Monday, February 1, 2016

History: The Year is 1721

I've uploaded year 1721 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Anti-inoculation Bomb Throwers Fizzle Out -- Small pox has infected half of Boston. A few people are shouting for inoculations but others object. A grenade is tossed into the living room of Cotton Mather, who recently had his son inoculated.

The Modern Russian Empire Begins -- Peter the Great becomes Emperor Peter as Russia steps up to Empire status.

The Popes Are Reforming the Church Slowly -- The New Pope will implement reforms in the Church and when he dies his successor will implement more. Little by little it is getting done.

Anti-inoculation Bomb Throwers Fizzle Out

Despite quarantine efforts, almost half of Boston is infected with small pox. Red flags fly from doors where the deadly disease has struck. Reverend Cotton Mather is been campaigning for small pox inoculations. He submits his own son, Samuel, to the experiment along with 248 volunteers. Many people think he is simply spreading the disease further. James Franklin, the elder brother of Ben Franklin and publisher of the New England Courant, is vigorously opposing inoculation. The people are in a panic. Tempers flare and someone has lobbed a grenade into Cotton Mather's home. It rolls under Mather's chair. The fuse fizzles and dies. It is a dud. At the end of the epidemic, 844 Bostonians are laid to rest. Samuel Mather lives. Out of the inoculated, only 6 die, but very few have learned this lesson... not even Benjamin Franklin who will watch his son, William, die of small pox a few years later. In 1759, Benjamin Franklin will have a pamphlet printed to promote the inoculation of children. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Inoculation with a live virus (even a weakened one) is dangerous. Make no mistake. Nevertheless, in the case of the Boston outbreak, 242 people saved out of 248 (2.4% death rate) seems better than the alternative which was... quarantine and hope for the best which resulted in a 14% death rate. For American Indians of the time, small pox was a virtual death sentence. No infected blankets needed. I am in favor of vaccination, but I am NOT in favor of compelling parents to vaccinate their children. There is a danger to all vaccines and thus a moral question is involved. The question is: Who must decide if the benefit of vaccination outweighs the danger? The answer is: The one who is responsible for the child's welfare. Who is that, if not the parents? If it is government, then we have returned to a paganism which demands the sacrifice of the few to save the many. [6] [7]

The Modern Russian Empire Begins

The Great Northern War has ended better than expected for Russia. With the recent treaty, Tsar Peter the 1st (otherwise known as Peter the Great) gives up claim to most of Finland except around the capital of Saint Petersburg and he picks up Estonia, Livonia, Ingria. He also pays 2 million thalers to Sweden to call it even. Russia has been expanding the equivalent of a Netherlands every year. (There is even a Russian village in Alaska.) This treaty marks the transition point for Russia into an Empire that will live on until 1917. Emperor Peter the Great has managed to drag Russia into the modern era, and he is making the rest of Europe nervous. They have enough trouble managing with a Holy Roman Emperor. Most of them don't want a second Emperor to deal with. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1762, after Emperor Peter the 3rd was assassinated during a coup attempt, his wife, Catherine, came to power. She was a Prussian princess. (Read as German). She would spend long hours at night studying the Russian language. Even though she became fluent she would always speak with an accent. She called herself "Catherine the Great" in order to draw authority from Peter the Great and she surrounded herself with competent advisors. Like Queen Elizabeth the 1st of Great Britain, Catherine's reign was known as a golden era. I'm not sure if it was entirely her doing or that of her advisors, but it was clear that she was pushing hard. As a bit of trivia, the term "Potemkin village" comes from her visit to Crimea. Grigory Potemkin, erected fake villages in order to give the appearance of a strong presence in the area. Thus her allies felt assured. Since then the term "Potemkin village" has been used to suggest deception. [10]

The Popes Are Reforming the Church Slowly

Pope Innocent the 13th bans the practice of nepotism... that is... handing off cushy jobs or land grants to relatives. He also reduces spending. He will hold the office for a few years and when he dies he will be succeeded by a man of few words... The Servant of God, Pope Benedict the 13th. He will abolish the lottery in Rome, and force a reduction in the lavish lifestyles in Rome. Benedict will also lift the ban on smoking. [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Popes were doing something about the corruption within the Church at that time. Of course they would never have been elected if others in the Church bureaucracy didn't want reform as well. We often complain about the guy at the top of an organization as setting the tone, but ultimately, he is only one man. A corrupt man lower in an organization will remain corrupt no matter how virtuous the top guy is. The Church had been trying to reform itself since the Middle Ages and it wrote out a list of its issues during the Reformation. It seemed at that time that it has finally convinced enough of its bureaucracy to implement that reform... mostly.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1721, Wikipedia.

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