22 August, 2007

Over the Course of August

This August I've been reading two biographies of a greater than usual writing quality and subject interest. The aforesaid tomes are: "John Adams", by David McCullough, and "Isabel of Spain: the Catholic Queen", by my favorite history author, Warren Carroll.

I tend to see similarities and connections in rather absurd places (I would be fairly successful as a professional conspiracy theorist if I put my mind to it, I think). Be that as it may, I don't think it's too far fetched to draw a brief comparison between the Catholic monarch and the revolutionary hero of Puritan ancestry.

For a start, I ought to mention that Isabel (the queen "made famous" in this country by her association with Columbus) was not nearly as hard-headedly old fashioned and strict as most historians portray her as being. Neither was John Adams at all akin to some of his contemporaries (eg. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Sam Adams) whose revolutionary sentiments ran to the lengths of praising the vicious French revolution. Isabel was indeed, rather liberal (in the traditional sense), running her government more "democratically" - in the sense of consulting representatives of parts of the country - than monarchs were apt to do right up until the 1800s. John Adams was fair minded enough to point out repeatedly that there are benefits in manarchy as well as in Republicanism - monarchy, he believed has the advantage of appealing particularly to something in human nature which tends to attract people throughout history to genuine (i.e. not empty) pageantry.

I'm not going to laboriously catalogue either person's character or life time-line, because it's not the school year yet, and I'm not trying to write a paper.

But I'm going to throw out a few ideas that both would have agreed on.

- Any government can work only insofar as its leaders and citizens center their lives around God.

- Christian morality is a necessary foundation for any country's laws.

- The Native Americans are children of God, and should be treated with perfect equality. - An uncommon idea for their times, and one (despite the claims of the politically correct crowd that no white male or Spanish monarch ever cared for the Native Americans) which is well documented in letters and decrees.

- The government exists to serve the temporal needs of its people, not to be served by the people. A monarch had to do this nearly on his or her own, while in the case of a Democratic Republic every citizen, being partially self-governing, must bear some of the burden although in degrees.

That's all I'm going to come up with for now, but you should get the idea.

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