Long Parliament

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The Long Parliament is the name of the English Parliament called by Charles I, on 3 November 1640,[1] following the Bishops' Wars. It received its name from the fact that through an Act of Parliament, it could only be dissolved with the agreement of the members,[2] and those members did not agree to its dissolution until after the English Civil War and at the end of Interregnum in 1660.[3] It sat from 1640 until 1648, when it was purged, by the New Model Army, of those who were not sympathetic to the Army's concerns. Those members who remained after the Army's purge became known as the Rump Parliament. During the Protectorate, the Rump was replaced by other Parliamentary assemblies, only to be recalled by the Army in 1659 after Oliver Cromwell's death in the hope of restoring credibility to the Army's rule. When this failed, General George Monck allowed the members barred in 1648 to retake their seats so that they could pass the necessary legislation to allow the Restoration and dissolve the Long Parliament. This cleared the way for a new Parliament, known as the Convention Parliament, to be elected.

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1640–1648

The sole reason Charles I assembled Parliament in 1640 was to ask it to pass finance bills, since the Bishops' Wars had bankrupted him. Edward Hyde recalled the subdued tone of his entrance to Parliament:

The Parliament was initially influenced by John Pym and his supporters. In August 1641, it enacted legislation depriving Charles I of the powers that he had assumed since his accession. The reforms were designed to negate the possibility of Charles ruling absolutely again. The parliament also freed those imprisoned by the Star Chamber. The Triennial Act of 1641, also known as the Dissolution Act, was passed, requiring that no more than three years should elapse between sessions of Parliament. Parliament was also responsible for the impeachment and subsequent execution of the king's advisers, Archbishop William Laud and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.

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