Wednesday, January 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1713

I've uploaded year 1713 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Literary Play of the American Revolution -- A play about Cato will be great on stage and in the parlors of England and the Colonies. It will also provide some of the best lines of the American Revolution.

The X-Prize for Longitude -- The Board of Longitude is formed to issue prize money to the first inventor to create a method of accurate navigation at sea... essentially an accurate clock.

The Literary Play of the American Revolution

George Washington is not yet born, but the British play that debuts this year will become central to the American Revolution. It is entitled "Cato, a Tragedy". (Pronounced, KAY-toe). The play portrays the famous Roman Senator, Cato the Younger, in his dramatic opposition to the tyranny of Julius Caesar. It is a wildly successful play on stage but it has a second quality. Before there was television, people would gather in parlors to read plays. Each person would be assigned a part. Some would read their part while sitting. Others would stand but the focus would be on the words... not on the performance. This play has great words and people will be reading these words well into the 1770s, including Patrick Henry who will paraphrase a line from the play as he shouts, "Give me liberty or give me death!" And Nathan Hale will remember this play as he declares, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." And in 1778, General George Washington will have his troops perform this play at Valley Forge to build up their morale. It will become the inspiration for the American Revolution. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As a young man, George Washington's favorite character in the play was Juba who loved Cato's daughter, Marcia. Washington could read Juba's lines to the young ladies such as lovely Sally Cary. But some quotes from Juba sound like the mission statement for the building of a nation... [5]

A Roman soul is bent on higher views:
To civilize the rude, unpolished world,
And lay it under the restraint of laws;
To make man mild, and sociable to man;
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage
With wisdom, discipline, and liberal arts--
The embellishments of life; virtues like these
Make human nature shine, reform the soul,
And break our fierce barbarians into men.
-- Cato, A Tragedy, Juba, Act 1, Scene 4 [6]

The X-Prize for Longitude

Navigation at sea is hit or miss and a miss can cost a lot in money, time and especially lives when the supplies run out. Sir Issac Newton thinks that it is impossible to determine a ship's position at sea using the stars because clocks are not sufficiently accurate. To use the stars to determine your exact position requires knowledge of the angle of a known star as it travels through the night sky and time at which a known angle will be achieved. By calculation or by table, one can determine at what longitude one is positioned if only he can make a sufficiently accurate measure of the time. Thus Great Britain sets up the Longitude Board to offer prize money for the first person to demonstrate a sufficiently accurate method of navigation to solve this problem. Even though the smartest guy on the planet says that it can't be done, the stubbornest guy on the planet, John Harrison, will solve this problem by creating the mariner's clock and later the mariner's watch. The grand prize for navigating longitude to within half of a degree is 20,000 pounds which is the modern equivalent of a million dollars. He will be awarded the prize money in 1773. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Board of Longitude really jerked that poor inventor, John Harrison, around by changing the rules on him. It took King George the 3rd to intervene to make sure he got his money. The Board of Longitude remained in existence until 1828 which proves that government agencies can re-purpose themselves long after their original goals are met, and often do. In the United States the Rural Electrification Administration was formed in 1935 by the FDR Administration. It remained in existence until 1998, long after rural areas had been electrified. Then it was reorganized into the Rural Utilities Service and remains in existence as of January 2016. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" [9]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1713, Wikipedia.

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