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George
11-06-2005, 03:58 AM
OK, now that people in the forum have brought up that November 5 is the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, as an American I have to try to figure this all out. Let's say the conspirators had succeeded and blown up Parliment and killed all the Protestant elites -- what would have happened next?? How would this act of terrorism have affected English society, and what course of events might have ensued. As a distant observer, not historically so much as culturally, the plot strikes me as being stupid, an act of bitterness. I don't see how it would have accomplished anything, except to create even more bitterness on everyone's part. Does anyone know what the motives were of the conspirators??

Regards,

George

Michael Rowley
11-06-2005, 07:19 AM
George:

How would this act of terrorism have affected English society?

It might have been a good thing, and although politically motivated, it wasn't strictly the intention to inspire terror. However, whether the act of blowing up the few hundred members of parliament (and the king of Scotland, who was rightfully king of England as well) probably wouldn't have converted the country back to Catholicism.

Kelvyn
11-06-2005, 07:22 AM
George, it was an attempt to re-impose Catholicism as the "official" religion in England. Following Queen Elizabeth's passing of an act requiring all people to attend Church of England services every Sunday or be fined, imprisoned or worse.

See the official Parliament information sheet (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g08.pdf) (pdf) and this BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2005/10/17/gun_powder_plot_background_feature.shtml).

I cannot even begin to speculate on the outcome had the plot succeeded.

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 07:45 AM
King James' son, who would become king in 1625, had already been born, in 1600. Assuming that he would not have been present at the explosion, he would have succeeded, but had to go into exile (as his sone had to between, err, 1649 and the Restoration). Most likely, we would have had the civil war 45 years earlier than we did with the split on religous rather than Royalist/Parliamentary lines.

Theories still abound, and new ones are still emerging. The latest is that the King and his advisers were well aware of the Plot and let it get so far as the explosives being laid in order to whip up public sentiment against the Catholics and strengthen their own position when things were "discovered".

Richard

George
11-06-2005, 11:08 AM
George:

How would this act of terrorism have affected English society?

It might have been a good thing

I'm not certain what you mean. Do you jest?? Or perhaps, you don't think that particular Parliment was a good one.

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 11:15 AM
King James' son, who would become king in 1625, had already been born, in 1600. Assuming that he would not have been present at the explosion, he would have succeeded, but had to go into exile (as his sone had to between, err, 1649 and the Restoration). Most likely, we would have had the civil war 45 years earlier than we did with the split on religous rather than Royalist/Parliamentary lines.

Interesting thought.


Theories still abound, and new ones are still emerging. The latest is that the King and his advisers were well aware of the Plot and let it get so far as the explosives being laid in order to whip up public sentiment against the Catholics and strengthen their own position when things were "discovered".
Richard

It seems the main difficulty I have in understanding English history is, that there are always too many theories on the events, no matter which ones are considered. It makes the history about four times as long as it should be, but I guess it has its advantages, as a person can merely pick which version he/she likes best. I guess.

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 11:19 AM
George, it was an attempt to re-impose Catholicism as the "official" religion in England. Following Queen Elizabeth's passing of an act requiring all people to attend Church of England services every Sunday or be fined, imprisoned or worse.

See the official Parliament information sheet (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g08.pdf) (pdf) and this BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2005/10/17/gun_powder_plot_background_feature.shtml).

I cannot even begin to speculate on the outcome had the plot succeeded.

Thanks, Kelvyn. These look like interesting articles and I downloaded them. I sure can spend a lot of time in 17th century England. There was a lot there, and it had so much influence on America.

Regards,

George

Michael Rowley
11-06-2005, 12:22 PM
Gearge:

Do you jest?

No, not at all: it might have meant the next parliament would not have been so keen to do what the monarch and his cronies wanted. But I only said 'might have been a good thing': it's difficult to make judgments about something that didn't happen 400 years ago.

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 12:23 PM
To be flippant for a minute, JFK was killed about 40 years ago and look how many theories there are on that. We've had 400 years for the Gunpowder Plot...

Richard

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 12:31 PM
Of course if there had been no Plot, the Catholics might have got the right to vote a bit sooner (they had to wait until the 1850s, 1857 I think).

Richard

Michael Rowley
11-06-2005, 12:35 PM
Richard:

he would have succeeded, but had to go into exile

It was Charles II that went into exile: his father, Charles I, James's son, got his head chopped off by Oliver Cromwell. James VI & I was rather unlucky, as both his mother, Mary Queen of Scotland, and his only son died on the block.

Catesby, the instigator of the Gunpowder Plot, and the recent July bombers, were all from Yorkshire: I hadn't realized before that Yorkshiremen were such religious zealots.

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 12:43 PM
... had so much influence on America.

The early American colonies were basically 17th century England transplanted.

Richard

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 01:18 PM
Richard:

he would have succeeded, but had to go into exile

It was Charles II that went into exile: his father, Charles I, James's son, got his head chopped off by Oliver Cromwell. James VI & I was rather unlucky, as both his mother, Mary Queen of Scotland, and his only son died on the block.

Catesby, the instigator of the Gunpowder Plot, and the recent July bombers, were all from Yorkshire: I hadn't realized before that Yorkshiremen were such religious zealots.

I know, perhaps I should have phrased my original as would have had to go into exile. But where? Holland was still at war with Spain, trying to break free. Most of what is now Germany was at war on religious lines too.

Richard

Richard Hunt
11-06-2005, 01:32 PM
Catesby, the instigator of the Gunpowder Plot, and the recent July bombers, were all from Yorkshire: I hadn't realized before that Yorkshiremen were such religious zealots.

The murdering scum who carried out the July bombings are in no way the same. Firstly, they were free to worship as they chose. Secondly, they could vote.

Richard

George
11-06-2005, 02:24 PM
Gearge:

Do you jest?

No, not at all: it might have meant the next parliament would not have been so keen to do what the monarch and his cronies wanted. But I only said 'might have been a good thing': it's difficult to make judgments about something that didn't happen 400 years ago.

So you're right. I wasn't thinking of that, but perhaps, Richard had it in mind when he said the English Civil War would have begun sooner. Quite possibly -- but perhaps, the political theory had to develop more first, as well as the sheer power of all the propaganda, err or that is, the education of the general population on political theory. It's hard to speculate about as you say, but it certainly is fun.

At any rate, who would have been King then, if James I died in the plot. That choice might have to be considered significant.

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 02:28 PM
To be flippant for a minute, JFK was killed about 40 years ago and look how many theories there are on that. We've had 400 years for the Gunpowder Plot...

Richard

Well, JFK is unique historically in that respect, and I guess that's because he was our only Catholic president. (Hmm--you did mention flippancy).

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 02:34 PM
Of course if there had been no Plot, the Catholics might have got the right to vote a bit sooner (they had to wait until the 1850s, 1857 I think).

Richard

I doubt that very much. This plot was just one of so many schemes and of so much Catholic hostility that was actually successful or creating havoc, not just in the UK alone, but on the continent, in regard to which, the British were most sympathetic and angered. Further, the popular Calvinistic theology regarding the Pope and the RCC, which seems to persist even to this day, was very much not endearing. As I mentioned, America herself has had only one Catholic president.

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 02:44 PM
Richard:

he would have succeeded, but had to go into exile

It was Charles II that went into exile: his father, Charles I, James's son, got his head chopped off by Oliver Cromwell. James VI & I was rather unlucky, as both his mother, Mary Queen of Scotland, and his only son died on the block.


I have always very much suspected that the reaction against Mary by the Scots set the real example for all that followed, English Civil War, Glorious Revolution, American Revolution--perhaps, even some of Shakespeare's plays. The political theory already existed to a significant extent in the 16th century, of the necessity of rebelling against an unjust monarch, but people had to realize from the fall of Mary just how much they could hope to make the sense of ultimate rule by a legislative body an actuality.

Regards,

George

George
11-06-2005, 02:48 PM
The early American colonies were basically 17th century England transplanted.

Richard

Precisely. Our political theory is a direct transplant from 17th century English ideas, which shaped the colonial charters, the state constitutions, and finally the Federal Constitution. However, most shockingly, Americans are not aware of it, or of its true extent, any longer, and the games are being played as a result. It's very sad, but eventually the truth will be known again.

Regards,

George