Friday, May 6, 2016

History: The Year is 1781

I've uploaded year 1781 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Discovery of Planet 7 and the Search for Planet 9 -- Uranus is discovered by a music teacher. I talk about recent evidence of a new planet.

Standing at the Breaking Point: The Siege of Yorktown -- Washington and the French win the War of Independence.

The Articles of Confederation Are Ratified -- Just as the war is ending, the Articles that created the Union for mutual defense is made official.

The Discovery of Planet 7 and the Search for Planet 9

The music composer and orchestra director, William Herschel (HER-shell), has discovered the 7th planet. He calls it the Georgian Star after King George the 3rd, but in countries where King George is unwelcome, the planet is called Herschel after its discoverer. In later years, it will officially be named Uranus (YUR-ren-nis). William reports his discovery to the Royal Astronomer but he is skeptical. After all... in previous years William had speculated on trees growing on the Moon. This time William carefully describes his latest discovery as a comet without a tail that looks like a planet. By 1783, astronomers will verify that Uranus is a planet and they will credit William Herschel with its discovery. The symbol assigned to the planet is a globe with an 'H' above it. The 'H' stands for Herschel (HER-shell). [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh found Planet 9 which was named Pluto, but Pluto is now demoted to a dwarf planet. Yet astronomers still believe that Planet 9 is out there beyond the Kuiper Belt (KYE-per). Recent data from the Saturn probe indicates a large area of the sky in the constellation "The Whale" where the planet might reside. A single telescope could spend decades in search of such a planet, but there are many telescopes owned by colleges and universities that are worthy of such a project. One does not need a super-telescope to join in the search but a 12 inch reflector telescope from isn't going to cut it. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Standing at the Breaking Point: The Siege of Yorktown

After a series of miracles, General Cornwallis surrenders to General Washington at Yorktown. It is such a devastating loss that the British negotiate peace with the USA. Wow! Last year Washington was living his darkest hour. What changed? French troops land at Rhode Island which allows Washington to deceive the British into thinking he is preparing to attack New York. Thus the British hesitate to send reinforcements to help Cornwallis in Virginia. French naval warships arrive in Chesapeake Bay to block any escape to the sea by Cornwallis. General Greene successfully harasses Cornwallis, but Greene's army disperses after the Battle of Guilford Court House. Lafayette has been shadowing Cornwallis and with conflicting orders from New York, Cornwallis is stuck in Yorktown. (Taking the low ground is a big mistake, but he has his orders.) Two other miracles occur. First, the French naval forces are carrying 500,000 silver pesos. Washington's troops are given a month's pay which boosts morale. The next miracle is that Washington's spies have swiped a British code book. (This is like knowing the secret baseball signs the base coach is giving to the runners.) By interpreting the signals of Cornwallis's troops, the French can block the attempts of Cornwallis to break the siege. Washington begins his bombardment of Yorktown. On October 17th, a British officer appears, waving a white handkerchief. British reinforcements finally arrive on October 24th. Too late. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Siege of Yorktown was much more complex than I'm making it sound here. Some people want to turn it into a French victory with Washington being dragged along against his will. Certainly he could not have won without French help and in some respects Washington was forced to fight at Yorktown because of the French naval decision to show up there. On the other hand, the French naval commander seemed so worried of a British naval squadron coming down on him that it took the force of Washington's will to keep the man focused on the blockade. Lafayette was great and deserves his statue at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.. Overall, if Washington hadn't been in command during the siege, we'd still be fighting the war. Also, Cornwallis didn't actually surrender as it shows in the famous painting. He sent a deputy, pleading that he was sick and couldn't attend the surrender ceremony. The war didn't end until the treaty was signed on September 3rd, 1783, but with the British forces defeated at Yorktown, Parliament could not muster the will to continue the fight. They were done. [13] [14]

The Articles of Confederation Are Ratified

The first draft of the Articles of Confederation was begun in 1776 and sent out for ratification by the 13 colonies in 1777. In the meantime a lot has happened. Vermont has split from New York and become it's own state. (Go Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys!) George Washington has won the war at Yorktown though a formal end of the war won't happen for another two years or so. The Articles were put together to define a relationship between the old colonies of the British Empire for the purposes of mutual defense against British oppression. It is finally ratified this year. It defines the union of 13 states that call themselves the United States of America. [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Articles defined a fairly loose confederation so when it said "United States" it meant plural states similar to the modern European Union, but with less power than the European Union in some respects. After the experience with the lack of funding for the America Revolution, George Washington and James Madison promoted changes to the Articles of the Confederation to make a more powerful federal government. They wanted to replace the Articles entirely, but they didn't think they could get it done. What resulted from their efforts was the US Constitution. As the Constitution went out for ratification, they believed that they had failed in their purpose. It was only later that they realized they had something really good. [17]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1781, Wikipedia.

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