May 23, 2011

Victoria Day

Here in Canada it's Victoria Day, one of two national celebrations with fireworks, of the birthday of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was Queen when monarchs still played an important role in the shaping of nations. While the parliament managed most of the British affairs, she did exert a lot of behind the scenes influence and clearly played a key role in the shaping of Great Britain. Her reign of over 63 years (the longest female monarch reign in the history of the world) saw a period of industrial growth, scientific progress, cultural greatness, military power and an incredible expansion of the British Empire.

But I'm Canadian, not British. Yes we're part of the Commonwealth but that really isn't very relevant today. Besides, I'm more of an American in my values and ideals.

I view history as an important prelude to the geo-politics of society and nations today. Queen Victoria certainly presided over a very significant growth of Western power, and a true emergence of British preeminence. Those are important achievements. However, her reign of industrial and empire expansion is more removed from me than the precepts held by America's founding fathers. It is every leader's responsibility to ensure the best economic conditions for the citizenry. She did that very well. But she cannot be viewed with the same sort of reverence reserved for Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin and the like.

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