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Self-denying Ordinance

The Self-denying Ordinance was a bill proposed by Sir Harry Vane to deprive members of Parliament from holding command in the army or the navy of the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War. It passed the House of Commons on December 19, 1644, but was only passed by the House of Lords on April 3, 1645. Its purpose was ostensibly to promote the professionalism of the armed forces; but there were those who thought that the Presbyterian leaders of the army were not prosecuting the war against the king forcefully enough. They wanted to promote Oliver Cromwell, who was exempted from the terms of the ordinance. This cleared the way for a new generation of specialist non-aristocratic generals to introduce army reform, culminating in the New Model Army and more effective and determined soldiering. The chief losers were Essex and Manchester who resigned their commissions.

The text of the Ordinance is at http://www.constitution.org/eng/conpur063.htm



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