The man of blood - the role of king Charles in the English civil wars and the abolition of monarchy

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Tonge, Ashley
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Arts
Dublin Business School
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There is perhaps no man who had a greater impact on England than King Charles I. The reign of the second Stuart king was tumultuous, plagued with political blunders and culminated in not just the death of a monarch but the death (albeit short-lived) of the entire institution of monarchy. The political upheaval of the seventeenth century is unparalleled in English history and war decimated the country but can one man be blamed for such a catastrophe? Much has been made of the individual role of the king in the cataclysmic events of the 1640’s. Whig historians have tended to hold Charles almost entirely responsible for the outbreak of war whereas more recent revisionist work has questioned that theory. This Final Year Project attempts to examine the role Charles played in causing the civil war and his subsequent execution and analyse the extent of his culpability. By exploring the many political errors and misjudgements he committed throughout the course of his reign, it attempts to judge the impact of his actions and if the moniker so often imputed to him by his enemies- the man of blood- is befitting. In doing this, the Final Year Project attempts to prove that while no singular cause can be ascribed the English Civil War, the words and actions of the King played an incredibly significant role. Furthermore in examining the reasons for Charles’ execution and the subsequent abolition of monarchy it finds that there is a strong case to suggest that Charles was almost singlehandedly responsible.