Teaching Students About the English Civil Wars
The English Civil Wars were a significant event in British history that began in 1642 and lasted until 1651. It was a time of great political turmoil, and English people found themselves divided into two camps: the Royalists, who supported King Charles I and the Parliamentarians, who supported the opposition. The wars were fought in three phases, with the Parliamentarians eventually emerging victorious. Educators need to teach their students about the English Civil Wars as they played a vital role in shaping Britain’s future, and students should understand the effect that this period had on the country.
The first thing educators need to do when teaching students about the Civil Wars is to introduce them to the key players. This includes individuals like King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II, among others. Students should be well-versed in the different political, social, and economic factors that were responsible for the conflicts. Educators must explain that the war was not just about the role of the king and parliament. Instead, it was the result of several underlying issues, including religion, taxation, and the power of the nobility.
Furthermore, teachers should highlight the different groups that emerged during the Civil Wars. They include the Royalists, who supported King Charles I, and the Parliamentarians, who were opposed to the king’s rule. There were also several sub-groups, including the Levellers, who were for broader political reforms, and the Diggers, who advocated for communal land rights. Educators can explain the roles of each group during the wars and how their unique beliefs often led to conflict.
Another important aspect of teaching about the Civil Wars is understanding the battles themselves. The wars were fought in three distinct phases, beginning with a struggle between the king and parliamentarians, followed by the rise of the Cromwell-led New Model Army, and finally, the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660. Educators should teach the significant battles that took place during each phase of the war, such as the Battle of Naseby, Edgehill, and Marston Moor.
Lastly, educators should inspire students to understand the impact of the English Civil Wars on society. The wars ended with the execution of King Charles I and the rise of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate. The wars also led to the widespread religious and political reforms that occurred during the post-Civil War period. Students should understand why these changes occurred and the long-term effect that they had on the country.