How far was the Protectorate a military dictatorship?

Defnition of military dictatorship?
A regime that acknowledges no constitutional restraints, that openly subordinates the
rights of the individual to the interests of the state, denies/compromises the rule of law,
commands all means of coercion possessed by the state, controls means of
Arguments in favour:
• Instrument gave OC role of Protector for life
• Could veto Parl bills, could pass ordinances till frst Parl met, only had to call a Parl once
every years!
• "PA allo#ed him to name his successor, declare #ar, and nominate founder members of
$other house%! Also generous in money allo#ed for military!
• Dissolution of &ump by force
• 'tanding army allo#ed for( Crom#ell in control, at least bet#een Parliaments
• "arsh treatment of those #ho dared to cross him )e!g! *ilburne, cashiering of o+cers
#ho di,ered from him ) -uic. fall of *ambert from favour
• &ule of ma/or generals best e0ample of military rule ) although much of their time ta.en
up by civil matters
• 1overnment control of press and publication of boo.s
• 2arned about losing army support ) sho#n by do#n from idea of the
• 'o obsessed #ith idea of godly rule, prepared to implement it at army e0pense
• 'ecure in .no#ledge that his authority ultimately rested on army ) able to be heavy
handed if sa# hopes for settlement and reformation /eopardised!
Only personality of OC able to keep army in check – once he has handed over to
Richard, unable to keep control – sign of military dictatorship?
Arguments against:
• 3any clauses in Instrument obliged OC to govern $by consent% of Parliament or #ith the
• 4o torture used after 567( no one e0ecuted for anything e0cept high treason! &ebels of
Penruddoc.%s &ising treated more leniently than rebels before or after#ards!
• 31s ) OC hoped it #ould reduce the si8e of the standing army and thus assessment in
the end! 2hen realised ho# unpopular, ended them!
• 3inority of council members #ere army o+cers!
• 'i8e of army steadily decreased throughout Protectorate ) very insignifcant compared to
9uropean armies!
• Crom#ell%s desire to heal and settle meant that he #anted government to be as similar
to old government as possible #ith the e0ception of no monarchy because 1od #as
against it ) seemed almost fearful of authority he possessed!
• Attitude to religious toleration goes against idea of dictatorship
• "PA increased po#er of Parl
• OC constantly for a civilian alternative! After failure of :arebones, did
not go for na.ed military rule ) Io1 up and running in days!
• *egitimises Parliament, albeit #ith limited po#ers, but OC rules in bet#een #ith a Council
#hich has a ma/ority of civilians ) and lets them get on #ith it at 6;< of meetings!l
• Preoccupied #ith reform of la#, Church, toleration, reconciliation
• "PA decreased dependence on army ) sets up second house and e,ectively a
constitutional monarchy
reluctant dictator?