Friday, February 12, 2016

History: The Year is 1730

I've uploaded year 1730 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Synagogue in New York City -- This more than the first synagogue.

Turnip Townshend's Farming Innovation -- The Viscount leaves government to become a farmer. He rotates his crops using turnips.

Rape upon Rape... a Comedy -- This is a satire on corruption in the justice system. I talk about the problem in plea bargaining.

The First Synagogue in New York City

The first Jewish congregation was established in New Amsterdam back in the 1650s. They were refugees from Brazil with nothing more than the clothes on their backs so they couldn't do much more than consecrate a Jewish cemetery. Now, after decades of renting, they have built a synagogue on Mill Street in lower Manhattan. Over the coming years, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue will move from building to building until 1897 when they will move into their modern location at Central Park West. It will become the oldest synagogue in the United States. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue is more important to the history of Jews in America than I can easily explain to a general audience. If you have been following along in the history segment, you may have noticed that some Christians were experimenting with religion and were making some radical changes. But other Christians didn't like that much experimentation. A few reforms? Sure. Radical changes? Not so much. The same thing happened within Judaism. There were Jews who thought that some ritual reforms were needed, but that any reforms should be done in a careful and systematic way. In the early 1900s, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue led the movement to slow down the experimentation within Judaism. Today, the rabbi of the synagogue is the tenth man to hold the position since the American Revolution. He is a Modern Orthodox rabbi which means he applies ancient Jewish tradition in a modern context. Thus the synagogue is maintaining its stance on change while being careful and methodical about it. [3] [4] [5]

Turnip Townshend's Farming Innovation

What would you do it you were sick of high political office and decided to retire? Well... you would plant turnips! Right? Charles Townshend is the 2nd Viscount Townshend and he is the British Secretary of State. He guides foreign policy, but it seems he can only reach compromise when he has the upper hand. He has been losing power to the British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, so he decides to pack it in and join the revolution... the British agricultural revolution. He returns to his lands in Norfolk and promotes a 4-crop rotation of wheat, barley, clover and turnips. He says that turnips are better in the ground than in the pot. This type of crop rotation is often called the Norfolk method. He didn't invent the system. It is Flemish in origin, but his name becomes associated with it. Thus he gets the nickname of "Turnip" Townshend. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This happens a lot where a certain idea becomes associated with a prominent person who didn't come up with the original idea but because of his celebrity or energy in promoting the idea, eventually is thought to be the inventor. That happened to William of Occam and Occam's Razor, Benjamin Franklin and the discovery of electricity, and in professional boxing with the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The 9th Marquess of Queensberry did NOT author the rules for boxing. He simply promoted them because he thought they were needed. The actual author of the rules was John Graham Chambers. Remember him? Neither do I. [9] [10] FYI, the Boston Massacre of 1770 was believed to be a reaction to the Townshend Acts of 1767 that punished the colonies for not complying with certain British laws such as the quartering of British soldiers. That was a DIFFERENT Charles Townshend... a grandson of "Turnip" Townshend. [11] [12]

Rape upon Rape... a Comedy

This play is a satire on corruption in the justice system. Henry Fielding will be known best as the author of the novel, "Tom Jones" but he has written several plays, many of them satires. "Rape upon Rape" is about two men who are accused of rape and then are raped by the system of justice. They come before Judge Squeezum who is corrupt, so they cook up a scheme to catch this corrupt judge by falsifying the evidence. In a sense, everyone is corrupt though some have good motives. Generally, the moral of the story is: "Two wrongs don't make a right." [13] [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Corruption is often born of good intentions. Men and women get processed through the justice system quickly if they agree to plead guilty to some lesser charge. Those who plead innocent slow the system to a crawl. Evidence must be collected. Witnesses must be interviewed. Lawyers must be consulted and everyone's schedules must agree. When little things go wrong, the trial is rescheduled. I've seen men wait a year... easy. If a prisoner can't make bail, he sits in his cell and waits. As he waits, he can lose his apartment, his car, his job and his wife when her bad situation is made worse without a husband. Plea bargaining speeds up justice for the guilty, but it can also tempt the innocent into accepting a bad offer just to make the pain stop. Eliminating plea bargaining would force the prosecutor to consider how good a case he really has. Criminals would go free for lack of evidence but fewer of the innocent would be punished simply because they declared their innocence. [17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1730, Wikipedia.

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