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Why did Charles I fight the Civil War?

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Conrad Russell finds that it is easier to understand why sheer frustration may have driven Charles to fight than to understand why the English gentry might have wanted to make a revolution against him.

Civil wars are like other quarrels: it takes two to make them. It is, then, something of a curiosity that we possess no full analysis of why Charles I chose to fight a Civil War in 1642. Yet the early seventeenth century was in many ways a good period for gentry, and a bad period for kings. If we were to search the period for long-term reasons why the King might have wanted to fight a Civil War, we would find the task far easier than it has ever been to find long-term causes why the gentry might have wanted to fight a Civil War.


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Historical dictionary: English Civil War


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