Oliver Cromwell lived between 1599 and 1658 and was a primary figure in the republicanisation of England. His family were of gentry, although not of a major nature, and Cromwell studied at the prestigious Cambridge University. His political career began when he joined parliament in 1628 to 1629, representing the constituency of Huntingdon. The 1630s saw Cromwell have an ecclesiastical crisis which resulted in him holding the belief that he would be guided to carry out the work of God. In 1640, he was elected to represent Cambridge in parliament and was, by then, a well-known radical Puritan.
When civil war began in 1642, Cromwell led ‘The Ironsides’, a cavalry force and surprised everyone by proving to be a highly effective member of the force; he rose through the ranks quickly. Through his new-found military connections, he convinced parliament to establish a professional army and through these means, he and parliament beat Charles I and the consequent supporters of the former king’s son, Charles II. He was a zealous participant in the movement to execute Charles I and worked hard to maintain the new republic from rebel resurgences. Cromwell eventually became lord lieutenant of Ireland and an army commander. He continued to squash resistance at both Drogheda and Wexford in 1649. He eventually made himself Lord Protector in 1653 and ruled England until his death in 1658. His son, Richard Cromwell was his successor but lacked his Father’s drive and ability, and the republic eventually fell in 1660, when the monarchy resumed.
Cromwell is seen as being a trouble maker and a saint in equal measures. To this day, he divides opinion between royalists and republicans. Known for his military and his political ability, Cromwell will always be remembered as the man who divided a country.