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The God of the Peasants Is Dead... Et Tu Edward?

Count Floris V of Holland is loved by the peasants because he has reduced their taxes and given them concessions that most modern people would call "the normal things any decent person should expect". Floris has negotiated good contracts with King Edward I of England that have helped Holland prosper, but now the Count has switched sides to France and King Edward will have none of it. King Edward has the Count kidnapped by the Count's own advisers, but the peasants find out and attempt a rescue. In a panic, the God of the Peasants is slashed to death by his kidnappers. Many legends have grown up after the death of the Count. Like George Washington and the Cherry Tree, the stories are told to honor the man in his virtue, but historically the only thing that can be proven is that the people loved him and that the noblemen did not. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Count Floris V was the one to give tax free status to Amsterdam which helped it become a center of finance and commerce. By all accounts Count Floris V was a good man. It was his fellow noblemen who were the problem. I liken this conflict to the US Congress. Each member of Congress is like a minor prince nowadays and when one of the princelings decide to act on behalf of the people rather than on behalf of the Congress he is sidelined and then destroyed. Several examples spring to mind, along with the Tea Party and the Libertarians. Anyone who gets out of line, gets "the treatment" and it's not pretty.

King Edward I of England

Just to recap what is happening with King Edward I of England. He is generally good for England, setting down laws that will be the baseline for what will become major elements of American law. As a prince he dominated his father, King Henry III, after the Second Baron's War and that was looked upon favorably by the nobility. He was an enthusiastic Crusader and when he returned, he claimed the throne of England. He conquered Wales to little advantage. They were more a drag on the English economy than an asset. He is currently beating up on Scotland at the Battle of Dunbar and chasing King John Balliol all over the countryside which will cause Sir William "Braveheart" Wallace to taunt King Edward with the name "Longshanks". King Edward is 6 foot 2 inches tall in a land where the average height of a man is 5 foot 5 inches, so "Longshanks" fits him nicely. He has started a war with France, caused the death of Count Floris V of Holland and cut off trade with Holland. One wonders how he can finance all this adventurism. The answer is HIGH TAXES. In the end he will leave a big mess for his successor to clean up.... ineffectively as it will turn out. [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The problem for King Edward I is primarily that of financing. There is not a lot of cash liquidity during the Middle Ages so like a socialist system, the government (in this case, the King) is always searching for some new basket of money to loot or some new people to "liberate"... mostly liberating them of their money and resources. There is no such thing as socialism in this era but the desire of government to fund itself is fundamental.

See Also


  1. "New Netherland"from Online Highways
  2. "The United States of America and the Netherlands: Revolution" by George M. Welling
  3. "Floris V", Encyclopedia Britannica
  4. "Floris V (1254-1296) a Dutch Count and Disgruntled Nobles", Foundation Entoen.nu, the Netherlands
  5. "Count Floris V granted the citizens of Delft complete freedom from tolls in his whole county." by Douglas Anderson
  6. "DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Amsterdam", by Christopher Catling and Robin Pascoe, 2013, p 21.
  7. Floris V by Douglas Anderson
  8. "The Last Knight:the Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era " by Norman F. Cantor, 2004, pp 51-52
  9. Edward I of England, Wikipedia
  10. William Wallace, Braveheart, Wikipedia
  11. Battle of Dunbar (1296), Wikipedia

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