The conclusion sets out to answer two questions: was the army the insurmountable obstacle to settlement that has traditionally been assumed; was a Protectorate, that rested ultimately on the power of the army, ever likely to prove acceptable to the political nation? The chapter argues that there was nothing inevitable about the ultimate failure of the Protectorate to survive: the financial burden of the army in England was manageable (though the cost of other military commitments was not); Cromwell demonstrated that political discontent in the army could be managed; and the benefits of political stability encouraged acceptance of the regime. There were two opportunities, in spring 1657 and spring 1659, when different decisions could have led to the establishment of the government on firm parliamentary foundations.
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