Promotion and Patronage

Henry Reece

in The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-1660

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780198200635
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746284 | DOI:
Promotion and Patronage

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Establishing what kinds of officers were promoted, what criteria were used to justify promotions, and who controlled promotions at senior level provides the historian with important insights into the character of the army. This chapter highlights the intense competition for advancement in the army in the 1650s, and shows how the professional criteria of seniority and merit were the primary determinants of promotion for junior officers. Cromwell maintained hands-on involvement in and tight control of senior promotions, and used his patronage to give regimental commands to a disproportionate number of men from his political affinity and to outsiders who owed their advancement to him. The chapter argues that such personal appointments left the army badly exposed in terms of leadership when Cromwell was no longer there.

Keywords: officers; promotion; patronage; Cromwell; seniority; merit

Chapter.  6422 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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