British History: King, Parliament and the Civil War

Ref: C2419074

In the early part of his reign Charles I congratulated himself on presiding over a peaceful and prosperous kingdom but his own policies and misjudgements exposed underlying tensions that were to lead to war. British people were confronted with a range of unresolved issues. What was the balance of power between King and Parliament? Could the religious settlement devised by Elizabeth I survive in the face of challenges from religious radicals? What was the nature of the relationship between England, Scotland, and Ireland? Once Parliament won the Civil War it was faced with the problem of forming a stable government. With the death of Oliver Cromwell, the experiment of the British republic was virtually over. Was there any alternative to the return of the monarchy?

Course aim

This course will show how Charles I’s mismanagement of Parliament led to civil war, his execution, and the formation of the only republic in British history.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • be aware of the main events of British history between the accession of Charles I and the return of the monarchy
  • understand the constitutional issues of the period
  • recognise the importance of religious debate in the early seventeenth century
  • assess the reasons for the Civil War and for the failure of republican government

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course outline

British History: King, Parliament and the Civil War Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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