Historians' Changing Opinions Of Oliver Cromwell

1137 words - 5 pages

Oliver Cromwell was a well known military dictator. He helped the Parliamentarians win the First Civil War and was named Lord Protector. He died in 1658 but many people still remember him as one of the best leaders in history although others believe he was a harsh tyrant and always wanted too much power for himself. Throughout the years, numerous historians have changed their views on whether he was a good leader or not. This work will look at three interpretations from different people on who Cromwell was and what he was like and compare them.

Winstanley said, “Cromwell was the English monster who tried to destroy our monarchy.” William Winstanley, a writer and diarist, was a strong Royalist. He was also known as “The Man Who Saved Christmas”.

His opinion could be thought of as biased because he was a Royalist the opposite of Cromwell, the Parliamentarian. This would mean he had beliefs completely different. He experienced life under Cromwell’s power, lived through the civil war and would have witnessed how harsh Cromwell could be. This would of course taint any view he had of the man.

Winstanley came from a wealthy family and would not have suffered the same as poor people and with being a Royalist this meant that he risked getting on the wrong side of Cromwell.

Another factor was that Cromwell cancelled Christmas for 18 years so was a real life Scrooge and it was not celebrated again till after Cromwell’s death. Winstanley continued celebrating the holiday and it is probably due to him that Christmas is not just another frosty day.

The monarchy had only just been reformed in 1660 so when Winstanley made this statement, little time had passed. However, with Cromwell being heavily involved in the trial and execution of Charles I and later in defeating Charles II supporters, we can understand why Winstanley would believe him to play a part in destroying the monarchy. These facts are well documented and not just Winstanley’s opinion.

At the time of this statement, Cromwell was already dead so Winstanley did not to have to worry about what he could do to him. In some ways, Winstanley is the well qualified to make a statement as he actually lived at the same time as Cromwell where the other two people making statements did not and relied on evidence to make their judgements. Of course the fact he has different beliefs would influence his viewpoint.

Rosebery said about Cromwell, “He was the strong raiser and sustainer of the power of the Empire of England.”

Lord Rosebery, 1899, was the Prime Minister from 1894 to 1895, the leader of the Liberal party and a supporter of the British Empire. He was a well-read, educated man and a member of the nobility. As a member of the nobility with an Earldom, Rosebery would be more similar in some ways to a Royalist. However he was also a well educated person and leader of the Liberal party so would possibly have a more balanced point of view.

His statement was written two...

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