What were the causes of the English Civil War? The traditional explanations involving the struggle for sovereignty and the bourgeois revolution have been questioned in recent years. In this study, Conrad Russell offers a compelling new analysis, bringing into focus fundamental religious and constitutional issues of vital importance to contemporaries but neglected by historians. Drawing heavily on research in printed and unpublished sources, Russell highlights the constitutional problem of multiple kingdoms within Britain; the religious problem of competing theologies within and outside a state church; and the economic problem of the inadequacy of royal revenue to meet the needs of the monarchy. The most in-depth account to date of the origins of one of the most significant events in British history, this will be essential reading for all students of the seventeenth century.