Oliver Cromwell Hero? Worthy of a statue outside parliament? or Villain? Sneaky guy, who killed a king just to get the crown for himself?
How can we make a decision? He killed 3,000 Irish people for no reason – hes a murderer! Nonsense! He was a soldier! People die in war – you cant blame Cromwell for all the deaths. He was aiming at the throne all the time. He killed the king, then chucked out parliament and made himself Lord protector. No! He never wanted to rule. He tried over and over again to get Charles to compromise. And he did keep calling parliaments, he tried to give them power. Confused?
Lets start with an easy one… How would you find out about this person? Well – the best way is to ask people who know her… Shes wonderful! Shes funny and kind and clever. Shes a really good teacher. She makes you think. She is very ambitious – and she doesnt care who she hurts on her way up to the top. Shes just in it for herself. Shes a terrible teacher. Shes bossy and shouts all the time. What do you need to know about these people in order to work out how much you can trust them?
How much can you trust the witnesses? What do we do??? Shes wonderful! Shes funny and kind and clever. Shes a really good teacher. She makes you think. She is very ambitious – and she doesnt care who she hurts on her way up to the top. Shes just in it for herself. Shes a terrible teacher. Shes bossy and shouts all the time. Her boyfriend A pupil who just got A* in GCSE History A pupil who just got a detention from her The teacher who applied for the same job as her but did not get it
Provenance This is a very important word in History. It means the BACKGROUND of the source. It means who made the source, when, and why? If you know about the person who said the source, you can see if they had a reason to like or dislike the person they are talking about. If you know the provenance of a source, you can work out how much to trust it!
Bias / Biased This is another important word in History. It means one-sided. If you are biased, it means you have a certain viewpoint. Biased sources have more OPINIONS than facts Who would be a biased and an unbiased witness about Ms Munro???? You CAN still trust a biased source BUT you have to be careful It will only give PART of the story You need to sort out what is FACT and what is OPINION
So…back to Oliver Cromwell When we want to know about Cromwell, we need to look at sources about him. The sources are written and drawn by people who knew him. What do we need to know about the sources before we can work out how much to trust them? Exercise!
Yes – provenance! We need to know who made the sources. Cromwell promised to spare the lives of the soldiers who surrendered. But when they did surrender, he gave out the word that there was to be no mercy. He slaughtered all the men. The Irish soldiers were given every opportunity to surrender, but they refused. Some were executed, others were taken prisoner. Anyway, the Irish had massacred Protestants so it was just revenge. One of these sources is by the leader of the Irish troops, who Cromwell defeated. One is by a soldier who was with Cromwell. Which is which – and how can you tell?
EXERCISE Fit the people to the sources. Then answer the questions. Without doubt no man ever got so much power so wickedly. A greater soul never lived He took all power to himself. He pretended to work with parliaments, but really all he wanted was to get rid of them. He would rather have been a shepherd than a ruler, but he was the only man who could keep order. He was a man who betrayed the men who had fought with him He was practical He stopped the Levellers because their plans would cause chaos. Lucy Hutchinson Her husband was an MP who was thrown out of his job by Cromwell. Peter Gaunt Someone who did not meet Cromwell, but who studied his life in detail John Lilburne Leader of the Levellers, who Cromwell defeated John Hopkins Cromwells servant, who was with him for most of his life. Lord Clarendon A close friend of king Charles I & King Charles II Thomas Burton A soldier who acted as Cromwells secretary
This picture shows Cromwell ordering his wild and undisciplined troops to pull down the royal oak of Britain – a tree that symbolises all the traditions of Britain. Do you think it was drawn by an enemy or a supporter of Cromwell? How can you tell???
Cromwell tried to persuade the army officers to agree to him becoming king. He offered bribes and threats. Edmund Ludlow A soldier who at first supported Cromwell, but who turned against him when Cromwell became Lord Protector. How reliable do you think this source is? How far can you trust it? WHY?
How does this poster show Cromwell? Does he look heroic or villainous? Who do you think made it? How can you tell?