Five Braveheart Practices You Should Use for a Revolution

To quote a Don Henley song “I will not bow down/I will not go quietly.”

Continuing the music theme borrowed from Charles Manson, The Beatles had a song: “You say you want a revolution/Well you know/We all wanna change the world”…Anyone who has studied history, even in the most cursory fashion, knows that political revolutions are often not positive things. Blood gets shed, people get hurt, and if the revolution succeeds, the government that replaced the old guard tends to be worse than, or at least no better than, the one it replaced. On the top of my head, I can only think of four successful yet positive revolutions. The American Revolution (duh!), the Bloodless Revolution of England (November 1688 to April 1689), the uprising of civil disobedience led by Gandhi in India, and the Scottish Revolution of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which we have been discussing for two posts now.

Politically, this sums up to me the beauty of Braveheart. With all the inaccuracies and obvious over the top anti English bias, just this statement alone puts it head and shoulders about most movies. This is exactly what needs to be said to Washington D. C. Those who voted the first time for Trump hoped he would conduct his Presidency on this principle. Had he done so, I have no doubt he would have won again.

In this post, I’m going to model my commentary off the habits divulged in The Leadership Challenge, written by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. Honestly, this may end up being a multi part post. But over the course of this post or series I will relay:

  • 1) How Wallace in the movie (and in real life) challenged the status quo.
  • 2) How Wallace inspired a shared vision of a free Scotland.
  • 3) How the Scots were energized to act on their own by his influence.
  • 4) How Wallace led by example.
  • 5) How the beaten Scotts found courage by the example he set.
This scene is so Sun Tzu. And it perfectly demonstrates what happens when a warrior is pushed against the wall. “Against…the…wall!”

The status quo in Scotland was horrific during the reign of Edward I, known as Longshanks. I’ll post a little info about him here, this and my own random knowledge will be my source for the material about Longshanks.

I’m going to start with a defense of the anti-English stance of the movie. Yes, there were mistakes in the history of the movie, but please don’t try to tell me the English were “not so bad.” If you need evidence, here is Britannica’s account of Edward’s behavior as a Prince (no, he was not yet the king).

” Civil war had now broken out between Henry and the barons, who were supported by London. Edward’s violent behavior and his quarrel with the Londoners harmed Henry’s cause. At the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264) his vengeful pursuit of the Londoners early in the battle contributed to Henry’s defeat. Edward surrendered and became a hostage in Montfort’s hands. He escaped at Hereford in May 1265 and took charge of the royalist forces, penned Montfort behind the River Severn, and, by lightning strategy, destroyed a large relieving army at Kenilworth (August 1). On August 4 he trapped and slew Montfort at Evesham and rescued Henry. Shattered and enfeebled, Henry allowed Edward effective control of the government, and the latter’s extreme policy of vengeance, especially against the Londoners, revived and prolonged rebel resistance.”

Henry chilled out when he was crowned king, at least when it came to his own people. But he earned “The Hammer of the Scots” as his nickname from venting his wrath on them, instead of his own people.

Britannica proceeds “Having mastered his anger, he had shown himself capable of patient negotiation, generosity, and even idealism; and he preferred the society and advice of strong counselors with good minds. As long as Burnell and Queen Eleanor lived, the better side of Edward triumphed, and the years until about 1294 were years of great achievement. Thereafter, his character deteriorated for lack of domestic comfort and independent advice. He allowed his autocratic temper full rein and devoted his failing energies to prosecution of the wars in France and against Scotland.”

This helps set up the scene. Essentially, there was a puppet Scottish king, John Balliol, who had sworn loyalty to Edward I. But the English essentially was an occupying force, and the Scottish lower and middle class were being misused. Badly.

In the movie, the Scots are invited to a negotiation, and the Scottish delegates are all found hung by William’s father, who arrives late on the scene. William’s father rallies the people to fight, but the English win, and Wallace is orphaned. His uncle takes him to raise, and teaches him Latin, French, swordsmanship. It is assumed he learns a great deal of things before he returns to his home town.

He woos the love of his life when he returns. Wins her heart. Marries her. But because of the sick medieval practice of primae noctis, they keep their marriage a secret, known only to themselves, a priest, and possibly her parents. One of the English occupation soldiers sees her, lusts for her, attempts to rape her. And she defends herself. Wallace assists, and makes his getaway, instructing her to meet him at the tree where they would meet for trysts. But she does not make it there. She is captured, and the Sheriff, to make an example of her, cuts her throat.

For Wallace, the status quo has ceased to be acceptable. Live or die, he will now bring hell down on the heads of his foes.

Primae Noctis, not to be confused with Prima Donna, was a “noble” right to spend the first night or three with any peasant bride who owed him homage. There is debate about whether this really happened, but having first heard of this in Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, I’ve never doubted. If you think he was wrong, you may be right, but I have a site that proves it still happens, as recently as 2014, in India. I doubt Europeans from 800 years ago were much more enlightened.

As we all know (or all who have watched the movie) the rest of the film is William Wallace challenging the status quo.

This post is getting long, and it is getting late. I’ll post this, and start on the next one, hopefully publishing it next Monday.

If the status quo were this this demeaning, would you not fight? Are we certain it won’t get this bad? Are we certain it hasn’t already?


  1. Xman says:

    1.) Challenge the Status Quo of one’s life.
    2.) Inspire Others
    3.) “If there’s any hope it lies in the Proles–” Oh, wait. Wrong text

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Curtiswselby says:

      I think I may have had the order messed up, but I took my order from an outline I had before the book showed up


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