Martin Kettle suggests that history lessons in England are dominated by kings, queens, and battles, which doesn’t provide a full understanding of historical events. He recommends including more diverse topics like the roles of women, Scots, black people, protestors, class conflict, and more. However, Kettle still advocates for a shared vision of history for England and Britain, which could lead to myopic mythology. To truly understand the past, history must be a critical discipline that explores the good and bad aspects of history. While myth might have its purposes, it is not conducive to fully grasping the complexities of historical events.
Regarding Cromwell, the Cromwell Association focuses on research, debates, and publications to broaden our understanding of the man and his era, rather than revering him. Regarding Charles I, suggesting that he is a moral victor because of a modern monarchy and the end of the death penalty is misguided. Charles’ personal rule, the attempted arrest of the five members, and his belief in absolutism showcase his convictions and intent. The English civil war wasn’t just about puritans who opposed the aristocracy’s licentiousness, but also those who craved religious freedom. The restoration of the monarchy empowered the same elite that was there before, suppressing those who preferred individual religious beliefs. In conclusion, to fully understand history, it’s vital to look at all angles and understand the societal and personal beliefs that shaped events.