Oliver Cromwell: Hero or Villain?

Essay by pp186 June 2005

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There have been a lot of heroic figures throughout the history of world. They contributed their lives to their own nations, and sacrificed themselves as victims in order to achieve better goodness. Oliver Cromwell is one of those heroic figures who contributed his entire life to take back the tradition of England, which was deteriorated by King Charles I. Cromwell however isn't a typical hero- in actual facts many people wouldn't even consider him to be a hero at all. Cromwell is a controversial figure who still has people wondering. Even now in the new millennium, people are still contemplating his place in history- hero or villain? Cromwell proudly took his place in a documentary on the top ten best Britons, and ironically, also in the top ten worst Britons. In this essay I will assess whether these acts made him a hero or a villain, using contemporary views, quotes and other sources which give different interpretations.

"The days of Oliver Cromwell were marvellous days of freedom, prosperity, and peace." And so quoted a puritan Baptist in 1685, puritan believers as such felt that they had much more freedom under Cromwell's government. This quote is considered very biased as Cromwell (being a puritan himself) gave puritans greater freedom.

He was said to have wanted a greater religious tolerance in the country, therefore he let Jews live in England for the first time since 1290, and let Quakers hold their own religious ceremonies.

Another quote by a well-known name in history Samuel Pepys, who was a member of the government under the king Charles II in 1667 talks about Cromwell's superb and powerful leadership, "People look back on the days of Oliver Cromwell and praise him so. What brave things he did, and oh how the neighbouring princes did fear him."...