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The early half of the seventeenth century in England was marked by Charles I’s  rule,  the  English  Civil  War, and following it the Cromwellian  regime. The English Civil War had its roots in a religious war between Catholics and Protestants, a conflict that defines much of English history. Once the Protestants came into power, they abolished the monarchy and replaced it with parliamentary rule. During its dismantling of the English monarchy, the Protestant Parliament also went about dismantling the Star Chamber. The Star Chamber was an English court founded in the late fifteenth century whose original goal was that of supplementing the activities of other courts by targeting powerful individuals who might be able to intimidate the rest of the system into not prosecuting them. However, it soon morphed into an organ of the state responsible  for abuses of power,  e.g. imposing excessive punishments, which prompted the passage of the Habeas Corpus Act. Its abolition in 1641  was a very important step towards eliminating the unjust rule of the monarchy. However, the passage of the Licensing Order of 1643 showed that the Parliament was more interested in a transfer of power rather than in eliminating the abusive structures themselves. The law ensured the pre-publication censorship of books in England. As a response  to  the  Licensing  Order,  in  November  1644,  the  English  poet  and  intellectual  John  Milton,  who  was  a  big  supporter  of  and  a  key  actor  in  the  Cromwellian  regime,  published Areopagitica: A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’ d Printing, to the Parlament of England. His speech, which addresses the Protestant-led Parliament directly, is an open criticism of the Licensing Order and the paternalistic approach of the legislative body.

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