Posted by: aboutalbion | May 17, 2012

Roundheads and Cavaliers

A couple of nights ago, I watched a television programme with the above title that (with appropriate re-enactments) narrated a history of the English Civil War [1642-1651].  In view of my recent history comments, I noted that the title of the programme related to social forces [also referred to as Parliamentarians and Royalists] rather than individuals such as Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I.

These are the BBC notes.  “In the middle of the 17th century, Britain was devastated by a civil war that divided the nation into two tribes – the Roundheads and the Cavaliers.  In this programme, celebrities and historians reveal that modern Britain is still defined by the battle between the two tribes.  The Cavaliers represent a Britain of panache, pleasure and individuality.  They are confronted by the Roundheads, who stand for modesty, discipline, equality and state intervention.  The ideas which emerged 350 years ago shaped our democracy, civil liberties and constitution.  They also create a cultural divide that influences how we live, what we wear and even what we eat and drink.  Individuals usually identify with one tribe or the other …”

I was not convinced by the programme.  For me, it suffered from an absence of discussion of the wide variation in wealth between the two tribes, and from the presence of discussion of the modern psychological types of ‘introverts’ and ‘extraverts’.

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