chapter  14
5.2 Signs of strain
Pages 1

One focus for dissent was the Rump Parliament itself which, however shaky its legitimacy following the events of the 1640s and the loss of the majority of its elected membership through Pride’s Purge, was the only institution of the Commonwealth with any real claim to legitimacy. It adopted a moderate, even conservative approach to the great issues of the day, particularly in religion, and so failed to satisfy the radical aspirations of the army or give effect to Cromwell’s own policies. Though the Act of 1649 abolishing the monarchy promised a dissolution of Parliament and new elections ‘as soon as possible’, the Rump showed no sign of dissolving itself and, indeed, entered into a bargain with the army in 1651 to prolong its life to 3 November 1654, the 14th anniversary of its opening, in return for a reduction in the army establishment following the Battle of Worcester.