The reign of Charles I of England can be summarized to a large degree as a continued attempt to raise revenue without authorization from Parliament. As is well known, Charles and his advisers had to resort to ever more vexatious expedients to do this and ultimately were not successful.
What puzzles me is that they apparently made little or no use of foreign loans. While repayment would not have been trivial, at least this way the English government would have had access to ready money, solving many of its problems.
So, why did Charles I not borrow abroad?
My guess is that the main European banking houses which could have provided such loans would have been aligned with (Catholic) Spain and so not able to help out (Protestant) England. On the other hand, Charles was on pretty good terms with Spain for most of his rule so I am not sure this is really the right explanation.
Charles I did borrow money from abroad but it was never enough to meet his needs. The financial drain of the Thirty Years War on much of Europe, a muddled foreign policy, and a lack of both collateral and trust were the main reasons Charles I could not borrow enough abroad. Potential lenders were also reluctant to help the king due to the English Parliament's control of London and the navy.
That Charles' needs were so great was partly due to his own extravagance but also to debts which he inherited from his father, James I. It should also be noted that
England was still the least taxed country in Europe, with no official excise and no regular direct taxation.
Source: Pauline Gregg, 'King Charles I' (2000)
Even so, the King's financial situation at the start of his reign would have been alleviated to some extent had he had the trust of Parliament but
Buckingham's disastrous attack on Cadiz seemed to confirm the worries many MPs had had about his suitability as a leader. The king still required money, loans secured on the crown jewels had funded the war, but nothing costs more than a defeat
Source: Martyn Bennett, 'Oliver Cromwell' (2006)
Charles offset some of this through various domestic measures - for example, taxation by means of ship money from 1634 onwards - but none of his measures endeared him to his people.
In the early years of his reign (at least), Charles' favourite Buckingham's apparent attempt to seduce the French queen Anne of Austria soured relations between England and France, even though Louis XIII and Charles were brothers-in-law.
Anglo-French relations had steadily deteriorated after the marriage of Henrietta Maria to Charles in 1625. Louis and Richelieu were spoiling for a fight with England, Richelieu because he had built a fleet to rival the island state's sea power, Louis out of bad blood with Buckingham for brazenly courting Queen Anne.
A. Lloyd Moote, 'Louis XIII, the Just' (1989)
The involvement of so many European countries in the the Thirty Years War Limited Charles I's options for securing loans (red/pink = against emperor, black/grey = for emperor). Source: Wikipedia
Almost all of Charles' reign overlapped with the Thirty Years War so some of the countries that the King might otherwise have been able to call upon were in no position to help. Europe was, in fact, costing Charles a considerable amount of money from the very beginning of his reign, including maintaining an army in support of the Protestant Union under the command of Count Mansfeld. Charles had committed himself to
the subsidies he had agreed to pay to the Protestant armies in Europe. It remained to be seen whether he could meet these obligations: £240,000 a year for Mansfeld and his men; £100,000 annually to help maintain troops in the Low Countries; £360,000 for the armies of his uncle the King of Denmark; £300,000 or more to equip and pay for the fleet and army being prepared against Spain; £25,000 to protect Ireland.
Preparing for war against Spain obviously ruled out that country, along with the Hapsburgs and their allies who were fighting the Protestant Union (and, later, the Heilbronn League). Gregg adds that Charles
sought new ways of raising money, one of which entailed offering the Crown jewels as security for a loan from Dutch financiers, but nowhere did he find much support. Even from France, in spite of his marriage treaty, he received little comfort.
From 1627 to 1629, England was at war with France so, even though his wife Henrietta-Maria was the sister of the French King Louis XIII, money from this source was obviously out of the question at this time. Later attempts to get French assistance fell on deaf ears despite the King's personal intervention.
In the early years of his reign, Charles relied heavily on Philip Burlamachi, a financial intermediary. Gregg states:
Most of Charles's foreign transactions had gone through Philip Burlamachi, whose credit stood pledged all over Europe to meet Charles's needs.… Charles was fortunate in having in his service one of the great international financiers of the age whose word and whose credit were unquestioned from the time he advanced money for the little Duke's engines of war until he himself crashed in 1633.
Another potential source was the Pope (Urban VIII) but, despite the intervention of his Catholic wife Henrietta Maria, the Vatican would not consider assisting a Protestant king unless he converted to Catholicism (Gregg).
The Bishop's Wars of 1639 and 1640, in which Charles came into conflict with the Scots, placed further demands on the King's already fragile finances. With England no longer at war with Spain, Charles had
begun to look to Spain for financial or military assistance against the Scots, canvassing schemes for obtaining 8,000 veterans from the Army of Flanders in return for allowing Spain to recruit twice as many fresh troops in Ireland, or for a substantial loan in return for a marriage alliance. In the winter of 1639-40, as Charles prepared for a second campaign against Scotland, reports of the successful conclusion of the second scheme circulated widely in both England and Europe.
The treaty ultimately failed, partly because Charles refused to meet Spanish terms, but also because French and Dutch advances and the revolt of the Catalans in June 1640 crippled Spain at the critical juncture.
Source: J. McElligott & D. L. Smith, 'Royalists and Royalism' (2007)
Charles, in allying himself with Spain, was unlikely to get anything from France as France and Spain were at war from 1635-1659. Under the hugely influential Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, France was allying itself with Protestants fighting the Hapsburgs so one cannot assume that they would 'naturally' support Charles against Parliament. Further, the French government had little to spare (despite high taxes) and was itself looking for finance.
By 1640, Charles was so desperate that he
… confiscated the gold and plate which had been deposited for safekeeping in the Tower of London, destroying the reputation of the mint as a safe place of custody. The treasure was returned only after merchants and goldsmiths had agreed to lend the king £40,000 on the security of the Customs Farm
Source: Charles B. Kindleberger, 'A Financial History of Western Europe'(2007)
As much of the treasure in the Tower belonged to Spain, this move could only have undermined Spanish trust in the English king. Nor did Charles's attempts to raise money in Amsterdam (by now the banking centre of Europe) meet with much success, despite the efforts of his wife Henrietta Maria. The bankers in Amsterdam, looking at the state of England's finances and undoubtedly well-aware that Charles had defaulted loans before, wanted collateral. The Queen had only the crown jewels to offer, and the bankers were reluctant to accept them for fear that they would later be reclaimed by the English parliament. Further, the Dutch were staunchly protestant and tended to favour the English Parliament.
By the time the English Civil War started, it is evident Charles had burnt most of his potential foreign financial bridges, and the fact that Parliament controlled the navy and south-east England where most of the traders and merchants were only made things more difficult.
Charles strained every nerve to build up his fighting force. He had never despaired of foreign aid, but one by one his contacts were failing. His Uncle of Denmark remained unmoved, the French made no response to his wife's importuning. In an effort to make available further resources from the family of Orange, the Prince of Wales was offered as husband to the daughter of Dutch William, but the match no longer sounded worth the expense to that practical sovereign…
In relation to France and Spain, the Parliamentary diplomatic representative Sir Henry Vane,
proved a far more astute and skilled diplomatist than his rivals and succeeded in persuading the governments of both countries that the King's cause was doomed;
Source: C. Hibbert, 'Cavaliers and Roundheads: The English Civil War 1642 -1649'
Overall, there was a
reluctance of foreign courts to come to the aid of a king who had lost the support of his capital and largest seaport
Prince William of Orange even advised Charles
that the best course for the King of England would be to make peace at any price with his subjects.
It was advice that the King, to his cost, did not take.
Jongchul Kim, 'How Politics Shaped Modern Banking in Early Modern England' (downloads pdf)
Eric Kerridge, 'Trade and Banking in Early Modern England' (1991)
Has history been unfair to Charles I?
Geoffrey Treasure, 'Richelieu and Mazarin' (1998)
Based on what I know about the period, for me it's more a case of why would other countries help a weakened England? England at that time was strong, but not the strongest fish in the pond. So why would one help a small fish to swallow bigger ones? Spain was already in decline, the Holy Roman Empire was fading, France took advantage of all of those to enlarge itself and became (again) a great power in Western Europe. All of those countries were able to help England, but why would they ? France had been England's opponent for too long, Spain could somehow claim some parts of England (very shaky claims but eh.), HRE had basically no reason to help or not to help. The Hanseatic League COULD have helped England, but the Parliament may have had better connections than the king with them.
The Northern countries may have been able to help, but once again I do not recall any alliance at that time…
The real one that could have helped was Portugal tho, its economy was flourishing, they were England's ally (and still are, but then… ) and if I recall correctly were also tied to English's monarchs. They might have not send money because of religious thoughts, I'm pretty sure most Christians didn't have right to borrow money or loan it, except to some banks (Thinking of Florentine's bank and the Hapsburg's one, can't find its name… )
Why did Charles I not borrow abroad? - History
Freedom&rsquos Story is made possible by a grant from the Wachovia Foundation.
When most Americans think of the Civil Rights Movement, they have in mind a span of time beginning with the 1954 Supreme Court&rsquos decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed segregated education, or the Montgomery Bus Boycott and culminated in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The movement encompassed both ad hoc local groups and established organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Despite the fact that they were not always united around strategy and tactics and drew members from different classes and backgrounds, the movement nevertheless cohered around the aim of eliminating the system of Jim Crow segregation and the reform of some of the worst aspects of racism in American institutions and life.
Much of our memory of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s is embodied in dramatic photographs, newsreels, and recorded speeches, which America encountered in daily papers and the nightly news. As the movement rolled across the nation, Americans absorbed images of hopeful, disciplined, and dedicated young people shaping their destinies. They were met with hostility,
The drama of the mid-twentieth century emerged on a foundation of earlier struggles. Two are particularly notable: the NAACP&rsquos campaign against lynching, and the NAACP&rsquos legal campaign against segregated education, which culminated in the Supreme Court&rsquos 1954 Brown decision.
The NAACP&rsquos anti-lynching campaign of the 1930s combined widespread publicity about the causes and costs of lynching, a successful drive to defeat Supreme Court nominee John J. Parker for his white supremacist and anti-union views and then defeat senators who voted for confirmation, and a skillful effort to lobby Congress and the Roosevelt administration to pass a federal anti-lynching law. Southern senators filibustered, but they could not prevent the formation of a national consensus against lynching by 1938 the number of lynchings declined steeply. Other organizations, such as the left-wing National Negro Congress, fought lynching, too, but the NAACP emerged from the campaign as the most influential civil rights organization in national politics and maintained that position through the mid-1950s.
Houston was unabashed: lawyers were either social engineers or they were parasites. He desired equal access to education, but he also was concerned with the type of society blacks were trying to integrate. He was among those who surveyed American society and saw racial inequality and the ruling powers that promoted racism to divide black workers from white workers. Because he believed that racial violence in Depression-era America was so pervasive as to make mass direct action untenable, he emphasized the redress of grievances through the courts.
The designers of the Brown strategy developed a potent combination of gradualism in legal matters and advocacy of far-reaching change in other political arenas. Through the 1930s and much of the 1940s, the NAACP initiated suits that dismantled aspects of the edifice of segregated education, each building on the precedent of the previous one. Not until the late 1940s did the NAACP believe it politically feasible to challenge directly the constitutionality of &ldquoseparate but equal&rdquo education itself. Concurrently, civil rights organizations backed efforts to radically alter the balance of power between employers and workers in the United States. They paid special attention to forming an alliance with organized labor, whose history of racial exclusion angered blacks. In the 1930s, the National Negro Congress brought blacks into the newly formed United Steel Workers, and the union paid attention to the particular demands of African Americans. The NAACP assisted the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the largest black labor organization of its day. In the 1940s, the United Auto Workers, with NAACP encouragement, made overtures to black workers. The NAACP&rsquos successful fight against the Democratic white primary in the South was more than a bid for inclusion it was a stiff challenge to what was in fact a regional one-party dictatorship. Recognizing the interdependence of domestic and foreign affairs, the NAACP&rsquos program in the 1920s and 1930s promoted solidarity with Haitians who were trying to end the American military occupation and with colonized blacks elsewhere in the Caribbean and in Africa. African Americans&rsquo support for WWII and the battle against the Master Race ideology abroad was matched by equal determination to eradicate it in America, too. In the post-war years blacks supported the decolonization of Africa and Asia.
The Cold War and McCarthyism put a hold on such expansive conceptions of civil/human rights. Critics of our domestic and foreign policies who exceeded narrowly defined boundaries were labeled un-American and thus sequestered from Americans&rsquo consciousness. In a supreme irony, the Supreme Court rendered the Brown decision and then the government suppressed the very critique of American society that animated many of Brown&rsquos architects.
White southern resistance to Brown was formidable and the slow pace of change stimulated impatience especially among younger African Americans as the 1960s began. They concluded that they could not wait for change&mdashthey had to make it. And the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted the entire year of 1956, had demonstrated that mass direct action could indeed work. The four college students from Greensboro who sat at the Woolworth lunch counter set off a decade of activity and organizing that would kill Jim Crow.
Elimination of segregation in public accommodations and the removal of &ldquoWhites Only&rdquo and &ldquoColored Only&rdquo signs was no mean feat. Yet from the very first sit-in, Ella Baker, the grassroots leader whose activism dated from the 1930s and who was advisor to the students who founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), pointed out that the struggle was &ldquoconcerned with something much bigger than a hamburger or even a giant-sized Coke.&rdquo Far more was at stake for these activists than changing the hearts of whites. When the sit-ins swept Atlanta in 1960, protesters&rsquo demands included jobs, health care, reform of the police and criminal justice system, education, and the vote. (See: &ldquoAn Appeal for Human Rights.&rdquo) Demonstrations in Birmingham in 1963 under the leadership of Fred Shuttlesworth&rsquos Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, which was affiliated with the SCLC, demanded not only an end to segregation in downtown stores but also jobs for African Americans in those businesses and municipal government. The 1963 March on Washington, most often remembered as the event at which Dr. King proclaimed his dream, was a demonstration for &ldquoJobs and Justice.&rdquo
Movement activists from SNCC and CORE asked sharp questions about the exclusive nature of American democracy and advocated solutions to the disfranchisement and violation of the human rights of African Americans, including Dr. King&rsquos nonviolent populism, Robert Williams&rsquo &ldquoarmed self-reliance,&rdquo and Malcolm X&rsquos incisive critiques of worldwide white supremacy, among others. (See: Dr. King, &ldquoWhere Do We Go from Here?&rdquo Robert F. Williams, &ldquoNegroes with Guns&rdquo and Malcolm X, &ldquoNot just an American problem, but a world problem.&rdquo) What they proposed was breathtakingly radical, especially in light of today&rsquos political discourse and the simplistic ways it prefers to remember the freedom struggle. King called for a guaranteed annual income, redistribution of the national wealth to meet human needs, and an end to a war to colonize the Vietnamese. Malcolm X proposed to internationalize the black American freedom struggle and to link it with liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Thus the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was not concerned exclusively with interracial cooperation or segregation and discrimination as a character issue. Rather, as in earlier decades, the prize was a redefinition of American society and a redistribution of social and economic power.
Guiding Student Discussion
Students discussing the Civil Rights Movement will often direct their attention to individuals&rsquo motives. For example, they will question whether President Kennedy sincerely believed in racial equality when he supported civil rights or only did so out of political expediency. Or they may ask how whites could be so cruel as to attack peaceful and dignified demonstrators. They may also express awe at Martin Luther King&rsquos forbearance and calls for integration while showing discomfort with Black Power&rsquos separatism and proclamations of self-defense. But a focus on the character and moral fiber of leading individuals overlooks the movement&rsquos attempts to change the ways in which political, social, and economic power are exercised. Leading productive discussions that consider broader issues will likely have to involve debunking some conventional wisdom about the Civil Rights Movement. Guiding students to discuss the extent to which nonviolence and racial integration were considered within the movement to be hallowed goals can lead them to greater insights.
Nonviolence and passive resistance were prominent tactics of protesters and organizations. (See: SNCC Statement of Purpose and Jo Ann Gibson Robinson&rsquos memoir, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It.) But they were not the only ones, and the number of protesters who were ideologically committed to them was relatively small. Although the name of one of the important civil rights organizations was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, its members soon concluded that advocating nonviolence as a principle was irrelevant to most African Americans they were trying to reach. Movement participants in Mississippi, for example, did not decide beforehand to engage in violence, but self-defense was simply considered common sense. If some SNCC members in Mississippi were convinced pacifists in the face of escalating violence, they nevertheless enjoyed the protection of local people who shared their goals but were not yet ready to beat their swords into ploughshares.
Armed self-defense had been an essential component of the black freedom struggle, and it was not confined to the fringe. Returning soldiers fought back against white mobs during the Red Summer of 1919. In 1946, World War Two veterans likewise protected black communities in places like Columbia, Tennessee, the site of a bloody race riot. Their self-defense undoubtedly brought national attention to the oppressive conditions of African Americans the NAACP&rsquos nationwide campaign prompted President Truman to appoint a civil rights commission that produced To Secure These Rights, a landmark report that called for the elimination of segregation. Army veteran Robert F. Williams, who was a proponent of what he called &ldquoarmed self-reliance,&rdquo headed a thriving branch of the NAACP in Monroe, North Carolina, in the early 1950s. The poet Claude McKay&rsquos &ldquoIf We Must Die&rdquo dramatically captures the spirit of self-defense and violence.
Often, deciding whether violence is &ldquogood&rdquo or &ldquobad,&rdquo necessary or ill-conceived depends on one&rsquos perspective and which point of view runs through history books. Students should be encouraged to consider why activists may have considered violence a necessary part of their work and what role it played in their overall programs. Are violence and nonviolence necessarily antithetical, or can they be complementary? For example the Black Panther Party may be best remembered by images of members clad in leather and carrying rifles, but they also challenged widespread police brutality, advocated reform of the criminal justice system, and established community survival programs, including medical clinics, schools, and their signature breakfast program. One question that can lead to an extended discussion is to ask students what the difference is between people who rioted in the 1960s and advocated violence and the participants in the Boston Tea Party at the outset of the American Revolution. Both groups wanted out from oppression, both saw that violence could be efficacious, and both were excoriated by the rulers of their day. Teachers and students can then explore reasons why those Boston hooligans are celebrated in American history and whether the same standards should be applied to those who used arms in the 1960s.
An important goal of the Civil Rights Movement was the elimination of segregation. But if students, who are now a generation or more removed from Jim Crow, are asked to define segregation, they are likely to point out examples of individual racial separation such as blacks and whites eating at different cafeteria tables and the existence of black and white houses of worship. Like most of our political leaders and public opinion, they place King&rsquos injunction to judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin exclusively in the context of personal relationships and interactions. Yet segregation was a social, political, and economic system that placed African Americans in an inferior position, disfranchised them, and was enforced by custom, law, and official and vigilante violence.
The discussion of segregation should be expanded beyond expressions of personal preferences. One way to do this is to distinguish between black and white students hanging out in different parts of a school and a law mandating racially separate schools, or between black and white students eating separately and a laws or customs excluding African Americans from restaurants and other public facilities. Put another way, the civil rights movement was not fought merely to ensure that students of different backgrounds could become acquainted with each other. The goal of an integrated and multicultural America is not achieved simply by proximity. Schools, the economy, and other social institutions needed to be reformed to meet the needs for all. This was the larger and widely understood meaning of the goal of ending Jim Crow, and it is argued forcefully by James Farmer in &ldquoIntegration or Desegregation.&rdquo
A guided discussion should point out that many of the approaches to ending segregation did not embrace integration or assimilation, and students should become aware of the appeal of separatism. W. E. B. Du Bois believed in what is today called multiculturalism. But by the mid-1930s he concluded that the Great Depression, virulent racism, and the unreliability of white progressive reformers who had previously expressed sympathy for civil rights rendered an integrated America a distant dream. In an important article, &ldquoDoes the Negro Need Separate Schools?&rdquo Du Bois argued for the strengthening of black pride and the fortification of separate black schools and other important institutions. Black communities across the country were in severe distress it was counterproductive, he argued, to sacrifice black schoolchildren at the altar of integration and to get them into previously all-white schools, where they would be shunned and worse. It was far better to invest in strengthening black-controlled education to meet black communities&rsquo needs. If, in the future, integration became a possibility, African Americans would be positioned to enter that new arrangement on equal terms. Du Bois&rsquo argument found echoes in the 1960s writing of Stokely Carmichael (&ldquoToward Black Liberation&rdquo) and Malcolm X (&ldquoThe Ballot or the Bullet&rdquo).
Any brief discussion of historical literature on the Civil Rights Movement is bound to be incomplete. The books offered&mdasha biography, a study of the black freedom struggle in Memphis, a brief study of the Brown decision, and a debate over the unfolding of the movement&mdashwere selected for their accessibility variety, and usefulness to teaching, as well as the soundness of their scholarship.
Walter White: Mr. NAACP, by Kenneth Robert Janken, is a biography of one of the most well known civil rights figure of the first half of the twentieth century. White made a name for himself as the NAACP&rsquos risk-taking investigator of lynchings, riots, and other racial violence in the years after World War I. He was a formidable persuader and was influential in the halls of power, counting Eleanor Roosevelt, senators, representatives, cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, union leaders, Hollywood moguls, and diplomats among his circle of friends. His style of work depended upon rallying enlightened elites, and he favored a placing effort into developing a civil rights bureaucracy over local and mass-oriented organizations. Walter White was an expert in the practice of &ldquobrokerage politics&rdquo: During decades when the majority of African Americans were legally disfranchised, White led the organization that gave them an effective voice, representing them and interpreting their demands and desires (as he understood them) to those in power. Two examples of this were highlighted in the first part of this essay: the anti-lynching crusade, and the lobbying of President Truman, which resulted in To Secure These Rights. A third example is his essential role in producing Marian Anderson&rsquos iconic 1939 Easter Sunday concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which drew the avid support of President Roosevelt and members of his administration, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. His style of leadership was, before the emergence of direct mass action in the years after White&rsquos death in 1955, the dominant one in the Civil Rights Movement.
There are many excellent books that study the development of the Civil Rights Movement in one locality or state. An excellent addition to the collection of local studies is Battling the Plantation Mentality, by Laurie B. Green, which focuses on Memphis and the surrounding rural areas of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi between the late 1930s and 1968, when Martin Luther King was assassinated there. Like the best of the local studies, this book presents an expanded definition of civil rights that encompasses not only desegregation of public facilities and the attainment of legal rights but also economic and political equality. Central to this were efforts by African Americans to define themselves and shake off the cultural impositions and mores of Jim Crow. During WWII, unionized black men went on strike in the defense industry to upgrade their job classifications. Part of their grievances revolved around wages and working conditions, but black workers took issue, too, with employers&rsquo and the government&rsquos reasoning that only low status jobs were open to blacks because they were less intelligent and capable. In 1955, six black female employees at a white-owned restaurant objected to the owner&rsquos new method of attracting customers as degrading and redolent of the plantation: placing one of them outside dressed as a mammy doll to ring a dinner bell. When the workers tried to walk off the job, the owner had them arrested, which gave rise to local protest. In 1960, black Memphis activists helped support black sharecroppers in surrounding counties who were evicted from their homes when they initiated voter registration drives. The 1968 sanitation workers strike mushroomed into a mass community protest both because of wage issues and the strikers&rsquo determination to break the perception of their being dependent, epitomized in their slogan &ldquoI Am a Man.&rdquo This book also shows that not everyone was able to cast off the plantation mentality, as black workers and energetic students at LeMoyne College confronted established black leaders whose positions and status depended on white elites&rsquo sufferance.
Brown v. Board of Education: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Waldo E. Martin, Jr., contains an insightful 40-page essay that places both the NAACP&rsquos legal strategy and 1954 Brown decision in multiple contexts, including alternate approaches to incorporating African American citizens into the American nation, and the impact of World War II and the Cold War on the road to Brown. The accompanying documents affirm the longstanding black freedom struggle, including demands for integrated schools in Boston in 1849, continuing with protests against the separate but equal ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896, and important items from the NAACP&rsquos cases leading up to Brown. The documents are prefaced by detailed head notes and provocative discussion questions.
Debating the Civil Rights Movement, by Steven F. Lawson and Charles Payne, is likewise focused on instruction and discussion. This essay has largely focused on the development of the Civil Rights Movement from the standpoint of African American resistance to segregation and the formation organizations to fight for racial, economic, social, and political equality. One area it does not explore is how the federal government helped to shape the movement. Steven Lawson traces the federal response to African Americans&rsquo demands for civil rights and concludes that it was legislation, judicial decisions, and executive actions between 1945 and 1968 that was most responsible for the nation&rsquos advance toward racial equality. Charles Payne vigorously disagrees, focusing instead on the protracted grassroots organizing as the motive force for whatever incomplete change occurred during those years. Each essay runs about forty pages, followed by smart selections of documents that support their cases.
Kenneth R. Janken is Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and Director of Experiential Education, Office of Undergraduate Curricula at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of White: The Biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP and Rayford W. Loganand theDilemma of the African American Intellectual. He was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2000-01.
When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt (And Why It Didn't Last)
On Jan. 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen . the national debt . is PAID."
That was the one time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. It lasted exactly one year.
By 1837, the country would be in panic and headed into a massive depression. We'll get to that, but first let's figure out how Andrew Jackson did the impossible.
It helps to remember that debt was always a choice for America. After the revolution, the founding fathers debated whether or not to just wipe clean all those financial promises made during the war.
Deciding to default "would have ruined our credit and would have left the economy on a very agricultural, subsistence basis," says Robert E. Wright, a professor at Augustana College in South Dakota.
So the U.S. agreed early on to consolidate the debts of all the states — $75 million.
During the good times, the country tried to pay down the debt. Then there would be another war, and the debt would go up again. The politicians never liked the debt.
"What the battle was really about was how quickly to pay off the national debt, not whether to pay it off or not," Wright says.
But, just like today, it wasn't easy for politicians to slash spending — until Andrew Jackson came along.
"For Andrew Jackson, politics was very personal," says H.W. Brands, an Andrew Jackson biographer at the University of Texas. "He hated not just the federal debt. He hated debt at all."
Before he was president, Jackson was a land speculator in Tennessee. He learned to hate debt when a land deal went bad and left him with massive debt and some worthless paper notes.
So when Jackson ran for president, he knew his enemy: banks and the national debt. He called it the national curse. People ate it up.
In Jackson's mind, debt was "a moral failing," Brands says. "And the idea you could somehow acquire stuff through debt almost seemed like black magic."
So Jackson decided to pay off the debt.
To do that, he took advantage of a huge real-estate bubble that was raging in the Western U.S. The federal government owned a lot of Western land — and Jackson started selling it off.
He was also ruthless on the budget. He blocked every spending bill he could.
"He vetoed, for example, programs to build national highways," Brands says. "He considered these to be unconstitutional in the first place, but bad policy in the second place."
When Jackson took office, the national debt was about $58 million. Six years later, it was all gone. Paid off. And the government was actually running a surplus, taking in more money than it was spending.
That created a new problem: What to do with all that surplus money?
Jackson had already killed off the national bank (which he hated more than debt). So he couldn't put the money there. He decided to divide the money among the states.
But, according to economic historian John Steele Gordon, the party didn't last for long.
The state banks went a little crazy. They were printing massive amounts of money. The land bubble was out of control.
Andrew Jackson tried to slow everything down by requiring that all government land sales needed to be done with gold or silver. Bad idea.
"It was a huge crash, and the beginning of the longest depression in American history," Gordon says. "It actually lasted six years before the economy began to grow again."
Charles II, son of Charles I, became King of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland in 1660 as a result of the Restoration Settlement. Charles ruled to 1685 and his reign is famous for the 1665 Great Plague that primarily affected London and the 1666 Great Fire of London.
Charles was born on May 29 th 1630 at St. James’s Palace in London. He received his education from the Bishop of Chichester and the Earl of Newcastle. However, what would be deemed his formal education ended when the Civil War broke out in 1642. Any education Charles received after the war broke out was dislocated by the necessity of his family having to move. In 1645, Charles, the heir to the Crown, had to flee England. He spent the next five years as a royal refugee in Jersey, France and the Netherlands.
Charles was in The Hague when he received information that his father had been executed in January 1649.
In 1650, Charles landed in Scotland to lead a Presbyterian rebellion against the English government. On September 3 rd , 1651, an army led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the Scots. The Scots were also defeated at Worcester (3 rd September 1651) after their army had invaded England. This defeat forced Charles abroad again and it placed England very much under the control of Cromwell. Charles lived with his mother in Paris. As a Daughter of France, Henrietta Maria received a small state pension. By 1654, diplomatic relations between England and France started to improve and Charles once again had to move – this time to Cologne.
However, Cromwell’s domestic policies did not endear him to the English and when he died in 1658 it is said that his coffin was guarded by some 30,000 soldiers as it was driven through London before his burial. While it is probable that contemporary commentators exaggerated this figure, there is little doubt that by the time of his death, Cromwell had created a society whereby you were either for Cromwell or against him – with little in between. Many celebrated his death and between 1658 and 1660, it became clear to the government that the restoration of the monarchy was of vital importance if society itself was not going to fragment.
General Monck, commander of the Protectorate’s army in Scotland, believed that the only way to unify the country was for the restoration of monarchy with Parliament governing the country. In this way the people would have an individual to rally around while Parliament continued to represent the will of the people when it came to decision-making. Monck had much sway in London, if only because his loyal army had a good reputation at a time when the armies of Parliament elsewhere in the land were being seriously weakened by desertions. Monck had always maintained connections with Royalists so it was only a matter of time before he and Edward Hyde discussed the terms of any potential restoration.
Edward Hyde, 1 st Earl of Clarendon, negotiated the Restoration Settlement on behalf of Charles. The final settlement was based on the Declaration of Breda (April 1660) in which Charles promised liberty of conscience, a land settlement and arrears of pay for the army. However, Parliament was to work out the details of these intentions– a sign of the relationship Charles and Parliament was to have. Parliament wanted to make it clear that they would not tolerate any similar behaviour associated with Charles I. Charles II would not have needed reminding that his father had paid with his life as a result of taking on Parliament.
Charles landed at Dover, Kent, on May 25 th , 1660. There seems to be little doubt that the Restoration was a highly popular event and contemporary writers record the celebrations that greeted Charles in Dover that extended all the way to Rochester.
Charles himself was too astute to get himself involved in similar political situations to his father – though he was also lazy and preferred enjoying himself to involving himself in political intrigue. However, despite his reputation for licentious behaviour – in stark contrast to the era of the Puritans – Charles was not totally passive when it came to Parliament and politics.
Probably most peoples’ perception of Charles II is of a man who wanted to enjoy himself – and there can be little doubt that Charles disappointed with regards to this – hence his nickname ‘The Merry Monarch’.
Charles had many mistresses while King of Great Britain. Probably the most famous was Nell Gwynn though others included Lucy Walter and the Duchess of Portsmouth. Charles acknowledged that he fathered fourteen illegitimate children.
The reign of Charles can be divided into specific parts.
The Earl of Clarendon was the most important political figure between 1660 and1667 and he dominated political affairs between those years.
The Cabal was the most important political entity between 1667 and 1673.
Sir Thomas Darby dominated politics between 1673 and 1679.
The Exclusion Crisis occurred between 1679 and 1681.
Between 1681 and 1685, Charles dispensed with Parliament and ruled as an absolute monarch.
Charles II died from a stroke on February 6 th , 1685.
“He lived with his ministers as he did with his mistresses he used them, but he was not in love with them. He showed his judgement in this, that he cannot properly be said ever to have had a favourite, though some might look so at a distance. He tied himself no more to them than they did to him, which implied a sufficient liberty on either side.
He had backstairs to convey information to him, as well as for other uses and though such information is sometimes dangerous (especially to a prince that will not take the pains necessary to digest them) yet in the main that humour of hearing everybody against anybody kept those about him in more awe than they would have been without it. I do not believe that ever he trusted any man or any set of men so entirely as not to have some secrets in which they had no share as this might make him less well served, so in some degree it might make him the less imposed upon.”
“He is very affable not only in private but in public, only he talks too much and runs out too long and too far he has a very ill opinion both of men and women, and so is infinitely distrustful he thinks the world is governed wholly by interest, and indeed he has known so much of the baseness of mankind that no wonder if he has hard thoughts of them but when he is satisfied that his interests are likewise become the interests of his ministers, then he delivers himself up to them in all their humour and revenges. He has often kept up differences amongst his ministers and has balanced his favours pretty equally amongst them…..he naturally inclines to refining and loves an intrigue….he loves his ease so much that the great secret of all his ministers is to find out his temper exactly and to be easy to him. He has many odd opinions about religion and morality he thinks an implicitness in religion is necessary for the safety of government and he looks upon all inquisitiveness into these things as mischievous to the state he thinks all appetites are free and that God will never damn a man for allowing himself a little pleasure. I believe he is no atheist, but rather he has formed an odd idea of the goodness of God in his mind he thinks to be wicked, and to design mischief, is the only thing God hates.”
Where Prince Charles Went Wrong
For at least a decade, senior aides at Buckingham Palace have been quietly finessing arrangements for the moment when the Queen dies and her son Prince Charles becomes sovereign. One of their chief concerns, apparently, is that republicans may try to use the interval between the death of the old monarch and the coronation of the new one to whip up anti-royal sentiment. In order to minimize the potential for such rabble-rousing, they propose to speed things up as much as decorum will allow: in contrast to the stately sixteen-month pause that elapsed between the death of King George VI, in February, 1952, and the anointing of the Queen, in June, 1953, King Charles III will be whisked to Westminster Abbey no later than three months after his mother’s demise.
The threat of a Jacobin-style insurgency in modern Britain would seem, on the face of it, rather remote. Despite successive royal scandals and crises, support for the monarchy has remained robust. In the wake of Princess Diana’s death in 1997, when the reputation of the Windsors was said to have reached its nadir, the Scottish writer Tom Nairn sensed that the crowds of mourners lining the Mall had “gathered to witness auguries of a coming time” when Britain would at last be freed from “the mouldering waxworks” ensconced in Buckingham Palace. But, almost twenty years later, roughly three-quarters of Britons believe that the country would be “worse off without” the Royal Family, and Queen Elizabeth II, who recently beat out Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history, continues to command something approaching feudal deference. Last year, to honor her ninetieth birthday, legions of British townspeople and villagers turned out to paint walls and pick up litter, in a national effort known as “Clean for the Queen.”
There is some reason to doubt, however, whether such loyalty will persist once the Queen’s son, now sixty-eight years old, ascends the throne. His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., G.C.B., O.M., A.K., Q.S.O., P.C., A.D.C., Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, is a deeply unpopular man. Writers in both the conservative and the liberal press regularly refer to him as “a prat,” “a twit,” and “an idiot,” with no apparent fear of giving offense to their readership. In a 2016 poll, only a quarter of respondents said that they would like Charles to succeed the Queen, while more than half said they would prefer to see his son Prince William crowned instead. Even among those who profess to think him a decent chap, there is a widespread conviction that he does the monarchy more harm than good. “Our Prince of Wales is a fundamentally decent and serious man,” one conservative columnist recently wrote. “He possesses a strong sense of duty. Might not it be best expressed by renouncing the throne in advance?”
How this enthusiastic and diligent person, who has frequently stated his desire to be a good, responsible monarch, managed to incur such opprobrium is the central question that the American writer Sally Bedell Smith sets out to answer in a new biography, “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life” (Random House). Hers is not an entirely disinterested investigation. As might be inferred from her two previous alliteratively subtitled works—“Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess” and “Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch”—Smith is an avid monarchist. For anyone invested in the survival of the royals, Prince Charles presents a challenge, and Smith’s stance is very close to what one imagines a senior palace aide’s might be: Charles is far from ideal, but he is what we’ve got, and there can be no talk of mucking about with the law of succession and replacing him with his son. Once you start allowing the popular will to determine who wears the crown, people are liable to wonder why anyone is wearing a crown in the first place.
Smith’s mission is, therefore, to reconcile us to the inevitability of King Charles III and to convince us that his reign may not be as insufferable as is generally feared. Having had the honor of meeting the Prince “socially” on more than one occasion, she can attest that he is “far warmer” than the tabloids would have you think. She can also vouch for his “emotional intelligence,” “capacious mind,” “elephantine memory,” “preternatural aesthetic sense,” “talent as a consummate diplomat,” and “independent spirit.”
Early on, however, it becomes apparent that Smith’s public-relations instincts are at war with a fundamental dislike of her subject. The grade-inflating summaries she offers at the beginning and the end of the book are overpowered by the damning portrait that emerges in between. The man we encounter here is a ninny, a whinger, a tantrum-throwing dilettante, “hopelessly thin-skinned . . . naïve and resentful.” He is a preening snob, “keenly sensitive to violations of protocol,” intolerant of “opinions contrary to his own,” and horribly misled about the extent of his own talents. (An amateur watercolorist, he once offered Lucian Freud one of his paintings in exchange for one of Freud’s the artist unaccountably demurred.) He is a “prolix, circular” thinker, “more of an intellectual striver than a genuine intellectual,” who extolls Indian slums for their sustainable way of life and preaches against the corrupting allure of “sophistication” while himself living in unfathomable luxe. (He reportedly travels with a white leather toilet seat, and Smith details his outrage on the rare occasions when he has to fly first class rather than in a private jet.) Although the book would like to be a nuanced adjudication of the Prince’s “paradoxes,” it ends up becoming a chronicle of peevishness and petulance.
Prince Charles was three years old when he became heir apparent. Asked years later when it was that he had first realized he would one day be king, he said that there had been no particular moment of revelation, just a slow, “ghastly, inexorable” dawning. Doubts about his fitness for his future role were raised from the start. As a timorous, sickly child, prone to sinus infections and tears, he was a source of puzzlement and some disappointment to his parents. His mother, whom he would later describe as “not indifferent so much as detached,” worried that he was a “slow developer.” His father, Prince Philip, thought him weedy, effete, and spoiled. Too physically uncoördinated to be any good at team sports, too scared of horses to enjoy riding lessons, and too sensitive not to despair when, at the age of eight, he was sent away to boarding school, he was happiest spending time with his grandmother the Queen Mother, who gave him hugs, took him to the ballet, and, as he later put it, “taught me how to look at things.” Neither physical demonstrativeness nor sensitivity to art was considered a desirable trait by the rest of his family. Charles told an earlier biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, about a time when he ventured to express enthusiasm about the Leonardo da Vinci drawings in the Royal Library at Windsor his parents and siblings gazed at him with an embarrassed bemusement that, he said, made him feel “squashed and guilty,” as if he had “in some indefinable way let his family down.” (Charles has continued to define himself against his family’s philistinism, boasting in his letters and journals of his intense, lachrymose responses to art, literature, and nature.)
In an effort to build the character of his soppy, aesthete son, Prince Philip sent him to his own alma mater, Gordonstoun, a famously spartan boarding school in Scotland founded on the promise of emancipating “the sons of the powerful” from “the prison of privilege.” Charles—the jug-eared, non-sportif future king—was a prime target for bullying, and when he wasn’t being beaten up he was more or less ostracized. (Boys made “slurping” noises at anyone who tried to be nice to him.) That he survived this misery was largely due to the various dispensations he was afforded as a V.I.P. pupil. He was allowed to spend weekends at the nearby home of family friends (where he could “cry his eyes out” away from the jeers of other boys) and, in his final year, was made head boy and given his own room in the apartment of his art master. He had taken up the cello by this point, and, although he was, by his own admission, “hopeless,” the art master arranged for him to give recitals at the weekend house parties of local Scottish aristocrats.
Throughout Charles’s youth, he was pushed through demanding institutions for which he was neither temperamentally nor intellectually suited, and where rules and standards had to be discreetly adjusted to accommodate him. When he went to Cambridge University, the master of Trinity College, Rab Butler, insisted that he would receive no “special treatment.” But the fact that he had been admitted to Trinity at all, with his decidedly below-average academic record, suggested otherwise, as did the colloquium of academics convened to structure a bespoke curriculum for him, and the unusually choice suite of rooms (specially decorated by the Queen’s tapissier) that he was granted as a first-year student. When he received an undistinguished grade in his final exams, Butler said that he would have done much better if he hadn’t had to carry out royal duties.
In the Royal Navy, which Charles entered at his father’s prompting, his superiors, faced with his “inability to add or generally to cope well with figures,” sought to “build in more flexibility and to tailor duties closer to his abilities.” They changed his job from navigator to communications officer, and his performance reports laid diplomatic emphasis on his “cheerful” nature and “charm.”
Even Charles’s love life was choreographed for him with the sort of elaborate care and tact usually reserved for pandas in captivity. Throughout his twenties, his public image was that of a dashing playboy. But this reputation appears to have been largely concocted by the press and his own aides, in an effort to make an awkward, emotionally immature young man more appealing and “accessible” to the British public. Charles’s great-uncle Lord Mountbatten blithely informed Time that the Prince was forever “popping in and out of bed with girls,” but to the extent that this was the case it was thanks mostly to the assiduous efforts of his mentors. Having told Charles that a man should “have as many affairs as he can,” Mountbatten offered up his stately home as a love shack.
Mountbatten also set to work finding a suitable woman for Charles to marry. At the time, virginity was still a non-negotiable requirement for the heir apparent’s bride. (“I think it is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage,” Mountbatten wrote to Charles.) Thus, Camilla Shand, the “earthy” woman with whom Charles fell in love at the age of twenty-three, was regarded as an excellent “learning experience” for the Prince but decidedly not wife material. Charles seems to have accepted this judgment and the stricture on which it was based, more or less unquestioningly. Almost a decade later, his misgivings about marrying Lady Diana Spencer, a woman twelve years his junior, whom he did not love, or even know very well, caused him to weep with anguish on the eve of their wedding, but he went through with it anyway, believing that, as he wrote in a letter, it was “the right thing for this Country and for my family.”
When that marriage exploded, Diana’s superior instincts for wooing and handling the press insured that Charles emerged as the villain of the piece. But it seems safe to say that the union visited equal misery on both parties. One of the chief marital shocks for Charles was Diana’s lack of deference. He had assumed that the slightly vapid teenager he was settling for would at least be docile, but she turned out to be the biggest bully he had encountered since Gordonstoun. She taunted his pomposity, calling him “the Great White Hope” and “the Boy Wonder.” She told him that he would never become king and that he looked ridiculous in his medals. When he tried to end heated arguments by kneeling down to say his prayers before bed, she would keep shrieking and hit him over the head while he prayed.
Charles had always disliked the playboy image that had been thrust upon him, feeling that it did a disservice to his thoughtfulness and spirituality, and part of what he hoped to acquire by getting married was gravitas: “The media will simply not take me seriously until I do get married and apparently become responsible.” The strange artificiality of his youthful “achievements,” and the nagging self-doubt it engendered, seems to have left him peculiarly vulnerable to the blandishments of advisers willing to reassure him that he was actually a brilliant and insightful person, who owed it to the world to share his ideas.
The canniest of these flatterers, and the one who had the most lasting impact, was Laurens van der Post, a South African-born author, documentary filmmaker, and amateur ethnographer. He dazzled Charles with his visionary talk—of rescuing humanity from “the superstition of the intellect” and of restoring the ancients’ spiritual oneness with the natural world—and then convinced Charles that he was the man to lead the crusade. “The battle for our renewal can be most naturally led by what is still one of the few great living symbols accessible to us—the symbol of the crown,” he wrote to the Prince. It’s no wonder that Charles was seduced. The life of duty opening up before him was a dreary one of cutting ribbons at the ceremonial openings of municipal swimming pools and feigning delight at the performances of foreign folk dancers. Here was an infinitely more alluring model of princely purpose and prerogative.
Under the influence of van der Post and his circle, Charles began exploring vegetarianism, sacred geometry, horticulture, educational philosophy, architecture, Sufism. He received Jungian analysis of his dreams from van der Post’s wife, Ingaret. He visited faith healers who helped him uncork “a lot of bottled feelings.” Staying with farmers in Devon and crofters in the Hebrides, he played at being a horny-handed son of toil. He travelled to the Kalahari Desert and saw a “vision of earthly eternity” in a herd of zebras. On his return from each of these spiritual and intellectual adventures, he sought to share the fruits of his inquiries with his people.
Over the years, Charles has set up some twenty charities reflecting the range of his Bouvard-and-Pécuchet-like investigations. He has written several books, including “Harmony,” a treatise arguing that “the Westernized world has become far too firmly framed by a mechanistic approach to science.” He has sent thousands of letters to government ministers—known as the “black spider memos,” for the urgent scrawl of his handwriting—on matters ranging from school meals and alternative medicine to the brand of helicopters used by British soldiers in Iraq and the plight of the Patagonian toothfish. He has given countless speeches: to British businessmen, on their poor business practices to educators, on the folly of omitting Shakespeare from the national curriculum to architects, on the horridness of tall modern buildings and so on.
Elizabeth I and Finances
When Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, she inherited a difficult financial situation and a debt of £227,000. Over £100,000 of this was owed to the Antwerp Exchange who charged an interest rate of 14%. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth was engaged in expensive financial issues, especially foreign policy. By instinct, Elizabeth was a careful spender and believed in strict housekeeping. However, she could not avoid certain European dimensions that cost large sums of money. To her credit, when Elizabeth died in 1603, the nation was only in debt to the tune of £350,000 – £123,000 more than in 1558, but spread over the duration of her reign, this represented just under £3,000 a year. At first glance this seems to have been a remarkable achievement in an era of much European intrigue. However, the one thing Elizabeth failed to do was to address the whole mechanism of finance and the financial structure of England. This remained essentially unreformed and did not bode well for the reign of James I.
While Elizabeth tried to be a careful housekeeper, she was also willing to borrow money of this was required. At the start of her reign she was advised by Thomas Gresham. He made it clear at the start of her reign that Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, had not had a good credit rating among European money lenders because of his habit of debasing coins. Gresham also advised Elizabeth that England’s monetary and financial system was being hampered by out-of-date legislation. In 1560, he urged Lord Burghley, William Cecil, to reform this so that the market would grow internally so that if the Queen needed to borrow money she could do so from within the nation as opposed to going abroad for loans. Gresham believed that it would appear unseemly for a Queen of England to go cap in hand to money lenders in Europe and that it would dilute her standing. However, this would not be the case if the matter was dealt with internally. At first, Cecil did not take on board Gresham’s advice, probably because he was conservative by nature when it came to matters of money. However, in 1571 a start was made at reforming the usury laws, which Gresham believed was needed as a starting point of internal financial modernisation.
The full impact of the “removal of the vice of usury” is difficult to know without a full range of accounts and other financial documents. However, in 1574 Elizabeth was able to announce that she was not in debt for the very first time since 1558. The feeling of financial well-being was made clear in 1576 in a speech to Parliament by Sir Walter Mildmay. He started his speech with an attack on Mary:
“(Eilzabeth) had inherited a realm miserably overwhelmed with Popery, dangerously afflicted with war, and grievously afflicted with debts the burden of which three cannot be remembered without grief. Her Majesty hath most carefully delivered the kingdom from a great and weighty debt, wherewith it hath long been burdened. The realm is not only acquitted form this great burden but also her Majesty’s credit thereby both at home and abroad greater than any other prince for money.”
Elizabeth was well aware that her reputation in Europe would be damaged if she had bad credit. Therefore Elizabeth raised as many loans as she could at home. This meant that those who loaned money could be more easily controlled and news of such loans would be restricted. Failure to offer a loan when it was needed for “national interests” would have been deemed as unpatriotic.
While Elizabeth may have been careful with money, any chance of a long-term improvement in England’s financial situation was threatened by the lack of any important financial reforms. Elizabeth did not support the idea of raising taxes, as she feared that this would alienate those who she wanted to support her. But wars cost money and the war with Spain in 1585 reduced Elizabeth to borrowing again. Parliament also granted money to the Queen. Local gentry collected this at a local level and few believe that the actual sum collected in a locality was the actual sum that was sent to London. The rich were also allowed to assess their own contribution and it was an accepted fact that the money they gave was not proportionate to their wealth. However, these were the men that Elizabeth needed on her side so nothing was done to correct this anomaly. One way of coping with this was for the Queen to have an efficient bureaucracy – and this was something she did not have.
England and Wales still suffered from natural disasters. A series of poor harvests in the 1590’s had a negative impact of the nation’s economy and Elizabeth had to borrow from financiers such as Palavicino. In 1600, the Crown estimated its expenditure in both domestic and foreign affairs to be £459,840. The main issue that absorbed the majority of this sum was Ireland (£320,000). England’s contribution in the Low Countries only came to £25,000. However, the Queen’s income for 1600 was estimated at £374,000 – a shortfall of £86,000.
There were a few – such as members of the Merchant Adventurers – who did very well during Elizabeth’s reign. But it was also these men who tended to stifle any chance of fiscal reform as they did so well out of the system as it stood. Those who really suffered from the financial problems of Elizabeth’s reign were the poor. During Elizabeth’s reign the price of food went up by about 75% – yet there was a drastic fall in the wages of agricultural labourers during the same period. Those with work found that they could barely afford food, while those out of work could not. Their plight was so extreme that Shakespeare commented on this in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Primary Source References
1785 September 20. (Jefferson to James Madison). "We took for our model what is called the Maisonquarrée of Nismes, one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful & precious morcel of architecture left us by antiquity. . You see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as it's object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world & procure them it's praise."9
1785 September 30. (Jefferson to Charles Bellini). "Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! . I have never yet seen a man drunk in France, even among the lowest of the people. Were I to proceed to tell you how much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture, painting, music, I should want words. It is in these arts they shine. "10
1787 March 20. (Jefferson to Madame de Tessé). "While at Paris, I was violently smitten with the hotel de Salm, and used to go to the Thuileries almost daily to look at it."11
1787 August 30. (Jefferson to John Trumbull). "The Salon has been open four or five days. I inclose you a list of it's treasures. The best thing is the Death of Socrates by David, and a superb one it is. A crucifixion by Roland in imitation of Relief is as perfect as it can be. Five peices of antiquities by Robert are also among the foremost. Many portraits of Madme. Le Brun are exhibited and much approved. There are abundance of things in the stile of mediocrity. Upon the whole it is well worth your coming to see. . The whole will be an affair of 12. or 14. days only and as many guineas and as it happens but once in two years, you should not miss it."12
The Origins of Eugenics
By the late 1800s, the Industrial Revolution had changed both how and where goods were made in the United States and much of Europe. More and more people were leaving the countryside for manufacturing jobs in large urban centers, where they lived and worked among strangers. As so many lives and livelihoods went through dramatic changes, many people perceived the "strangers" of different races, ethnicities, and classes they encountered as threats to their social status and economic well-being. Many white Americans blamed society’s ills on others, including African Americans, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, Native Americans, and anyone who looked, spoke, or acted differently than people perceived to be of white, Anglo-Saxon heritage.
Francis Galton, an English mathematician and Charles Darwin’s cousin, offered an attractive solution to those who believed that these groups posed a threat.
Galton decided that natural selection does not work in human societies the way it does in nature, because people interfere with the process. As a result, the fittest do not always survive. So he set out to consciously “improve the race.” He coined the word eugenics to describe efforts at “race betterment.” It comes from a Greek word meaning “good in birth” or “noble in heredity.” In 1883, Galton defined eugenics as “the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined to questions of judicious mating, but which . . . takes cognizance of all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.” 1
Galton was particularly concerned with the decline of genius in society. He believed that intelligence is an inherited trait and that the upper classes contain the most intelligent and accomplished people. He was therefore alarmed to discover that the poor had a higher birth rate. In 1904, Galton explained how eugenics might address that problem:
Eugenics is the science which deals with all influences that improve and develop the inborn qualities of a race. But what is meant by improvement? We must leave morals as far as possible out of the discussion on account of the almost hopeless difficulties they raise as to whether a character as a whole is good or bad. The essentials of eugenics may, however, be easily defined. All would agree that it was better to be healthy than sick, vigorous than weak, well fitted than ill fitted for their part in life. In short, that it was better to be good rather than bad specimens of their kind, whatever that kind might be. There are a vast number of conflicting ideals, of alternative characters, of incompatible civilizations, which are wanted to give fullness and interest to life. The aim of eugenics is to represent each class or sect by its best specimens, causing them to contribute more than their proportion to the next generation that done, to leave them to work out their common civilization in their own way.
There are three stages to be passed through before eugenics can be widely practiced. First, it must be made familiar as an academic question, until its exact importance has been understood and accepted as a fact. Secondly, it must be recognized as a subject the practical development of which is in near prospect, and requires serious consideration. Thirdly, it must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claims to become an orthodox religious tenet of the future, for eugenics cooperates with the workings of nature by ensuring that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races. What nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction, just as it is his duty to be charitable to those in misfortune. The improvement of our stock seems one of the highest objects that can be reasonably attempted. We are ignorant of the ultimate destinies of humanity, but feel perfectly sure that it is as noble a work to raise its level as it would be disgraceful to abase it. I see no impossibility in eugenics becoming a religious dogma among mankind, but its details must first be worked out sedulously in the study. Over-zeal leading to hasty action would do harm by holding out expectations of a near golden age which would certainly be falsified and cause the science to be discredited. The first and main point is to secure the general intellectual acceptance of eugenics as a hopeful and most important study. Then let its principles work into the heart of the nation, which will gradually give practical effect to them in ways that we may not wholly foresee. 2
Galton was not sure how to bring about these changes. Although he spent years studying heredity, by the time he died in 1911 he still had no idea how traits are passed from parent to child. In his research, however, Galton stumbled upon two discoveries that might have led another scientist to abandon eugenics. Neither fazed him. One was the result of a test he devised to measure intelligence. To his dismay, the poor did as well on the test as “the better elements in society.” He concluded that the problem lay in the test rather than his theory.
His second discovery resulted from his efforts to track successive generations of pea plants. He found that, no matter how high the quality of the parent strains, some offspring were as good as the parent plant and some worse, but most were a little worse. This idea is known in statistics as “regression toward the mean” or middle. Galton suspected it was true for humans as well. If so, it would be impossible to improve the “race” through eugenics. Yet neither finding altered Galton’s beliefs. He continued to insist that intelligence is linked to social class and that “the fittest” parents produce superior offspring.
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By the late 1800's the populations in cities in the United States had increased dramatically. More people were living among people who were different from themselves. Often such encounters caused people to blame others for their own misfortunes or for larger society ills. An English mathematician, Francis Galton, sought to "solve" the problem of those deemed undesirable in this country in developing the pseudo-scientific theory of Eugenics--identifying and breeding the "best" traits in society. One of his biggest concerns was the supposed decline of intelligence because of the "breeding" between individuals deemed less intelligent. In 1904 he addresses this supposed problem in this essay from "Nature" magazine.
By 1963 John F. Kennedy realised that Lyndon B. Johnson had become a problem as vice-president as he had been drawn into political scandals involving Fred Korth, Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. According to James Wagenvoord, the editorial business manager of Life, the magazine was working on an article that would have revealed Johnson's corrupt activities. "Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time."
In September, 1997, Spartacus Educational founder and managing director John Simkin became the first educational publisher in Britain to establish a website that was willing to provide teachers and students with free educational materials.
According to a survey carried out by the Fischer Trust, Spartacus Educational is one of the top three websites used by history teachers and students in Britain (the other two are BBC History and the Public Record Office’s Learning Curve). The Spartacus Educational website currently gets up to 7 million page impressions a month and 3 million unique visitors.
As well as running the Spartacus Educational website John Simkin has also produced material for the Electronic Telegraph, the European Virtual School and the Guardian's educational website, Learn. He was also a member of the European History E-Learning Project (E-Help), a project to encourage and improve use of ICT and the internet in classrooms across the continent.
Why Charles Lindbergh?
In May 1927, 25-year-old Charles A. Lindbergh skyrocketed to fame after completing the first successful non-stop, solo transatlantic flight. (As Bess tells her husband in a “Plot Against America” trailer, “To most people, there’s never been a bigger hero in their lifetime.”) Dubbed “Lucky Lindy” and the “Lone Eagle,” he became an international celebrity, garnering his influence to promote the field of aviation. In 1929, he married Anne Morrow, daughter of a prominent American financier and diplomat shortly after, the couple welcomed a baby boy, whose kidnapping and murder three years later sparked a media circus.
Overwhelmed by the publicity, the family fled to Europe. While living abroad, Lindbergh, acting at the U.S. military’s request, made multiple trips to Germany to assess the country’s aviation capabilities. He was impressed by what he encountered: As historian Thomas Doherty says, Nazi Germany shared Lindbergh’s admiration of “Spartan physicality” and aviation-centric militarism. In 1938, the American hero attracted intense criticism for accepting—and later declining to return—a medal from Nazi military and political leader Hermann Göring.
After moving back to the U.S. in April 1939, Lindbergh became a key figurehead of the America First movement. He spoke at rallies, denouncing the war as a European affair with no relevance to the U.S., and soon shifted from isolationism to outright anti-Semitism. Among his most patently bigoted remarks: Western nations “can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood” and “It seems that anything can be discussed today in America except the Jewish problem.”
Radio broadcaster Walter Winchell emerged as one of Lindbergh’s most steadfast critics, updating Lindy’s “Lone Eagle” nickname to the “Lone Ostrich” and arguing that the aviator gave up the country’s goodwill to become the “star ‘Shill’ for the America First Committee.” Roth’s fictionalized Winchell takes a similarly irreverent approach, decrying Lindbergh as “our fascist-loving president” and his supporters as “Lindbergh’s fascists.” But while The Plot Against America’s version of Winchell defies the reviled commander-in-chief by staging his own presidential bid, the real journalist never ran for office.
Charles Lindbergh (right) and Senator Burton K. Wheeler (left) at a May 23, 1941, "America First" rally in New York (Getty Images)
During the 1930s, Lindbergh and his other Plot Against America presidential rival, Franklin D. Roosevelt, were arguably the two most famous men in the country. But while many respected the pilot, few viewed him as a viable political candidate. According to Hart, an August 1939 poll found that just 9 percent of Americans wanted Lindbergh, whose name had been raised as a potential alternative to Roosevelt, to run for the nation’s highest office. Of these individuals, less than three-fourths (72 percent) thought he would actually make a good president.
Though Roosevelt personally supported America entering the conflict, he “hedged and waffled on war” while campaigning during the 1940 presidential race, says Susan Dunn, author of 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—The Election Amid the Storm. “At the same time that he was speaking against American involvement in war,” adds Dunn, “his administration was preparing for possible war” by instituting a peacetime draft and formulating lists of priorities in the event that war broke out. Like Roosevelt, his real-life Republican opponent, businessman Wendell Willkie, was an interventionist and anti-fascist, though he, too, toned down these views on the campaign trail.
There was no love lost between Roosevelt and Lindbergh: The president likened the pilot to the “Copperheads” who had opposed the American Civil War, labeling him a “defeatist and appeaser.” Lindbergh, in turn, called the Roosevelt administration one of three groups “agitating for war” and accused it of practicing “subterfuge” to force the U.S. into “a foreign war.”
The president’s distaste for Lindbergh continued well beyond the United States’ 1941 entry into the war. Though the pilot attempted to volunteer for the Army Air Corps, he was blocked from doing so and forced to settle for a consulting position with Henry Ford’s bomber development program. Later in the war, under the auspices of United Aircraft, he was stationed in the Pacific theater, where he participated in around 50 combat missions despite his official status as a civilian.
Lindbergh’s reputation never fully recovered from his pre-war politics. Once the aviator accepted a medal from Göring, says Doherty, “the universal affection Americans had for Lindbergh dissipates, and people divide[d] into camps. There are still a lot of Americans that will always love Lindbergh, … but he becomes an increasingly provocative and controversial figure.”
Charles Lindbergh (left) enrolls as a member of the America First Committee. (Getty Images)
Whether the pilot actually came to regret his comments is a point of contention among scholars. Though his wife later claimed as much, he never personally apologized for his comments. Roth, writing in 2004, argued that “he was at heart a white supremacist, and … did not consider Jews, taken as a group, the genetic, moral or cultural equals of Nordic white men like himself and did not consider them desirable American citizens other than in very small numbers.”
Though Lindbergh is The Plot Against America’s clearest antagonist, his actual actions, according to Roth, matter less than what “American Jews suspect, rightly or wrongly, that he might be capable of doing”—and, conversely, how supporters interpret his words as permission to indulge their worst instincts.
As Roth concludes, “Lindbergh … chose himself as the leading political figure in a novel where I wanted America’s Jews to feel the pressure of a genuine anti-Semitic threat.”