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Anniversary: End of Divine Right of Kings

Citizen

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Today, Jan 30, marks the 367th anniversary of the execution of King Charles I of England.

Several years earlier, his disagreements with Parliament flared into civil war. Charles I lost the war and was placed under house arrest. While under house arrest, Charles wrote letters inspiring the royalist forces to reform and fight again.

When Parliament figured out it was Charles himself who started the second civil war, they said "enough."

You see, Parliament didn't fight the first civil war to depose the king, or kill him. They just wanted him to knock off his abuse of power. But, when Charles started the second civil war while under house arrest, Parliament realized he simply was not going to behave as king.[SUP]1[/SUP] So, Parliament tried him for high treason (for making war on Parliament, the representatives of the people), found him guilty, and executed him.

During his trial, Charles refused to cooperate.[SUP]2 [/SUP]When asked to plead to the charges, he demanded to know by what lawful authority he was being tried--he was the king, appointed by God. No man had authority to try him.

At one point in his reign Charles acknowledged that he was bound to obey the law (Magna Carta, etc.), but that if he broke the law, he was answerable only to God.

Those arguments died when the headsman's axe fell.

There are several good documentaries on YouTube about this period in English history.



1. There is probably a good bit of propaganda mixed in with truth. In all likelihood, Charles was going to keep right on violating the English constitution if released from house arrest, or if the royalist forces won the second civil war. But, I have a feeling another reason Parliament killed him was because if they didn't, he would have tried them for high treason and executed them.

2. After conviction, when Charles must have realized all was lost and he was about to be sentenced to die, he wanted to speak. The judge refused to hear him. Charles said he had an offer he felt sure they would find worthwhile. Nope, they wouldn't hear it. The judges were determined to kill him.
 
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Citizen

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Hears to hoping we evolve past any perceived "right" to rule others without any consent.
+1

Of course, in this case, part of the problem was the alliance between church and state--the church ritually ratified the king as chosen-by-God at the coronation.

This problem goes back to at least what? Henry II installing his friend Thomas Beckett as the Archbishop of Canterbury so Henry could count on church support instead of resistance? (It didn't work. Beckett took his job seriously and began thwarting Henry, eventually becoming one of the few Archbishops of Canterbury to be killed. In his own cathedral, no less.)

Oh, wait. I know this answer. One of the medieval kings had his son ceremonially declared his successor by the church in a ritual. Now, I just gotta remember which. It was the first time God was used. And, the king was smart. Instead of using it on himself, he had it used on his son, the next king. Gimme a minute or two; it will come back to me.

ETA: Got it. King Offa. He had his son anointed (ritually applied with oil) in 787 AD.
 
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sudden valley gunner

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Dec 13, 2008
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Whatcom County
+1

Of course, in this case, part of the problem was the alliance between church and state--the church ritually ratified the king as chosen-by-God at the coronation.

This problem goes back to at least what? Henry II installing his friend Thomas Beckett as the Archbishop of Canterbury so Henry could count on church support instead of resistance? (It didn't work. Beckett took his job seriously and began thwarting Henry, eventually becoming one of the few Archbishops of Canterbury to be killed. In his own cathedral, no less.)

Oh, wait. I know this answer. One of the medieval kings had his son ceremonially declared his successor by the church in a ritual. Now, I just gotta remember which. It was the first time God was used. And, the king was smart. Instead of using it on himself, he had it used on his son, the next king. Gimme a minute or two; it will come back to me.

ETA: Got it. King Offa. He had his son anointed (ritually applied with oil) in 787 AD.

Close enough to ufda for me. :p
 
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