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Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot
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The Gunpowder Plot (Dec 2018) > 4. Central Idea

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message 1: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1860 comments Mod
4. What is the central idea discussed in the book? What issues or ideas does the author explore?


message 2: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1860 comments Mod
Having finally forced myself to finish last night, I think Fraser's central idea is that the Gunpowder Treason, like all terrorism, was a bad and unjustifiable idea by a small group of plotters that did not include any priests and that was doomed to failure because the Catholics in Britain did not rise to join the plotters after the plot was discovered, but that the reason for the plot was understandable given the English persecution of Catholics.

I think an argument can be made that the GP was not terrorism (though this requires defining terrorism first), though I think Fraser has ably demonstrated the reason behind the old addage "if one is going to shoot at the King, one best not miss."


Manuel Alfonseca | 1438 comments Mod
John wrote: "Having finally forced myself to finish last night, I think Fraser's central idea is that the Gunpowder Treason, like all terrorism, was a bad and unjustifiable idea by a small group of plotters tha..."

A good summary. Only, what would have happened if the plot had succeeded? Would Catholics have risen, would the plotters have been able to grasp power? This is all alternative history, and as Aslan says to Lucy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, those questions are never answered.


message 4: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1860 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "This is all alternative history, and as Aslan says to Lucy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, those questions are never answered."

Not definitively anyway, but answered and debated incessantly. :-)

I think the fact that the most prominent Catholic leaders in the country would have been sitting in Parliament at the time would probably have limited the ability of the plotters to rally Catholics to their side. Having the most likely heir in their possession would not, it seems to me, have persuaded the protestant to simply shrug and accept a change of power as a fait accompli. I don't have a good enough feel for the demographics of the time, but it seems unlikely that there were still enough Catholics around to seize and hold power.


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