INTRODUCTION Nearly 350 years after his death, Oliver Cromwell still remains one of the most contentious figures in English - and in World History. His story, one of rising from modest beginnings to become the most powerful man in England, has been told from numerous angles and depending on the author's bias Cromwell has been everything from England's greatest historical figure to the devil incarnate.
Cromwell's fame (or infamy) was inspired by his rise from a humble birth to a family of Huntingdonshire gentry to become the Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His rise was predicated on one of the most brutal English conquests ever and his military successes led him to become one of the most powerful men in all of England. Cromwell controlled the New Model Army at the time of Charles I's imprisonment and execution and played an integral role in the process.
Realizing the limits of military leadership, Cromwell used his power to lead England by governed consent.
He forcibly expelled the current Rump Parliament and assumed power with the Council of Officers. Quickly he passed power to the Nominated Assembly (Barebone's Parliament) comprised of a body of 140 "saints" nominated by a variety of separatist congregations. Within months of the inauguration of the assembly, it was dissolved and power was returned to Cromwell and the Council of Officers. The Council and Cromwell worked diligently and fashioned a new governmental structure under which Cromwell was able to implement his vision for the future of the country.
EARLY LIFE Cromwell was born on April 25, 1599 into a family of Huntingdonshire gentry. Though only fragments of his youth are actually documented and verified in literature, what is known is fairly conventional.
His family consisted of his mother Elizabeth, father Robert, and seven sisters. The...