Lt. Gen. Oliver Cromwell met with the House of Commons in a stormy session on April 20, 1653. Enraged by their obstinacy, he harangued the Commons with violent language. "Perhaps you think that this is not Parliamentary language; I confess it is not; neither are you to expect any such from me," he concluded defiantly. "You are no Parliament, I say you are no Parliament. I will put an end to your sitting." At his command, his troops entered the hall and pulled the Speaker off his chair. Cromwell had forcibly terminated the Long Parliament, which had governed for the Puritan revolution since the commencement of the English civil war eleven years before. Now the army created by that Parliament turned on its parent body and destroyed it. Cromwell had initiated military dictatorship in order to culminate the republican revolution. This incident had not been the first or the last time the Puritan army had interfered with parliamentary rule. But it dramatized the fundamental political dilemma of the English civil war: how to successfully wage war for a republican cause against established authority without creating a powerful standing army, which might become a political Frankenstein's monster. Military dictatorship proved to be just as repugnant to republican values and interests as absolute monarchy.



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