Religious dissent in England went back much further than Henry VIII’s reformation, the Lollards being a prime example around 1350 who dispite being catholics had many traits akin to protestants. They were very influential and powerful for a time having the ruler of England John Gaunt as their patron.
There were Lollardist trials in England as late as 1522 which puts the Lollards contemporary to the English Dissenters and such groups as the Known Men and Free Will Men of the 1540-1560′s were, if not Lollards as many suggest, as close as you can get. Much of the Free Will Movement developed into English Anabaptistism, so one could argue the Lollards still exist today in the form of Menonnites. It’s probably only natural that they developed into a protestant faction in the 16th century.
There is a continuity of Lollardism into puritanism, prebyterianism and anticlericism and if we look at the Bishop’s Wars as the outbreak of the ECW, perhaps they had a great influence on its outbreak
However the civil war not just spiritual it was political and political on several levels.
There was a catholic/protestant dispute between the ruling class however this was fairly recent starting in Henry’s time.
There was a middle class/ruling class dispute as the merchant class began to surpass the landed aristocracy in wealth, this again was fairly recent.
There was the poor vs wealthy dispute as exeplified by the levellers and diggers which at the very latest had its origins in the peasants revolt of 1381 where the leaders such as John Ball were preaching wealth redistribution.
Prior to that the Black death wiped out 1/2 the population of England and in the aftermath a labour shortage occured and the prices peasants sold their labour to lords for went up by up to five times. Peasants were able to break their serfdom and move where the best wages were. The English government quickly passed a law capping wages to a pre-Black Death level however this was impractical and ignored. During the period England had its first recorded strike and peasant labourer went on strike over pay against their lord, somewhat unthinkable prior to the death.
Finally it was a dispute over divine right of kings, system that had been legislated against by the Magna Carta in 1215 and arguambly by the Charter of Liberties in 1100.
So the answer is probably either 1100 or 1215.
History repeating itself, the Eternal Recurrance, providence or synchronicity?
The English Revolution.
Corrupt autocratic king is overthrown and executed, there’s a civil war. Democratic(ish) parliament is created, bickers in factions, dissolves into a farce. A military dictator seizes power and creates totalitarian(esque) state.
A corrupt autocratic king is overthrown and executed. There’s a civil war. A democratic(ish) council is created, splits into murderous factions and ends in anarchy. A military dictator seizes power and creates totalitarian(esque) state.
The Russian Revolution.
An autocratic Tsar is overthrown and executed. There’s a civil war, an democratic(ish) regime is created, which is impotent and counter coup occurs. A dictator backed by his own paramilitary seizes power and creates totalitarian(esque) state.
It’s always fascinated me the similar paths of these three events. Is it more than than just coincidence. Is an archetype involved?
Israel might never have been if Stalin wasn’t so paranoid. Founded in 1934 as a homeland for the Jews, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast is in the extreme east of Russia not far from the Chinese border. After a wave of publicity many Russian Jews migrated there and a few still live there today. It’s over 50% larger than Israel and has no internal or border disputes so potentially could have made a better Jewish homeland than Israel. However the project was to quickly run off the rails as Stalin began his purges of the 1930′s and a Jewish state within the Soviet Union was seen as a threat.
Why the Romans never tried to seriously conquer Germany is a question often asked by history buffs. Part of the answer lays in their experiences in Britain.
Roman Britain was like no other province in the empire, it was a hell of a shock to the system for the Romans.
Iron Age Britain had no towns, so no capitals, no regional authority let alone national, no unified sense of identity, it was small devolved rural people who regared the neighbouring tribe foreigners and enemies. This was completely new to the Romans, never before had they attempted to invade such a primitive place, and after they did they realised that never again would they want to.
Roman warfare was pretty simple invade the capital and the polity surrenders, if the enemies unify into one big force, even better, they can be beaten even quicker. What do you do if there’s dozens and dozens of small tribes all un-united each with no capital to invade? The US wrestled with the same problem in the 19th centruy with the plains Indians. The iron age British were also very warlike, and fought guerilla wars against the Romans for decades.
Britain was arguably Rome’s most expensive occupation, not only did they have to maintain 4 legions, they had to build all the towns and cities from scratch importing most of the materials from the rest of the empire at great expense.
They encouraged rural British to move into the new towns and cities with some success and begin merchant trades. This was one Roman successes, the British took to town life well. However despite the large effort and expense the Romans spent on building an infrastructure, it was still tiny compared to other provinces, only about 10-15% of the lives were ever touched by the Romans. Just how little the rural Britains had to do with the Romans and were uneffected by Romans culture is quite astounding in many ways. Unless one thinks how uneffected the hundreds of millions of rural farmers and untouchables were by Britain in India, most probably never met a British occupier their whole lives.
The Romans married into the British aristocracy and it was the bilingeral Anglo/Roman aristocracy that administered the country on a day to day basis, able to speak Latin in the governer’s mansion and British languages to the frightening and strange aliens on the farms and in the villages Romans steered well clear of.
Once the true labour and expense of invading such a primitive people dawned on the Romans, they really didn’t fancy going through it all over again on an even larger scale in Germany or even nearby in Ireland.
The Industrial Revolution and urbanisation may have brought great benefits to the industrialists but for many sections of the poor living standards plummeted. Factory working conditions were appaling, 18 hour working day without breaks in cramped dirty conditions, dangerous machinery, pitiful wages, draconian fines forced upon workers for complaints and child labour, children usually doing the most dangerous jobs in the factory and suffering crippling injuries. For those that survived accidents long term effects on the lungs or terminal conditions caused by chemicals used lead to an early death. Amidst this was a drive by factory owners as competition grew to lower wages and worsen working conditions.
This sparked the world’s first Labour Movement.
In 1811 the first threatening letter from General Ned Ludd and the Army of Redressers appeared. Whether Ned Ludd himself existed or was a made up figurehead is still unknown. However the Army of Redressers who came to be known as Luddites quickly grew across the Midlands and began attacking factories. Workers broke in and smashed (Origin of the saying, throw a spanner in the works).
The government responded by making Ludditism a capital offence and sending 12,000 troops into Luddite strongholds to no avail. In late 1911 the movement widened its grip expanding across much of the industrial countryside. The pattern emerging at Rawfolds Mill where the Luddites attacked killing the owner. 100 Luddite were captured by the army and three executed.
From 1812-1817 pitched battles between the army and the Luddites became regular, often thousands of Luddites attacking mills or factory owners houses. Rioting occured in cities and Luddites hurled stones at factory owners and their families. Usually Luddites tried to smash the machines but if that failed would turn to burning the whole building down. The army defending the mills usually outnumbered would resort to musketry and the ringleaders of any captured Luddites were hung.
The Luddite Rebellion lasted six years but faded after 1817 leaving many martyrs however resurfaced in 1830 in the Swing Riots.
Nowadays Luddite is a term meaning someone who dislikes or can’t comprehend technology. A rather denigrating way to remember the granddaddies of all labour movements.