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Protectorate

Oliver Cromwell (1599—1658) lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Richard Cromwell (1626—1712) lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Instrument of Government

 

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The second written constitution of the Protectorate, formulated by its second Parliament early in 1657. Originally, its main purpose was to make Cromwell king, but it also proposed a new second chamber (‘the other house’), to be nominated by him. Cromwell was much drawn to a constitution bearing Parliament's authority, the Instrument of Government having only the army's, but he was asked to accept all of it or none, and he did not want the crown. Skilfully, he protracted negotiations for six weeks, until Parliament agreed to let him have the new constitution with the old title. The succession problem was settled by empowering him to name his own successor.

Subjects: British History.


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