Saturday, December 12, 2015

Donald Trump and Identity Politics in Eighteenth Century England

Is Donald Trump a Whig?

In the 17th and 18th Centuries, there was a strong and popular association made in England between Roman Catholicism and the idea of Absolute Monarchy. Spain and France were regarded as the prime illustrators of this connection.

Whig Protestants (especially Anglicans) sought on the basis of this association to significantly limit the political freedoms of English Catholics. Many of these restrictions remained in place until the Roman Catholic Reform Act of 1829. One restriction - the prohibition of the monarch being a Roman Catholic or marrying a Catholic - was only repealed as late as 2013.

The tendency to treat entire religious groups as sharing in a particular political ideology is a long-standing one. Donald Trump's generalisations about Muslims is a continuation of this political Whiggish tendency.

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