self-denying ordinance

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self-denying ordinance, 1645. Growing dissatisfaction in Parliament with the inability of Essex and Manchester to finish the Civil War led to a proposal, late in 1644, for a self-denying ordinance, whereby members of both Houses of Parliament could no longer hold commissions. This was ingenious, since members of the House of Commons could, if they chose, resign their seats, but peers could not divest themselves of their titles: the House of Lords consequently rejected it. Brought forward again in 1645 after more royalist successes, it passed on 3 April. Essex, Manchester, and Waller resigned, clearing out the old guard, and paving the way for the New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax. Cromwell was given special exemption from the ordinance.

J. A. Cannon

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self-denying ordinance a resolution (1645) of the Long Parliament depriving members of parliament of civil and military office.