Thursday, August 22, 2013

Charles I Challenges Parliament

It was on August 22, 1642 that King Charles I unfurled the royal standard at Nottingham Castle.

This signalled the beginning of the civil war between Parliament and the Throne.

Charles had been blessed, or at least impressed, with the notion of "Divine Right of Kings," the which concept is credited to his father, James I.  The British peoples had a historically long-standing notion of independence and self-governance.  The clash of these concepts inevitably led to serious difficulties.  One might in fact say that the king lost his head over the whole contretemps he initiated.*

I have been reading Rebecca Fraser's The Story of Britain, an entertaining 800 pages of information with which I suppose I should have been familiar, but much of which seems to be new to me.  I do not read English history because I am an Anglophile, but rather because, as is the case with world history in general, it sheds light on the entire enigma of how we got to be who we are.

 It is my opinion that our young people would be well-served should our educational system return to greater emphasis on history and less perhaps on ego-inflating exercises that tend to encourage excessive emphasis on self-image and the entitlement mindset which accompanies it.  We have for a generation now wrung our hands over our "place in the world" vis a vis science and mathematics education.  These are valid areas of concern, and these are important subjects, but we must never barter our humanity in exchange for technology.

This started out to be a post about King Charles I and a brief period in the middle of seventeenth century English history.  Oh, well.  You have become somewhat familiar with my penchant for going down rabbit trails.

*"The death warrant was signed by only 59 of the 135 commissioners.  The rest had slunk away, reluctant to set their names to a document of such dubious legality.  Thus Charles I was condemned to death by a minority of the court, which had been established by a minority of the House of Commons, indeed by an illegal remnant thereof, and without the concurrence of the House of Lords."  Fraser, Rebecca: The Story of Britain, p.349.  She continues, "Death transformed the foolish, treacherous king into a martyr. . .", p. 350

That Charles himself might chase 
To Carisbrooke's narrow case: 
That then the royal actor born 
The tragic scaffold might adorn: 
While round the arm├Ęd bands 
Did clap their bloody hands. 
He nothing common did or mean 
Upon that memorable scene: 
But with his keener eye 
The axe's edge did try: 
Nor called the gods with vulgar spite 
To vindicate his helpless right, 
But bowed his comely head, 
Down, as upon a bed. --from "Cromwell's Return" by Andrew Marvell

{King Charles I}

Charles I 1600 - 1649

6 comments:

Vee said...

It's interesting that so many now feel that knowing history is not important. One of my former students who teaches fifth grade posted yesterday that in the schedule she was given she is allotted 40 minutes at the end of each day to teach history, science, and writing. Not even twenty minutes each for these important subjects.

Shelly said...

That's precisely why I'm so interested in history- because it helps to explain so much of what is going on today. And Andrew Marvell is still one of my favorite poets-

vanilla said...

Vee, of course my question would be to what exactly are the other 320 minutes dedicated.

Shelly, more people should adopt your interest in the subject. How interesting that we quoted one of your favorite poets!

Pearl said...

I agree with you entirely, both on the need to return to a more formal educational process but also to history's place in our lives.

Pearl

vanilla said...

Pearl, so glad you are on board!

Sharkbytes said...

I'm pretty ignorant of British history. And that's mostly fine with me.