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Why was Oliver Cromwell important?

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Quick Answer

Oliver Cromwell was important because he temporarily dissolved the monarchy in England and Wales, and he encouraged some religious tolerance and promoted puritanism. While Cromwell managed to introduce some social justice to England, the monarchy was later reinstated.

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Full Answer

Oliver Cromwell was born into a landed gentry family that could trace its roots back to Thomas Cromwell. He became the Member of Parliament in 1628 for Huntingdon during a time when King Charles I refused to call parliamentary sittings. When civil war broke out in 1642, Cromwell attempted to block supplies from reaching the king, and he supported parliament's stance against him. Although he tried to introduce unity between parliament and the king following the war, his efforts were unsuccessful. In 1649, he became the third person to sign Charles' death warrant.

At the end of 1653, Cromwell was made Lord Protector, which essentially made him the head of state. During his political career, he attempted to increase religious freedom and allowed Jewish people to enter England and Wales again. As someone who graduated from a Puritan college at Cambridge University, he also promoted puritanism. Although he attempted to develop a sense of unity among those who opposed the monarchy, he was not always successful. Following his death, his son attempted to adopt his role, but he was forced to abdicate when he could not generate enough support. When Charles II reclaimed the throne, he removed Cromwell's remains from his grave and performed a ceremonial execution before burning them at Tyburn.

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