What were the causes of the English Civil War?

Essay by Axis_of_EvilUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2002

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Question: What were the causes of the English Civil War?


The English Civil War broke out upon the establishment of James I (or James VI of Scotland) to the English crown. James was a philosopher of royal absolutism and sought to breathe life into his ideals by establishing what he dubbed a "free" monarchy over all of England. This "free" monarchy was in reference to the king's absolute power being free of any outside influence or control by the Parliament, the Church, or any previous customary laws--basically, the king inherited his divine right to rule from God, and therefore was responsible only to God, and the king had every right to choose the course he felt best for his subjects. Naturally, James, being a Scot, was already viewed in a negative light by the English, and upon his death, his son Charles I inherited his fathers free monarchy visions coupled with the desire to force Parliament to help further the possibility of achieving this goal by granting revenues (the "tunnage and poundage") to create the necessary funds.

Unhappy with the refusal of the (mostly Puritan) Parliament, James and later Charles, threatened the existence of the Puritans and, following the course of the rest of the period, pushed England into Civil War on what, on the surface, appeared as religious differences. However, the English Civil War was not merely a religious conflict, for the Puritan Parliament were also the landowners, and the rising of taxes to fund the royal objectives, and later the "ship money" that raised taxes and declared that all cities, not just the coastal ones, would help furnish the royal navy, were encroachments on the authority, wealth, and security of the Parliament members. The Parliament felt all matters of taxes fell to them, and the...