An interregnum is a period of discontinuity of a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next. An interregnum can simplistically be thought of as a "gap", although the idea of an interregnum emphasizes the relationship to what comes before and to what comes after in a sequence.
The English Interregnum was the period of parliamentary and military rule under the Commonwealth of England after the English Civil War. It began with the regicide of Charles I in January 1649, and ended with the restoration of Charles II in 1660. During this period Britain was subjected to a number of experiments in government without monarchy. The interregnum saw the first experiments of government without monarchy western Europe had seen since classical times .
The governments of the interregnum faced some common problems. All were tainted by their illegality, and the execution. No law could be passed by parliament without the kings signature. This was attempted to be corrected by giving Oliver Cromwell the crown, but his refusal meant that all actions of the government of the period were illegal.
Another feature of the governments was constant conflict between conservative and radical factions. It was this that ultimately led to the fall of the republic and the restoration. Current historical opinion is that Cromwell should have taken the crown and become King of England, siding with the conservatives and attacking the radicals. However he did not want to take sides and tried to mediate between the tw
The period can be divided into four periods.
• The first period of the Commonwealth of England from 1649 until 1653
• The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell from 1653 to 1659
• The Protectorate under Richard Cromwell 1659
• The second period of the Commonwealth of England from 1659 until 1660
Said Lacey Baldwin Smith on the subject of the English Interregnum:
Life during the interregnum
After the Parliamentarian victory in the Civil War, the Puritan views of the majority of Parliament and its supporters began to be imposed on the rest of the country. The Puritans advocated an austere lifestyle and restricted what they saw as the excesses of the previous regime. Most prominently, holidays such as Christmas and Easter, which were thought to have pagan origins, were suppressed. Pastimes such as the theatre and gambling were also banned. However, some forms of art that were thought to be 'virtuous', such as opera, were encouraged. These changes are often blamed upon Oliver Cromwell, though they were originally introduced by the Commonwealth Parliament; and Cromwell, when he came to power, was a liberalising influence.
His son and successor, Richard Cromwell, gave up his position as Lord Protector with little hesitation, resigning or "abdicating" after a demand by the Rump Parliament. This was the beginning of a short period of restoration of the Commonwealth of England.
The Puritan movement had evolved in rebellion to a real or perceived "Catholicization" of the Church of England With the Church of England quickly disestablished by the Commonwealth Government, the question about which type of church to establish became a hotly debated subject. In the end, it was impossible to make all the different political factions happy. During the Interregnum, Oliver Cromwell lost much of the support he had gained during the Civil War. Edward Sexby.previously a supporter of Cromwell's, felt disenfranchised by Cromwell's failure to abolish the aristocracy. In 1657, Silius Titus called for Cromwell's assassination in a co-authored pamphlet Killing No Murder under the pseudonym of William Allen. Sexby was captured when he returned to England and attempted to carry out the assassination described in Colonel Titus' book. Cromwell coerced Sexby into confessing authorship of the pamphlet and then imprisoned him in the Tower, where Sexby was driven to insanity and died less than a year later.High taxes resulted from the large standing army kept due to the constant threats of Scottish or Irish rebellion and added to public resentment of Cromwell.
Literature During Interregnum
The Puritan Interregnum or Commonwealth Period of English literature includes the works of the time of Puritan Leader Oliver Cromwell. From this period came the prose of Andrew Marvel, the political works of John Milton and the political treatise Leviathan, penned by Thomas Hobbes. Throughout the English Interregnum and domination of Oliver Cromwell, it is the literature of puritan inspiration which had prevailed. The last years of the interregnum were particularly disturbed, those which were not constrained to leave in exile were enjoints to change Religion more once. To each creed corresponded a different literary activity, at the same time in prose and poetry, the theaters as for them having closed their doors for all the period. With the return of the Monarchy, the authors were divided distinctly into two movements. On a side, some were tried to reanimate the spirit of the English Littérature under Jacques I as if nothing had occurred. But of the other, a powerful desire of innovation made approach the writers the literary models French, particularly in the fields of the Satire and the parody. This evolution was felt by the introduction of an amount of skepticism inquisitor into the texts, and by the increasing influence of the Classicism among the authors and the critics.