Featured Post

New book available! David Kaiser, A Life in History

Mount Greylock Books LLC has published my autobiography as an historian,  A Life in History.   Long-time readers who want to find out how th...

Friday, July 26, 2019

Trump, Johnson, and transatlantic history

This week's post appears here.


Bozon said...

Very interesting article. Thanks for writing it.

I have been looking into the underlying religious circumstances and causal factors surrounding the break with England, and subsequent history, in J C D Clark's works.

Most all historians here, and you seem to be no exception, have long tended to read back into Anglo American colonial and American Revolutionary history, and British history, the themes of secularization, individualism, and thoroughgoing democratization, as well as myths or exaggerations regarding industrial, political economic, and socialist, revolutions, which all post date 1776, and to the extent they became realized, if however neither fully validated nor confirmed, were phenomena of the 19th century, not the 18th.

The great arguments, the deep arguments, over which the colonies rebelled against England, although arguments also having some resonance there, and much prior and diverging theological history, were not over who and how many got the secular vote, and really weren't over the complained of lack of secular representation re taxes, and weren't about secular individual civil liberty, which if anything were no worse in the colonies than in the British Isles, but rather over disputes among religious, and irreligious, sects over the authority of the King, and of Parliament, regarding matters of religion, religious freedom, and freedom from religion, and over the role of law, common law versus divine,in relation to government.

All the best

Energyflow said...

Europeans were often influenced by American trends, the French revoluton for example. Of course Americans had more flexibility and resources to take gambles and these ideas caught on elsewhere. One spoke often of this effect with regards to California in America itself. Every trend starts there for good or bad. One could also say that zeitgeist is similar. One must be isolated like a precolonial indigenous culture to not be infested with a meme spreading across our Western culture. Recalling Thatcher-Reagan ascension of my youth I see the importance of these events for the future. The post WWII order of international cooperation is being torn apart by bulldog type personalities with little care for niceties. Was joining the Common Market a mistake for Britain? One could see an historical difference in approaches that goes very long back in terms of legal codes and culture. Similar to the Netherlands the English developed a middle class in business that inherited power from the nobility much earlier. The further East one went in Europe the less this applied. The typica advantage of a seafaring coastal area(like California) to absorbing new cultures and ideas could account for much of this flexibility. ( I read a 6 volume European history in German from ca. 1400 some years ago and they compared the cultures and political systems developments in detail). Essentially the EU has become more and more a self sustaining centralization project on a German/French burocratic model. Obviously the decades since Thatcher and Reagan have brought Americanization(privatization, labour market libelization, financialization to all of Europe. However the fundamental differences remain. America's Trump also feels te need for independence from international bodies, even international law. One thinks of Alexander cutting through the gordion knot. I suppose Brexit is fror Britain like 'draining the swamp' for America. Johnson's bonhomie with Trump will likely be strong helping to recreate a north atlantic partnership at a deeper level. Perhaps this will make the EU more independent or they will turn to China/Russia. Nato could become more or less important with such a schism.