James I: James I, who succeeded Elizabeth I, was a Catholic monarch who almost immediately ran into conflicts with Parliament. Dismissing old advisors and replacing them with his Catholic friends, James sought to rule without Parliament and impose divine-right monarchy.
James II: James II succeeded Charles II and was openly a Catholic, attempting as his predecessors had to impose an absolute monarchy where he controlled all. Parliament convinced William and Mary of Orange from the Netherlands to come and replace him as monarch in the Glorious Revolution, signaling the end of English monarchs attempting absolute rule.
Charles I: Charles I, who succeeded James I, was an Arminian feared of having Catholic sympathies. Parliament refused to give him money unless he accepted limits on the monarchy in the Petition of Right, so Charles dissolved Parliament and ruled without it as an absolute monarch until the English Civil War, after which he was beheaded.
Charles II: Charles II was named king after the death of Oliver Cromwell, who had become a dictator. Only hoping to hold onto the throne, Charles ruled moderately, hoping to hide that he was secretly a Catholic. Charles passed the Test Act to convince the people he was Protestant to hide his Catholicism.
Arminianism: Arminianism, espoused by William Laud, was a form of Protestantism that nevertheless seemed to the radical Puritans too close to Catholicism; Arminians believed in Catholic-style rituals. The English people, who feared Catholicism, disliked Charles II and Laud partly for being Arminian.
William Laud: Laud, an advisor to Charles I, was an Arminian leader who was hated by the Puritans (like Cromwell) for seemed too Catholic. After the English Civil War, Laud was beheaded along with Charles.
English Civil War: It pitted the Parliamentarians, or Roundheads, against the Royalists, or Cavaliers. The Parliamentarians, led by Cromwell’s New Model Army, eventually won thanks to victories at Naesby and Marsten Moor and established a Puritan state, the Cromwell-run Commonwealth of England.
Roundheads: The Roundheads, named for their haircuts, were the Parliamentarian soldiers who eventually won the English Civil War. They tended to be Puritan, anti-Catholic, and pro-Parliament.
Cavaliers: The Cavaliers were the king’s soldiers, drawn more from rural areas. The Cavaliers were defeated in the English Civil War at Naesby and Marsten Moor. They were also called Royalists.
Oliver Cromwell: Cromwell, a Puritan, led the New Model Army to victory in the English Civil War. After Pride’s Purge removed dissenters in Parliament and created the Rump Parliament, Cromwell established a Commonwealth of England with himself as Lord Protector; in other words, a dictatorship. Cromwell’s rule was so dictatorial that the English people reimposed the monarchy after his death.
New Model Army: The New Model Army was the Puritan and Parliamentarian force that won the English Civil War. It was led by Oliver Cromwell.
Pride’s Purge: After the Parliamentarians won the Civil War, Colonel Pride rode into Parliament and forcibly removed most of the members, leaving only about one-fifth left; all those left were loyal to Cromwell and Puritanism. This new Rump Parliament allowed Cromwell to become Lord Protector (dictator).
Levellers: The Levellers were a radical group during the English Civil War. They wanted to “level” society; they wanted to give power and wealth to the poor and spread evenly. They were disliked by both the Parliamentarians and Royalists. Cromwell expelled them from the New Model Army.
Diggers: The Diggers, even more radical than Levellers, wanted to abolish private property. In a way, they were the first Communists. They were unable to amass any power.
Titus Oates: Oates, a madman, had a half-baked theory against Charles II, accusing him of being in league with the pope. Though Oates was crazy, he accidentally hit upon a truth – Charles II actually was secretly a Catholic.
Gunpowder Plot: In the 1603 Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes and several other conspirators unsuccessfully attempted to blow up Parliament out of anger at James I. It alerted people to the dissatisfaction with James’ ignorant style of rule.
Commonwealth of England: The Commonwealth was established by Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s, naming himself Lord Protector and establishing a Puritan republic. Cromwell became a dictator, imposing Puritan rules on the people and using the New Model Army to hold power.
Test Act: The Test Act, which excluded Catholics from holding public office, was an attempt by Charles II to convince the people he was a true Protestant. Anti-Catholic measures like the Test Act were popular, as the English feared Catholicism.
Whigs: The Whigs were the Parliamentarians, a group in Parliament that banded together to limit the monarchy and give the people more power. They wanted a constitution.
Tories: The Tories were the Royalists, a group in Parliament that wanted to expand the power of the king and establish a Catholic, divine-right, absolutist monarchy.
William and Mary: William and Mary of Orange took power in 1688 after Parliament asked them to come take the throne. Their purpose was to sign the Bill of Rights and allow Parliament to rule. They were uninterested in ruling, simply brought to remain as a figurehead.
Petition of Right: The 1628 Petition of Right was a document Parliament forced Charles I to sign in return for granting him money. The Petition of Right set limits on the monarchy. However, Charles immediately abandoned the Petition, quickly dismissing Parliament and ruling without it for years.
Writ of Habeus Corpus: In 1679, the Habeus Corpus Act was passed, which stated that all men had a right to trial before being jailed.
Protestant Wind: When William and Mary of Orange traveled from the Netherlands to take the throne, a wind picked up that quickly pulled their ships to England. This same wind worked against James II, keeping his ships at bay. This helped them take the throne from the reluctant James.
Glorious Revolution: The 1689 Glorious Revolution was the ascending of William and Mary to the English throne and casting out of James II. It was a major victory for Parliament and the English people, as William and Mary signed the Bill of Rights and allowed Parliament to rule.
Bill of Rights: The Bill of Rights was passed in 1689 and was effectively a constitution, making England a constitutional monarchy. The Bill of Rights gave Parliament rights, as well as granting people natural rights like free speech.
John Locke: Locke, who wrote Second Treatise on Government, espoused natural rights (life, liberty, and property) and limiting the government so people could have freedoms like speech and assembly. Locke was partly a response to the English people’s worry after killing a king; he was justifying their execution of Charles I.
Dutch Estates General: The Dutch Estates General was the Dutch parliamentary body, the group that represented the Dutch people and limited the monarchy.
Stadholder: Each Dutch province had a stadholder, who represented them in the Estates General. The stadholders helped keep the Netherlands from becoming an absolute monarchy.
Rembrandt van Rijn: Rembrandt, a Dutch painter, was the main Dutch painter of the day. His use of light and shadow exemplified Dutch painting, as well as his depiction of everyday life and household objects. He often painted self-portraits.
Act of Settlement: The 1701 Act of Settlement passed the English throne to Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant heirs after the death of William and Mary. It ensured that the monarchy would remain Protestant and deferential to Parliament, and drove the last nail in the coffin of Catholic absolute rule in England.