The Divine Rights of Kings, is a philosophy first introduced by Henry the 8th, who was King of England during the 16th century. This philosophy taught that a king is only accountable to God, not any of his subjects or the people he rules. This pretty much means that a king could do pretty much anything he wanted no matter what. And of course with this power the kings abused it, which is a bad thing. In this essay I will be talking about three kings who abused this power, James the 1st, Charles the 1st, and Oliver Cromwell.
James the 1st is actually related to Henry the 8th, he was the great great nephew of Henry the 8th since his great grandmother was Henry’s sister. James was born in June 1566. He was the son of Mary Queen of Scots. He was the crown prince of Scotland.
But this changed, since he was also related to queen Elizabeth who was the daughter of King Henry the 8th. Since Elizabeth did not have any children of her own James automatically became the official heir to the English throne. He was crowned King of England in 1603.
Like past Kings, James enjoyed his new power thanks to the Divine Rights of Kings. He believed he could do anything he pleased no matter what Parliament or the people thought. Parliament on the other hand believed that the governing of England was supposed to be a
partnership between parliament and the king. This caused so much issue that a civil war began during the reign of James son Charles the 1st.
During James’s reign, he wanted the Episcopal religion to move forward; he wanted it so much that he even made it the state religion. This was problematic for England and Scotland. He ruled both of these places. The reason for these problems was because Scotland had a pretty large number of Prestbyterians and England a large group of Catholics. So a conference was held known as the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, to discuss about some of the reform ideas. One of the things that was finalized and decided was that an authorized version of the bible was to be created, for the Episcopal church. This bible is now known as the King James version.
King James passed away in 1625 thanks to a stroke.
King James son Charles the 1st was born in 1600, he was the second oldest son of James. He originally was not crown prince but after his older brother died he became the crown prince. He was crowned King after his father’s death in 1625.
Charles like his father before him strongly believed in the Divine Rights of Kings. He was an Anglican, which is very similar to Episcopal. He appointed William Laud to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. The new Archbishop of Canterbury forced the Anglican faith upon the English, Scottish, and Irish (yes Charles also ruled Ireland). The Scottish people revolted after Charles tried to force the Laudian prayer book upon them.
The revolt began when a milkmaid named Jenny Geddes, who was at church one morning. The preacher was reading some of the Anglican liturgy. Jenny realized that the Laud’s teachings went against what she had been taught growing up; when she looked around to see the other people’s reaction to this, she was shocked, the people seemed very unbothered by the false teachings they were being taught. This annoyed her so much that she stood up, grabbed her stool that she was sitting on and threw at the preacher’s head. After this more Scottish people got inspired to do things similar to what Jenny did, this began the rebellion of the Scottish people against Charles.
Charles went so far with his belief of the Divine Rights of Kings that he even sent Parliament away, and ruled on his own for eleven years! But to only call them back after those eleven years. Those eleven years were named “The Eleven Years of Tyranny.”
The English civil war started because of many uprisings and rebellions that Charles caused with his wrong discussions. During the war, Charles and his allies fought against a man named Oliver Cromwell and his group known as the Parliament Roundheads.
Oliver Cromwell was born in 1599 to a noble but poor family. Even with the lack of wealth to his family name, he still managed to get into politics. He even became a member of Parliament in 1628. He was part of a group who was against Charles’s way of ruling. Eventually Oliver gathered an army against Charles. This army he was gathering he accepted anyone no matter the station of the person, as long as the person was ready to fight. Oliver lacked in military training, but he fixed this by studying old war tactics, becoming a genius when it came to military strategy. Leading his army, the Parliament Roundheads. His army captured Charles, and he signed Charles death sentence. Charles was beheaded.
Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, this basically means he’s like a king but without the fancy title. His reign was successful. After his death his son Rhicard succeeded him. But he was not very capable at being a ruler and was removed off of the throne, the crown was then taken by Charles the 2nd, who was Charles the 1st’s son. This all happened eighteen months after Oliver died.
Oliver was not widely liked though. Few years after his death his body was dug up from the ground, hung , drawn, quartered, and then his body was thrown into a pit and his head put on a pole to de displayed. His head was displayed on a pole till 1685.
This is my essay on how the Divine Rights of Kings affected the reigns of James the 1st, Charles the 1st, and Oliver Cromwell.