Was the trial and execution of Charles I justified?

Was his execution justified

  • Yes

    Votes: 42 44.7%
  • No

    Votes: 39 41.5%
  • Don't know

    Votes: 13 13.8%

  • Total voters
    94
Feb 2014
103
Australia
I think we should have gone back to the original English tradition of remembering monarchs not by number but by nickname.
IMHO Bloody Charles for Charles I.
If you fight a 2 civil wars and lose both, and then threaten to bring in a foreign army to start a third round, you have to be dealt with.
Cromwell for a long time expected to be able to do a deal with Charles but he ended up realising that Charles would lie, cheat and swindle to get his way.
If he did say "cruel necessity" it was because he was really reluctant to kill Charles but the King left them with no alternative.
Exile would have only freed him to rally troops in Europe and then rally Irish troops. (Ireland was not settled at the time of his execution, there were 4 armies fighting for differing causes.)
As for those who believe Cromwell's rule was hated and loathed, why was there so few revolts during his reign? Why was the transfer of power to Richard so utterly peaceful? Why was it a Commonwealth general who brought Charles II back? It was Cromwell who allowed Jews back into England, Cromwell who put with taunting from Quakers, Cromwell who built up the fleet and took Jamaica.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
I imagine most men who have had a taste of power would've done the same in his shoes.
Not sure ,if they realised their lives were at stake.

It understand Charles 1 believed totally that he was king by divine right, and was answerable only to god. I think that if the thought of being killed crossed his mind, he would probably thought something like " They would not dare!" He may have been incapable of realising that Cromwell &c simply did not believe in 'the divine right of kings' at least not to the same depth.

Of course, Oliver may have just wanted to be in charge.:hug:

Justified? I suspect the Round heads thought so at the time.. In France it was said England had killed its king "'pour encourager les autres" (to encourage the others)

In retrospect killing Charles may not have been a terribly good idea; Cromwell died in1658. His son Richard, known to history as "Tumbledown Dick", took over, he resigned/abdicated 9 months later. The monarchy was restored in 1660 and Charles 11 ascended the throne.. HE may have been a rake ,but he was royally pissed off at those who had the audacity to kill his dad. I gather a lot of royal revenge was had.--and rewards to loyalists.

I've been a bit flippant, because executions/murders done for political reasons have one and only one justification ,the ends justifies the means, which has been the single guiding principle of politics for centuries.

It's also too easy to take the moral high ground 350 years after the event. Historical records provide a simplistic understanding of what happened and why. Nobody ever knows exactly what happened ,and why.

Arguably the most thorough historical records ever kept are from WW2 ,but a lot of stuff has been suppressed or ignored by both Allies and Axis powers, especially by the Japanese,.
 
Jan 2019
251
Montreal, QC
Nor I. The Stuarts were an untrustworthy bunch and Charlie One was untrustworthy and not too bright. Charlie Two was much smarter, but you wouldn't have bought a used car off him.
Emphasis mine.

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that.

Charles I wasn't "not too bright." He was actually quite intelligent. Perhaps the word you're looking for is savvy. He certainly didn't have the political finesse of his father (James VI/I), but he was still a smart person. He allowed himself to be swayed far too much by his wife, Henrietta-Maria. The fact that she was a French Catholic only made things much worse. Of course, the fact that Charles was pushing his weight around was troubling. I'm not saying he was a good king, but definitely a misunderstood one, especially when we are still saying, centuries later, that he was quite dim.

The one thing that makes the Stuart kings to be considered untrustworthy is their relationship with Catholicism. Charles I very much loved his queen, who was a very devout Catholic. Charles II did some under-the-table dealing with his cousin, Louis XIV (Secret Treaty of Dover), had his own Catholic queen and mistress, and even converted on his deathbed. And we all know the story of poor King James VII/II. It's been said that his first wife, Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, had persuaded him to become a Catholic. And, of course, Henrietta's influence certainly left a mark.

(Do you see a trend?)

Had they not had such a contentious and controversial relationship with the Holy Mother Church and such a love for women, I wholeheartedly believe their reputation today would be much different.

It had to be done for the Commonwealth to succeed.
And succeed it did, right? It's not like the monarchy was restored and Cromwell's head ended up on a spike! The dismal "republican" experiment was little short of a monarchy itself. Many of Cromwell's imagery and titles were very kingly.

...As for those who believe Cromwell's rule was hated and loathed, why was there so few revolts during his reign? Why was the transfer of power to Richard so utterly peaceful? Why was it a Commonwealth general who brought Charles II back? It was Cromwell who allowed Jews back into England, Cromwell who put with taunting from Quakers, Cromwell who built up the fleet and took Jamaica.
Old Noll had proven himself to be very brutal and violent in his Irish conquest. The country had been bled dry by the Civil Wars. I don't think they'd have much willpower to go into another revolt, especially after seeing the devastating effects of the NMA. And the peaceful transition of power doesn't prove that Cromwell was beloved. Peaceful transitions of power have happened many times throughout history, the public perception of the ruler notwithstanding.

It was a Commonwealth general who brought Charles II back because the Commonwealth was failing. What was the point you were trying to make?

Cromwell allowing them back into England has nothing to do with anything. If that's a qualifier for his benevolence, then I'm very much amused. Charles II also put up with the Quakers, and even permitted them to create their own colony in the New World. And it was under Charles II that the English repulsed the Spaniards from Jamaica and made it into a prosperous sugar colony with Sir Henry Morgan. Perhaps one of the reasons why Charles II is remembered in such a positive light is because he followed such a dull leader.
 
Jan 2019
251
Montreal, QC
No, you should never kill a person, for whatever reason. You can lock him up for life, but not kill him. Capital punishment should never be tolerated.
While I agree that the execution of Charles I wasn't justified, having him locked up until he died would make no political sense. He was a king. It would be way too dangerous for the Republic. He tried to escape once already and ended up getting stuck in the window for about an hour. Charles would be too problematic left alive. While I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the topic of capital punishment in general, that's not the point of the thread.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,731
Republika Srpska
@Duchess of York
What I find rather fascinating about the Stuarts is not their closeness to Catholicism because they were geographically close to Catholic countries, but the fact that during the reign of James I there was a movement that proposed the unification of the Church of England and the Orthodox Church. And it is likely that the king himself supported the idea.
 
Jan 2019
251
Montreal, QC
@Duchess of York
What I find rather fascinating about the Stuarts is not their closeness to Catholicism because they were geographically close to Catholic countries, but the fact that during the reign of James I there was a movement that proposed the unification of the Church of England and the Orthodox Church. And it is likely that the king himself supported the idea.
Oh, wow. I've never heard of that. Could you send me some links?
 
Jan 2019
220
London, United Kingdom
While I agree that the execution of Charles I wasn't justified, having him locked up until he died would make no political sense. He was a king. It would be way too dangerous for the Republic. He tried to escape once already and ended up getting stuck in the window for about an hour. Charles would be too problematic left alive. While I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the topic of capital punishment in general, that's not the point of the thread.
Or banish him to North America, wherever. I am just against capital punishment in general, whatever he has done, whatever he could do had he not been executed.