History News Network | Why History Matters

Charles Spencer writes about a very intriguing period of English history in Killers of the King. It was a time of religious conflict between the Calvinistic Puritans in Parliament and the Catholic-sympathizing Stuart monarchy at a time when the Protestant Church of England was the nominally established church. It was also partly a power struggle between Parliament and the Stuart monarchs (first James I and then his son Charles I), who seemed too fond of absolute monarchies. It was in this context that some powerful members of Parliament decided to try and behead Charles I as a traitor. Spencer insists that while “[t]his dramatic tale sounds far removed from today…it is not.” He explains: “Many of the killers of the king that I write about did what they did because they knew an obscure verse in the Old Testament Book of Numbers that justified their actions: it told them that, if a country is to end its bloodshed, “that Man of Blood” who started it all must be put to death. Organized religion still provides many with guidance that they believe to the end. Texts written many centuries earlier can be twisted to justify a course of action. History is about the past, but it resonates today. We never change. History is the story of man – past, present and future.” This is one reason, although not the only reason, why history matters.

History News Network | Why History Matters

Killers of the King Spencer

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