Why did Charles I fight the Civil War?
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.