[ExI] What Made England Special?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 12 20:51:16 UTC 2008

John Grigg writes

> Lee Corbin wrote:
> > The book "Farewell to Alms" does a fine job of describing
> > what made England different. And between them, England
> > and Holland led the way to the modern world. A lot of it
> > could have come about accidentally because of the way
> > that power in the 13th century between the king and the
> > nobles happened to have gotten shared.
> I have read that the ability of the English gentry to get an
> education, work hard, save, and marry later in life to younger
> women, was a major key to the wealth and power that the
> English global empire eventually acquired.  

If they saved as you write, and it was after 1694 with the
creation of the Bank of England, then those savings could
indeed be one way in which you're proven right. France,
for example, was a much richer country in total, but the
cash was in people's mattresses, essentially, and it could
usually never must Britain's economic strength.

> In terms of being saved from conquest, I think the English
> learned early on to be scrappy and quick thinking/fast on
> their feet, in a desperate... effort to stay unconquered from
> the Spanish, French, Germans, etc.

I would bet that from our point of view, any nation that lasted
very long in the bad old days was "scrappy and quick 
thinking/fast on their feet".

> It's only my opinion but I think the Norman invasion drastically
> changed the England that might have been (much less involved
> with continental Europe, generally less mercantile and expansionist).

Could be.

> We can thank/blame the Roman Catholic Church up to a point for
> this event (the pope at the time strongly supported the Norman
> invasion effort and gave it his official blessing,

I didn't know that.  Thanks.


> some say King Harold of England lost his throne in part because
> he was demoralized by the pope turning his back on him, Harold
> was said to be a simple man of fairly deep religious faith.

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