Cromwell and Robespierre: Revolutionaries or Madmen Two leaders that wanted to do what was right for their country, unfortunately both leaders became corrupt with power. Cromwell and Robespierre saw their country’s falling apart by the reigning monarchy, they decide to start a revolution that changes England and France. Cromwell and Robespierre demonstrates their corruption through authority, beliefs, and religion. First, both Cromwell and Robespierre had true heroic intention when the revolution’s started, though along the way they became corrupt.
Oliver Cromwell was an England military and political leader, which gained him power. By having an army that supported him, Cromwell was able to defeat Scots and the Northern Royalists in the campaign of Lancaster, and was able to restore order in Scotland. In a bio of Cromwell in Britannica it states that, “Cromwell now hoped for pacification, a political settlement, and social reform. He pressed through an “act of oblivion” (amnesty), but the army became more and more discontented with Parliament” (Ashely, Maurice).
However Cromwell order his army to commit the ‘Unspeakable Acts’ in Ireland, committing mass murder. This shows how having a supportive army can do some good, though it can do horrific acts along the way. Robespierre was a French Lawyer and politician, who was a main figure of the French Revolution. Robespierre had a different type of authority than Cromwell, he spoke against the monarchy and defended the poor, which earned him the nickname “The Incorruptible”.
As well, Robespierre was original against the death penalty and slavery. However when France tarted to turn against Louis XVI, Robespierre “successfully argued for the execution of the king and continued to encourage the crowd to rise up against the aristocracy” (Maximilien De Robespierre). By those actions Robespierre was able to continue the Revolution, which lead to a blood bath of those who were against the Revolution, turning him into a villain then a hero. Therefore Cromwell and Robespierre where hero’s however gaining to much authority lead them to turn against their own morals. Second, Cromwell and Robespierre beliefs played a big part in going against the monarchy.
Cromwell believed that the monarchy would never change the error of their ways, keeping England in trouble. So in order to fix the problem Cromwell helped with the execution of King Charles, by signing the death warrant of the king. With the kings execution Cromwell was able to gain control of England, even to the point where he appointed himself as Lord Protector. By gaining power he killed many people who were supporters of the King, and along with many innocent death. The death toll became to a point where it was no longer doing the right thing, but doing it to gain control of a country and its colonies.
Robespierre believed in the principle of the rights of men, and that everyone should be equal including the poor and the slaves. He wanted the people of France to make their own choices and not be in the control of the Monarchy, though he was originally against the death of the King and Queen, however with heavy debating he came “to the conclusion that the ends justified the means, and that in order to defend the Revolution against those who would destroy it, the shedding of blood was justified” (Linton, Marisa). By this Robespierre believed the killing a monarchy and those against the Revolution, he could achieve freedom for all men.
Lastly, Cromwell and Robespierre religion had a great impact during the times of their Revolution. Cromwell was fully Puritan believing that God wanted him to succeed and rule England, after he became in charge he got rid of the Catholic religion, believing it to be corrupt. In order to avoid that corruption he set up the Puritan Church, changing England religion once again. Even though Cromwell started out as a good leader, he eventually started to banned things that brought enjoyment, for instances he “shut many inns and the theatres were all closed down.
Most sports were banned. Boys caught playing football on a Sunday could be whipped as a punishment” (CN, Trueman). He also cancelled Christmas at one point because he believed it was too commercialized and not focusing on God. Therefore Cromwell’s religion became more important to him than the people of the country. Robespierre wasn’t a very religious man, he got rid of everything involving Christianity in France, believing that it was corrupt and taking away of our freedom and equality.
He got rid of Christian names, and even the Calendar, creating the French Revolutionary Calendar. As well he created the Festival of Supreme Beings, taking the ideas from the Enlightenment that God does in fax exist however He does not interfere with people’s daily lives. Having in mind that this festival would enlighten and educate the people of France. By taking away Christianity, it effected everyone lives by removing the one religion they know, changing their names, and making people learn a new Calendar system.
Therefore Robespierre believing that taking away Christianity would help continue the Revolution, however he had no idea the effect it would have on the citizens of France. In conclusion, Cromwell and Robespierre were well intension people trying to do what they thought was the right thing, however near the end having too much power corrupted them. Through authority, beliefs, and religion, they both were able to change many aspect of their Revolution. However in doing so they created a lot of death and effecting the daily lives of people.