Trial and Execution of Charles I
THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF CHARLES I: THE FIRST WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL David G. Terrell August 22, 2010
I do, in the name and on behalf of the people of England, exhibit and bring into this court a charge of high treason and other high crimes whereof I do accuse Charles Stuart, King of England
, here present.”
- John Cooke
On 30 January 1649, Charles I, King of England was executed for tyranny, treason, and murder.
The event ended a revolution
and left England without a monarch for a decade.
The very charges against Charles I were almost unthinkable, for
did not yet possess the modern connotation of
being a crime against ―the state
Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, English law defining treason focused on the commission of personal crimes against the royal person and the usurpation or betrayal of sovereign authority, represented in the person of the ruler and not in the corporate body politic.
The trial and execution of Charles I
may have been England‘s
ultimate constitutional crisis
and, over time, history has been inconsistent in its interpretation of the events. However, the trial and execution, deemed a murderous and vengeful act by some, was the first time that
a ―head of state‖
The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold,
(London: Random House, 2005), 17.
(Florence, KY: Routledge, 1999), 128.
Alan D Orr,
Treason and the State: Law, Politics and Ideology in the English Civil War,
(West Nyack, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 1. Patricia Crawford, "Charles Stuart, That Man of Blood,"
The Journal of British Studies,
((The University of Chicago Press) XVI, no. 2 (Spring 1977): 41-61), 41-42.
Sean Kelsey, "Staging the Trial of Charles I," In
Regicides and the Execution of Charles I
, by Jason Peacey (ed), 71-93, (Gordonsville, VA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), 87.