To kill a king
Why did people think King Charles deserved to die?
Imagine that the current Queen was arrested. Maybe she’d had a massive argument with the current Prime Minister. How you would react if the current Queen was arrested?
By 1649 the country had been torn apart by Civil War for 7 years. Many people blamed King Charles for causing the war. Some people wanted the King to be punished with death, but many people thought that it was a terrible crime to commit regicide [to kill
the King]. After all, they argued, wasn’t it God who had made him King?
Let’s look at some other arguments about the execution of Charles I:
- The King is a man of blood, he started both wars.
- There is no court that can try a King.
- The people do not want to kill their King.
- Charles was chosen by God to be King.
- The King was to blame for the war.
- Some people in parliament want to put the King back in power.
- England cannot survive without a King.
- The King had a wicked plan to give himself unlimited power and to rule without parliament.
- The victories of parliament’s armies show that God was on their side.
- A country without a King will have no-one to lead it.
- Charles fought against Parliament and his own people.
- The King has a divine right to rule. No one can take that away from him.
- When the King first lost the war, he agreed to keep the peace. However, he re-started the civil war. He cannot be trusted.
- As long as Charles is alive there is a chance of another war.
- The King has acted unwisely rather than illegally. Have you never acted unwisely?
- Even though the King is guilty of the crimes, he cannot be killed because no man has the right to put him on trial. God alone can judge a king
- Cromwell, the leader of Parliament, did not allow MPs who were against the execution of Charles, to vote on whether to kill him. Only the 80 MPs who were in favour of killing the king were allowed to vote.
Now download the worksheet by right clicking save as and follow the instructions.
Once you have completed the activity above you can download the extension powerpoint which gets you to make a new film looking at the execution of Charles.