Parliament Triumphs in England

by Duncan Harling


The Tudors and Parliament

Approx. 1483 - Approx. 1603

Henry VII was the first Tudor King. The Tudors believed in their divine Right, but worked with Parliament as part of their rule. Henry VIII worked with them when England broke with the Catholic Church. Elizabeth I joined with Parliamenr to use diplomacy during her reign.

The Stuarts and Parliament

1603 - 1625

After Elizabeth, James I from the Scottish Tudors rules. He believed in his divine right, but felt that he didn't have to work with Parliament because of it. He fought with them constantly. The church supported him because he disliked the Puritans.

Parliament and Charles I

1625 - 1644

In 1629, just four years after being on the throne of England, Charles I dissolved Parliament. He did not call them again until 1640, 11 years later. For that decade he ruled England alone, raising money by non-parliamentary means angering the public. Charles I called them into session to get money for war with Scotland. They didn't vote to give him any. When he tried to dissolve it again, they revolted.

Long Parliament

1640 - 1660

When Charles I calls Parliament back into session for money, they refuse to be dissolved. In fact, they made the king sign that the Parliament could only be dissolved by Parliament's decision. This parliament continued until the end of the English Civil War. They reversed many of the decisions made in the 11 years without a parliament. Even though members were driven out, they didnot dissolve until Cromwell ruled.

The English Civil War: Cavaliers and Roundheads

1642 - 1651

The Cavaliers supported the King and the Roundheads supported Parliament. The war raged for almost ten years and came in three waves. After the first wave, the king was exiled and raised a Scottish army, the third ended with Charles I getting beheaded. This was the end of Stuart Absolutism.


1649 - 1653

The Puritans were the people who wanted to purify religion after separating from the Catholic Church. They supported Parliament and the Lord Protector. After the Glorious Restoration the splintered into a lot of groups. The main on was the Presyterians.

Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth

1649 - 1658

After Charles I was exiled, there was a purge of Parliament. Those left were called the Rump. They decreed an end to the monarchy and the lords. In 1649 they declared England a Commonwealth and for three years Parliament ruled. England now had a lot of Enemied, so Olover Cromwell became the Lord Protector, got rid of the Rump and ruled until he died.

Challenging the Commonwealth

1658 - 1660

After Oliver Cromwell died, his ministers appointed Richard Cromwell as his successor. Richard had been a country squire and did not know how to govern. A lot of enemies inside and out saw this as a weakness.
Countries like France were ready to attack. A change needed to be made.

End of the Commonwealth


The army grew concerned about possible attacks. They reached out to Charles II in exile about coming back as king. The ministers were not in favor of this. The people were angry about having to pay for the army in the form of taxes.

James II

1685 - 1688

After the death of his brother Charles II, James II became king. He was Catholic in a country that was now mostly Protestant. His brother had passed the Clarendon Code making sure that the Protestant religion was preeminent in England. The Catholic Church pressured James to change that. The King James bible was part of his legacy.

Glorious Revolution


The internal strife between Protestants and Catholics culminated in the Glorious Revolution. King James II was deposed after the birth of his son and replaced with his daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William of Orange. The Declaration of Right led to the Bill of Rights. Parliament was reestablished and had permanent powers of legislation with the ruler.

The English bill of Rights


The English Bill of Rights is an act that the Parliament of England passed on December 16, 1689. The Bill creates separation of powers, limits the powers of the king and queen, enhances the democratic election and bolsters freedom of speech. The main purpose of the act was to declare illegal various practices of James II.

Constitutional Government

1689 - 1700

William of Orange was appointed king by Parliament. His wife Mary was James II's daughter. The Glorious Revolution created the Declaration of Right, making the ruler and Parliament both part of governing. This led to the Bill of Rights. The Magna Carta, the Declaaration of Right and the Bill of Rights influence the US Constitution.

Political Parties

1700 - 1750

The Whig and Tory parties became divided after 1679. Whig was a term applied to horse thieves and then to Scottish Presbyterians. They believed in a party nonconformity and rebellion and was applied to those who claimed the power of excluding the heir from the throne. Tory was an Irish term suggesting a papist or Catholic outlaw and was applied to those who supported the hereditary right of James despite his Roman Catholic faith.

The Cabinet system and the Prime Minister

1721 - 1742

The cabinet developed from the Privy Council. The English monarchs Charles II and Anne began regularly consulting leading members of the Privy Council in order to reach decisions. George I spoke little English didn't attend meetings with the committee. The cabinet, became centered on a prime minister. Sir Robert Walpole was the first and was followed by Sir William Pitt later in the century.