American Spyplanes by Mike Spick

By Mike Spick

Makes a pleasant present for an aviation or a chilly struggle fanatic.

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Sin, they thought, was punished by God on this earth, as well as in the after life. God's people, like the Israelites of old, would succeed if they kept God's worship pure, and fail if they did not. This doctrine was not confined to Puritans (the Emperor Charles V held it, for example), but Puritans provided many of those who took it most seriously. The sort of compromises which most politicians make in order to ensure success thus appeared to them likely to ensure failure, because they would prevent the Lord from going out with their armies.

In explaining this deadlock, one must put much weight on the peculiar obstinacy of the personalities on both sides. The political crisis of I64o42 could have had many possible results, and among them, a Civil War, with the two parties equally balanced, had originally seemed one of the least likely. Yet, though the Civil War was far from an inevitable result of the political crisis, some form of crisis was inevitable. At some time, the royal finances were bound to collapse in the face of inflation.

Too often it is assumed that the English monarchy was a pale shadow of the French, but, as we have stressed, its strength rested on its close sympathies with the locally influential. Extension of the central government influence meant higher taxes and less local independence. As the experience of parliamentary and army rule in the 164os and 1650s showed, it was a destabilising feature which raised political tension. In fact England was a much-governed country locally, with an extensive judicial and administrative system ranging from Lords Lieutenant down to petty constables (omitting the lively ecclesiastical courts and the surviving private manorial jurisdiction).

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