Monday, February 19, 2007

Will History Repeat Itself?

In thinking about the possibility of another presidential dynasty-in-the-making, (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton...) one looks into the future, past 2012, 2016 and 2020, to espy upcoming Bushes and Clintons who could be potential continuations of the family lines. As was mentioned in Hot Air today, here, neither Bill and Hillary nor George W. and Laura have male issue. That leaves Chelsea, Barbara and Genna, none of whom is of proper age/experience to assume the family mantle and carry on the White House tradition. At first glance, the only male available is Jeb's son, George P. Bush, who could, after divorcing his current wife, marry Chelsea; their heirs could take up where their ancestors left off, forming a modern-day "Tudor"-type dynasty.

In the days of the Wars of the Roses, the throne of England was pitched back and forth between the York and Lancasters, squabbling over who was the legitimate heir after the death of Edward III.

Edward's golden boy, the Black Prince predeceased him, leaving Edward III's 1o-year-old grandson, Richard II to rule the kingdom after his death. After a mental decline, Richard was forced to abdicate and his cousin Henry IV became king. As a descendent of John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III, and by bypassing the heirs of Lionel, the second son, Henry's rule and those of his son, Henry V and grandson, Henry VI, were in dispute. Henry VI also had mental problems and Richard, Duke of York became Protectorof the Throne. As a direct descendent of Lionel, the Duke's ambitions led to civil war and the throne left the Lancaster Red Rose for the York white one, under Edward IV.

There followed a succession of battles and Edward IV, the son of the Duke of York, was crowned. He ruled for 9 years, was deposed once, and returned as king for a prosperous reign of twelve more years. After his death, and the mysterious disappearance of his two sons, his brother, the much maligned* Richard III, ruled for 2 years, until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, crying, according to the Bard, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"

The upshot of this family rivalry was the matrimonial merging of the two branches into one. With the wedding of Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York, to Henry VII, the victor at Bosworth, the Tudor line was formed. The Tudor line included the two Henrys, VII and VIII, the sickly boy king Edward VI, Mary I (Bloody Mary), and the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. These five monarchs ruled for 118 years, marking the end of the Middle Ages in England. The English Renaissance brought a blossoming of the arts and literature; exploration of the New World began and the world saw the beginning of the British Empire supported by the Royal Navy's dominance of the open seas.

Perhaps an arranged marriage, quite common among European royalty in the past, between the Bushes and the Clintons could bring a harmonious resolution to the current dissonant political climate in the US and bring a period of continued prosperity and contentment.

* Richard was accused, although not contemporaneously, of the double murder of his nephews and was portrayed ever after as a monster whose jealous desire for the crown led him astray.


sloandaughter said...

Two comments, related not so much to contemporary Clinton-Bushdom as to history:

1. But wasn't Richard of the murders?
2. Why was there so much mental instability? Too much inbreeding within the individual family lines?

Sloan Morganstern said...

During his life, Richard III was never accused of the murders of his nephews. There is no record of even a suspicion of such an action. It wasn't until the reign of the Tudors, specifically during the time of Shakespeare, that suspicion fell on a handy scapegoat, one no longer alive to defend himself. As a matter of fact, one of the first orders of business of the Tudors was to systematically remove all Yorkist threat to the Tudor monarchy. Most of the family was killed, even elderly aunts. Shakespeare's play supplied the nail in the coffin for Richard.

Lately, the question of Richard's guilt or innocence has been raised, mainly by the Richard III Society, founded to clear the king of the taint of murder. In the 1950's mystery writer Josephine Tey, who wrote Brat Farrar and other well-known (among angophiles) mysteries, wrote Daughter of Time, which took up the debate and found Richard innocent. Several mock trials have also found him innocent.

As to the question of mental instability, one must certainly suspect the lack of fresh additions to the gene pool. Add to that, the constant pressure of political intrigue, never knowing who was your ally, doubting even your immediate family members, ignorance due to available education in the Middle Ages, you probably have a recipe for a good bit of mental illness. It's more likely a wonder that any of them became a worthy leader.