The eleven years between the Regicide and Restoration were marked by a persistent effort by Parliament to find a stable constitution and political-religious settlement to replace the monarchy abolished early in 1649. England was a commonwealth between 1649 and 1653 (careful to avoid the term 'republic' in its declaration and subsequent propaganda) headed by a Council of State appointed by Parliament. The Rump or Purged Parliament [8] remained the remnant of the Long Parliament that had survived Pride's Purge in December 1648. Politics was never safe from military intervention in these years if the Army commanders did not accord with their religious and political demands. In 1653 Cromwell intervened in politics to forcibly dissolve the Rump Parliament. After a short duration in which his hopes for legitimacy through the 'Nominated Assembly' were disappointed, Cromwell accepted the title of Lord Protector to preside over a quasi-monarchical constitutional settlement. He held this title, which he and his contemporaries were eager to emphasise was not regal, until his death in 1658.

[8. The Rump or Purged Parliament was the remnants of the Long Parliament that survived Colonel Pride's Purge of December 1648 to forcibly remove MPs who would not accede to radical measures of dealing with Charles I. The Army and a radical group of MPs had condemned the King as the perpetrator of the Civil Wars and the 'Man of Blood' who was responsible for all of the death, suffering and destruction that came with conflict. An impasse had been reached in negotiating with the King as it became clear that a working settlement acceptable to a now deeply divided Parliamentarian opposition and the Crown would not be reached. After the trial and execution of Charles I the Rump Parliament took control of the State from 1649 to 1653 when it was forcibly dissolved by Oliver Cromwell with military backing and replaced by the Nominated Assembly. The Rump had never been intended as a permanent body to replace the Stuart monarchy abolished in 1649 and its purpose therefore had been to reach a settlement for the constitution and the Church. However the Army became suspicious of the Rump's attempts to postpone its dissolution and feared its members were attempting to influence the election of a new body in order to preserve their own political positions.]

Cromwell's dilemma was that any settlement seemed to revolve around the political position of the military, but that the Army was too powerful a force to oppose and too essential to securing his religious and political agenda. The frailties of the Commonwealth were not exposed until the period 1658-60 when in the aftermath of Cromwell's death the system collapsed. In the chaos military rule ensued until the intervention of General Monck from Scotland forced the return of the Long Parliament which offered the crown to Charles Stuart.

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