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The Pamphleteers Protestant Champion Viewing Oliver Cromwell Through the Media of his Day Kevin A Creed The years between 1640 and 1660 witnessed in England a greater outpouring of printed material than the country had seen since the first printing press had begun operating in the 1470s1 The breakdown of government and Church censorship in the early 1640s was almost total until the mid-1650s when Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector reimposed some controls Not until the return of the Stuarts and their royal censors did the flow of pamphlets cease This tumultuous period of English history therefore became a crowded arena for free expression of radical religious social and political ideas This fact coupled with the euphoria surrounding the victories of the New Model Army the uninhibited exchange of ideas and the general millennial atmosphere especially following Charles Is execution led many Englishman to see their nation as the emerging leader of the Protestant world A recurring theme among these pamphlets sermons and broadsides was the idea that Oliver Cromwell was the man to lead England into this new age Like the second coming of the Swedish soldier-king Gustavus Adolphus Cromwell would champion the Protestant cause wherever it was in need As a Civil War hero conqueror of the Irish and Scots and later as Lord Protector the devoutly religious Cromwell certainly had the background to fit the role Yet in practical terms England of the 1640s and 1650s was not the military juggernaut that many writers pictured it to be The nation was not capable of wiping out the Turkish menace unseating the Pope and defending persecuted Protestants on the Continent all in one fell swoop Thefinancial difficulties of the Stuarts did not disappear with the execution of Charles and though the navy was strong it was not logistically feasible for the army to get involved in a large Continental war Despite this even Cromwell himself had some occasional delusions of religious
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