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.

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