In the XVII century, England was a wealthy state with the rule of law gradually establishing. Crops were abundant and enabled people to live peacefully in welfare. In the middle of the century, England had been a protestant monarchy for 100 years already.
Among the protestant population, there was a group of people obsessed with their special concept of religion. They hated ceremonial excesses, believing that only the Bible was the way to salvation. They were puritans. The puritans expressed strong opposition against the influence of Rome on the Protestant Church.
Their will to become completely detached from Catholicism grew tremendously as in Germany mass slaughters of catholics against protestants took enormous scale during the German civil war. Protestants were tortured with horrifying cruelty in continental Europe. Rumors and actual evidence from Germany fostered great fears among radical protestants. They thought that the same destiny would await their nation.
On the other side, the government of Charles I was scared of people’s knowledge that could inspire any turbulence. Strict censorship was imposed on all sources of knowledge. But puritans continued to spread pamphlets to warn the people about the new religious threat. The pamphlets fiercely criticized the King’s spouse, Henrietta Maria whose single terrible sin was her faith. She was catholic. The puritans made the people believe that it was the queen who would dictate the new state policies.
Another enemy of the Puritans was the Archbishop of Canterbury. For puritans who were caught spreading the pamphlets, a punishment was specified – cutting off their ears.
The new civil war was imminent. It would be the first propaganda conflict ever. The prototypes of mass media were active on both sides. All parties of the conflict were trying to convince others that the truth was theirs and worth dying for it.
In 1640, Charles I made an attempt to hold negotiations with the enemies. The situation was aggravated with upheavals in Scotland and Ireland. Military forces were extensively financed in view of the threat. An inevitable but fatal step for the king was to convene the Parliament.
The first consequence was the imprisonment of Archbishop of Canterbury for high treason. The censorship was extremely impaired. Immense tortures of catholics were depicted in papers clandestinely distributed in all parts of England. Puritans craved power and were paving the way to it by means of propaganda.
To be continued…