The Causes of the English Civil War: A New Analysis

Charles I had ‘the authority to plan and initiate a policy, but he had not the power to enforce it.’

Two separate but related questions have to be answered about the conflict that divided England in the middle years of the seventeenth century. What was the nature of the crisis in English government at this time ? Could that crisis have been resolved without war, and if not why not ?

The conflict had two aspects – it was concerned with problems of government peculiar to England, but it was also a part of the religious wars that affected the whole of Western Europe for a century after the Reformation. In so far is as the crisis concerned the internal affairs of England, it might have been resolved peacefully. But the dynastic and religious conflicts, at that time dividing Europe, introduced elements into the English situation that transformed a political and administrative struggle into a military one.

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