They planned it for eighteen months, rowing gunpowder up the Thames and packing it into cellars they’d rented beneath the House of Lords. If it had worked, Parliament would have blown up on the day it opened, November 5, 1605, killing the Protestant King James I and the Protestant ruling class. Then his children were supposed to be kidnapped, and his daughter Elizabeth installed as a Catholic queen (I guess they figured they could force her to convert since she was only nine).
Now in Britain they celebrate this day with big bonfires, which, oddly, is what would have happened if one of the Gunpowder conspirators hadn’t warned his brother-in-law, a Catholic member of the House of Lords.
Do you think Michele Bachmann chose this day deliberately for her Capitol Hill tea party? Probably not – I don’t think she’s that much in touch with the wider world.
But I just hope they don’t let any of those crazies into the House basement.