Cromwell's appearance and demeanor during this time helped him rise from the backbenches of Parliament to political prominence. Cromwell dressed very simply, in the Puritan manner, and had a commanding voice that was bolstered by his unwavering self-assurance. He was energetic, which enabled him to serve on numerous parliamentary committees without tiring or losing any of his fiery temperament. Although Cromwell started out in the Long Parliament by serving on a number of committees that dealt with church reform, by 1641 he began to take a lead in the reform of other institutions, such as the English treasury, known as the Exchequer. Cromwell also attracted a great deal of attention when he defended poor commoners from the practice known as fen enclosure, the privatization of traditionally communal farmland.
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