So, in socials, our class had been looking at the English Civil War. My group’s section was the Aftermath of the first part of the civil war, which accounted mostly King Charles I’s attempts, to put it delicately, to save his own butt. It recounts his dealings and alliances with the Scottish, the Newcastle Proposition, his capture, escape to Windsor, recapture, and his last attempts to sow war before he was executed, which began the second part of the Civil War.

For my group, I’m proud of contributing mostly to the in-class presentation, because I’ve always disliked and not been very good at talking in front of people, or presenting. I made the prezi to help, and a document to prompt us, so I’m pretty proud of the amount of work I put into making that presentation as easy as possible. To make ours better, I would have gotten some more guidelines for our discussion at the end, because it got a bit slow but kept dragging on because we hadn’t thought of a good place/way to end it or come to a conclusion. To improve as a class, it might work if there was more collaboration between groups, because some topics and events got covered multiple times and repetition tends to loose the attention.

One part of the unit that captured my attention quite efficiently was the mock trial of King Charles I. It was quite well run and I think the whole class got really into it. I felt like people put effort into researching their roles and asking questions once they understood how to do it. It was really funny and I thought it was a good way to learn the material. It related to my current knowledge of history/politics because it reminded me, in a away, of the discussions we have in the TALONS class, with the debates and loud opinions and the occasional need for someone to stop us before it gets out of hand, but there were good questions asked and even better answers given.

The most questions that this unit raised for me was about the religious conflicts. Until now, I had no idea that the civil war was mostly caused by differences in religious views, opinions and stereotypes. I figured it was political, or revenge-motivated, which it was, but to a lesser degree. It also makes it a lot harder to choose a side to “root” for, seeing as you would have to pick a “religious” side to root for.

My daily way of staying engaged during the presentation was my preferred method of note-taking, mind maps. For each section of presentation, I made a separate mind-map and out them all together in a binder as my notes. I’m not a very active participant in class discussions, something I am trying to work on, because  prefer to listen to everyone else. Mind maps work for me because, while messy and a little hard to follow, they make more sense and are more readable for me then copying down notes from a page. They also allow me to divide my notes however I wish, be it by time, people involved, ect. If we were to do a project similar to this in the future, one aspect I would change would be the level of class involvement. I feel like the whole class works better is there is something everyone can do, but some projects had too much class involvement while others had nothing to do.

Now for the big question: Who should we “cheer” for in the English civil war?

After doing some research, I decided it it impossible to accurately reply, because based on your class, religious status, region that you lived in, everyone would have different answers. In principal, I believe that the”best” option would be parliament, because even if you are raised to trust the king implicitly, a king who leaves you to starve and doesn’t really do anything for you is hard to root for. In practice, democracy has proved a much more peaceful option rather then a single ruler with pretty much absolute power. If you were a middle or low-class citizen, you would be more likely to root for an option that gave you more power. Parliament and Cromwell did, in the end, improve England. The king had already proved himself unreliable and while Cromwell himself wasn’t the best, the Roundheads get my support because they brought about change that was necessary.