Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, Commonwealth of England

posted by Kaihsu Tai on September 3rd, 2007

Oliver Cromwell, stained-glass window in Mansfield College, Oxford Today on the 349th anniversary of his death, let us remember Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, Commonwealth of England, who prayed:

Strengthen us O God, to relieve the oppressed,
to hear the groans of poor prisoners,
to reform the abuses of all professions;
that many be made not poor to make a few rich;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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  1. On September 3, 2007 at 10:18 Jim in Boston said:

    Is this a joke?

  2. On September 3, 2007 at 10:53 Mike said:

    I don’t know much about Cromwell, but from what I know I share Jim’s concern. I’m sure OC had many admirable points, but overall I don’t think he’s a figure I’d like to emulate myself.

    Kaihsu, can you elaborate on your favorite aspects of Cromwell?

    From Wikipedia:

    Cromwell’s career is full of contradictions. He was a regicide who agonised over whether to accept the crown’s legitimacy. He was a parliamentarian who ordered his soldiers to dissolve parliaments. Under his rule, the Protectorate advocated religious liberty of conscience (not to be confused with freedom of religion) but allowed blasphemers to be tortured. He advocated equitable justice but imprisoned those who criticised his raising taxation outside the agreement of Parliament. Admirers hail him as a strong, stabilising and stately leader who brought international respect, overthrew tyranny and promoted republicanism and liberty, whilst critics ridicule him as an overly ambitious hypocrite who betrayed the cause of liberty, imposed puritanical values and showed scant respect for the nation’s traditions.

    Cromwell has been a very controversial figure in history of Britain and Ireland—a regicidal dictator to some historians (such as David Hume and Christopher Hill) and a hero of liberty to others (such as Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Rawson Gardiner). In Britain he is held in high esteem, being elected as one of the Top 10 Britons of all time in a BBC poll. However, his measures against Irish Catholics have been characterised by some historians as genocidal or near-genocidal, and in Ireland itself he and his memory are widely despised.

    To show how little I know of Cromwell, I was totally surprised to read that the English regard him as a great figure of their history.

  3. On September 3, 2007 at 13:18 Dave in Worcester said:

    you do have to be kidding – this guy is one of the most hated figures of empire by the Irish and their diaspora. Trust me, he is no hero to us, but a vicious thug. Just like Churchill, who ranked the Irish as subhuman. Give me a break. Metnioning Cromwell and Jesus in the same breath is stunning.

  4. On September 3, 2007 at 19:49 paxton said:

    Well here’s some more Cromwell trivia for you Mike. Cromwell defeated the crown at the Battle of Worcester; Worcester, MA was named in tribute of Cromwell for that defeat. And yes, if you adjust for population Cromwells Irish campaign was astounding for both military and civilian deaths.

    There’s no doubt he is a ‘great’ figure in English history. But he is also the father of an ideology which taught the early Mass Bay Colony to justify their killing of innocents as protection of their particularly boring version of reality.

    Remind me when Jan 30th rolls around so we can celebrate Cromwells posthumous execution. Nothing warms the heart more than the head of a tyrant on a pike.

  5. On September 3, 2007 at 20:14 Jim Hannon said:

    Any Irishman or Irish-American who is not brain dead knows that Cromwell was a genocidal monster who used his Proetestant piety as a justificvation for torture, murder and the theft of land. Save us all from such pious souls.

  6. On October 26, 2007 at 06:04 Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    New book: The Levellers: The Putney Debates introduced by Geoffrey Robinson. ISBN 978-1-84467-175-5.

  7. On November 19, 2008 at 20:07 Jenny said:

    Cromwell was great for his country, though he did kill off some of the irish, but only to defend his place in the government from the royalists.

    Churchill is great don’t know what you people are talking about.

    And any of you irish people out there, I think you are taking a very pregidous view of this guy. I’m american, and I’m doing a project on him.

    Honestly he did a good job for the position he had to take, and for his country, even if he might have shoved off some of the others. When you look at it from his point of view he was a bit better than you seem to take him.