Wednesday, October 28, 2015

History: The Year is 1667

I've uploaded year 1667 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Modern Police Force and Equality Under the Law -- Paris establishes the first recognizable modern police force. I also talk about how equality under the law is the ideal but not the norm.

Do the French Have Better Blood? -- The French government provides dowries for Indian girls so that they can marry Frenchmen in the colonies but it doesn't work out. I talk about why the French think their blood is redder than anyone else's, and how blood figures into our cultural references.

Paradise Lost! The Republic Has Fallen -- John Milton publishes his epic poem. It is taken as an allegory of the recent British civil war and Cromwell is Satan. It's a hit with the public.

The First Modern Police Force and Equality Under the Law

King Louis the 14th of France creates the first modern police force by appointing Gabriel Nicolas to the position of Lieutenant General of Police. The current police organization is an uncoordinated mish-mosh of local police districts and the royal watch which consists of archers on the wall ready to shoot. (Don't start a riot.) The Lieutenant General is nominally a nobleman, but in fact, Gabriel was born to a poor family, married into a noble family and bought his way to higher office. (This is considered a normal career path.) He uses his royal commission to impose good order and discipline in a coordinated fashion and requires policemen to patrol their districts at least once every 14 days, wear clean uniforms and send him written reports. He also instructs detectives to solve crimes using stricter standards of evidence. This new organization becomes the first recognizable modern police force. The Lieutenant General is not winning a lot of friends, but the nobles are going along with the changes. For now, the police are fighting crime. In later years the police will be used to impose public policy. They will be disbanded during the French Revolution but return under Napoleon as the Prefecture of Police. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, the Paris police are known as "the archers". People still remember the police as men on the wall waiting to shoot anyone who gets out of line. England didn't have a modern police force until 1750. Before that time, policing, such as it was, was conducted by the sheriff, private armsmen, and those having an interest in general good order such as local citizens. The system worked OK for catching habitual offenders. After all, most locals knew who the bad guys were and the sheriff knew as well. The system didn't work very efficiently when the person committing the crime was a very important person. Now that I think of it... the system STILL works that way. Equality under the law is a very old concept that is remembered more in its violation than in its use. It didn't start with the American Revolution. It comes from the Bible:
Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. -- Leviticus 19:15.[5]

Do the French Have Better Blood?

The French believe that "the Blood of France" can improve the Indians of the French colonies. That is why they have set up a fund to provide dowries for Indians girls. Very few French women want to sail to Quebec to marry men who hunt for animal pelts so Catholic nuns are commissioned to convert local Indian girls to Catholicism and to teach them French manners so that they will make proper wives for Frenchmen. It doesn't work. Although the local Indians are receptive to conversion, the nuns complain that less than 1 in 100 Indian girls can be taught French manners so the project is abandoned. France believes they are the pinnacle of civilization. War has destroyed most of Germany. Spain is on the downswing, and England has barely discovered tea. But Paris has an organized police force and nobles from every nation want to send their children to French schools. This will have a profound effect on the attitude of the next generation toward anything French. People are even using forks! Unfortunately, the King still eats with his fingers. You can't have everything. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
When Cain murdered Able, Able's "bloods" cried out as if generations-unborn protested. A blood feud is considered a family obligation of revenge for the death of a family member even if that death is judged an accident. The Code of Hammurabi allowed for a blood debt to be paid with blood so that if a man accidentally killed a child, the parent of that child was allowed to kill the man's child. Even when the Bible outlawed such revenge killing, it understood that people still wanted a blood payment. They provided "cities of refuge," so that if a man could reach such a city, he was safe from a blood feud. In the modern day we still consider blood connections as part of one's nature. We say, "Blood is thicker than water" or "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree" or "Like father, like son." When the Soviet Union would uncover counter-revolutionary elements, otherwise known as a spies, the spy would be shot. In addition, the spy's family would be rounded up and punished. In a literal sense, the government believed: "Blood will out". [8] [9] [10] [11]

Paradise Lost! The Republic Has Fallen

John Milton plunks down 5 pounds sterling and publishes his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Personally speaking, everyone hates him with a hot, hot hate because he supported Oliver Cromwell and his failed British republic, but they LOVE his poem. It is about Satan's rebellion against Heaven's yoke. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." It is seen as an allegory of the recent British civil war, its struggle with self-rule and its return to the monarchy. (Spoiler alert: Cromwell is Satan.) With London recovering from Plague and rising from the ashes of the Great Fire of last year. It all seems like Divine punishment, and then this decrepit old blind man, John Milton, comes out with a work of genius. They love it. It will remain a classic into the modern day and a source of some really great quotes. [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
  • The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
  • Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
  • What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
  • Who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
  • Ofttimes nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed. [13]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1667, Wikipedia.

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