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Socials Essay: Robespierre and Cromwell Which is a more effective leader?


icemaster2340 14 / 34  
Jun 3, 2009   #1
Cromwell and Robespierre. Two major Revolution heroes. One of them a military genius who remodelled the Revolution Army and led them to victory, the other an oratory master who inspired many to rise to arms with just a few words. So similar and yet so different. However, Cromwell would be a better leader because despite for all his faults, he did not need to rule through fear and his people led peaceful, grim and joyless, lives. But to prove my point further, lets take a closer look at our "heroes".

Cromwell rose to power in the war against Charles I who wanted absolute power. He quickly proved himself by reforming the soldiers into the New Model Army, which won the Civil War. Similarly Robespierre came to power with his oratory skill. The crowds adored him and he took advantage of that and inspired many to join the Revolutionary's cause.

Yet the two of them had not-so-ideal ways of ruling. Cromwell first kicked out the Presbyterians and other religious groups from the Parliament. Only Puritans remained. Yet when the Parliament refuse to hold an election unless they were guaranteed places in the new Parliament, he locked out the Parliament and ruled as Lord Protector. A man who fought to overthrow an absolute monarch ends up a dictator himself. Ironic.

Similarly, Robespierre ruled rather well at first and did lots of helpful things such as creating a new calendar and driving out the church. Yet, when rumours of anti-revolutionaries plotting to overthrow the government spread, he started killing people. First, one by one, then by tens and eventually by hundreds and so on. Around 40,000 people were killed in the Reign of Terror, singlehandedly orchestrated by this once sincere opponent of the death penalty. Even more ironic.

And now, onto how they lost their power. Cromwell had the army on his side, and he ruled till he died of natural cause. Afterwards, his rule was overthrown and constitutional monarchy was declared. However, Robespierre did not have the army's support on his side and had to rule purely through fear. But after he condemned so many people, he himself was in turn condemned. After a failed attempt to shoot himself, he was arrested and guillotined along with his closest friends.

And after comparing all factors of their rule, you have to agree that Cromwell is a better and more effective leader. Ask yourself this. Which one would you prefer? A joyless and grim life or a life lived constantly in fear of not being able to see the next morn?

well thats about it i guessed i rushed everything a little please give me advice on how to make this paper better and perhaps make a better concluding paragraph

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jun 3, 2009   #2
I like your lively writing style. What is your teacher like? I ask because you start with a series of sentence fragments. Usage of fragments for effect is allowed, but sometimes teachers who are not themselves creative will downgrade essays that use such techniques. So, you may want to rephrase your introduction into full sentences, just to be sure.

"And now, onto how they lost their power." -- This transition is weak after so much strong writing.

I see why you are dissatisfied with the conclusion. I'm not sure you've presented such a strong case that the reader "has to agree" that Cromwell was a better and more effective leader. Also, I don't like the sudden shift to second person (addressing the reader as "you").
OP icemaster2340 14 / 34  
Jun 3, 2009   #3
Well, firstly, i guess my teacher won't mind sentence fragments cause he's pretty nice and lenient. And i guess you are right about the conclusion... it is a little bad... but do you have any ideas on how to make it better???

okay... hows this: There is a Chinese proverb, "An empire long united, must divide." Therefore, both Cromwell and Robespierre's rule eventually must come to an end. Cromwell had the army on his side, and he ruled till he died of natural cause. Afterwards, his rule was overthrown and constitutional monarchy was declared. However, Robespierre did not have the army's support on his side and had to rule purely through fear. But after he condemned so many people, he himself was in turn condemned. After a failed attempt to shoot himself, he was arrested and guillotined along with his closest friends.

its might sound a little corny but i personally think its better than just "and now onto..."
OP icemaster2340 14 / 34  
Jun 3, 2009   #4
An American proverb claims "From fame to infamy is a much travelled road." Robespierre walked that road ever since he started the Great Reign of Terror. Even though Cromwell had many faults, I do not feel that Cromwell was truly infamous as he made sure that people's lives in England was still peaceful.

Some might argue that Robespierre's ideas lived on after him. Yet Robespierre once gave up a perfectly good career because he did not want to hand out the death sentence. Years later, he declared "To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty." That's just hypocrisy to the extreme.

okay another editing... better or worse, im not really sure
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jun 4, 2009   #5
You've got a lot of good ideas. Now that you've come up with several new paragraphs, I'm having a hard time envisioning how it all fits together. Make sure that the essay as a whole is coherent and well organized.

As to sentence fragments, it's okay to use them sparingly for effect, as you do with the one-word sentence, "Ironic" and your introductory sentences. But then you must be very careful not to have any accidental fragments or other grammatical errors, as this will make it look like the deliberate fragments are also errors.

So, for example, you need to say "two revolutionary heroes" instead of "two revolution heroes" and "Robespierre walked that road after he started the Great Reign of Terror" instead of "ever since he started..."

As for substance, I'm not at all sure that the people of Ireland would agree with you about Cromwell, but you have made your case coherently.
Notoman 20 / 419  
Jun 4, 2009   #6
You have some wonderful thoughts and colorful words here. It needs just a little more polishing and some solid examples to punch up the points you are making.

Most readers, and your teacher especially, will know who these two men were, but I think that you ought to spell it out at least once. Use their full names, give a time reference, and the countries where they held power. It doesn't have to be grandiose, just tuck it in there-"Maximilien Robespierre rose to power in the revolution that disposed of the French Monarchy." Or something along those lines. Both men are very controversial figures. Some people hold them up as fine patriots and national heroes while other people see them as power-hungry villains.

Cromwell rose to power in the war against Charles I who wanted absolute power. He quickly proved himself by reforming the soldiers into the New Model Army, which won the Civil War.

Expand on this point just a little bit. "Cromwell rose to power as a military leader during the English Civil Wars. His men greatly admired him for his martial instinct. Cromwell's belief that he had divine guidance and a God-given right to rule England drove his reforms of the army and led ultimately to the execution of Charles I." I think you also need to address here the dichotomy of the man. He was a national hero to some, but also a tyrant. His body may have been buried with honors at Westminster Abbey, but it was dug up and desecrated a few years later. It doesn't seem right to talk about Cromwell without mentioned his campaign against the Irish Catholics. Maybe add something like this: "Cromwell pursued the Irish Catholics with a genocidal brutality. Cromwell himself denied this claiming that he only waged war with those bearing arms." But . . . being the multifaceted man that he was, Cromwell also made strides in England against religious persecution. He even invited the Jews back to England after a long banishment.

Similarly, Robespierre ruled rather well at first and did lots of helpful things such as creating a new calendar and driving out the church.

Hmmm . . . he did lots of helpful things like creating a new calendar and driving out the church? The French Republican calendar was a rather odd and confusing thing. There were ten days in a week, ten "hour" days (the whole clock became deciminalized), and renaming/renumbering the years. Besides, Robespierre had very little to do with its creation. The value of driving out the church would be subjective. The Catholic Church was restored in France in 1801. You might want to add to this paragraph to show the rise to power, the ability of power to corrupt, and the results of that power . . ."In Robespierre's early rule, he was called "incorruptible" by his peers, who admired his virtue and steadfast dedication to the revolutionary cause. Robespierre wielded his power in an internal purge of personal enemies and enemies of the state."

Afterwards, his rule was overthrown and constitutional monarchy was declared.

Not exactly. Upon Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658, he was succeeded by his son although the office of Lord Protector was not hereditary. The English government was chaotic without Cromwell's strong leadership. Charles II was invited to return to England and assume the throne of his disposed father in the restoration of the monarchy.

And now, onto how they lost their power.

This is a pretty informal transition for an essay. A little too conversational in tone. Reword it to something like this: "Cromwell was able to maintain his rule until his death from malarial fever in 1658. Robespierre, on the other hand, met the fate he had inflicted on so many others when guillotined in 1749 by his political enemies."

After a failed attempt to shoot himself

Robespierre didn't fail to shoot himself, but he did not kill himself like he intended. Semantics. He shot himself in the jaw and was unconscious as the arresting party arrived. You don't need a lot of detail here, but you should correct this to mirror the truth in case your teacher is a stickler for detail.

And after comparing all factors of their rule, you have to agree that Cromwell is a better and more effective leader. Ask yourself this. Which one would you prefer? A joyless and grim life or a life lived constantly in fear of not being able to see the next morn?

You'll need to strengthen this, but you already knew that. Conclusions can be difficult. I wouldn't quote Chinese or American proverbs-they will read like fluff instead of supporting your arguments. Few men in history were as controversial as Cromwell and Robespierre. Do you have to pick one to support or can you say that they were both dichotomous in their rule? Hmmmm . . . Cromwell put an end to England's bloody civil wars, but that is the only good thing I can think of that came out of his tenure (he let the Jews back into England, but in this essay, that is a very minor point or not even a point at all) . . . I am not sure what other evidence you can come up with to support the concept that he was better than Robespierre . . . I am also not sure which man was responsible for more deaths, but I'd put my money on Cromwell.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Jun 4, 2009   #7
Your main problem is that you are comparing these two people in terms of the effectiveness of their leadership, yet you have not defined what constitutes effective leadership. You seem to be working from the position that Cromwell was better that Robespierre because he didn't kill as many people. I'm not entirely sure what that has to do with effective leadership, though. A stronger point may be found in the fact that Cromwell ruled until dying of natural causes, whereas Robespierre was overthrown. A leader who cannot hold on to power is presumably less effective than one who can, though even this more intuitive point won't hold up without some explanation of what you mean by leadership. So, decide what makes a "good" leader -- and by that I mean "good" in a practical rather than a moral sense. Then, you can provide details of Cromwell's and Robespierre's reigns that will allow you and the reader to evaluate them meaningfully.


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