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Started by Tadagee on Jun 26, 2019 10:29:34 PM
British Civil Wars: which side are you? Any why?

The Anarchy: Stephen or Matilda?

The Wars of the Roses: York or Lancaster?

The Civil War: Royalist or Parliamentarian?

AlanII - 04 Jul 2019 08:29:18 (#117 of 153)

With a majority as narrow as that, it is surprising that nobody called for the whole thing to be re-run, given that so many of the 52% clearly didn't have a clue what they were voting for, or what the likely consequences would be. We are more sophisticated nowadays.


Arjuna - 04 Jul 2019 09:05:42 (#118 of 153)

It's always a tricky job trying to disentangle the various claims to the throne during the Wars of Roses. Perhaps its fitting that they ended with Henry VII whose claim was so weak that he didn't even bother to formally declare it.

Arjuna - 08 Jul 2019 07:52:36 (#119 of 153)

I have just finished reading The Winter King by Thomas Penn, the ruthless efficiecency of Henry VII's regime is frightening. He managed not only to clamp down on potential rivals but also build an astonishing war chest that surely acted as deterent to opposition. One of the root causes of the wars had been the system of Bastard Feudalism that enabled Barons to build private armies. Henry not only outlaws this but shows he has the means to pay for vast forces himself.

Hilary - 08 Jul 2019 08:54:06 (#120 of 153)

I should have thought some ruthless efficiency by a centralising administration was rather what the country needed after so many decades of ruinous civil war. And I do not find the abolition of private armies 'frightening'; quite the reverse.

Arjuna - 08 Jul 2019 12:44:52 (#121 of 153)

Not all aspects of his regime was frightening and accumulating huge amounts of cash probably was the only way to end the civil wars and he found the means to do it via the Council Learned in Law. It effectively turned the legal system into a revenue raising device.

The brainchild of Sir Reginald Bray, the Council Learned was introduced in 1495 to defend Henry's position as a feudal landlord, maintain the King`s revenue and exploit his prerogative rights. It dealt with the king's fiscal matters and enforced payments of debts. It proved to be much more efficient than the Exchequer. The council was a secondary department to the Star Chamber, but it was the Council Learned in Law that made the system of bonds and recognisances work so effectively.

DesEsseintes - 08 Jul 2019 18:34:15 (#122 of 153)

There you go, then. Nationalize everything, and smash thé forces of the business state, and well be fine.

Arjuna - 10 Jul 2019 10:58:47 (#123 of 153)

The first episode of Downfall of a King was pretty good, asides from some rubbish recreations and the appearance of Charles Spencer. I think one of the major problems in explaining the cause of the civil wars is knowing how far back to go, this concentrates on the months before Charles tries to make arrests in the house. It is certainly a turbulent period but parliament had made substantial gains in the year before hand, notably passing legislation to make itself indissolvable and indicting the Earl of Strafford for Treason.

Arjuna - 11 Jul 2019 07:29:54 (#124 of 153)

Excellent episode last night, it's good to see an historical documentary that doesn't just go over the same ground. The revolution of 1641 is an interesting story but in our school history things like huge crowds instigating action, surrounding palaces and attacking anyone who looked like a Bishop didn't get much a mention only Charles trying to arrest Pym and others.

Pym was certainly a political genius in the way he could manipulate Parliament. He could also deal with the press, a that time an entirely novel phenomonen that - " No Bishops, No Popish lords" was probably the first campaigning political catchphrase. It was also deceptive, I don't think there were any Popish Lords actually sitting, it's just an attempt to associate Anglican bishops with popery.

Lisa Hilton mentioned the perpetual parliament act and asked why Charles was daft enough to sign it. The answer is that he had been made to sign it earlier in the year. Huge crowds had penned him in at Whitehall and he feared for his safety if he did not. This was why he had left the capital for Scotland and only returned at the head of a military parade.

TRaney - 11 Jul 2019 21:49:11 (#125 of 153)

RosyLovelady - 12 Jul 2019 08:39:25 (#126 of 153)

I get her confused with the academic woman who reckons she can stop Brexit by the power of public nudity.

Tadagee - 12 Jul 2019 10:42:41 (#127 of 153)

Why can't women accept you can be sexy, brainy AND a feminist?

- women

+ Daily Mail readers

Fixed the headline.

Arjuna - 12 Jul 2019 10:43:49 (#128 of 153)

She is sexy like a Siberian husky

Arjuna - 12 Jul 2019 10:44:55 (#129 of 153)

academic woman who reckons she can stop Brexit by the power of public nudity.

BBC4 haven't signed her up, may be ITV2 are interested.

Maverickvoice - 12 Nov 2019 13:33:11 (#130 of 153)

For me:

Stephen v Matilda - I don't know too much about that period.

War of the Roses - I am probably most sympathetic with Margaret of Anjou as much as any individual from that period but in terms of the way the war panned out, it was probably for the best. The power of people like Warwick, the Percys etc in terms of their military clout and their ability to act as independent agents stirring up trouble was a significant contributing factor to that war. Ultimately it took someone as ruthless and autocratic as Henry VII to centralise power and undermine the power bases of the nobility.

As brutal as Henry VII's methods were, he (or someone like him) was probably the inevitable end game of that period of conflict & ultimately his reign is a reflection of the general trend of centralisation and consolidation of state power that you see happening across Europe at that time.

The truth was that all Henry VI's successors had to face similar problems to his regime - rebellious nobles begin high up on the list. Edward IV and Richard III both faced a fair number of ongoing problems with rebellions and unruly nobility. Henry VII also did, but was in power long enough to put in place some longer term fixes.

For the English Civil war, parliament was far from perfect - it was essentially a middle class rebellion against the King (and was ultimately nothing to do with one man, one vote). One might also regard the Protectorate as a virtual military dictatorship. But in establishing and reinforcing the power of parliament vs the throne, the victory of Parliament did pave the way for future moves towards a more representative democratic system.

Tadagee - 12 Nov 2019 13:40:58 (#131 of 153)

And where has that got us? Brexit, that's where.

Wouldn't have Brexit if we'd stuck with the Divine Right of Kings.

Maverickvoice - 12 Nov 2019 13:49:43 (#132 of 153)

Well if the Lancastrians had won the war of the roses we might have remained inextricably linked with Europe. Simply because by a strange twist of fate, Margaret of Anjou ended up inheriting Anjou, Maine and much of Provenance (which she surrendered to her cousin Louis XI in exchange for him ransoming her from Edward IV ... a great deal for Louis by the way - those lands were worth far, far more than he paid Edward).

If Lancaster had won, Margaret would have had no particular reason to flog those lands to Louis (aside from maybe helping to clear some of England's massive debts), so they might have become property of Edward of Lancaster on his succession and hence remained closely associated with the English crown.

TRaney - 12 Nov 2019 14:10:56 (#133 of 153)

ultimately his reign is a reflection of the general trend of centralisation and consolidation of state power that you see happening across Europe at that time

But is that really the case? Germany and Italy remained federalised, with in the former case at least arguably beneficial results to this day. And Paris never seemed to project its power so easily in France as London did in England/Britain.

Maverickvoice - 12 Nov 2019 14:58:29 (#134 of 153)

Italy, up until the end of the C15th, was a collection of independent states that were truly independent. Places like Florence and Milan had a meaningful independent political existence. By the end of the Italian wars, in the mid C16th, most of them emerged heavily under the influence (or directly ruled by) Spain, France or the Emperor (mainly Spain). Milan and Naples - previously major independent powers in Italy were both directly ruled by Spain as part of a Spanish Empire.

In France, the state of Burgundy disappeared and the state of France consolidated and centralised to a degree unknown in the middle ages. I would say the C15th saw the emergence of France and England as two very distinctly different centrally consolidated states - rather than a collection of lesser countries, counties, Dukedoms and vassal states that grouped together in various combinations to form either part of a Plantagenet or Valois Kingdom.

Germany is an odd case. It was both federated but "not federated" being, as it was, all part of the Empire in any case. One might view Germany as a Federated collection of states ruled by one family.

TRaney - 12 Nov 2019 15:01:55 (#135 of 153)

I know but I don't think any of that supports your contention about Henry VII. I'd say England was exceptional in the amount of unity and centralisation achieved.

Maverickvoice - 12 Nov 2019 15:58:23 (#136 of 153)

You could argue, in the case of England, two major changes occurred during the C15th and early C16th:

1) English cultural identity as Englishmen became far stronger and more clearly defined. During the medieval period the English ruling classes were closely bonded to the French (culturally). The spoke French, many had Norman names, England was often had French queens, England was part of a Plantagenet Kingdom that included parts of France (Gascony in particular). That all changed in the C15th - we became "English" in a way we had not been before. The ruling class no longer spoke French as a primary language of court, we no longer had French queens as a general rule, we no longer were part of a Franco-English Kingdom etc. We were - distinctly England. Tudor England had / evolved a very distinct English identity that Plantagenet England lacked. Ask a man in England in the 1450s what country he was from and he would probably tell you "Kent" or something like that. By the 1550s it would have been "England".

2) The power of the noble class as independent agents - able to raise large armies independent of the crown in the way that Warwick and the Percys had been able to do during the war of the roses was effectively broken during the Tudor period - a process that Henry VII largely put in place. Henry distinctly set about creating a much more centralised system of patronage so that the old ways of people owing patronage to a lord who in turn owed patronage to him was replaced by a system where he increasingly cut out the middle men and people increasingly had to rely on him for patronage. He still faced problems with rebellions of course but the old system of patronage based feudalism that had allowed people like Warwick to become as independently powerful as he became was essentially eroded. That is not to say the nobility entirely lost its power - far from it - only that Henry made sure there would never again be a Warwick. He also killed off all the potential Plantagenet claimants to make sure his dynasty's position was secure in so far as it lacked any credible Plantagenet challengers - which helped!

If Henry VI had been as ruthless as Henry VII (or Henry V) the war of the roses would never have happened of course. Henry VI's downfall was simply that he was too nice to be a C15th King. All the most successful C15th Kings in England and France tended to be, not to put too fine a point on it, either utterly ruthless (to the point of being quite brutal) like Henry V or VII or completely machiavellian like Louis XI. Maybe Charles VII of France was perhaps less brutal but certainly no less driven and intolerant of dissent and very definitely a domineering autocrat.

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