Biography of Oliver Cromwell


Cromwell, Oliver. The "Protector." Son of Robert Cromwell. Born in Huntingdon in 1599. Educated at the free school and at Cambridge, where he did not graduate. Represented Huntingdon in the parliament of 1628. Oliver Cromwell was always an advocate of puritan views, and first became seriously religious himself about 1638. Was member for Cambridge in the short and long parliaments, and soon made himself prominent by his zeal in the cause of liberty. On the outbreak of the civil war Cromwell raised a troop of cavalry for the parliament. Distinguished himself in the battles which followed, and was specially exempted from the Self-Denying Ordinance (1645). Joined the Independent Party in opposition to the Presbyterians, and by the ejection of members known as "Pride's Purge," secured the condemnation and execution of Charles I (1649). After reducing Ireland to submission, he attacked the Scottish Royalists, defeating them at Dunbar (1650), and Worcester (1651). Cromwell dissolved the Long Parliament in 1653 and, after an unsuccessful attempt at constitutional government, assumed the title of "Protector," and ruled as a military despot, enforcing order at home and winning the respect of foreign countries. Cromwell died in 1658.