April 20, 1653, marks the day when Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament, thereby establishing himself as the new ruler of England. Cromwell, a prominent military leader, had risen to power during the English Civil War, which had ended with the execution of King Charles I in 1649. In the following years, Cromwell became increasingly disenchanted with the Parliament, which he believed was corrupt and ineffective. He had also grown frustrated with its lack of progress on issues such as religious tolerance and social reform.
The Rump Parliament, which had been in power since 1649, comprised a small group of remaining Members of Parliament, also known as MPs, after Cromwell had expelled or imprisoned any members who disagreed with him. Despite this, the Parliament had failed to pass any major reforms or make significant progress on any issues of national importance. In an effort to break the stalemate and establish a new government, Cromwell decided to dissolve the Rump Parliament.
On April 20, Cromwell entered the House of Commons with a group of soldiers and declared that the Parliament was dissolved. He then proceeded to pin a proclamation on the door, stating that he intended to establish a new government based on “godly principles.” Cromwell and his supporters had been planning this move for months and had carefully prepared for any potential opposition. Upon hearing the news, many MPs were shocked and outraged, but they knew resisting was useless.
The dissolution of the Rump Parliament marked a turning point in English history. It signaled the end of a long period of political instability and the beginning of Cromwell’s rule. Although Cromwell initially ruled without a formal title or position, he was effectively the ruler of England for the next five years. During this time, he implemented a series of reforms aimed at improving social and economic conditions and promoting religious toleration. However, his rule was controversial, and many opposed him and his policies.