We know who Steve Bannon is… but who was Thomas Cromwell?

Motto : I am Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors.

Thomas Cromwelli lived from 1485 – 1540 and spent his most dynamic and influential years as Chief Minister in the Court of England under Henry VIII of the Tudor dynasty.ii

As a contemporary of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, King of France Francis I, Süleyman the Magnificent, Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, and Machiavelli, Cromwell saw massive sociopolitical upheaval during his tenure. While Cromwell can certainly be given credit for a fair degree of the tumultuousness of the era, he as much leveraged concurrent events as he created ex nihilo the considerable commotion now indelibly attached to his historical reputation.

But before we give Sir Thomas the mic, let’s set the stage of the period in which he was active :

  • England’s population was exploding at time, from 2 mn to 3 mn that century (1500 – 1600). London’s population increased from 60`000 to 250`000 during the same period and more than half of Henry VIII’s subjects were of minority age.iii
  • Neither sewer nor drain was to be found in English cities of the period.iv
  • Henry VIII wanted to annul his first marriage (not to mention his second through fifth) in offense to the decrees of the Catholic Church,v and when he finally did so, the schism forced the creation of the Anglican Church / Church of England.
  • Gold was flooding in from the New World at the time,vi leading to monetary inflation.vii The turkeys and potatoes finding their way to English tables for the first time had considerably less impact and were largely eschewed at the time.

So that’s the period, and what of our principal Thomas Cromwell, what was his importance ?

  • He famously dissolved the Catholic Church’s monasteries, which had previously held dominion of upwards of a quarter of London’s land, and auctioned off the property to the country’s noblemen in order to raise funds for his monarch, who had recently wrested the title of supremacy of the Church from the Pope.
  • He smoothed over the foreign and domestic tensions relating to the Henrician Reforms with bits of paper never fully enacted but filed under the “Six Articles at Parliament,” which confirmed Anglican doctrine as bearing strong resemblance to Catholicism rather than the radical departure initially feared.
  • He fostered the extension of sovereign authority into northern England, Wales, and Ireland, politically integrating the isles.
  • He leveraged the emerging power of the printing press to spearhead the first modern propaganda campaign in English history.viii
  • He developed a meritocratic bureaucracy much to the dismay of the hereditary nobility.ix
  • He helped Henry VIII choose a foreign Protestant for a fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, strengthening support from the Germans for the beleaguered and otherwise politically isolated King of England.
  • He implemented an entirely new type of tax, one intended to support peace rather than war.x A novel idea that brought sorely needed revenue to the crown.
  • He bore the brunt of the blame for the unpopularity of the new policies, particularly the dismantling of the Church, while Henry VIII continued to bask in the adoration of his nobles with whom he openly commiserated but quietly subverted with Cromwell’s guidance.
  • He was executed in 1540 when the mercurial Henry VIII needed a scapegoat to justify the ugliness and consequent necessary divorcing of his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

This little history lesson under your belt, you should now have something resembling a framework to understand Stephen K. Bannon, Trumpthxi Reich Chief Strategist,xii a little bit better.

___ ___ ___

  1. Not to be confused with that other famous Cromwell, Oliver (1599 – 1658), the one who was a contemporary of the most loveable Rochester and who hung King Charles I of England to the complete and utter repulsion of Peter The Great, sovereign of qthen-backwaters of the Russes.
  2. The English / Welsh House of Tudor stretched across five monarchs between 1485 and 1603.
  3. Making them… the majority!
  4. Despite the “barbarian” Romans having employed such l33t t3ch some two millennia prior.
  5. The Pope at the time – Clement VII, a Medici – was pledged to Charles V, who, being the nephew of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, wanted to protect her from such a potential shunning. Charles V – a Hapsburg and very much “the establishment” – therefore used Clement VII, or at least Clement VII allowed himself to be used in this instance, to block Henry VIII’s attempts to divorce Catherine, ultimately forcing Henry VIII to “Go Full Trump” and forge his own party.
  6. Thank the great swindler artist Hernan Cortez
  7. Not the bullshit CPI kind, the real kind.
  8. Bannon is the man behind the highly influential Brietbart News Network.
  9. Peter The Great faced similar resistance from Russia’s boyars in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, just as Trump faces today from the highly conservative (id est status quo oriented) globalists still flailing for relevance long after their ship has sailed.
  10. Think “Homeland Security Tax” and you’re not far off.
  11. First, second, third, TRUMPTH!!1
  12. Some have called him the Goebbels of his generation but it’s perhaps too early to say whether such large shoes can be filled.

2 thoughts on “We know who Steve Bannon is… but who was Thomas Cromwell?

  1. Pete D. says:

    Updated. Declining empires are convoluted tapestries and allegiances never as clear-cut as the textbook says. It was, as it’s ever, homo homini lupus.

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