The Western Design and the spiritual geopolitics of Cromwellian foreign policy
MetadataShow full item record
Smith, D. (2016). The Western Design and the spiritual geopolitics of Cromwellian foreign policy. Itinerario, 40 (2), 279-292. https://doi.org/10.1017/s016511531600036x
This paper explores the spiritual geopolitics that shaped Cromwellian foreign policy in relation to the Western Design of 1654-5. It stresses the central importance of Protestant religion as a motivating force and argues that the Design’s aims, and its failure, were seen in religious terms. The Design had a number of important consequences. Both Cromwell and his critics interpreted the defeat as a providential sign from God. His desire to propitiate God led him to declare a series of national days of “solemn fasting and humiliation” in 1655-6, together with the enforcement of a “reformation of manners” by the Major-Generals, whose rule was established shortly after the Design’s defeat. The Design also had a “millennial” dimension that can be related to his discussions for the readmission of the Jews to England in 1655. The defeat made Cromwell draw steadily closer to France and convinced him more than ever of Spain’s enduring enmity. Just as recent scholarship on Britain’s internal conflicts of the 1640s has emphasised the central role of religion, so the same phenomenon is evident in the motives for the Western Design and in how its defeat was interpreted.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/s016511531600036x
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/279575