Although Oliver Cromwell is one of the most famous historical figures, little is known about the early stages of his life, i.e. before his rise to power. However these years are not in any way less important than the latter, since it is in this period that Cromwell shaped his character into the man we all know. Therefore in order to better understand his way of thinking and the reason for his actions, one must study his background, which is exactly what this section does.
Cromwell was born on the 25th April 1599 in Huntingdon in a relatively poor family of Gentry. His father had inherited a small amount of money, hence he had very little to give to his 8 children (especially Oliver who was amongst the youngest of his sisters). In 1616 he entered the Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge and studied there for a year.
Since then, much had happened in his life to provide him with a sense of manic depression, something he carried alongside with him for the rest of his life. When Oliver was only 18, his father died, and following this event, he left for London to study law. It is not known how long exactly he stayed there, for there were no records found of his presence at any Inns. It is known however that he got married there in 1621, and that his economic status was dropping progressively lower.
It is said that when he reached the age of 24, circumstances brought heavy depression on him, and he had been convinced he was dying. With this in mind, he visited a number of doctors in London who verified that he was in fact in good health. What saved him, may have in fact shaped the whole course of Cromwell's life. He talked to a puritan priest who had managed to make him feel special, that he had yet a great role to play as God's pawn. He immediately rose out of his depression and thereafter felt a direct relationship with God.
It seemed to have been a stroke of luck when in 1628 he became one of the two MP members for Huntingdon in the Short parliament.