Divine right

by Andrea Elizabeth

Reading about Oliver Cromwell is contributing to my running inquiry into revolutions. I know history is complicated, but I wonder if basic philosophical precepts have guided it.

Seems to me the Protestant Reformation was the beginning of popular uprisings, followed closely by the 1600’s English Civil War which was the precursor to the American and French Revolutions, and which pretty much marked the end of monarchy in the world. The events around the Magna Carta in the early 1200’s could be seen as the end of absolute monarchy as it was the beginning of parliament where the nobles could thwart the king, which they apparently did since William the Conqueror. I also read that his reign was the beginning of the castle age, which fortified the nobles, as far as I can tell.

Still, monarchs up to Tsar Nicholas II, believed themselves to rule by divine right. It seems that even though this belief eroded among the people, there was enough support for it till recently, and even a small remnant probably remains for Queen Elizabeth II. What I don’t understand is why monarchs did not have this same respect towards each other. Why would a divinely appointed King invade another King’s divinely ordained realm? Doesn’t seem very faithful to their calling to me.

Unless they actually believed in survival of the fittest, which is either an atheistic or Calvinistic doctrine, instead. This brings me to my next post.