The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the Life of Oliver Cromwell

By Robert S. Paul

A biography of Cromwell, charting his political and military career, and the religious debates that influenced his actions.

ISBN: 9780718896799


Oliver Cromwell stands at the gateway of modern history; his resolute Puritanism formative to concepts of political and religious liberty, the development of democracy, and the individual’s duty to resist tyranny. In The Lord Protector, Robert S. Paul traces Cromwell’s political career, from his early influences and political experience, to the English Civil Wars, his brutal conquest of Ireland and campaigns in Scotland.

Where some historians present Cromwell in extremes, either as a scheming power-hungry tyrant, or as a noble hero, Paul seeks to understand the Lord Protector through the religious context of the seventeenth century, removed from the typical historical readings of his contemporaries. In order to understand Cromwell’s career, Paul’s investigation focusses his study through the extent to which Cromwell shared the theological beliefs common to his time. This relationship between his religion and political action provides an estimate of Cromwell as a man of faith, statesman and ruler.

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About the Author

Dr Robert S. Paul (1918-1992) was a graduate in the School of Modern History at Oxford and specialised in the study of Cromwell. Paul gained his DPhil from the University, and was later appointed Assistant Director of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland.

Endorsements and Reviews

Learned, scholarly and accurate. It is of value not only as a study of a great English Protestant and Puritan but in tackling problems of the relations of the church, state, and society which confront us all. Gordon Rupp

(Dr. Paul’s) book contains the clearest account of Cromwell’s religious beliefs that I know and it places his faith where it belongs, of the very heart, at the still centre of his troubled being. C.V. Wedgwood in The Observer

A juster and more balanced portrait than any Life of Cromwell since the great work of . . . Sir Charles Firth. Hugh Trevor-Roper in The Sunday Times