Cromwell and the Interregnum

The English Interregnum lasted from 1649, when Charles I was executed for high treason, until 1660, when Charles II was put on the throne. A lasting affect of the Interregnum was the flourishing of religious dissenters such as Diggers, Ranters, and Quakers. Oliver Cromwell was a very religious man, but he made room for dissenters within England (as long as they weren’t Catholic. He had a particular hatred of Catholics). Some of the legislation passed during the Interregnum had clear religious overtones, such as the Adultery Act, an act that imposed the death penalty for adultery. However, Cromwell’s commitment to liberty of conscience stood in the way of his attempt to form a godly nation. During the Interregnum, the Toleration Act was also passed. This act abolished compulsory church attendance. Also during the Interregnum, Cromwell did not withdraw England from the world stage. Instead he went on the offensive, and conquered Scotland and Ireland. Ireland was dealt with very harshly, Scotland not so much because the Scotland was Protestant. A republic was established during the interregnum, but it did not last. The republic struggled from its early days, however, In fact, in 1657 Cromwell was offered the kingship, which he declined after three months. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, and without him the republic did not last very long. After a decade of governmental changes, the monarchy was brought back.