Civil War, Religion or Economy

To what extent do you accept Lawrence Stone’s view that religion rather than economic interests influenced the taking of sides among the gentry in 1642? Religion was a huge part of 17th century England, and can be seen as one of the highest contributing factors to the civil war. Most of the country consisted of Protestants with a minority of Catholics, however this did not mean there was no friction between the two. The religious quarrels began right at the start of Charles’ reign, when Charles married Henrietta Maria, a French Catholic.

Although Charles didn’t choose to marry her – his father, James, set up the marriage – the public, especially the Puritans, didn’t like having a Catholic as Queen. A few extremists even saw this as a sign that Charles was secretly Catholic! After the King dissolved Parliament, he made William Laud the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1633. While Laud was Archbishop, he made many changes to the Church. Most of these changes involved beatifying the Church and bringing back robes for priests, statues and stained-glass windows.

All these things reminded the English of Catholicism, and it did not please the Presbyterians (puritans) who believed that church should just be about “you” and God, no extravagance was required and it was considered to be unnecessary. In 1636, Archbishop Laud decided to introduce the English Prayer Book (which stated how services should be run) into Scotland. There was nationwide rioting, because no one wanted to follow the new Prayer Book. Scotland was a Presbyterian (Puritan) country, and they thought that the English Prayer Book was far too Catholic to use in Scotland.

This eventually led to many Scots, called the Covenanters, marching down the country in an attempt to invade England. At this point, Charles had to call Parliament to ask for taxes to pay for the war, but was horrified to see that most of the MPs were on the Covenanters’ side. Parliament agreed that the Prayer Book was too Catholic, so Charles dissolved them again, but after he ran out of money to pay the Scots, he was forced to call Parliament again. These actions support the view of Source 6 that the populace believed in an authoritarian popish plot to undermine English laws and liberties, and significantly “true religion”.

This plot was made apparent by the “alarming” support from the “evil councillors” at court. The Grand Remonstrance’s famous phrases signify these views and suggest that it was common belief that the King and his advisors were involved in a popish plot. Parliament first put Laud on trial, and found him guilty. Later they decided to execute Strafford on charges of organising an army in Ireland, where he governed. It turned out that this was a big mistake. As soon as Strafford was executed, the Irish Catholics rebelled against the Protestants, saying they were rebelling for the King.

Although it was clear this was not true, Parliament did not trust the King when he asked them for an army, and so refused, believing he would use it to crush them instead. Notably, in contradiction to both Sources 5 and 6, Source 7 states that the gentry held no clear alignments as war broke out. There is said to be no “clear association” of wealth or political sympathies before the war, but correlations do appear in 1645. However, religion is considered to be far more decisive than any socio-economic correlation, suggesting that if any factor could be attributed to the taking of sides, it would in fact be religion.

This is supported by the fact that in Yorkshire, over a third of the Royalist gentry were Catholics, and over half the Parliamentarians were Puritans. In contrast to the view that religion was the main influencing factor in the taking of sides among the gentry in 1642, it is also believed that economic interests were responsible for influencing the gentry. James was the first King to reign over both England and Scotland, and when he came down from Scotland it is said that he was astonished at how rich England was, while James had needed to borrow money for his travelling expenses.

When James died in 1625, Charles came to the throne, and he, like his father, had very little money. Once Charles became King, the County Faction wanted him to go to war with the Catholics in Spain, so Charles asked them for taxes to use on the war. They refused to pay enough, so the war was hopeless, and Parliament blamed the King for this. The reason Parliament granted so few taxes was that they wanted to make sure they were called again. Charles, a firm believer in the Divine Right of Kings, thought that he should not have to rule with Parliament, and the only thing that kept him calling it was money.

One good example of the way Parliament made sure they were called back in Charles’ reign was tonnage and poundage. These were duties imposed on certain imports and exports. It was normal for these duties to be decided in the first Parliament of a monarch’s reign, but in the case of Charles, they only decided on it for one year, so the King would be forced to call them again. Although Charles tried to ask for more money, Parliament refused, because they believed he spent it on his favourites. Because of this, Charles had to get himself more money.

He began using the Church Courts, exploiting taxes such as ‘ship money’, and selling monopolies and titles. He also opened a Court of Star Chamber, which he used to fine people heavily to raise money. Since the judges in the Star Chamber were officials of the Crown, and there was no jury, Charles could be sure of getting a favourable result. Parliament was furious with this, and immediately drew up the Petition of Right, which asked the King to stop illegal taxation. The King signed it, but only because Parliament threatened to impeach Buckingham, one of the King’s favourites.

The quarrels about money went on, and eventually Charles decided to dissolve Parliament. He reigned without them for 11 years. When the new prayer book was brought into Scotland, a group called the Covenanters attempted to invade England. Charles called a Parliament to try and get taxes to fight the Covenanters, but they refused, so Charles dissolved them again. He was forced to pay the Scots ? 850 a day to stop them advancing, and eventually, in 1641, his money ran out, and he had to call Parliament – he was bankrupt and at their mercy, so money was definitely a key factor in the outbreak of the civil war.

With the economic depression and impoverishment of the populace, the gentry were bound to rebel against the king. Source 5 suggests that this was the main reason why the gentry rebelled against the king. In contrast to Source 6 which suggests religion was the reason, Source 6 implies that the gentry were merely part of a “blind protest” against the depressing economic situation the found themselves in. In conclusion it can be suggested that neither economic interest nor religion were individual influences in the taking of sides in 1642.

It would be a much more accurate judgement to suggest that a mixture of the two were responsible. The combined fears of a popish plot and a continued depression, or even loyalty to the king may have motivated the gentry in taking sides. This is implied by the variety of evidence from all three sources, mention economic influences and significant religious motivations that would have been completely relevant to the population, but more specifically to the gentry.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyHomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
English 101
great summery in terms of the time given. it lacks a bit of clarity but otherwise perfect.
Customer 452747, June 9th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Excellent work ,always done early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Business and administrative studies
looks good thank you
Customer 452773, March 3rd, 2023
Customer 452591, March 18th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and help
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Thank you!
Customer 452545, February 6th, 2021
Impressive writing
Customer 452547, February 6th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
excellent job!
Customer 452773, May 25th, 2023
10th grade English
very good
Customer 452773, March 26th, 2023
excellent job made a 93
Customer 452773, March 22nd, 2023
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes