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Why was The New Model Army historically important?

When we hear of the word military or the army, we think of the patriotic people who give their lives so that they can fight for the state and ensure that it is safe. That is, they volunteer to join the army, train and are ready to go to danger zones so that the larger part of the state remains safe, the economy and the country at large is protected from outside attacks. Generally, the army has to respond to the head of the state, be it the president, where the prime minister heads a country then they are to listen to him, and when kings head it, then they have to follow their orders of the king. The army as we know it falls under the government. Like the police protect the locals, the army protects their government by protecting the state as a whole. But when it comes to the new model army, it is completely different from the traditional army that we know. It was formed in a bid to provide justice for the people, and it was fighting against the king’s armies. The parliament was not in good terms with the then king Charles and they wanted a way in which they would overthrow him. Therefore they came up with the idea of forming that new army model which would serve the parliament against fighting the king and his army in 1645. The new model army was more determined and driven as their needs and pays were taken care of by the parliament, and unlike the king’s armies, they had resources at their disposal. The parliament was more in tune with their army, unlike the king who was more concerned about the orders he gave and not how his militia was doing. The new model army played different roles in history, and in a way, they marked the beginning of something new. With its role in the revolution, it is a significant part of history, and as such, we will be exploring how important it is in the course of this paper.

New Model Army Background

Initially, the new model was a conflation of about their armies that were positioned in different parts of England. They were all paying allegiance to the parliament but played in different categories and had their leaders within them. The Lord General, the Earl of Essex, was the leader of the most senior army group. They had managed to win in different battles, but their fall came when they were defeated and stripped of their armory and let to walk to the nearest friendly territory, with this, they could fight in another battle but their reputation had taken a hit as that was the most embarrassing and humiliating thing that an army could get. Then came the second group of the army, which was led by the Earl of Manchester, led a winning battle in the Battle of Marston Moor. Under his rule were two generals who had different religious droves, Cromwell and Crawford, where the latter advocate that everyone in the army should pledge religious side or face prosecution and Cromwell felt that they should have a chance to choose what they wanted, with this, and lack of resources, the army did not last long. Lastly, there was the army led by Sir Waller. It did not remain standing for long (Wanklyn, Malcolm, pg 109-110). Later on, the three armies’ acme together, and within a short time, they were joined to form one strong army the new model ordinance. It required that the three generals resigned so that new leadership would be put into place. Sir Thomas Fairfax was appointed the new commander-in-chief as he had proven himself throughout the various victories that he had accomplished in previous battlefields. It was to be inclusive of 11 regiments of Horses, each with 600 troops, a regiment of dragoons with ten troops, 12 regiments of infantry with 10companies. Generally, in the new model army. There would be one general commander, a lieutenant-general of the ordinance, lieutenant-general of Horse, major-general of Foot (Wanklyn, Malcolm, pg 110-112)

Importance in History

In the recruiting of armies within the new model Army, it was not done traditionally. That is, anyone who could fight and join in such battles was allowed in the army. There was no education or specific qualifications in question. The parliament wanted an army that would help fight against the injustices that were being performed to the people, and then the only way that this would have worked was by fighting the king. Therefore, they needed a new set of army different from the king’s army so that they would help in the battles against them and fighting the royalties. The kingship was a tyranny, and there was a need for change, and this was the only way that they knew how. With this, seeing as their drive was for the good of the people, they were open for anyone who had the strength and skills to fight to join in in the recruitment of the army. After Fairfax was appointed the commander in chief, he had to give names of those who would be his officials as his first task. All those who joined the new model army had to take an oath provided by the Anglo-Scottish alliance (Wanklyn, Malcolm, pg. 112). Various arguments are given in support of the criteria that Fairfax used in choosing the rest of the generals. Given that the new model army was a conjecture of their previous army troops, it meant that ether were so many candidates to choose form. So what method was best suited in the choosing of the appropriate generals, what would distinguish them from the others given that before they had all shared the same positions.

Among the explanations given for his decision is by with Kishlansky. He argued that the earl of Essex had talked to Fairfax to convince him that the most qualified and skilled army members should be in the leadership positions. To him, he argues that the junior leaders within the previous army troop’s still had much to learn, and as such, they should be taken off the list of those in consideration. As for the senior leaders, they had a better knowledge of what was happening in the battles, they had handled other people before, and they had the skill set hence the need to consider them for the new leadership positions. According to him, the leadership positions should have been given to those who had shown that they were driven to win and undoubtedly had the drive to risk their lives for the greater good. In the argument, no one in the previous army troops could be in senior leadership unless they had this drives and the readiness to risk their lives, which made them the better candidate. In his article, he also noted that the armies from Manchester got more consideration in comparison to those from Waller and Essex. Lastly in he also noted that Sir Thomas Fairfax, had tried to establish a balance between the independent and Presbyterian religious opinions by putting a colonel form one side and a second in command from the other or vice versa. He was aware that in the second army troop led by Earl of Manchester, religious opinions had been one of the reasons that the troop had fallen (Kishlansky, Mark, pg 53-69). He understood the importance of this truce and balance in the long run for the new model army.

Under the following argument by Kishlansky, shows that with the new model army, it was a chanced in history where other opinions mattered. In the kingship leadership, King Charles 1 had all the say in what went on and how it was carried out. With this new model, it gave the appointed leader of the group a chance to choose his team and create a team that would be effective and well run. When it comes to matters army and militia, they know what is best for them and how best they can achieve victory, and as such, having the chance to create the team and its leaders would make sure that it was the best. In the royalties’ army, the king had all the power which the parliament wanted to change with the new model army. In short, the set-up of the new model army marked the beginning of change within England.

Then there was Gentles who offered an opposition towards the works and statements by Kishlansky. The only level in which he agreed with him was in the argument that the Lord attempted to establish a balance in the religious regime, and the people at that time had different religious affiliations. He attempted to maintain a religious moderation for the better running and functioning of the army model (Gentles, Ian, pg 128-133). Other than that, his arguments were geared towards the opposite of what Kishlansky had said. He argues that Fairfax was driven by the need to eradicate both religious and political radicals within the army so that they would remain objective. He also goes to question the eligibility of the new model army. Had the members readily joined it as they had less to lose of it went down d and the royalties won? There was no much evidence that supported that there was a connection between the social-economic aspects concerning the formation of the new model army. Even then, several historians were left debating the possibility of it being the case.

By the end of it all, the new model army was divided into two as some people after the signing of the Self-Denying Ordinance, and identifying as Puritans, they supported Cromwell.The New Model Army historically important in that it marked a beginning of revolution and change within how leadership happened. We have seen that in Kishlansky’s arguments that he propagates a time where those in leadership continue prospering more like capitalism. In his arguments, those in leadership positions continued being leaders while the juniors were let go. As for Gentles, it was a time to make changes in that the lord advocated for political and religious independence in the leadership of the army. Before this, the army was formed and driven by political issues and drives like the case with Charles 1, and this new model marked a chance that it would be free of this, it is experienced when the have the Self-Denying Ordinance.

In Barbara Donaghan’s historical essay, she analyzes various stories concerning the new model army. Most of them are concerned with the workings of the new model army, how it came to be and how it was formed. However, there is a portion in which she analyses of Michael Braddick’sGod’s Fury, England’s Fire. He takes a different direction and gives details of the wars and battles that the army fought.  He even gives details of the wars between the army and the royalists and how the army was in a position to win (Donagan, Barbara, pg. 535). This article helps shed light on the nature in which the new army model fought, and we get to see that it was different from the royalties’, theywere better composed and dependent on each other. In a way, it’s a reflection of the drive that the new model army had that was different from the other armies formed beforehand. It marked the first army to be formed out of the leadership within a state, and it ended up claiming victorious wins. A new view in the historical perspective, as in most cases, we would have expected it to fail.

In conclusion, the new  model army was important in the historical perspective in relation to revolution and to leadership and the armies that are formed even today., it was a moment that marked freedom of the militia to choose their leaders and how they wanted to do things even though in today that is not really practiced. The new model army formation marked a radical change in during that time. A moment where the wants of the people drove the parliament as the king was in denial of them. After its formation, they later formed new guidelines and rules that would be the drive on how the land and sates were to be headed. That is, one leader would not be in place for long, and the people would have a chance to choose who they wanted.

Works Cited

Donagan, Barbara. “Civil War in the Three Kingdoms.” The Huntington Library Quarterly 71.3 (2008): 527.

Gentles, Ian. “The New Model officer corps in 1647: a collective portrait.” Social History 22.2 (1997): 127-144.

Kishlansky, Mark. “The case of the army truly stated: the creation of the New Model Army.” Past & Present 81 (1978): 51-74.

Wanklyn, Malcolm. “Choosing officers for the New Model Army, February to April 1645.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 92.370 (2014): 109-125.

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