Monday, May 30, 2016

History: The Year is 1797

I've uploaded year 1797 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Mutiny for Higher Pay -- Several mutinies lead to reform of the Royal Navy.

Millions for Defense, not a Cent for Tribute. America's First Undeclared War -- When negotiations break down with France, America does something short of war... a quasi war.

In Other News -- USS Constitution launches, The flag of Italy is made, The German National Anthem has its beginning and Admiral Nelson has his arm amputated.

A Mutiny for Higher Pay

Mutiny on a British warship is an exceedingly foolish thing to contemplate, but driven by a lack of food and no pay raise since 1658, the sailors currently at the Spithead anchorage conspire to protest their treatment. They stage a two-week work-stoppage. Officers are prevented from leaving, except for a hated few. Otherwise, normal respect for officers is maintained. The sailors promise that if the French set sail, they will suspend their protest and fight. Otherwise, the sailors have taken an oath amongst themselves not to cave until their central demands are met. This strike is seen by the English government and the man-in-the-street as endangering the safety of the nation. Nevertheless, the demands are met and the sailors are pardoned. It does not go so well with the mutiny at Nore anchorage. The leader, Richard Parker, makes sweeping demands, including peace with France. After a short time, his fellow sailors start deserting. The mutiny collapses and Parker is hung along with 29 co-conspirators. Several other mutinies occur this year which result in reforms to the Royal Navy, and the prohibition of (secular) oaths that conflict with the duties of a sailor. Religious oaths are trickier and remain under discussion. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The government had a fixed pay schedule, so a reasonable sailor's pay in 1658 was reduced considerably by 1797 due to inflation and the general economic turmoil of the times. If you can believe it, the sailors did NOT complain about the flogging per se. They complained about the unjust use of flogging by certain officers. For example, three sailors were killed when an officer threatened to flog the last man to reach the deck from their positions in the rigging. (That is, amongst the sails.) The crew mutinied shortly thereafter. In most cases, the sailors were treated worse than Australian-bound prisoners, so they tried to commit infractions that would justify sending them to Australia as a prisoner. It really was a better deal. Press-gang sailors had it worse since they also endured the disdain of the career sailors. (A press gang is like shanghaiing someone, but with government approval... like the draft... only more sudden.) [5]

Millions for Defense, not a Cent for Tribute. America's First Undeclared War

The USA has run up a heck of a bill with France but does it still owe the money? The original French monarchy is gone and the government of France keeps changing. They are currently on their 3rd government depending on how you count it. Frankly it is a dictatorship. It is also interdicting American shipping, seizing over 300 American merchant ships. A new treaty must be negotiated, but negotiations cannot start because certain French officials want a hefty bribe first. President John Adams recalls his negotiating team. His political opponents assume that the negotiations have failed because his incompetence, so they demand the French dispatches. Adams is forced to turn them over, but he substitutes the letters X, Y, and Z for the names of French officials demanding bribes. It becomes known as the XYZ Affair. By the rules of the Senate, Thomas Jefferson is required to read the dispatches out loud. Abigail Adams delights as she watches him squirm. The public is outraged. They shout, "Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute." John Adams manages to avoid outright war. He gets funding for finishing the Navy frigates, and runs his own Quasi-War... an undeclared war with France. This war will continue until 1800. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... there was an undeclared war before the 20th century... eh? Although Congress did not specifically declare war against France, they did support and fund the protection of American commercial vessels. It also authorized shooting French naval vessels. While that certainly seems like a declaration of war, the resolution did not use the word "war." Congress could have easily mentioned war whether Adams liked it or not. Two thirds of the Congress were Thomas Jefferson republicans. They could have stuffed "war" down Adams' throat whether he liked it or not. Instead, they authorized everything but a formal war. As the modern Supreme Court reads this sort of situation, the Court can only intervene when there is a full-blown conflict between the Congress and the President. That didn't happen with the Iraq War under President Bush the Younger, and it didn't happen with the Quasi-War under President Adams the Elder. That is... interesting. [11] [12]

In Other News

  • The USS Constitution launches. Its 1st mission will be to protect American shipping from the French in what will be called the Quasi-War. [13] [14] [15]
  • Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson loses his arm. Nelson takes a musket ball to the arm, so it is amputated without anesthetic. He complains that the knife is too cold and recommends a warmed knife in the future. [16] [17]
  • The flag of Italy is first used. After the Milan region is conquered by Napoleon, he has a new flag made using the old Milan colors plus the green of the Milan guard. It is styled after the French flag, naturally. [18]
  • Deutschland über alles (Germany above all else) Joseph Haydn adapts a traditional melody for a song to honor Emperor Franz. It will one day become the National Anthem of Germany. After World War 2, they will skip the "Germany above all else" stanza. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1797, Wikipedia.

Friday, May 27, 2016

History: The Year is 1796

I've uploaded year 1796 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

George Washington's Farewell Address -- He warns of the Military-Industrial complex... or maybe that was Eisenhower.

In Other News -- Macrobiotics, the first prisoner of war camp and Napoleon is kicking butt in Italy.

George Washington's Farewell Address

President George Washington had his Farewell Address ready a long time ago, but he was convinced to take one more term as President. The nation needed time to stabilize. As his second term comes to an end, he offers advice and a warning not to consolidate the powers of government. The powers are kept separate because, with the best of intentions, close alliances and friendships will lead to despotism every time. That same rule applies to foreign friendships, favoring one nation over another. It is a subtle seduction that creates enemies amongst nations not favored and would force America to support another nation's interests when it might not serve America's own. As the war on religion rages in France, he reminds Americans that all religions are different shades of the same principles that should guide government. Finally, he begs God's forgiveness and the nation's indulgence for his mistakes: [1] [2] [3]
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. -- George Washington (1796) [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
George Washington also warned against government debt (oops!) and building too large a military establishment. That warning reminded me of President Eisenhower's Farewell Address of 1961. We owe that man so much. He warns of the military-industrial complex which is the military bureaucracy coupled with the arms industry. We need their services but we should not take council of their fears. We must verify what they tell us because every concession made for our safety, erodes our freedom. FYI, here is the quote from Eisenhower's Farewell address and a link to an edited version on YouTube [Eisenhower Video Clip] ...
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. [5]

In Other News

  • Macrobiotics, or The Art to Prolong One's Life: Christoph Hufeland coins the word "Macrobiotic". He is given a professorship at Jena college in Germany. Out of the 900 students enrolled at the college, 500 attend his class. [6] [7]
  • The first prisoner-of-war camp: Great Britain has taken a lot of prisoners in its war against France, so they build a prisoner complex to hold them all, the first of its kind. [8]
  • Napoleon is kicking Italy's backside. The General has married Josephine which has helped him politically. He is in his 20s but he is appointed commander-in-chief of the French forces in Italy. He is a ball of fire... and he loves Josephine... but not her little dog. It bites. [1] [9]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1796, Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

History: The Year is 1795

I've uploaded year 1795 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Marriage of Inconvenience and Blaming the Victim -- The future King George the 4th as run up a heck of a bill. His father won't pay it off unless the Prince marries Caroline of Brunswick. I talk about the economic conditions that forced this move and how the Dole creates more problems for the poor than it solves.

A Treaty Between Friends: America, Spain and Great Britain -- A trade agreement and definition of borders is established first with Great Britain and then with Spain. Critical for the expansion of the United States.

In Other News -- Jim Beam, Seditious meetings and the Father of Canning.

A Marriage of Inconvenience and Blaming the Victim

The Prince of Wales, the future King, has a BIG gambling problem. Parliament provides him a generous allowance, but he has squandered that and more. His debt now stands at 650,000 pounds sterling (or about 88 million dollars in today's money). His father, King George the 3rd, refuses to help unless the Prince marries and produces an heir. He is already married to a commoner, but the King did not approve the marriage in advance so it doesn't count. A suitable bride is arranged, his 1st cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, a woman he has never met. On paper she looks good. She is the daughter of a German king, and no one says that she is ugly, but she has issues. She is utterly lacking in tact, patience, good manners and she smells. Other than that, she is shallow and flirtatious, which, in 1795, translates to "slutty". The couple meet a few days before they are married. He embraces her, then pleads illness and walks out, calling for his brandy. He spends his honeymoon passed out in front of the fireplace or carousing with the drunken louts he calls friends. The unhappy couple will produce 1 child, a girl, and then separate. The rumors of Caroline's many lovers will become an embarrassment to the Prince and an even greater embarrassment when he becomes King. Eventually, she will be paid to go away. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Caroline's personal issues before the marriage were not a secret, but the Prince went ahead with the marriage anyway. That suggests his economic problems were worse than anyone suspected. The British economy was in trouble. People were starving. (To Caroline's credit, she adopted several poor orphans.) England introduced the Dole to supplement the income of poor farmers. The result of the Dole was to suppress agricultural innovation. When the government gave the farmer money, he stopped looking for efficient ways to farm. A guaranteed livable wage smothered initiative and kept people in poverty. In the 1960s, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democrat) commissioned a study on the Dole. Group 1 was given information on existing job training and education programs. Group 2 was given the same information and money to push their income over the poverty line. The results were devastating for those advocating the Dole. In general, if poor people took the Dole, they remained just above the poverty line and did no better. If poor people were informed but given no money, they usually worked their way out of poverty and kept on improving because frankly, poverty sucks and they didn't want to go through that again. Naturally, the Senator was criticized for the study, and that was how the phrase, "blaming the victim" entered the national lexicon. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

A Treaty Between Friends: America, Spain and Great Britain

Two separate treaties this year are monumentally important to the economic well-being and expansion of the United States. The Treaty of Friendship with Spain is signed this year. It defines the borders of Spanish West Florida, and it establishes a trade relationship between Spain and the United States. Cargo will be allowed to travel along the Mississippi through New Orleans without paying huge fees. This sudden friendship is prompted by the Jay Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation. It was negotiated with the British by John Jay who ignored his official instructions and thus exceeded his authority to negotiate the treaty in the first place. Nevertheless, when he returns with a signed document, all that stuff about legality is swept aside because, frankly, it is a good deal. Alexander Hamilton and George Washington want it. It defines the border of Canada, shuts down British forts in the Northwest Territory... this time for real... and establishes trade limits with the British colonies. The legal limit was zero before now. Higher than zero is better, and Captain Nelson won't be forced to sink American shipping. It's a win-win. War is averted... for now. [12] [8] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Something else was going on. Spain controlled the Mississippi River. President George Washington realized that the United States expansion would eventually reach the Mississippi, so the most honest and straight forward thing to do would have been to negotiate a treaty to move Spain out and let America expand, but Washington didn't want to do that. He figured that Spain was weakening. In the following decades they couldn't possibly hold on to their territories in North America. They weren't sending any colonists to West Florida. They were only maintaining garrisons which were a drain on Spain's economy... not an asset. Washington also knew that American colonists would push west regardless of any treaties the United States might negotiate. Those territories would be overrun, but not right away. Washington was content to let Spain hold those territories until Americans were ready to occupy them. By then Spain would be more inclined to release them. FYI, in those days West Florida was defined as the region called the Florida pan handle and extending all the way to the Mississippi River. That would include the bottom half of the State of Mississippi and Alabama. Yes. Mobile, Alabama was once part of Florida. [15]

In Other News

  • Jacob Beam sells his first barrel of corn whiskey. They call it "Old Jake Beam". The name will change to 'Jim Beam' after Prohibition and eventually be sold to a Japanese holding company. I don't care if the Japanese own the label. It is what is inside that counts. [16] [17] [18]
  • Seditious meetings are now illegal in England. The Reign of Terror in France has spooked the British and protestors throw stones at King George the 3rd, so unapproved gatherings are now limited to 50 people and anyone speaking treason against the King will be arrested. [19] [20] [21]
  • The Father of Canning begins his experiments with preserving food. Nicolas Appert is a Paris chef who uses jars, corks and sealing wax. He over boils them to preserve the food inside. By 1810 a British inventor will introduce the tin can. [22] [8] [23]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1795, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

History: The Year is 1794

I've uploaded year 1794 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Captain Nelson is Master after God in the British West Indies -- The USA becomes subject to the British navigation laws because it is now a "foreign power" and no longer British.

The Whiskey Rebellion -- Western American citizens rebel against the whiskey tax because it is a burden to their region. (It is).

In Other News -- The Reign of Terror is over, Erasmus Darwin suggests that animals evolve and the US Navy is established.

Captain Nelson is Master after God in the British West Indies

When the military are sent by government to enforce a law, one cannot expect them to act like policemen or security guards. Lord Horatio Nelson will one day be honored with a massive column topped by a statue in Trafalgar Square, but right now he is a captain charged with enforcing the British Navigation Law in the West Indies. To speak plainly, the Navigation Law is a market protection scheme where British-flagged ships and ships with a majority of British sailors are allowed to trade in British ports, but all others can take a hike. Nelson's job is to interdict foreign shipping, and after the American Revolution, the United States has become "foreign shipping". Captain Nelson is advising American ships of their violation, and chasing them out of port. When he sees the same American ships returning, he blocks them. This has caused business to drop off, so the colonial governors complain to the King's Attorney-General. By next year, Nelson will receive new orders from his admiral, telling him to let American ships into British ports. Captain Nelson will tell his admiral to stuff it. Nelson has reviewed the law. There was a recent attempt in Parliament to grant an exception for American shipping, but it failed. Thus Nelson will view his new orders as "illegal," and frankly, he is the ship's "Master after God," a captain of a British warship and he will use his best judgement without second-guessing from those who are not on the scene... not even from his dithering admiral. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Admiral did not bring Captain Nelson up on charges because the board of review would have been made up of captains just like Nelson, each believing himself to be a Master after God and required to retain his authority to make judgements on the scene. A captain was given such power because sending a message back, asking for instructions, could take weeks or months. Captains were expected to make decisions of life and death, right there, right now and they had to be so certain that only God could rightly second-guess them. The system had to work that way or it would all fail. In the modern day, we expect our law enforcement to be in constant contact with headquarters, as if officers in the field are puppets. When an officer makes a judgement call he is often second-guessed. "Why didn't you call in?" Often there is no time to call in. It is at those times when he must be a Master after God. Does he have the character and discipline to make such judgements? I'm not sure the people hiring him attempt to figure that out any more. I'm not even sure that officers are judging themselves that way. If they do, they can look the public in the eye and say, "I made the best decision as God gave me the wit to do. That is what you pay me to do. I could no other." [2]

The Whiskey Rebellion

American foreign policy teeters on a knife's edge. The United States declares itself neutral in the wars of Europe. This is a good decision in the long run, but it has immediate economic consequences. In a practical sense, neutrality means that America cannot sell its goods in European markets. For example: if America attempts to sell goods to France, the British and Austrians will object. (This may explain why Captain Nelson has been interdicting American shipping lately.) The United States is a market for European goods, but Europe does not buy much from America in comparison. James Madison wanted to place an excise tax on foreign goods, but Alexander Hamilton blocked him. An excise tax would destroy the US economy, so Hamilton proposed a tax on locally produced distilled spirits. It is called the "whiskey tax". While it is an "avoidable tax" in most of American society, in the western regions, the production of whiskey is a means of preserving and storing excess grain. Whiskey is also used for barter, so a tax on whiskey is an onerous burden in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky. For most Americans, the Federal government is a distant thing, like a king who carelessly imposes taxes on his helpless subjects, and didn't they just fight a war about that? Pennsylvanian distillers stop paying the tax. Federal marshals show up and someone shoots at them. 500 protestors attack the head tax collector's home. George Washington rides out with 13,000 militiamen to put down the rebellion, but by the time he gets there, the protestors have dispersed. A few leaders are arrested but later they are pardoned or released. The Federal government has proven that it can maintain order, but they still can't collect the tax. Thomas Jefferson will sign the repeal of the tax 1801. [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
BTW, the Sons of Liberty built a fake guillotine to remind the American government where the Whiskey Rebellion might lead. I'd call that a threat. The Reign of Terror in France came to an end in 1794, but repercussions were still being felt. The government of the United States was never a sure thing. Today, we look back and see the path they took. We wonder at their genius, but historians have smoothed over a lot of the rough spots. (Don't forget that I'm smoothing over a lot of rough spots too. When I focus on one aspect of history, the rest goes unnoticed.) The republican leadership feared that the Federalists were leading them back to a monarchy. Alexander Hamilton's efforts were critical to the success of the United States but he almost brought the whole thing down. The Founders had their faults. They were not gods. Many of them were not even very nice people, but they balanced each other out. What grew out of those days was a government very close to what Thomas Jefferson envisioned, but it has been moving toward Federalism once again. Our Congressmen have become minor princes and our Senators are minor kings. We need to close up that museum in Washington and move everyone into a proper office space, or simply let them work out of their homes. We no longer require leaders to be in the same room to negotiate and it will be a lot easier on their marriages too. [6]

In Other News

  • The leaders of the French Rein of Terror are beheaded. Good. [7]
  • The US Navy is established. The Navy has been around in various forms since 1775 but this year plans are authorized for six new frigates at a cost of over half a million dollars. [8]
  • Erasmus Darwin publishes "Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life". He is the grandfather of Charles Darwin. Erasmus suggests that life might have evolved. [9]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1794, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

History: The Year is 1793

I've uploaded year 1793 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Off with Their Heads! The Reign of Terror is Here -- It is really horrible when in the name of love, liberty and brotherhood, thousands of people must lose their heads in France.

I Owe My Soul to the Company Store -- Sam Slater builds a town around his factory to attract workers that worry about their little girls traveling so far to work. I talk about child labor laws and the family farm.

In Other News -- The cotton gin, runaway slaves and Canada abolishing slavery, almost.

Off with Their Heads! The Reign of Terror is Here

The King is dead. The Queen is next. The French Revolution has just jumped the rails. Last year over 200 Catholics priests were murdered in what is called the September Massacre. France has established the Committee of Public Safety, granting it sweeping powers: "...a hand to grasp the weapon of the Revolutionary Tribunal." [1] But these are not patriotic Sons of Liberty singing songs as they dump tea into the harbor. Saint-Just and Robespierre (ROBES-pee-AIR) are power-hungry ideologues and they hold the "blade of the law". Death to the counter-revolutionaries is the rule... in the name of "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). Oh dear God, they said it EXACTLY that way as they murdered thousands and thousands and thousands. [2] [3]
It is time that equality bore its scythe above all heads.
It is time to horrify all the conspirators.
So legislators, place Terror on the order of the day!
Let us be in revolution, because everywhere counter-revolution is being woven by our enemies.
The blade of the law should hover over all the guilty.
-- The Committee of Public Safety [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Famine, economic collapse and loss of confidence in the leadership spooked the majority of people into looking for someone to blame... and the legislators wanted them to blame anyone but the legislators. The solution was the same: death to those who did not love equality and liberty. You say that it can't happen in America, but it almost did. In the 1960s, Bill Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground. He was blowing up government buildings, and planning reeducation centers for the counter-revolutionaries. (Exact words) His Weather Underground terrorists figured about 25 million Americans would have to be eliminated. (That means, murdered.) FYI, Bill Ayers is currently a retired professor of education. He taught teachers how to teach your children. So... when I get upset about Christians forced to decorate gay wedding cakes, or "transgendered" boys lurking in the girl's locker room, I remember that there is some guy out there who is saying, "If only conservative people like Alex would go away, we would all be better off." And by "better off" he means "himself in power" and by "go away," he means... well... you know what he means. [5] [6]

I Owe My Soul to the Company Store

Samuel Slater is an Englishman who has come to America bringing with him an entrepreneurial spirit and the secret of the Industrial Age: the mechanized textile mill. That is why the English call him "Slater the Traitor." England has been importing American cotton and exporting cheap textiles to America. That works OK for the South (well... it has its problems), but New England would like the business. Currently, cotton is processed by hand at home, usually by young girls. Getting them out of the house and down to the factory is a problem. Slater pays the Mill Girls more than they could make at home but mothers are worried about their little girls when they must travel so far from home. (We are talking about girls aged 7 to 12. They really are "little girls".) Slater builds an entire town next to the factory and moves the families. He also provides schooling for the kids on Sunday and a company store. (shudder!) Hiring such young girls seems normal to the families since children at home learn how to make yarn at that age anyway. With the family there to supervise them, what could go wrong? [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It starts out with the best of intentions and as long as the parents are there supervising the children, what business is it of mine? However, in those early days the factory machines were quite dangerous. Of course, if a child was forced to work long hours, the parents were stuck. After all... would they chance being thrown out of their home if they complained about little Suzie working too long? That is why child labor laws were established. I'm OK with that, but it gets a little weird when they try to apply those same child labor laws to a farmer when he sends his own kid out to collect eggs, or milk the goats. I understand farms can be dangerous and the work can be tough at times, but that is why the parents are there... at the family farm. It's not an agri-mega-monster-food-factory. It's their HOME! [10] [11] [12]

In Other News

  • Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin. "Gin" is short for "Engine". It removes the seeds from cotton, and turns that crappy cotton in the South into a cash crop. It also makes makes slavery profitable. [13]
  • Law-abiding citizens MUST return runaway slaves. Hey! It's in the Constitution! (It really is.) The slave states wanted to make it clear to non-slave states that IT'S THE LAW! [14] [15] [16]
  • Slavery is abolished in Upper Canada (sort of). No new slaves can be brought in. Existing slaves remain so until death. Children of slaves are slaves until age 25. So... not exactly abolishing slavery but getting there. [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1793, Wikipedia.

Monday, May 23, 2016

History: The Year is 1792

I've uploaded year 1792 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Paris in the Spring and Guillotines -- Dr. Guillotin suggests a killing machine for capital punishment as a mercy. It is eventually named after him. It is used for the first time this year. The crowd is disappointed.

The New York Stock Exchange and the US Mint are Established -- I talk about the history of the NYSE and how difficult it is to create a good exchange in metals between silver and copper.

Let There be Light, Heat and High Speed Communication -- Gas lighting, blast furnaces and semaphore towers.

Paris in the Spring and Guillotines

And so the beheadings begin with new death penalty legislation in France. Capital punishment should be more merciful. (In these days "the rack" is considered fairly reasonable for the traditional law-and-order guys but we are talking more merciful than that.) Dr. Guillotin has suggested a killing machine... a frame holding a weighted blade which drops. The head is sliced off at the neck in one stroke. Done. It is to be applied equally to aristocrat and commoner alike. It is first used on a highway robber. The details are unclear, but apparently he killed someone during a robbery. On April 25th at 3:30 in the afternoon, Nicolas Pelletier, climbs up to the machine. He is wearing a red shirt, and the execution device is painted red. A large crowd awaits the event. In less than a minute the deed is done. The crowd is disappointed. They had hoped it would last longer. At least with a hanging the guy kicks a little. But it is the law and it will remain the only form of capital punishment in France until 1981 with the exception of military punishment where a firing squad might be more practical. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, King Louis the 16th had his visit with the guillotine in January of 1793, followed by his wife later that year. At first, the machine was named after King Louis (called the louisette) and later took the name of Dr. Guillotin. Please note that he did not invent the device. The doctor was against the death penalty but if they were going have a death penalty, he figured it might as well be quick and sure. Breaking-by-the-wheel might take you days to die, pecked by birds, your bones broken by hammers, unless you were given the "blow of mercy" or in French... coup de grâce (COO-deh-GRASS). The idea of what constitutes a merciful death (or whether we should have a death penalty at all) changes as the public's sensibilities change. From a biblical perspective, the death penalty is allowed for certain cases but the court procedures are not defined in the Bible. It has been left to us to decide how evidence is gathered, who may testify and to decide what a person's state of mind was at the time. That offers a lot of leeway. [6]

The New York Stock Exchange and the US Mint are Established

In 1792 if you want to find a stock broker, what do you do? You look for a coffee house. (And if you want to find your Congressman you go to the local tavern. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to work.) Currently, the stock brokers have outgrown the old coffee house and they want to buy their own place. So they meet under the buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street and sign an agreement to open the Tontine Coffee House. (A "tontine' is a type of investment plan.) The agreement they sign is called the Buttonwood Agreement, after the tree. They don't know where this is going, but they start off trading in stock for the First Bank of the United States... an early version of the Federal Reserve. Over the years the Stock Exchange will move several times, sometimes renting, and one time settling into a building until a fire guts the place. In 1817 they will call themselves the 'New York Stock and Exchange Board'. Much later they will shorten it to the New York Stock Exchange. By 1865, they will move into the first of 3 buildings at the site which constitutes their modern location at Wall Street and Broad. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In a related subject, the US Coinage Act was passed in 1792 establishing the United States Mint. The silver dollar (filled with 24.057 grams of pure silver) became legal tender, but the copper 1 cent coin was not. Many merchants refused to accept it because it was too bulky. It was almost the size of a half dollar. When you are dealing in metal as a medium of exchange, and you want general equivalence, imagine how much copper it would take to equal the value of silver. As of this writing, 24 grams of silver is equal in value to a little over 6 pounds of copper. That would mean a copper cent should weigh almost an ounce if you want 100 copper coins to equal a silver dollar. You will also need big pockets. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

Let There be Light, Heat and High Speed Communication

  • William Murdoch applies gas lighting to his own home. He is using coal-gas (later called town gas) which is a by-product of the coking process. By the 1850s, town gas will be used for cooking and heating too. It will be supplemented with natural gas in the 1890s. Town gas will be replaced by natural gas by the 1960s. [17] [18] [19] [20]
  • The 1st blast furnace in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is built. Significant iron smelting won't start until after the War of 1812 when there will be a serious shortage of refined metal coming from Great Britain. (It will take a while to resume trade after the war.) [21] [22]
  • Semaphore towers allow high speed communication over long distances in France. (These semaphores have large arms with paddles, and they are mechanically manipulated.) Relay stations are set up for longer distances. In less than 20 years the heliograph will be invented (using the sun and mirrors) and the electrical telegraph. We are on our way! [23] [24]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1792, Wikipedia.

Friday, May 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1791

I've uploaded year 1791 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Rights of Man and Two Old Ladies -- Thomas Paine publishes The Rights of Man in defense of the French Revolution and is embarrassed as the violence escalates. The King's two aunts are waylaid as they travel to Rome to attend Easter services there instead of in France.

The Indians' Victory and St. Clair's Defeat -- The Indians score a victory over General St. Clair. George Washington asserts executive privilege.

In Other News -- The ATF begins, Virginia is a state and the Brandenburg Gate is completed.

The Rights of Man and Two Old Ladies

As Easter approaches, the stuff is about to hit the fan. By law, the clergy MUST take an oath supporting the French Constitution or they are forbidden to say mass. This law also nationalizes much of Catholic property in France. ("Nationalize" means "confiscate".) Only a few bishops and about half the priests recite the oath. Non-oath-takers are threatened with violence. The King's two elderly aunts are traditional Catholics and decide to travel to Rome to attend Easter services, but the people are out of control, so the two aunts require an escort of mounted infantry to travel. Nevertheless, they are waylaid and held for ten days as their legal defense explains that the new Constitution guarantees the freedom of travel. The National Assembly actually debates the issue of whether "two old ladies" can travel to Rome to attend church services! They arrive in Rome and decide to take a world tour. They have escaped. In June, the King and Queen make a run for it too, dressed in plain clothes and traveling as commoners. They are caught and imprisoned. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
First, the justification used for arresting the King's aunts was the enforcement of the separation of church and state. Apparently forcing people to attend a state-approved church was required for a better democracy. If you think that a democracy cannot possibly interfere with your right to practice your religion, think again. I'm Jewish (Alex Shrugged) and I KNOW the state is trying to interfere with my religious practice, and it is NOT due to crazy Christians nor wild-eyed Muslims, but SECULAR people who think my religious practices are primitive and cruel. All I have to say to them is... F. U. (Forget You) Secondly, the French nobility was fleeing France because of the building threat. Thomas Paine had just published his famous "Rights of Man" in response to criticism of the violence of the French Revolution. Technically speaking, it was a brilliant piece of logic, but reality interfered. (Thomas Jefferson was similarly embarrassed.) [9]

The Indians' Victory and St. Clair's Defeat

Along the Wabash River in the Northwest Territory, General St. Clair and his 1,000 men set up camp. President George Washington has sent him to quell Indian violence. Treaties have been signed with the Indians, but immigrants continue to pour into the area, running roughshod over any territorial promises. The US government is not directing these new immigrants to harass the Indians, but they are hoping that the Indians will eventually leave. Instead, the Indians have decided to fight. The Indians have been shadowing the General's troops and they have noticed that as the watch changes at breakfast time, the troops set down their weapons. That is when they strike. They hit hard. St. Clair pulls back to reorder his troops. They need a break out, so they fix bayonets and charge. They are beaten back so they charge again. The dead and wounded are piling up. Finally, another bayonet charge clears the way for a few to escape, including General St. Clair. He will answer to Congress for the deaths of over 600 of his men and he will be found not guilty. President George Washington will claim Executive Privilege when Congress demands information on the expedition. The battle between the President and Congress has begun. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. I know what you are thinking. How could the General possibly be found not guilty? Well, as Donald Rumsfeld once said, (paraphrasing) you don't go to war with the forces you would like, but with the forces you have. General St. Clair's troops were near the end of their short enlistment, poorly equipped and unprepared for the mission. In the modern day they would have NEVER been sent out that way, but this was the early days of organizing an army. Washington asked the General to resign, and he did. A couple of years later a well-prepared force was sent and it was no contest. I take no joy is saying that. The general plan, as Washington saw it, was to sign treaties and allow weaker forces to occupy the land (such as the Indians or the Spanish near the Mississippi) and then let new immigrants overwhelm them as they moved west. He knew he couldn't stop the immigrants anyway, so he used them in his policy for the expansion of the USA. [15]

In Other News

  • Here comes the ATF! (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) Congress imposes a tax on distilled spirits. The Whiskey Rebellion is a few years away. [16]
  • Vermont is admitted as the 14th state. It separated itself from New York 14 years ago thanks to Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. [17]
  • The United States Bill of Rights is ratified. 12 Articles are voted upon. 10 are accepted, becoming the Bill of Rights. [18] [19]
  • The Brandenburg Gate is completed as a symbol of peace. In modern times it will serve as a checkpoint between West and East Germany and as a symbol for the Berlin Wall. [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1791, Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1790

I've uploaded year 1790 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Key to Liberty is More than Revolution -- The Key to the Bastille represent liberty so Lafayette gifts it to George Washington in appreciation. I talk about what went wrong with the French Revolution.

Say Good-Bye to Benjamin Franklin -- His belief is God is simple and like most things from Benjamin Franklin, profound.

In Other News -- UFOs, American patent law, and Washington DC!

The Key to Liberty is More than Revolution

One year after the storming of the Bastille in Paris, most people believe that the French Revolution is over. Even King Louis the 16th has declared himself "at the head of the Revolution." (Yes. His head will figure prominently in this Revolution, but not this year.) Work on the French Constitution is going slowly, but optimism reigns. Lafayette is commander-in-chief of the newly organized French National Guard. Last year he was presented with the Key to the Bastille, now a symbol of French liberty. It weighs more than a pound, so it is not the kind of key one carries around in one's pocket. He sends the key to his mentor, George Washington, as a gift in appreciation as if to say, "You are the one who made this happen." On July 14th, the French celebrate the new Federation of France. It will later be known as Bastille Day. In France, Lafayette is attempting to duplicate what George Washington did in America, but like riding a tiger, he can't control where it goes and he can't jump off without a plan for the tiger's teeth. (In two years he will evade a French arrest order and escape to the Austrian Netherlands where he will cool his heels in prison for 5 years.) [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... it was a big love-fest in France. What went wrong? First, let's remember that we are a modern society looking back at a transition to what we would call a modern government, but to THEM it was a system that hadn't been seen since the ancient days of Athens and Rome. The only example they had was the USA and its new Constitution which was already being changed through the Bill of Rights. Under such circumstances, normal people would wait and see before adopting it for themselves. But a weak monarchy, food riots and near financial collapse were driving the French to make a radical change before they were prepared for it. The King was beheaded in 1793 but he was doing something critical that he needed to continue doing during that transition. (In this case he could have lent legitimacy to the process by giving it final approval.) In a modern context, it might seem that the boss is kicking back while you do all the work making widgets, but he is doing something. He may not be doing it well, but he is doing it. If he suddenly drops dead, the whole business can come apart unless there are people already in place to keep things going. I am thinking of an executive secretary or a floor manager or his buddy Bill who has been feeding him business all these years. Otherwise, once you finish making that last widget, you are going to be wondering, "What do I do next?" [7]

Say Good-Bye to Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin has been sick for a while. During the Constitutional Convention in 1787 he had to be carried to the Hall in a special chair so that he could attend. Two years ago when he was too sick to attend the July 4th celebrations, they arranged for the parade to pass by his window. He noted that "the clergy of different Christian denominations, with the rabbi of the Jews, walked arm in arm." And a month before he passes, he writes to Reverand Stiles, the President of Yale, "I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children." Working to the last, he completes a letter to Thomas Jefferson regarding a question on diplomacy. His fever has worsened and he is having trouble breathing. His daughter, Sally, tells him that she is praying for his recovery. He replies, "I hope not." Then an abscess bursts in his lungs. There are no last words... only holding hands until he passes. His tombstone is simple. It reads, "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin." He was 84 years old. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
And in case anyone was wondering, 20,000 people showed up for his funeral. I was going to write a list of Benjamin Franklin's accomplishments but I can't do it justice in a few words, so I'll repeat the quote that Walter Isaacson used in his biography of Benjamin Franklin. It is something that Franklin wrote in his early years as a printer... an epitaph.
The body of
B. Franklin, Printer;
(Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents worn out,
and stripped of its lettering and gilding)
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost:
For it will, (as he believed) appear once more,
In a new and more elegant edition,
Revised and corrected
By the Author. [13]

In Other News

  • A UFO touches down in France. French peasants actually touch the glowing globe of fire. What is it really? No idea. [14]
  • The First USA Patent Law is passed. You must prove that your device is useful? Back to the drawing board. [15]
  • Washington, D.C., founded. Hooray...? George Washington is authorized to select the exact site. [12] [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1790, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

History: The Year is 1789

I've uploaded year 1789 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

God is in His Heaven and a New Government is in America -- Elections are held. Washington wins. A new government is created. I talk about how people go overboard when protecting the dignity of the President.

Storming the Bastille -- The French commoners want weapons to defend themselves from an out of control government so they storm the Bastille looking for weapons. There are none.

In Other News -- Jefferson is named SecState and he doesn't know it.

God is in His Heaven and a New Government is in America

"We are in a wilderness without a single footstep to guide us." --James Madison, June 1789
The Constitution of the United States is now law in 11 states. North Carolina and Rhode Island are still debating. Elections are held and it is George Washington vs. 14 other candidates. (Guess who wins?) According to the Constitution, the loser with the most electoral votes becomes Vice-President. That is John Adams. Believe it or not, the old Continental Congress cannot get a quorum to dissolve itself so two members meet in a tavern, adjourn and fade away. The 1st Congress of the United States meets in the recently renovated Federal Hall in New York. Church bells ring. There are no political parties but some representatives self-identify as "Federalists". Although George Washington is sympathetic with the Federalists, he avoids any Party affiliation. The Anti-federalists want a Bill of Rights and James Madison made a campaign promise to propose changes to the Constitution. Few people want to touch the founding document so Madison's proposal is sent to committee and after much wrangling, a final draft of 10 Amendments, a Bill of Rights, is approved and sent to the states for ratification. No one was punched in the nose. (That was a real possibility.) [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
With fear and trembling I point out that the Continental Congress never formally dissolved itself. Therefore, it is possible (but unlikely) that it could reconvene for a special session in the future. While the new Congress was at work on the Bill of Rights, the new Senate was deciding on how to address the President. John Adams pushed for "His Highness." Others suggested "His Excellency" which was the title Washington used during the War. They settled on "Mr. President." Lest anyone think that the debate was frivolous, the next time you visit the US Capital Building Rotunda, look up. God is in His Heaven, and so is George Washington! The fresco is entitled "The Apotheosis of Washington," (ah-pah-thee-OH-sis) meaning the deification of Washington. It was completed in 1863. I recall a controversial painting portraying President Obama as Jesus on the Cross. This is nothing new. It is just new to this generation. We will survive. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Storming the Bastille (bass-STEEL)

There are riots in the streets of Paris. No one knows it yet, but it is the beginning of a revolution. Encouraged by the successful transition of the United States from a monarchy to a republic, Lafayette has introduced his own version of the Declaration of Independence to the Assembly. King Louis the 16th has called for a meeting of the Three Estates where they will hash out France's financial crisis. The Third Estate (the commoners) want to meet with the King, but the King's son, the heir apparent, has died of tuberculosis. The King dithers as he always does. The Queen can no longer assert herself in politics. It is believed that she has sent all of France's money to her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor. (In fact, a great deal of France's money supported the American Revolution in the hope of opening new trade markets. That idea didn't pan out.) Then the Third Estate declares itself to be a National Assembly and it is writing out a Constitution! The King tells them to leave but they refuse. Then the bayonets come out and it gets real ugly. The next day the people believe that they need weapons to defend themselves (true enough) and they believe (erroneously) that they can find those weapons in the Bastille. When the dust settles, 100 lay dead and 70 wounded. The gates of the Bastille are open. 7 prisoners walk out. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. The confusion about the Bastille was caused by press propaganda. As Mark Twain once remarked, "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." The Bastille was a prison for high-class offenders. You could even bring a servant along. The King had been locking up satirists and journalists for bad-mouthing the Queen, so they wrote essays on the abuses they suffered and the many prisoners the King had locked up. (Remember. There were 7.) Frankly, the King was depressed and just going through the motions. Coupled with the financial crisis and crop failures, the people no longer felt secure in their lives or their property. When the government is no longer able to handle a crisis, the people will do anything to make the crisis go away, even if it is the WRONG thing, and most often, it is the wrong thing if they haven't thought it through. [17]

In Other News

  • Thomas Jefferson is named Secretary of State. He is in France right now and doesn't realize that he is now part of the Washington Administration. [18]
  • Mad King George the 3rd recovers from his mental illness. By 1810 he will become ill again and suffer from dementia. [18] [19]
  • Mutiny on HMS Bounty: Mr. Christian and the mutineers settle on the Pitcairn Islands. Captain Bligh is set adrift in a boat. He will make it back to England. [18] [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1789, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

History: The Year is 1788

I've uploaded year 1788 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Doctors' Riot and the Rise of Black Churches -- Grave-robbers have driven freed slaves into establishing their own churches.

The Tyranny of the Majority -- John Adams discusses how not to run a government.

In Other News -- Patent of the Threshing machine, French bread riots.

The Doctors' Riot and the Rise of Black Churches

WARNING: the following story has become distorted over the years, so use care.
The Doctors' Riot is not a riot of doctors. The rioters are hunting down doctors and beating the tar out of them. Doctors have been grave-robbing mostly black cemeteries in New York because... well... because they can. They need cadavers for teaching purposes. Black people are complaining but everything is on hold as the new Constitution is debated. Churches and the law want to draw a distinction between the sacred and the secular. Cemeteries remain a gray area. Churches see the maintenance of graveyards as a sacred duty. Doctors see graveyards as a medical resource center. Thus, when a child sees the body of his dead mother at the local hospital, he tells his father who digs up his wife's grave and finds her coffin empty. Armed men enter the hospital. They collect any bodies they find and rebury them. Then they beat the living snot out of any doctor they find. It's a riot, sure enough. In its aftermath, the black community decides that if they need help in the future, they are going to have to help themselves. The help they received from white churches was insufficient. Black churches in America are forming up. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, burial rituals are complex. See your local religious expert for details. This controversy was partly the result of the American Revolution. The British had freed escaped slaves and when the British evacuated New York, they took Crown royalists with them but no slaves. Thus an extremely large portion of New York (maybe 20%?) consisted of freed or abandoned black slaves. That made the riot very large... larger than Shays' Rebellion. Churches at the time separated black people from the rest of the congregation because of an erroneous reading of the Bible. Maybe they could have worked it out over time, but maybe not. The Riot pulled the curtain way. By the next year, New York outlawed grave-robbing, but all that did was to wipe the smirk off of the faces of doctors, and forced them to be more careful when they robbed a grave. A memorial remains near the site of the Negroes Burial Ground, now called the African Burial Ground National Monument. [4] [5]

The Tyranny of the Majority

John Adams has published his "Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America". One of his arguments is that government should be a mix of a governor, a senate and elected representatives. It is a mistake to have a single assembly of elected officials for government since over time, the majority will push out the minority. Friends will take the place of opponents. Judges will be replaced by those sympathetic to the majority. In some cases, people will give up honor for advancement, power and money. The basic self-love of the majority drives government to support only those who love them back. Only those willing to bend the knee will ever get their way. A new nobility will be created in near perpetuity. Adams calls it "the tyranny of the majority." And he contends that frequent elections will not fix it. (Does any of this sound familiar?) [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was astounded by the Supreme Court argument that term limits on the House and Senate were not needed because at any election the voters could simply "term-limit" an official by voting for someone else. In reality, this rarely happens. The establishment only supports its own. If it is not Bob the Good Old Boy, then it is Sue the Good Old Gal. If Ralph the Radical comes anywhere close to winning, the establishment will make sure his election tanks. Frequent elections or term limits are not the full answer because the establishment will simply substitute Bob for Sue or Sue for Bob, but never Ralph the Radical. (No one likes Ralph. He can't reach across the aisle and get things done.) I don't want a King. I don't want to get things done unless people who hate each other agree that it is a good idea. Then I can feel reasonably sure that it really is a good idea. The original Constitution was not a perfect answer. It was one possible answer that needed tweaking, but over more than 200 years we have tweaked it a little too much and we need to back it out to an earlier revision... one that was still working.

In Other News

  • The Threshing Machine is patented and it puts a lot of people out of work. The Swing Riots of 1830 will be caused by too efficient processing of grain. ("Swinging" is the old way of threshing.) [8] [9] [10]
  • New Hampshire is the 9th state to ratify the US Constitution. We now have a national government. [11]
  • Bread riots in France. A factory owner said that bread should be made cheaper. The workers assumed he meant by lowering wages. His factory is now a smoking ruin. [11] [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1788, Wikipedia.

Monday, May 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1787

I've uploaded year 1787 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Botany Bay: The Undesirable Colony -- In order to create a paradise in London, criminals are now sent to Botany Bay, Australia (now part of Sydney).

The Constitutional Convention -- Amazingly what was thought to be a failed convention, turns out a Constitution ready for ratification.

And Other Massively Important Stuff -- the first American steamboat was not invented by Fulton.

Botany Bay: The Undesirable Colony

17 years ago, Admiral Cook discovered Botany Bay, but now the largest single colonial effort has been launched to create a Shangri-La... in Great Britain by shipping off every undesirable man, woman and child they can find to Botany Bay (now part of Metropolitan Sydney, Australia). With the USA no longer available as a dumping ground for miscreants and ne'er-do-wells, the British have turned Australia into a penal colony. (Pardon me, but the British are dumping their "excrement" there and they think of it EXACTLY that way if they think of it at all. I wish I was kidding.) By early next year, 11 vessels carrying 1,030 people will arrive at Sydney Harbor. They will be greeted by sandstone, scrub brush, but also birds, gum trees, streams and an area they will describe favorably as a "deer park". The farming will begin there. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... why didn't the British dump their undesirables into Quebec, Canada? Well... the French had given it up to the British by treaty in 1763, but most of the residents remained French. After the American Revolution, about 10,000 Crown royalists were encouraged to move to Quebec. Frankly, where else could the British put them? Botany Bay? No. The Crown royalists had done nothing wrong, but the sudden influx of non-French into Quebec created political instability which became worse over time. Anyone could see that dumping more British subjects into Quebec would only aggravate the problem, so Botany Bay seemed like a reasonable alternative.... out of sight, out of mind. [2]

The Constitutional Convention

After Shays' Rebellion, the States are nervous. The Congress needs more power to put down rebellions and to handle the war debt. That will require taxing the states, but everyone is worried about secret monarchists imposing another kingship. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton want a central government with the power to tax, but if they propose a radical change to the Articles of Confederation, they might get no change at all. George Washington supports a central government but he wants to remain in retirement. Madison convinces him to put his name on the list of participants to lend legitimacy to the Convention. People naturally assume Washington is leading the Convention, so as the time approaches, Washington cannot withdraw. Madison has forced Washington out of retirement. The Convention is a secret negotiation but once the Constitution is sent to the states for ratification, Madison is sure he has failed in his main goals. Nevertheless, after thinking about it, he realizes that they have created something they can work with. [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Philadelphia Convention was a competition between the Virginia Plan (Federal veto power over the states), Hamilton's Plan (no state sovereignty at all), or the New Jersey Plan (a state-appointed Senate that protects state sovereignty). They compromised between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan, but with no federal power to veto state laws. So... what happened to opposition to ANY Constitution? The main opposition leader, Patrick Henry, didn't show up for the Convention. His strategy was to stand aloof, so that when the "monarchists" failed, he could save the day. Instead, he was sidelined when the debate turned toward ratification of the Constitution. The debate on ratification was impressive. I suggest reading "Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution" by Pauline Maier. Citizens had a baseline education that included how to think. Today, we are given facts to memorize without the skills necessary to evaluate what those facts imply. A person who can think is very difficult to manage because he is always asking intelligent questions. An ignorant person cannot be free. [7] [8] [9]

And Other Massively Important Stuff

  • The first steamboat in America is built by... JOHN FITCH! Robert Fulton will make the steamboat profitable 20 years later. [10]
  • The First of the Federalist Papers is published by Alexander Hamilton to answer the anti-Federalist criticisms. [11]
  • The Northwest Ordinance grants an individual's right to own land in perpetuity, defines how a state can be established and limits slavery in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1787, Wikipedia.