13-3 polis

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A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

13.3 (Summer 2013)




courtesy of artrenewal.org


On the 325th Anniversary of the Glorious Revolution: The Historical Significance of the English Civil War

Mark Wegierski  

The persons who are likely to read Praesidium are hopefully very atypical of the prevailing, contemporary North American ethos: profoundly concerned with history and culture, and able to read articles requiring a large degree of cerebral effort and long attention-span.

This essay is written with the audacious thesis that the now very distant-seeming English Civil War of 1642-1648, and its real aftermath, the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688, constitute one of the critical defining experiences of the new cultural identity that can be termed Anglo-Americanism, which has increasingly defined the shape and substance of all subsequent world-history. The English Civil War, which is really the first great modern revolution, has set the pattern for subsequent revolutionary upheavals in the entire Anglo-American cultural sphere, and especially in America itself.

As the war which set the trajectory of so many future developments, the English Civil War can be seen as one of the most crucial social, political, and cultural struggles in human history. As in the American Civil War/War Between the States, with which it can offer many parallels, the forces in the conflict are unevenly matched because of the economic predominance of the Northern and Parliamentary sides. The Royalists, centered in the rural hinterlands of the country, with virtually no navy and poor sources of munitions and supply, find themselves fighting a losing war against the increasingly powerful forces paid for by the enormous resources of London and other trading-centers. The panache of the Cavaliers is no match for the iron drill and discipline of Cromwell’s New Model Army. The sense of the historical inevitability of Cromwell’s victory, and the onward rush of successive events, has a certain profoundly tragic dimension to it.

It is the historical significance of the English Civil War as it actually occurred that is described below. A large part of the essay, however, looks at the alignment of social and political forces on the eve of the conflict to show what is really at stake in this struggle. The very mention of the English Civil War must seem obscure to virtually all contemporary Americans, yet, in a sense, much of the essential history of this society and its way of life would have probably been made impossible by a Royalist triumph. Whether this would have turned out to be a more positive or negative thing for human history as a whole is not yet known, in the strictest sense; however, this essay argues from a basically pro-Royalist perspective, a largely existentialist position given the context of contemporary late modernity. The pro-Royalist perspective is somewhat more understandable for a person rooted in authentic Canadian conservatism – as opposed to someone embracing the typical U.S. conservatism, whose traditions are anti-monarchical and republican from the very founding of the U.S.

In the state and society which has been created by the American Revolution and its ongoing aftermath, an extreme narrowing of historical perspective has been continually occurring. As far as even the most historically conscious Americans are concerned, it could be argued that their social and political universe, and all the terms of their politics, begin in the 1770s. However, most Americans’ span of meaningful historical memory, and nearly all their political referents, in fact go only as far back as the latest revolutionary upheaval in their society, which is the 1960s. Everything before that is virtually treated as elemental darkness, defended only by so-called reactionaries, “the left-over progressives of the preceding generation”. It could be argued that the real outcome of the American Revolution, despite the apparent and totemic fixity of its constitutional arrangements, was the creation of a state and society characterized by the condition of almost permanent revolution and flux across its more than two centuries of history. There seems to be no period in American history that could be characterized as stable; instead, one irruption after another — political, social, economic, and technological — has engulfed the society. The monumental American Civil War/War Between the States of 1861-1865 affords a paradigmatic example of the fundamental intolerance in America of anything which deviates from its founding principles of pristine philosophical liberalism and economic capitalism, the former providing the ideological rationale, the latter probably the real reason, for the decisive prosecution of the war.

Although most of the Founding Fathers would have liked to believe so, America was, despite its proclamation as a Novus Ordo Seclorum, not entirely without a historical tradition. The locus of that tradition was the new English state, particularly as it emerged after the short but extremely critical period of Cromwell’s ascendancy. The historical outcome of the English Civil War can thus be seen as a fundamental pivot or branch-point for the emergence of America in the New World. The idea that Cromwell’s Puritans are in some sense the essential progenitors of America could serve an explanatory function to many phenomena occurring throughout American history, as well as today, from major trends such as “political correctness” and televangelism to ephemera such as Jonestown and David Koresh.

The Puritan ascendancy itself was a culmination of a long series of social and civil conflicts in the British Isles, which had begun with Henry VIII’s break with Rome, the sacking of the monasteries, and the coming of the Protestant Reformation to England. There had emerged by the time of the outbreak of the English Civil War a number of fundamental divisions in the societies of the British Isles, which can be characterized as follows.

Religious Divisions: The extremes of opposition were the Roman Catholics versus Calvinist groups such as the Puritans. The Roman Catholics were pejoratively called “Papists”, and the often highly exaggerated fear of and contempt for “Popery” or “the Romish Church”, typified by the bogeyman of “the Spanish Inquisition” and “the Jesuits”, became an increasingly strong element in the new English society. Some of the initial impetus for these sentiments had been given by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary’s short reign as “Bloody Mary”, and by the threat from Spain under Philip II (the Spanish Armada) during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Anglo-Catholic or High Anglican (High Church) tradition lay between these two extremes, but tended towards Catholic ritual while recognizing the distinctiveness of the Church of England, and considered the Pope as merely the Bishop of Rome, with no special authority in England. By contrast, the radical Protestants saw the Papacy as the embodiment of Antichrist. The Anglicans, in fact, did not at this time characterize themselves as “Protestant”, but rather as a third group between Roman Catholics and the radical Protestants themselves. The offices of Bishop and Archbishop, as well as the notion of the Apostolic Succession (i.e., that the ultimate legitimacy of the Church lay in the transfer across millennia, beginning with the Apostles, of the priestly authority), were recognized in Anglicanism as in Roman Catholicism. The Low Anglican tradition (Low Church or Broad Church), which emerged in greater strength later, identified itself with more Protestant, anti-Catholic and anti-aristocratic English tendencies. The equivalent of the Anglicans in Scotland was the Scottish Episcopal Church, which claimed to be the real Church of Scotland — not the Calvinist Presbyterian Church, which eclipsed it while using the same name. There was also a substantial English Presbyterian group. They formed one of the larger factions in the Puritan-dominated Parliament before Cromwell’s full ascendancy.

“Puritans”, from the Latin puritani, meaning “the pure ones”, is a general term for various Calvinist, radical Protestant groups of the period. The Puritans were known for their moral earnestness, their disdain for worldly pleasures, and their ascetic industriousness. The constant reading of the Bible to the members of the congregation and the exhortation of every person in the congregation to read and study the Bible on their own to confirm their faith — without the mediation of an organized priesthood – were among the most pronounced Puritan religious characteristics. Puritanism stressed the sincere profession of one’s faith, reinforced through constant reading of the Bible, and condemned Catholic and Anglican ritual, churchly splendor, and a hierarchical priesthood set apart from the congregation. The obsessive reading of the Bible, particularly certain parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation, reinforced Puritans’ sense of their own righteousness, and encouraged the emergence of all manner of then-radical ideas about the nature of social relations, as well as of various apocalyptic fervors which sought to impose the Kingdom of God on Earth by force, if necessary. The Puritans were also obsessively concerned with every minute aspect of a person’s daily behavior, and were able to perceive “paganism” virtually everywhere in society while construing almost any monarch as an “Oriental despot”. James I, for example, was characterized as a “British Nebuchadnezzar”, a Babylonian tyrant. A later manifestation of this attitude was the common Protestant suspicion that George III, who dealt rather severely with Roman Catholics, had in fact secretly converted to Rome. Yet another example is the American Revolutionary ditty, referring to Quebec: “if Gallic Papists have the right to worship their own way, / Then what hope for the freedoms of poor Americay?” By a curious twist of reasoning, extending tolerance to Catholics was seen as advancing oppression in England (or America).

Roman Catholicism was also generally seen as decadent and lackadaisical in its moral approach. The first major known and popular work of semi-pornography in England was Confessions of a Nun. The prurient uncovering of supposed Catholic moral turpitude was a constantly reappearing theme in Protestant polemics and criticism. As late as the end of the nineteenth century, Protestants in America were referring pejoratively to “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”. Puritanism was also intensely masculine-centered, rejecting the special place of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism, and also radically monotheistic, considering the Catholic “veneration of the saints” as gross idolatry. The profound difference in the two religious styles is typified in the contrast between the Protestant Barnkirche (literally, “barn-church”) and the sumptuous Baroque cathedral. The more radical Puritans were opposed to all graven images, which tended to lead to mass outbreaks of iconoclasm (the defacing or smashing of statuary in Catholic or Anglican churches). The English countryside contains many picturesque ruins of such churches (viscerally considered “heathen temples”) sacked by Cromwell’s soldiery.

Political Allegiances: Broadly speaking, these were between Tories and Whigs (as these terms were defined in the second half of the seventeenth century). The term “Tory” is derived from the Irish Gaelic, toraidhe, from a phrase meaning “Come, O King”. The term “Tory” was originally used as a term of abuse denoting an “Irish Papist or Royalist bandit”, with the added meaning of “the pursued”. The term Toryism at this time referred to a creed embracing the belief in the ultimate supremacy of the monarchy in the realm (with Parliament a distinct but junior partner)—a belief in which the monarch was justified as constituting the ultimate, organic, and unifying element of the kingdom. Religiously, it generally embraced Roman Catholicism, or Anglicanism, or the Scottish Episcopal Church. Royalist is another general term, while Cavalier is used to describe this side in the English Civil War itself. The term Cavalier, roughly equivalent to “knight”, “gentleman”, or “armed horseman” was derived from the medieval French chévalier. The stereotypical image of the Cavalier was as a horseman in a fancy, “musketeer-type” hat, richly dressed, with long, flowing hair behind and sword in hand. The Cavalier lifestyle was said to be uninhibited, including a large element of “wine, women, and song”. The term is also used in the study of English literature to describe the so-called Cavalier poets of the same period, who embraced similar themes in their work. The primary meaning of the word today, through the adjective “cavalier”, is largely negative, meaning “rude” or “disdainful”. This could be seen to reflect the perception which ultimately prevailed as a result of that conflict, which saw the traits typical of an aristocrat or nobleman as excessively arrogant.

The term Whig was derived from the shortening of the Lowland Scottish word whiggamore, which was originally a form of a cry used for herding horses or cattle. It had been adopted as a battle-shout of the most radical faction of the Presbyterian Covenant in Lowlands Scotland. The term was extended to refer to advocates of the ultimate supremacy of Parliament in the English constitution, which was justified as being the best political arrangement: as a so-called mixed constitution of checks and balances (King-in-Parliament, House of Lords, House of Commons); and as the best guarantee of certain so-called “ancient rights of Englishmen”, which were to be enshrined in the constitution. The term Parliamentarian is used to describe this side in the English Civil War. Roundhead, often used as a synonym for Parliamentarian, refers more specifically to Puritan soldiers, and was derived from the closely cropped hair typical of Cromwell’s cavalry. The stereotypical Roundhead wore the “lobster” helmet and a plain coat of hard leather, with no vain adornments. One should note a degree of divergence between the Parliamentarians and Roundheads, as Cromwell eventually came to rule as Lord Protector. Ultimately, however (after 1688), the Parliamentarian position won out.

Dynastic Allegiances: The Stuarts, originally Kings of Scotland, had come to the throne of England in the person of James VI (of Scotland) and I (of England). The term Jacobites (derived from the Latinized name of James — Jacobus) referred to partisans of the Stuarts in the period to the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1688, the so-called Glorious Revolution in England had effectively deposed King James VII and II. The emphatically Protestant William of Orange was brought over from Holland to England as King William III. Upon his death, the Protestant Hanoverians were drafted to keep the Catholic Stuarts from the throne.

Territorial Allegiances: Ireland was an almost exclusively Roman Catholic society, although there was an ongoing influx of English and Protestant settlers in the so-called Pale of Settlement. Ironically, the spark for the English Civil War was a great Irish Catholic rising against the English in Ireland. Charles I needed money to raise troops to prosecute the war, which Parliament refused to grant, suspecting they were more likely to be used at home. The King managed to reach an effective truce with the Irish when the fighting began in England.

Scotland was at this time a kingdom unified with England only in the person of the monarch, with its own Parliament, law-courts, system of customary law, foreign relations, and coinage. The term “Auld Alliance”, for example, refers to the traditional close ties between Scotland and France. Scotland was divided between the basically Jacobite Royalist Highlands and the Whig-oriented Lowlands, although even the Scottish Presbyterians had a degree of allegiance to their native Stuart dynasty. All Scots participated in the great invasion of England in 1648 (at the behest of Charles I), but their army, three times larger than Cromwell’s, was decisively defeated at Preston.

In England at the beginning of the war, support for the King, was centered in Wales, Cornwall, and northern England, and Wales and Cornwall were the last Royalist bastions in England. The university town of Oxford was briefly (especially in 1642) the Royalist political capital of England.


Charles II, son of the beheaded monarch and successor to the Cromwellian Interregnum

Economic/Class Divisions: Although there was support for both sides among all social classes, it is traditionally considered that the English aristocracy centered in the House of Lords favored the Royalist cause, while the middle-classes centered in the House of Commons favored Parliamentarianism. (302 members of the House of Commons and 40 Lords supported Parliament, 236 Commoners and 80 Lords followed the King.) Royalist support in the House of Commons is larger than might be expected, while the image given by these numbers, with respect to the House of Lords, is largely illusory. In fact, much of the high aristocracy allied itself with Parliament. Lord Fairfax, a dashing cavalry commander who would have seemed a natural supporter of the King, was in fact a prominent Parliamentary leader. Many of the great aristocratic families were on the side of Parliament, or had certainly become Whigs by 1688. The monarchy could count on the support of only a handful of high aristocrats, such as the redoubtable James Graham, Earl of Montrose. Many of the King’s foremost agents and supporters were in fact men of common origins: for example, Archbishop Laud, the zealous champion of Anglicanism, so hated by the Puritans that he was executed in 1645. An aristocrat and chief royal adviser executed by Parliament already in 1641 was Lord Strafford: his execution was not only one of the major causes of the conflict’s coming to a boil, but also showed the real strength of Parliament, the virtual helplessness of the King, and the extraordinary intensity of degree to which the incipient conflict was to be prosecuted.

There are conflicting opinions about where the support of the grouping called “squires” lay. On the one hand, in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, one of the squires portrayed (Squire Western) is a caricature of an English Jacobite, a common social type of the period. On the other, Cromwell himself was a squire, and the Whig supremacy which emerged after 1688 is often characterized as “the squirearchy”. Perhaps the richer and more prominent squires supported Parliament, while the more indigent ones tended to support the King.

It must be remembered further that the House of Commons represented a very small section of society at the time, and it was often considered that there existed an alliance of the monarchy and the common people against the haute-aristocracy and the increasingly important (and rapacious) merchant-classes (what would have been later called the haute-bourgeoisie). The poorest and most rural sections of the kingdom were generally the most likely to support the monarchy. It should be noted also that the entire aristocracy in England in fact numbered less than 1% of the population.

Country/Urban Divisions: It is generally incontrovertible that London, as well as all the large trading-cities, supported Parliament. It is not difficult to interpret the entire war as a struggle between the English metropolitan node, the capital city, against most of the rest of the countryside and hinterland. (The distinction between a decadent London and the healthy countryside is one of the central dualities in Fielding’s Tom Jones.) Clearly, this corresponds to one of the classic interpretations of the English Civil War as a conflict between the interests of the remnants of feudalism and emergent capitalism. However, the caveats must be added that, first of all, the monarchic and aristocratic interests were not necessarily coterminous, and, secondly, that many peasants must have perceived emergent capitalism as a greater threat than the feudal remnants. It should also be added that the notion of a classic “feudalism” ever existing in England has likewise been challenged, and that the peasantry of England represented “the free peasantry” typical of Western Europe, as opposed to the “serfs” of Eastern Europe, who were being subjected to the so-called “new serfdom” after 1500 or so.

“Ethnic” Divisions: There is an apparently large degree of congruity between basically “Celtic” areas of the British Isles on the Royalist side and the most “Saxon” or “Anglo-Saxon” parts of England supporting Parliament. One of the strongest centers of Parliamentary support was the Eastern Association area in East Anglia, which was probably the most “Saxon” part of England (lying closest to the area of Denmark and the North Sea coast from which the original invasions had come) — and which had also later been part of the Danish Viking area of the Danelaw. The support for Parliament in that area might also have been because of the economic wealth of East Anglia derived from the wool trade. Searching for an explanation for the huge divergences between Highland and Lowland Scots, some historians have hypothesized that the Lowlands had been settled by Anglo-Saxon refugees from the Danish invasions, or at a later point as part of the policy of the Norman Kings. Scots-Gaelic was in fact virtually extinct already at this point, the common language of Scotland being Anglo-Scottish memorialized in its later form by the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns in the Eighteenth Century. For example, “Auld Lang Syne” is a typically Anglo-Scottish, not Scots-Gaelic phrase.

All these religious, dynastic, political, social, economic, and ethnic tensions flared intensely into armed conflict in the English Civil War. The term “English” is a bit misleading: although the primary focus of operations was England proper (as well as Wales and Cornwall), Scotland was also critical, and Cromwell, of course, extended major fighting to Ireland in the aftermath of the Civil War itself. The personalities of the two main protagonists were very different. Charles I was “a mild and placid King”, genuinely concerned about the shedding of brotherly blood, with a somewhat quixotic aspect, and a strong streak of pessimism. (Even in his time, the Stuarts were often considered an ill-starred or unlucky dynasty.) This made him a rather poor politician and military leader, given to preferring gestures of principle to substantive political advantage. There were, for example, his pathetic and futile gestures to curry favor with his executioner. In fact, he went to his execution with the belief that the revulsion it would cause would result in the almost-instantaneous restoration of the monarchy in the person of his son, Charles II. Cromwell, by contrast, was generally able to see to the essence of the matter, utterly convinced of his rightness, never wavering and ruthless in political struggle. He understood the need for a well-drilled, professional force to win the war, and formed the New Model Army as his personal instrument. There has been some debate about the character of the New Model Army: were they really “true believers”, fanatically enthused Puritans, or rather well-drilled and disciplined professional mercenaries, assured of more regular pay than any other force in the war? The heroic but impetuous Cavaliers were no match for the iron drill and discipline of the New Model Army.

Cromwell is probably the foremost architect of the new English state and cultural identity (which appropriated the term “British”). After he had won the war in England, with the support of London, the merchants, the haute-aristocracy, etc., he pushed all these social sectors aside and ruled as Lord Protector (from 1653) through the New Model Army and the very small, ultra-Puritan sector of society. In 1649, he crossed over to Ireland, to begin probably the most vicious anti-Irish war ever waged. After the virtually complete confiscation of Irish Catholic landed property, he proposed confining Irish Catholics to a small, barren reservation in the west part of Ireland which would, furthermore, be completely cut off from the sea, by a ten-mile-wide coastal zone to be settled by Protestants. Such arrangements bear comparison to those carried out by the totalitarian regimes of the Twentieth Century. In 1650-1651, all of Scotland was crushed and brought under Cromwellian rule. It is not difficult to see in Cromwell’s regime a prefiguring of the modern totalitarianism of the twentieth century, while Charles I’s stance can be seen as the doomed, “authoritarian” resistance of a premodern type of regime.


Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell’s regime then scored brilliant military victories against the Dutch (commercial rivals) and the Spanish. The punctilious Puritan social regime (cutting down the maypoles, banning Christmas, banning the theatre, supervising public behavior in minute detail, etc.) was then carried out against an increasingly recalcitrant but helpless population.

The Cromwellian period was short but extremely critical for the history of the British Isles. For the first time in centuries, the entire territory of the British Isles was united de facto in the hands of a single man. This unification was effected, however, not by a traditional monarch, but by a revolutionary warlord whose supporters numbered a miniscule fraction of the British Isles’ population, organized in a revolutionary vanguard. In England itself, if not in Scotland and Ireland, Cromwell was able to carry out long-lasting, profound, and possibly decisive social and political transformations. The effect of the execution of King Charles I (in 1649) on the collective identity of the English at the time cannot be underestimated. It undermined, in an ultimate sense, whatever shards of belief had remained in the King’s supreme place and unassailability in English society. Even when restored, the monarchy had been fatally weakened, in spiritual and also practical terms. (Virtually none of the Crown lands lost were returned to Charles II.)

Much of England, swelling with patriotic pride at Cromwell’s great victories over the Dutch and Spanish, moved in defining itself away from an implicitly Royalist to an implicitly Parliamentarian position. England would thus generally become in the future the base and touchstone on which the new English society (called British) would be built, and then extend itself into the entire British Isles, first crushing and then co-opting the Scots, and continually occupying and exploiting Ireland. Earlier illustrious figures in the history of the British Isles were dragooned into this new English myth – most notably Shakespeare, despite the obviously royalist, aristocratic, and anti-mercantile predilections evident in his famous plays and other works. In Richard II, the removal of the ineffectual, sometimes cruel, but legitimate sovereign, who is replaced by the energetic Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), leads to ongoing disaster for the kingdom. To Shakespeare, the execution of a monarch by a revolutionary cabal claiming to represent the people, carried out in the name of their “rights”, would have been seen as an unspeakable, if not almost inconceivable, crime.

Ultimately, it was not the dour Puritans who were to reap the benefits of Cromwell’s victories, but the Whigs, properly defined. This was the haute-aristocracy and rising merchant-classes, who prevailed after 1688, in the period known as “the Whig supremacy”. Discarding the earlier royal and feudal paternalism, the Whigs created what basically was an open oligarchy, enjoying little sense of legitimacy and maintaining itself largely by naked force, the prison and the press-gang, as well as by the ideology of “anti-Popery”. A paradigmatic example of their system of rule was the class of absentee landlords in Ireland. England had passed from being a society defining itself by monarchical and aristocratic honor (which at least nominally acknowledged the paternal responsibilities of a ruling-class) to a society defined by capitalist money (where, for example, the starving to death of the poor was deemed to be a fitting result of their “idleness”). Typical of this stance was the strong criticism of Charles I’s extensive distribution of food to the poor in a time of famine as profligate and unnecessary state-intervention. Ultimately, the religious idealisms and enthusiasms of the Puritans led not to a renewal of asceticism and fundamentalist, “back-to-the-basics” Christianity, but to the flowering of the most intense new forms of industrial development, money-making, and exploitation.

A transition which was vital to the future emergence of the United States had been made in the English Civil War, and its real fruit, the so-called Glorious Revolution. The American Colonies, especially in New England, intensely concentrated Protestantism, as well as the new English system and its ideas, transforming that system in the unencumbered atmosphere of the “open” New World into something even more potent. The justifications for the American Revolution were responses to – it could be argued — comparatively minor administrative encumbrances. (It might be quite instructive to compare the impositions of King George III to, for example, the impositions of the U.S. federal government today.) As in the English Civil War, it could be argued that it was a revolutionary vanguard that strove to carry out its program in the colonies. And again, it could be argued that it was mostly the interests of the oligarchs that were served.

It may be difficult to understand today that American and Canadian patriotisms are quite different in their origins. It may be remembered that the harried refugees of the American Revolution — stripped of their erstwhile social position and most of their possessions — the so-called “Tories”, or “United Empire Loyalists” – settled mostly in Upper Canada (Ontario) and the Maritimes. They allied with the traditional French society of Quebec to eventually form the Canadian state (polity) in 1867, which remained culturally quite distinct from America right up to the 1960’s, and politically even to this day.

The success of the American Revolution, which would have probably been made both conceptually and physically impossible by Cromwell’s defeat in the English Civil War, created what became a restless society constantly pushing at the envelope of social and technological change, while at the same time being characterized by an entrenched and virtually impermeable world-level oligarchy, which seems to have grown in power with every revolutionary surge. For example, although the 1960s movements were characterized by (among other features) idealistic and sentimental feelings of opposition to the large corporations, by the 1990s, transnational corporations had reached new pinnacles of economic influence and power.

Nevertheless, one can see in the history of America an ongoing conflict between an “organic America” (which could be characterized by various terms like “the heartland”, or “fly-over country”) and an “oligarchical America” (which could be characterized by terms such as “the megapolitan centers”, or “the bicoastal elites”). The irony is that without the workers, farmers, soldiers, policemen, and small-businessmen provided by “organic America”, “oligarchical America” would have foundered. “Oligarchical America” appears to have little sense of stewardship, gratitude, or care for “organic America.” It is difficult to explain, for example, how the ongoing “de-industrialization” of America – with its massive outsourcing and loss of jobs — became an acceptable policy. Also, policies of high immigration have been imposed on America since 1965 despite widespread popular opposition.

It is possible to see the history of America as characterized by an ongoing series of revolutionary and transformative upheavals which share many features with the initial defining upheaval of the so-called “Anglo-American societies” — the English Civil War.  Just as an “oligarchical Britain” has tended to undermine “organic Britain”, an “oligarchical America” has – at virtually every point in its history — continued to undermine “organic America”, until there is substantially very little remaining of the latter.

It could be argued that the ironic aftermath of the Sixties’ revolutions is such America – in its drive to unlimited technological advance, consumption, and grotesque selfishness, and its desire to impose this way of life on the entire planet, and all local cultures America – that neither the American Republic in any marginally meaningful sense, nor possibly the ecosphere itself, will survive the outcome.


 General Works:

Reed Browning. Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Louisiana State University Press, 1982).

Gordon Donaldson. Scotland: James V to James VII (Frederick A. Praeger, 1966).

Antonia Fraser. Charles II: His Life and Times (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993 [1979]).

Ian Gentles. The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland (Blackwell, 1992).

Cliff Hanley. History of Scotland (Bison Books, 1986).

Louis Hartz. The Liberal Tradition in America (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955).

Louis Hartz. The Founding of New Societies (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964).

J. B. Mackie. A History of Scotland, 2nd ed. (revised and edited by Bruce Lenman and Geoffrey Parker) (London: Allen Lane, 1978).


Tory/Celticist Interpretations:

Ian Gilmour. Riot, Risings and Revolution: Governance and Violence in Eighteenth-Century England (Hutchinson, 1992).

George Grant. Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism (Carleton University Press, 1965).

George Grant. Technology and Empire (House of Anansi Press, 1969).

Grady McWhiney. Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (University of Alabama Press, 1988).

Grady McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson. Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage (1982).

Royal Stuart Society, 26 Ouse Walk, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE 18 6QL, UK

Royal Stuart Review; Royal Stuart Papers.

Conrad Russell. The Fall of the British Monarchies, 1637-1642 (Clarendon Press, 1991).

Robert Shepherd. Ireland’s Fate: The Boyne and After (Aurum Press, 1990).

C. V. Wedgwood. The King’s Peace, 1637-1641; The King’s War, 1641-1647.


Whig Interpretations:

Linda Colley. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (Yale University Press, 1993).

Russell Kirk. America’s British Culture (Regnery-Gateway, 1992).

Russell Kirk. The Roots of American Order (Regnery-Gateway, 1991).

Alan Macfarlane. The Culture of Capitalism (Basil Blackwell, 1987).

Kevin Phillips, The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

John C. Ricker, et al. The British Epic (Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1959).



George Chowdharay-Best. Review of The Catholic Families, by Mark Bence-Jones. The Salisbury Review v 11 n 3 (March 1993), pp. 53-54.

S. J. D. Green. Review of The Fall of the British Monarchies, 1637-1642, by Conrad Russell. The Salisbury Review (London, England) v 11 n 2 (December 1992), pp. 51-52.

Michael Mendle. Review of The Culture of Capitalism, by Alan Macfarlane. Continuity: A Journal of History (Murray State University, Kentucky) no 15 (Fall-Winter 1991), pp. 117-119.

John Pepall. Review of The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-1653, by Ian Gentles. The Idler (Toronto, Canada) no 37 (September & October 1992), pp. 40-42.

A. W. Purdue. Review of Riot, Risings and Revolution: Governance and Violence in Eighteenth-Century England, by Ian Gilmour. The Salisbury Review (London, England) v 11 n 2 (December 1992), pp. 46-47.

William Purdue. Review of The Culture of Capitalism, by Alan Macfarlane. The Salisbury Review (London, England) v 7 n 3 (March 1989), pp. 57-59.


Works of Literature:

Benjamin Disraeli. Sybil, or the Two Nations (1845).

Henry Fielding. Tom Jones (1749).

Keith Roberts. Pavane (1966).

Nigel Tranter. The Young Montrose (1972) and Montrose: The Captain General (1973)


Many of the historical novels written by Sir Walter Scott take place in a Scottish and Jacobite setting.


 Mark Wegierski is a regular contributor to this quarterly, especially on subjects involving politics, technology, popular culture, and science fiction.  He works as a freelance journalist based in Toronto.