Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Stonewall" extols the positive effects of the English Civil War: Commemorating Republicanism.

I am not that familiar with the English Civil War, and who can untangle the truths, assign rights and wrongs, and figure out which side had "God's support"? Just because one does not endorse the supposed "divine right of kings" or divine absolutism does not mean that one must support the Parliamentarians or Cromwell or their claims.

How important was the English Civil War to the development of a written constitution or a 'constitutional' order in England? Can we really classify post-Stuart England (or the United Kingdom as a whole) as a republic? Was it another step in the creation of Great Britain as a modern nation-state, with all that it involves, centralization of political and economic power, and so on? How dependent upon the English Civil War is the historical narrative of the English political tradition and its promotion of political liberty? Was the Parliament really of the people at that time? Or was it merely serving its own interest and making its own disordered power play?

Moreover, if we accept that American culture is predominantly an Anglo-Celtic-(Latin?) heritage, we may still ask what the place of Protestantism is in that culture. Is it central to the American identity? What of the influence of Catholicism? What do we do with competing Christian traditions and bodies? If American culture is tied essentially to Protestantism, can one be Catholic and American?

The same question could be asked by English Catholics, after the rupture that was caused by Henry VIII and his Protestant successors. "Which [culture] do we appropriate as our own? Which history do we accept?" Both Catholics and Monarchists probably have a different view of Cromwell. (I'll have to look for a copy of Belloc's biography of Cromwell, and read his evaluation.) Certainly, the have a different opinion of the so-called Glorious Revolution and of William of Orange. (Are there any Jacobites who aren't Catholic?)

Is there a separate American culture rooted in Catholicism? Can this be reconciled with the old republican tradition? Which is the true Anglo-American culture? It seems to me that rather than there being just one Anglo-American culture, there are many versions of Anglo-American culture. [Otherwise, we would be reifying or substantializing something that is actually an accident, rather than a substance.] Of course, peoples can be separated not only be familial descent and ties, but also by their cultures (or by the cultural identity they adopt). We pick our sides in conflicts and our heroes.

(How many American Loyalists are there left in the United States, who aren't a bit eccentric?)

Catholicism does not oppose republicanism in itself, though it may be opposed to certain ideologies justifying it. (And the case that we no longer live in a federation of sovereign states needs to be made over and over again, so they can understand the continuing political crisis.) One can be a American Catholic, so long as what is understood to be proper to American culture is not Americanism, or the ideology of the proposition nation, or some other false system. Still, how many differences can be tolerated before unity of culture is broken? Paleos are fighting a losing battle, as more and more 'citizens' assimilate the new ideology and equate it with what it means to be American, while remaining ignorant of, or rejecting traditional American culture.

This underscores the difficulty of maintaining a single identity in a polity that is too big, and seems to me to recommend that secession is the only peaceful option in the long run. Peaceful, in the sense that we should agree to part with those who disagree with us about the important political questions peaceably and to leave them alone. Whether the National Government would permit this to happen, or if it would once again prevent it through the unjust application of military force...

To Kill a King received mostly negative reviews--that's too bad. I suppose I will have to just watch BBC documentaries instead. There was one series focusing on great battles, I believe--one episode was on Culloden, and another on the English Civil War. I believe the following is from a different documentary:

Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War - 1/4
Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War - 2/4
Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War - 3/4
Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War - 4/4

English Civil War
The English Civil War: Papists, Gentlewomen, Soldiers and Witchfinders in the Birth of Modern Britain
The English Civil War: The Essential Readings
BBC/OU Open2.net - Civil War
English Civil War main page
English Civil War: Battle of Marston Moor » HistoryNet

Oliver Cromwell
The Oliver Cromwell website
Google Books: Peter Gaunt, Oliver Cromwell
Modern History Sourcebook: Thomas Macauley: On Oliver Cromwell
A Little History of Ireland - The Curse of Cromwell

House of Stuart (wiki)
The House of Stuart
House of Stuart - Genealogy
Jacobitism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Jacobite Heritage

Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalist Institute Home Page
The American Loyalists: Or, Biographical Sketches of Adherents to the British Crown in the War of the Revolution
Loyalist Songs and Poetry
Osprey Publishing - American Loyalist Troops 1775–84
The War of American Independence

The American Conservative -- Why Belloc Still Matters

Begun on January 31.

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