Parliament Limits the English Monarchy

Explain the conflicts that led to changes to the English political system.

Limits on power/ English political system
By: Michelle Pelletier

Absolute rulers here were overthrown, so in England, the parliament gained power. After the English Civil War, people didn’t like the cavaliers of the people who supported King Charles, so Oliver Cromwell started defeating them. After revolutions occurred, Charles II came, and his period was known restoration. He introduced the habeas corpus, meaning to have the body. This meant people had rights. At the end England changed form an absolute monarch to a constitutional monarchy. They created the Bill of Rights to make clear the limits of royal power:

  • Not suspending parliament's laws
  • no levying of taxes without asking the parliament
  • no interfering with freedom of speech in Parliament
  • no penalty for a citizen who petitions the king about grievances

After that, no British monarch could rule without the consent of the Parliament. Then, the cabinet system develop in order to represent the parliament.

The constants conflicts between the Parliament and Charles I, who only called the parliament for money due to his war with both Spain and France led to the English Civil War (1642-1651). Those who remain royal to the King were called royalist or cavaliers and roundheads supporters of Parliament. During this period the general later on first lord protector of the commonwealth of England, Oliver Crownwell, whose new model army began defeating the Cavaliers. In 1647, they held the king prisoner and sentenced him to death. Now with Cromwell on the power; monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished. He establishes a commonwealth. He drafts the first written constitution of any modern European state. He died in 1658.

In 1659, the Parliament voted to ask the elder son of Charles I to rule England. Because he restores the monarchy, the period of his rule is called the Restoration. During Charles’s reign, Parliament passed an important guarantee of freedom, habeas corpus or ´´to have the body´´; which were the first steps towards constitutional monarchy. Because of the habeas corpus, monarch could not put someone in jail simply for opposing the ruler. Moving on, during the William and Mary reign they vowed to recognize the Parliament as their partner in governing. Now England became a constitutional monarchy. To make clear the limits of royal power, Parliament drafted a Bill of Ringhts in 1689.
BY: Vicente Gomez

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License