Formation of the English Limited Monarchy

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Ratification of the Magna Carta

    Ratification of the Magna Carta
    image sourceThe ratification of the Magna Carta by King John of England signalled the beginnings of limited monarchy. This was the first major act by the people (in thsi case, the barons) revolting against the oppressiveness of the monarchy, and thus forcing him to give up some of his rights as king. As such, this is one of the first official "limits" on the power of the English monarch, which before had been uncontested.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    image sourceThe Petition of Right was one of the biggest steps towards limited monarchy because it outlined the rights that the king could not violate. It clearly defined boundaries that the king was prohibited from infringing, and contained clauses that tried to shift the direction of the monarchy back towards the Magna Carta. The fact that the Petition of Right was supported by both houses of Parliament showed that Charles had no support for his regime, unless he recognized the rights of the people.
  • Execution of Charles I

    Execution of Charles I
    image sourceThe execution of Charles I demonstrated and proved once and for all the dominance of the Parliamentarians over the Royalists. Because of the execution of Charles I, Parliament essentially crushed any remaining opposition to its reforms and policies. As such, after the execution, England enters the period known as the Interregnum, which would be a time where a Commonwealth and a Protectorate were established in order to experiment with new types of government.
  • The Protectorate Under Oliver Cromwell

    The Protectorate Under Oliver Cromwell
    image sourceThe Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was essentially a dictatorship, as Parliament and Cromwell began to disagree he resolved to dissolving Parliament. Cromwell's rule was marked by the use of the New Model Army to enforce his policies. As a result of Cromwell's Protectorate and the Commonwealth that existed during the Interregnum, they decided to revert back to a monarchy, limiting its powers so as to prevent another Cromwellian dictatorship through the use of the Parliament.
  • English Restoration

    English Restoration
    image sourceThe English Restoration was the restoration of the English monarchy and the dissolution of the Commonwealth of England by facilitating the return of England's king in exile, Charles II. Without a monarch, a country cannot have limited monarchy in the first place. However, the true importance of this event is that it illustrated that the people were ready for monarchy again after the absolutist, dictatorial rule of Cromwell -- though they were expected limits on the powers of the king.
  • Glorious Revolution

    Glorious Revolution
    image sourceThe Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw the deposition of James II, with the Parliament-backed William III of Orange, a Dutch nobleman.
    In order for a limited monarchy to occur, the monarch must be open to the idea. James II was a believer in absolutism and was thus resistant to the changes Parliament wanted to make. On the other hand, William and his wife, Mary, were not opposed to limiting the power of the monarchy. As such, the Glorious Revolution allowed for a shift towards a limited monarchy.
  • Bill of Rights 1689

    Bill of Rights 1689
    image sourceAn Act of Parliament, it established guidelines for the rights of all Englishmen, as well as Parliament, and limits the power of the sovereign(s). This, along with the Magna Carta, are two of the most, if not the most, important documents pertaining to the establishment of limited monarchy. The Bill of Rights 1689 clearly limits the rights of sovereigns and protects those of the people (and Parliament) in an official document that is still in effect today.