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The English Civil War, 1642-51

4. 1646-9: Why was Charles I Executed?

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about why it was that Charles was executed in early 1949, focusing in particular on the various peace proposals that had been made in the period 1642-46 (e.g. Oxford 1643, Uxbridge 1645, Newcastle after the war), the different character of the peace settlements after the war had been won in 1646, and the kind of arguments that were used to justify the execution of the king.


In this course, Professor Mike Braddick (University of Sheffield) explores the English Civil War (1642-51) through the lens of radical and revolution. We begin by thinking about the causes of the war in England, focusing in particular on why the people of England were so unhappy with their king in the 1630s. After that, we look at the early years of the 1640s and the increasing polarisation of views on religion and politics. In the third module, we think about how these tensions were rapidly escalated in the 1640s and the factors that fuelled this escalation, before turning in the fourth module to the question of why the king ended up losing his head. In the fifth module, we take a step back to think about the concept of radicalism more generally, and how what constituted 'radical' views evolved from one decade to the next.


Michael Braddick is a Professor of History at the University of Sheffield. Before that, he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama and Assistant Professor at Birmingham-Southern College, Alabama. He has held fellowships from the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation and a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. He has also held visiting scholarships at the Huntington Library, California, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and an ARC distinguished visiting fellowship at the University of Adelaide.

He is the author of five books and around 40 chapters and articles, dealing with aspects of state formation, the English revolution and forms of political engagement and agency in early modern England, Ireland and the British Atlantic. He is also editor or co-editor of nine essay collections, three special editions of academic journals and of a major edition of seventeenth century letters.

His most recent publications are: The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution, God's Fury, England's Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars, Popular Culture and Political Agency in Early Modern England and Ireland (co-edited with Phil Withington), Suffering and Happiness in England 1550-1850: Narratives and Representations (co-edited with Jo Innes), as well as an edited collection on The politics of gesture: historical perspectives.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Braddick, M. (2019, January 24). The English Civil War, 1642-51 - 1646-9: Why was Charles I Executed? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Braddick, M. "The English Civil War, 1642-51 – 1646-9: Why was Charles I Executed?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Jan 2019,

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