Article

Oliver Cromwell

Sarah Covington

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0045
Oliver Cromwell

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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More than any other figure of 17th-century England, Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) leaves behind a complex and debated legacy, assuming different guises according to the changing preoccupations of the times. In the Victorian period, he was interpreted as a harbinger of religious toleration and modern liberal ideals, whereas other estimations emphasized his role as a ruthless and devious political operator. So elusive is his persona—with his words holding an ambiguous relationship to his actions—that he has variously been likened to Machiavelli, the duke of Marlborough, Robespierre, Hitler, and even the late President Zia of Pakistan. New biographies and studies are published every year, reflecting continued fascination with the man and his career. Though each assessment of Cromwell claims to be the definitive and truest one, as one biographer, Peter Gaunt, has written, we can be sure that “future generations may disagree.”

Article.  9256 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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