Remember, Remember, The 5th Of November… But Why?

Don’t You Remember, The Fifith of November,

‘Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,

I Let Off My Gun, And Made ‘Em All Run.

And Stole All Their Bonfire Away.


The Fifth Of November, Since I can Remember,

Was Guy Faux, Poke Him In The Eye,

Shove Him Up The Chimney-Pot,

And There Let Him Die

A Stick A Stake, For King George’s Sake

If You Don’t Give Me One, I’ll Take Two,

The Better For Me, And The Worse For You,

Ricket-a-Racket Your Hedges Shall Go.


People love the idea of revolution, especially when it becomes something trendy enough for everyone to get in on. The movie V for Vendetta has probably done more for the image of Guy Fawkes outside of England than anything else since his torture and eventual hanging occurred. Next to the movie, his image has become the poster child and represents the activist agenda of the hacker organization Anonymous. Any time you see gatherings of people in mass for protests, there will inevitably be a few sporting the Guy Fawkes mask.

Brief History: The Gun Powder Plot

It’s odd, because the story of Guy Fawkes is not all that impressive when it comes to individuals throughout history fighting for revolution and change. For instance, why is there not a John Brown Day? In fact, as far as Americans are concerned, we should have little respect for Mr. Fawkes, and here is why.

The Gun Powder plot that Fawkes and eight other conspirators planned was nothing more than an attempt to replace one tyrannical Monarchy, with another, one that was simply more religiously aligned with their own beliefs. The idea was simple, assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with his Catholic daughter, Princess Elizabeth, who was third in line of succession. The assassination was going to be completed by blowing up the Parliament House with 20 kegs of gunpowder while the King was present.

Guy Fawkes was in charge of watching the kegs the night prior, when he was discovered by authorities and subsequently arrested. He was questioned, and tortured until he gave up his accomplices. He was then hung with the 8 other co-conspirators, and thus, the holiday Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night was created. However, this was not to commemorate the attempted assignation, but rather the foiling of the plot.

An Image Of Rebellion And Revolution… Why?

There are few instances in life where people are remembered not for their success, but their greatest failures. How can a man, who failed at a plan to replace one Monarchy with another, being discontent with a certain religion, an idea every American ought to be opposed to, having ratted out his friends after taken a sworn oath upon the bible he was so fervently defending, be hailed as a bastion of inspiration against tyranny and supposed revolution? The idea seems asinine at best.

There’s very little that points towards Guy Fawkes being a hero of any sort in any sense. It may be different in England, but in America there is the separation of church and state, we are not beholden to being held under the yoke of an oppressor or monarchy, and don’t really favor tattle tales too well. So how then has he become so popular, a person who, in my opinion, deserves little fame?

Lets take a look at assignation attempts against American presidents, and lets try to recall a single person who made an attempt. Here is every American President who has ever had an attempt at their life; Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Now here is a list of American Presidents who were successfully assassinated; Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. Now of both these lists, could you name more than two of the assassins?  Chances are slim that many Americans could. Yet many use the image of Guy Fawkes, a guy from the 1600’s who by all accounts failed. And for the record, we remember him for failing, and even if he were to have succeeded, it was all for naught in my eyes. A king for a king, and a religion for a religion. Not exactly anything a decent American would say is worthwhile remembering, and worse yet idolizing.

Think of all the potential good reasons a person might have tried to kill Bush or Nixon. The wars and lies, yet there stories are rarely heard. But the fact remains, that in America we have a process and the power to oust a leader we no longer agree with or whom we feel is failing us. There is little reason for assignation, as murder should rarely be used unless the power given is not given up. Beyond that, we have the laws in place to protect ourselves from tyranny.

So next year when you hear the poem of Guy Fawkes, exclaiming to remember, remember the 5th of November… you should. Remember that a fool died for a fools cause, and more fools nowadays confuse him as a martyr rather than an idiot. If it wasn’t for the movie V for Vendetta, and we paid more attention to the laws being put in place rather than how to tear them all away, we would probably be in a better place as a country. So remember, remember, the 5th of November, another fools body turned into an ember.

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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on twitter @FacePalmLaw. We have laws in this country for a good reason, and that’s so we don’t have to blow people up when we are not happy about their actions. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, specifically a Commercial Truck Accident, it is highly advised you seek the legal aid you need.

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