute monarchy and the members of Parliament, who tried to limit the royal power. In this article we will provide you the Characteristics of the English Revolution.

The English Revolution is called the stage in the history of Great Britain between 1642 and 1688 . It extends from the last years of the reign of Carlos I to the Glorious Revolution , which ended the rule of the Stuart dynasty .

During those years there were three civil wars between supporters of the English Crown, which sought to impose an absolutist style of government , and members of Parliament, who tried to limit royal power. These confrontations culminated in the defeat of absolutism and the establishment of the parliamentary monarchy .

Enhance your reading: Provisions of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk/consequences

Characteristics of the English Revolution

Among the main characteristics of the English Revolution, the following stand out:

  • It was a confrontation between the English Crown , supported by supporters of absolutism, and Parliament, which tried to put limits on royal power .
  • It was especially violent between 1642 and 1649 , that is, during the first two civil wars. The spiral of violence concluded with the execution of King Carlos I who, after a trial for high treason to the State, was beheaded.
  • It included a unique period in all of English history, the Republic (1649-60), during which the monarchy was replaced by a republican system . Never before or since did the English cease to be ruled by a monarch.
  • The result of this series of confrontations meant the failure of the attempt of the Stuarts to impose the absolute monarchy in England.
  • It ended with the Glorious Revolution , after which a parliamentary monarchy was established, in which the Crown had to share power with Parliament.

Causes and consequences of the English Revolution


The English Revolution occurred from the following causes:

  • The desire of Carlos I to impose an absolutist style of government , based on the theory of the divine right of kings.
  • The king’s need to approve new taxes for which, according to tradition, he needed the approval of Parliament.
  • The attempt of the Stuarts to reintroduce Catholicism in England , Scotland and Ireland, which generated great discontent among the majority of their subjects, who were Protestant .
  • The will of the majority of the members of Parliament to impose limits on royal power .


The main consequences of the English Revolution were the following:

  • The execution by beheading of King Carlos I and the exile of the heir to the throne, Carlos II.
  • The establishment of a republican system, led by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
  • The failure of the Stuarts’ attempt to impose absolute monarchy in England.
  • Obtaining more power by Parliament. Before the Revolution, Parliament was only a temporary advisory body that the king could dissolve, and that had only one bargaining power: to give its consent to approve new taxes. After the Revolution, Parliament came to have full legislative powers and to share power with the king .
  • The establishment of a form of government, the parliamentary monarchy , which protected the rights of the subjects and guaranteed legal security. This situation favored investments and business ventures, thus generating some of the necessary conditions for the development of the Industrial Revolution .

Enhance your reading: Congress of Vienna summary with agreements/context

Stages of the English Revolution

The English Revolution comprises the following phases or stages.

First Civil War (1642-47)

It was triggered by attempts by King Charles I to impose an absolutist style of government and to restore the Catholic liturgy. He pitted the king and his supporters against most of the parliamentarians. The war was won by the latter, who imprisoned the king and deprived him of the right to dissolve Parliament.

Second Civil War (1648–49)

It began when the king escaped from his prison and allied himself with the Scots, who were defeated by an army led by one of the MPs, Oliver Cromwell . There was then a conflict between some nobles of Parliament, who wanted to negotiate with the king, and Cromwell, who prompted the prosecution of the monarch for high treason. Cromwell’s position was imposed, so Charles I was sentenced to death and beheaded on January 30, 1649. The monarchy was abolished and a republican system was adopted , which represented the aspirations of a bourgeoisie that imposed its puritanical morality and its idea that individual benefit was beneficial to society.

Third Civil War (1649–51)

He pitted the Republicans, led by Cromwell, against the Irish and Scottish royalists, who supported Charles II’s aspirations to ascend to the throne. It ended with the victory of the Republicans and the pacification of Ireland and Scotland .

Cromwell Protectorate (1652-59)

After defeating the monarchists, Cromwell suppressed the House of Lords, which was made up of the high nobility and the clergy. Thus, his government was transformed into a dictatorship , which was supported by the army and the House of Commons, which represented the gentry , made up of the lower nobility and the bourgeoisie. His most important measures were the sanction of the Navigation Acts and tolerance towards the Jews , who were able to return to England in 1655. In 1657, he accepted the power offered by the Commons to appoint his successor, but declined the title of king and he only kept that of Lord Protector. After his death, in 1658, his son Richard assumed, who did not have the same charisma as his father and resigned from power.

The Restoration (1660-88)

After the resignation of Richard Cromwell, in 1659, Parliament met and crowned Charles II . Thus the monarchy was reestablished and the Stuarts regained power . The reign of Carlos II was a period of relative tranquility only disturbed by the conversion to Catholicism of his brother, Jacobo. In 1673, Parliament, dominated by Anglicans , passed the Act of Trial, by which Catholics were disqualified from holding public office. In 1679, the House of Commons wanted to exclude James from the royal succession, but without success.

End of the English Revolution

The English Revolution came to an end during the reign of James II, who was crowned in 1685, after the death of Charles II.

James II tried to win the support of Catholics, by removing the limitations they had to hold public office. The birth of his heir, on June 10, 1688, increased tensions between the king and Parliament.

Shortly afterwards, opposition leaders offered the crown of England to the statute of the United Provinces, William of Orange, who was the king’s son-in-law. Thus began the Glorious Revolution, during which James II fled the country and the parliamentary monarchy was adopted as a form of government.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button