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Are the British misunderstood? 
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Post Re: Are the British misunderstood?
Hi,
I am one of Robert Heinlein's English admirers who has just joined your Forum. Perhaps I should say something on the subject of this thread. I think the key date is 1688-89 when there occurred what we still call the Glorious Revolution. In essence the Catholic King James 11 was flung off the throne and the Whig grandees, merchants and bankers who ran the country invited Dutch William, the Prince of Orange, to come to the English throne in a joint monarchy with Queen Mary 11. A Protestant monarchy was thereby established--but under Parliamentary supremacy.

At the same time the Convention Parliament passed the Declaration of Rights, which goes to the heart of your discussion. The Declaration stated that free Parliamentary elections must be held frequently, that freedom of speech in Parliamentary proceedings could not be challenged by outsiders, that Parliamentary consent was needed to change laws, levy taxation, or maintain a standing army in peacetime, and there should be no "cruel and unusual punishments."

There were other provisions repealing various actions by Charles 11 and James11. Of course this was not the whole deal in terms of modern freedom and constitutional government, but it was a start. John Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government was the philosopher and prophet of the Revolution.

It is not fanciful to see a direct historical link between the ideas and principles of 1689 and what happened in America a hundred years later. John Locke did not write the US Constitution but he would have understood and supported every sentence in it.

Moreover the ideas and principles of 1689 provided the historical roots for the later constitutional growth of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and several others.

It has been a while since I looked at Double Star but, as I recall , the political and constitutional background to the story did have a somewhat British flavor.

Since I am of Anglo-Irish descent I can understand where Jack Kelly is coming from. I think the tragedy of modern Anglo-Irish history was Gladstone's failure to carry Home Rule for Ireland in 1886 and again in 1892. Ireland might have developed peacefully along Canadian lines. Pity.


Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:29 am

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:14 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: Are the British misunderstood?
I have a recollection of writing a paper in high school history comparing John Locke's ideas with the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, and while I can't remember the particulars, I remember it being very easy to write because of the ideas being so incredibly similar. And I remember I got an A, so I must have gotten the ideas at the time.

I think what happens with good ideas, especially, is that when their time has come, they begin to be accepted all over until they appear to be self-evident. Not in a mystical kind of way, just that after a while, they make so much sense...I know I'm being simplistic.


Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:13 pm
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