Long Parliament (England)

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Session of the Long Parliament

As Long Parliament ( English Long Parliament ), the following the Short Parliament in 1640 by King Charles I of England convened Parliament referred. It got its name because, from the perspective of the royalists, it was never legally dissolved, but retained its legitimacy for 20 years, throughout the entire period of the English Civil War and the English Republic. In fact, the Long Parliament met again in 1660 to give the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II a legal basis.

From the very beginning, the Long Parliament adopted an attitude that was not very friendly towards the Crown. One of its first great leaders was MP John Pym . Under his leadership, Parliament first passed a law that prohibited more than three years from elapsing between two parliamentary sessions. The parliamentarians wanted to make it impossible for Charles I to try again, as between 1629 and 1640, to rule without the involvement of parliament.

In the years 1640–1641 the lower house undertook to indict the leading ministers of Charles I before the upper house. At the instigation of John Pym, the House of Commons primarily conducted the trials of the Archbishop of Canterbury , William Laud , and Charles' leading minister, the Earl of Strafford , who was executed in 1641. Also at Pym's instigation, the Long Parliament passed the Great Remonstrance in November 1641 , a complaint against the government of Charles I, which for the first time called for parliamentary control of the executive.

Charles's rejection of remonstrance culminated on January 4, 1642 in the failed attempt to arrest its initiators in the lower house. This was the first and last time an English monarch entered the boardroom of the House of Commons. The fact that Karl did this with an armed bodyguard was seen as an attempted coup against parliament. Karl had to flee London. In the spring of 1642 the civil war began between him and the Long Parliament.

With no one left who could legally dissolve the House of Commons, its composition remained unchanged throughout the civil war. It was only ousted in 1648 by the New Model Army , which he created himself under the command of Oliver Cromwell , after its members had secretly negotiated with the defeated king. Cromwell used physical force to prevent a number of MPs from taking their seats. With the remaining MPs - the so-called rump parliament - he pushed through the trial and execution of Charles I.

During the time of his lord protectorate from 1653 to 1658, Cromwell tried several times to install a parliament that would preserve the achievements of the civil war - especially freedom of religion for all Protestant faiths - but at the same time create a new stable order. All these attempts failed, however, because the various parliaments behaved as self-confidently towards him as the Long Parliament towards Charles I. Ultimately, Cromwell ruled himself without the support of the rump parliament.

When Cromwell's son Richard proved unable to succeed his father in the office of Lord-Protector, the leading men of the army sought a way in 1659 to restore kingship on a legal basis without breaking with what had been achieved by 1648. The only way to do this was to convene the remaining members of parliament from 1640. They resumed the parliamentary tradition and in 1660 appointed Charles II , the son of the executed Charles I, to the English throne. Only after he had come to power and sworn the rights of the House of Commons, the Long Parliament was formally dissolved on March 16, 1660.