Wednesday, June 29, 2016

History: The Year is 1819

I've uploaded year 1819 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Dartmouth College and the Divine Right of Democracies -- The legislature thinks that a vote allows them to change a private contract to suit themselves. Well... no. Not really.

The Panic of 1819 -- The American economy goes down the crapper after easy money policies cause too many risky loans to be made.

In Other News -- Kiddie work hours reduced, the first steamship crosses the Atlantic and Singapore!

Dartmouth College and the Divine Right of Democracies

"It is... a small college. And yet there are those who love it!" -- Daniel Webster during oral arguments before the US Supreme Court. [1]
The legislature, by virtue of a vote, is not allowed to modify an existing contract between private parties. Dartmouth College was chartered by the King of England before the United States came into existence, but after a recent dismissal of the college president by the trustees of the college, the New Hampshire legislature decides to convert Dartmouth into a public institution. The legislature essentially "nationalizes" the college by altering its charter and appoints William Woodward as its new president. Dartmouth takes the state to court and Daniel Webster defends them. Webster argues that the charter of Dartmouth College constitutes a private contract between itself and the King of England. The US Supreme Court agrees and establishes the precedence that the state cannot alter a private contract or charter without a substantially good reason and such interference cannot harm the members of the charter. [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Later rulings established that even when conditions to a charter allow the state to modify a charter later, the state is not allowed to do harm. The court admitted that the state had a right to revoke a charter, but "the power to destroy does not imply a right to cripple or to maim." I am reminded of a Congressman telling a reporter that the laws Congress passes are automatically constitutional. He was suggesting that a democratic vote conveyed an objective correctness to a law. In days gone by a king might argue the same thing by divine right. However, we are not divine, nor are our esteemed legislators sent to Washington, D.C. by God's divine will. They are sent by the voter's will and they should remember that their power is limited to the power that the people can wield. If I don't have a right to do something then neither does the legislature since they derive their power from the people. [3] [4]

The Panic of 1819

The world economy is still in chaos after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. After all... if governments are no longer spending millions on gunpowder, muskets and ships, those industries must cut back while they find new markets to exploit. Workers must find other things to do and it takes a considerable time to adjust. The American economy has been going down the crapper even faster due to the dubious help of government policy. Excessive land speculation fueled by the easy money policies of the 2nd Bank of the United States have set up the USA for a fall. When the Bank of the US pulls back and shrinks the money supply (and thus returns to more conservative lending practices) the state banks panic and call in their loans. Well... the investments those loans represent have not yet ripened (if they ever will). The loans fail, the banks fall and down it all comes. Americans look around and ask themselves what the heck the government has been up to lately. Apparently, nothing good. Trust in government has gone bye-bye. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
People trusted government quite a bit, but that all ended with the Panic of 1819. I remember when the reputation of President George H. W. Bush took a hit during the Savings and Loans crisis. In those days savings and loans (or thrifts) were limited in the kind of investments they could make. But with the economy on the upswing, and a bright future ahead, the thrifts were losing depositors to more risky investments... like money market funds. Many of the thrifts became technically insolvent which means they should have notified the regulators and transferred their remaining deposits to a solvent bank, but with changes in the banking laws and lax monitoring by regulators, some thrifts took a chance on riskier investments with a big payback in hope of turning their situation around. When the Federal Reserve began charging higher interest rates for their money, the thrifts were caught in a death spiral. Their risky investments could not make up for the higher cost of money AND the technical insolvency. Over 200 billion dollars was lost. What about depositor insurance? The insurance company was insolvent too. I blame Congress for easing up on bank regulations without considering the consequences and adjusting for them in the law. Most people blame President Bush the Elder since he was in the hot seat at the time. [9]

In Other News

  • A child's workday is reduced to 12-hours. No night work and no child under 9 may be hired. Enforcement remains a problem. [10] [11]
  • The SS Savannah is the 1st steamship to cross the Atlantic. It uses steam for a short while. Most of the trip uses wind-power. [12]
  • Singapore becomes a British colony. They are challenging the Dutch commercial presence in the same region. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1819, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1818

I've uploaded year 1818 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Milk Sickness and the Poisoning of Mrs. Lincoln -- People are dying of milk sickness along the frontier, including the mother of Abraham Lincoln. The poisoning is caused by a plant that cows eat.

Andrew Jackson Invades Spanish-Florida -- After a massacre near Fort Scott, Andrew Jackson invades Florida and kicks the snot out of the Seminole Indians for not adhering to the treaty.

In Other News -- Frankenstein, the modern flag US Flag, and Silent Night.

Milk Sickness and the Poisoning of Mrs. Lincoln

As American colonists move West they meet with a mysterious new disease: the Milk Sickness, otherwise known as the Trembles, the Slows and many other names that indicate a rural, undeveloped region. It is not an epidemic, but as roads improve, perishable items such as milk, butter and meat are carried further and faster so the poisoning spreads. It begins with cows trembling. In people the symptoms are intestinal pain, vomiting and a persistent death. Recently, a number of people have died of the Milk Sickness at the Little Pigeon Creek Settlement in southwest Indiana, including Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of 9-year-old Abraham Lincoln. It is caused by a poison from the WHITE snakeroot plant. When cows and goats graze in the woods they eat this plant. People eat the dairy products and meat from those animals which concentrates the poison leading to vomiting and death. Cattle prefer grass, but they will eat the WHITE snakeroot during times of drought when there is no other food available. The cause of the poisoning will not be discovered until 1928. One wonders why it takes so long. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I browsed a number of journal articles from the 1880s on the subject of milk sickness. It is pathetic to watch these men of science trying to guess what is going wrong instead of following the cows around and figuring out what the heck they were eating. There was a certain amount of class prejudice going on. Scientists live in cities. Farming near cities are usually takes place in developed lands mostly cleared of wood and wild brush including the WHITE snakeroot. Scientists didn't want to ride long distances to remote regions just to watch smelly cows. But when long-distance transportation of perishable foods became practical, the poisoning became a problem for the cities, and thus became a problem for the scientists who lived there. FYI, I emphasize WHITE snakeroot as a poisonous plant because a medicinal grade BLACK snakeroot or Black cohosh is sometimes used to help women with symptoms of menopause. Of course, I am not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. [3] [4] [5]

Andrew Jackson Invades Spanish-Florida

It's all fun and games until someone gets massacred. By an earlier treaty, the Creek Indians were supposed to move away from the American border with Spanish Florida. The Seminole Indians are a type of Creek Indian but some of them don't think so. Raids across the American border (by both sides) have escalated into the Scott Massacre when a supply boat headed for Fort Scott is attacked by Indians. There are few survivors. General Andrew Jackson is in charge of the US Army in the South, so on his own initiative (sometimes called "exceeding one's authority") he assembles his troops at Fort Scott and crosses the border into Florida. Indians who resist are killed. Women and children are removed. Collaborators, even British subjects, usually get a tribunal before they are hanged or shot. Tallahassee is gone. Indian villages are abandoned. By the time Jackson reaches Pensacola, the Florida governor is hopping mad. He certifies that the Indians in Pensacola are unarmed. Jackson doesn't stop, so the governor retreats to Fort Barrancas and after exchanging some cannon fire, the Spanish governor surrenders. The State Department is ecstatic! The War department is not. By next year Spain will sell Florida to the United States for 5 million dollars which is a little over 96 million in today's dollars. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Did Andrew Jackson hate Indians? No. He hated murderers and if those murderers were Indians he was merciless. He didn't treat Indians as equals, but if an Indian tribe worked with him, Jackson defended them. If Indians fought against him, Jackson beat the ever-loving tar out of them. As Daniel Webster said of Jackson, "He is a dangerous man." True enough. Secondly, all governments must face the problem of insurgents crossing a national border to cause havoc and then crossing back for relative safety. That happened when Russia invaded Afghanistan. The same thing happened when the United States invaded Afghanistan and it still happens. Governments and the military think long and hard before invading yet another country. One war is usually difficult enough. [8]

In Other News

  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein" is published anonymously. She explores what might happen if a scientist with good intentions brings a man back to life without considering whether the man might NOT want the life he has been given. [9] [10]
  • The modern flag of the United States is adopted. The original Flag Act of 1777 indicated 13 stars on a field of blue. The new rule is one white star per state added on 4th of July following the date of admission. That worked until 1953 when someone noticed that Congress never approved Ohio's admission to the Union. (They fixed it.) [11] [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1818, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

History: The Year is 1817

I've uploaded year 1817 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Princess Caraboo of Javasu and the Price of Charity -- It's not exactly a scam, but an impersonation that goes on for a very long time.

The First Cholera Pandemic -- A deadly disease breaks out across the world and it is very preventable.

In Other News  -- The Bicycle, the Erie Canal and the First Seminole war kicks off.

Princess Caraboo of Javasu and the Price of Charity

A pretty young woman in black, shows up at a cottage in Gloucestershire. She needs lodging, but she speaks no language that can be understood. Eventually she is brought before the county magistrate who discovers that her name is Caraboo, and after seeing a map of the world, she points to China. (She is obviously Asian!) Later, a Portuguese sailor attests that he knows the language she speaks, that she is a princess from the island of "Javasu", kidnapped by pirates and then escaped the ship and swam ashore. (Who can argue with that?) She writes using strange symbols which have been verified by an expert... that is, a doctor found similar symbols in a book. She prays to a strange god, and she swims naked. (She must be a foreigner because she does strange things that make no sense.) If this all sounds like a load of hooey, you are correct. Her real name is Mary Baker. She is an out-of-work servant girl and for several months she convinces the locals that she is a princess until her picture appears in the newspaper, and someone recognizes her. Is that the end? NO! Her hosts pay for her passage to Philadelphia, but the ship is driven off course and comes to the island where Napoleon is held in exile. Now Napoleon wants to marry her! (Oh, please!) In 1994, the film entitled "Princess Caraboo" will be made of her life. The story contains some fictional elements. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. I have a friend who shall remain nameless. (It's not ME!) He found a young lady, homeless and blind, dying of cancer. He and his wife took her in, fed her and took her to the local hospital for cancer treatment. After a while, something didn't seem right so he remained in the parking lot of the hospital... and then saw her walk out the front door! She wasn't blind. She didn't have cancer. (She did need a place to stay.) My friend felt humiliated. He was trying to do the right thing and he got snookered. He is not a foolish man. He is a good man. If she had let him know that she needed a place to stay he would have helped her. Now, the next person who needs his help may not get it. I am a volunteer chaplain at the local jail. I meet all kinds of liars. Does it bother me? Not really. I am charitable when it seems right to be charitable. If they misuse my charity that is on them. As long as my intent is good, I'm OK with it.

The First Cholera Pandemic

Cholera is an intestinal disease caused by bacteria in contaminated food or water. It produces severe water loss and electrolyte loss due to diarrhea. The disease has been local, limited to the area around the Ganges River which is very big area in modern day India. With increased trade, the disease has spread outside of India. In the next few years it will be in Southeast Asia, Japan, Africa and Baghdad. It will come to the attention of Europeans when the pandemic kills 10,000 British troops. The total number of deaths during this pandemic are unknown. 100,000 deaths are reported in Java. 30,000 in Bangkok. The pandemic itself will die out by 1824 possibly due to colder than normal weather. In the year 1817 scientists are beginning to suspect that germs cause disease, but the germ theory of disease won't kick in until the late 1850s. [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
What is the cure? I am not a doctor, but you need to keep up your intake of electrolytes. (That means drinking stuff like Gatorade.) Water alone isn't going to do it. You are losing a lot of salts and if your salt levels get too low, you start experiencing pain, really severe pain, followed by all kinds of things that might make you dead. The disease is preventable through good sanitation and water purification (that includes the water used in food preparation). The United States has not had a severe cholera outbreak since 1910, probably due to good sanitation methods. [7]

In Other News

  • The Bicycle or "Running Machine" is invented in Germany. You sit on the saddle, push off with your legs and run. In England it is called a Dandy Horse. It is also called a draisine, named after the inventor, Karl Drais, but in the modern day that word refers to a light car on rails. [8]
  • Construction begins on the Erie Canal. It will move cargo from the Hudson River in Albany through Syracuse to Lake Erie. It will open in 1825. [9]
  • The U.S. invades Spanish Florida as the 1st Seminole War kicks off. White people are pushing the Indians. The Indians are pushing back. General Andrew Jackson will get involved next year. It will not be pretty. [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1817, Wikipedia.

Monday, June 27, 2016

History: The Year is 1816

I've uploaded year 1816 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Year Without Summer and Without Economic Sense -- A volcanic eruption disrupts the weather causing worldwide crop failures, yet the UK does not lift its tariff on food. The USA places a tariff on cotton and it's all going to come apart in a couple of years.

The 2nd Bank of the United States and Fractional Banking -- The economic chaos after the war has President Madison pushing for another central bank He will get it... good and hard. I also explain fractional banking.

In Other News -- The Remington rifle, kaleidoscope, stethoscope, and the Stirling Engine

The Year Without Summer and Without Economic Sense

Last year the Mount Tambora volcano in modern day Indonesia exploded, throwing 38 cubic miles of material into the atmosphere. It was one of the largest volcanic explosions in history. Aside from the local death and destruction, it also caused cooler weather... "A Year without Summer". Worldwide crop failures are causing famine. Coincidentally, a credit crunch in the UK has caused their economy to grind to a halt. In response, they have instituted tariffs on corn to protect the corn industry, but tariffs don't protect the people who eat the corn. (The word "corn" in this context means the major grains used for food.) With higher food prices, people start moving to Canada and the United States. Meanwhile, the US passes its first protective tariff. They want to save the American cotton industry! The tariff adds 25 cents per yard to the price of cotton cloth or $4.35 in modern dollars. The South opposes the tariff because THEY GROW COTTON and they already have established (and better) markets in the UK. The South also imports goods, so tariffs mean increased prices for everything they buy. The Depression of 1818 is coming for the UK and the Panic of 1819 in the USA is next when the price of cotton collapses. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The problem with tariffs is that they are inefficient, and not responsive to changing conditions. As we saw, the UK tariff pushed food prices up, but a volcanic eruption caused crop failures and famine. Did the UK suspend their tariffs on food? No. It would take too long. Government is slow by design. Economic markets change from day to day, week to week. New problems arise. You don't want your government fine-tuning the economy because by the time it gets things just right, things are all wrong again. The best that government can do is to run the courts to resolve contract disputes, but otherwise stay out of the way. I can see a need for tariffs in a few cases vital to the security of the United States, but politicians will suddenly create a list of "vital cases" that are only vital to particular voters or major contributors. So, even though I can see a place for tariffs in the abstract, I don't see how the present government could possibly implement them and not totally mess it up.

The 2nd Bank of the United States and Fractional Banking

The charter for the 1st Bank of the United States expired in 1811. The bank was run by the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and its job was to create a common currency, control the money supply and otherwise act as a central bank for the Federal government. It's charter was opposed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the current President of the United States. Yet Madison is pushing for a 2nd Bank of the United States. The economic chaos after the end of the war has caused a money shortage. Very few coins are in circulation in certain areas of the United States and Madison believes that a central bank is needed to control these shortages. Also, the United States is using several different types of money from the script issued by individual banks to gold doubloons. The charter for the new bank will be approved this year and the bank will be open for business next year. When the time for renewal of the charter comes around, Andrew Jackson will be President and Andrew Jackson hates banks. (This is one of his virtues.) He thinks banks are dishonest. (Well... yes.) So he will fight the renewal of the charter and remove all Federal deposits from the bank. (That will be interesting.) The bank will retaliate, causing economic chaos, until people catch on. The United States economy will be a long time recovering from the 2nd Bank of the United States. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Fractional banking looks unethical so let's compare it to non-fractional banking. Let's say I deposit $11,000 in gold with my friendly local banker. He says that if I agree to leave the gold in his vault for a year, he will lend $10,000 in banking script to a local merchant who will pay back the loan with interest to the banker. (I get free checking!) A year later I remove my deposit from the vault. That is non-fractional banking. But why can't the banker make THREE $10,000 loans for a year based on the same deposit? It should work. The economist, Adam Smith, said that a bank could capitalize at a rate of 5 to 1 and remain safe. This assumes there will not be a run on the bank. (For popular examples, see the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, and Mary Poppins. Links to clips are below.) Fractional banking can also be abused. In 1809, a bank in Rhode Island used a $45 deposit to make $800,000 in loans. This is fraud, but why isn't it fraud to make $30,000 in loans on an $11,000 deposit? Andrew Jackson would never allow his picture to appear on a Federal Note that could not be exchanged at face value for silver or gold. His picture on the $20 is an implied endorsement, and taking it off of the bill seems like the right thing to do. [7] [8] [5]

In Other News

  • E. Remington forges his first rifle barrel. Remington the Younger enters a shooting match, wins 2nd place and earns a lot of interest in his new rifle. As sales soar he will open a factory In Ilion, New York. (Remington typewriters will come along in 1873.) [9] [10]
  • The kaleidoscope is invented. Sir David Brewster has been experimenting with mirrors and polarized light when he hits on the idea of the kaleidoscope. 200,000 are sold in a few months. [11] [12]
  • The stethoscope is invented by two children and a French doctor. A Paris doctor notices two children communicating with each other using a long wooden tube and a pin to make scratching noises. He adapts a wooden tube to diagnose the heart condition of a woman without having to place his ear directly against her chest. [11] [13] [14]
  • The Stirling Engine is invented. You have to see it to believe it. It works on the temperature difference from the top of the cylinder to the bottom in order to move a piston. I've seen a few potential applications, but if it has been around for 200 years, I suspect all the applications are limited ones. [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1816, Wikipedia.

Friday, June 24, 2016

History: The Year is 1815

I've uploaded year 1815 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Road Building becomes Cheaper, Quicker, and Better -- A Scottish engineer discovers that a thin layer of gravel and rock dust is better than the old Roman method.

Napoleon's Waterloo -- He is back... for 111 days. It's enough.

The Bloody Battle of New Orleans and the Federalists' Waterloo -- Andrew Jackson believes that the Spanish and British are supplying the Indians with arms so he goes to New Orleans to kick the snot out of the British. Problem is... the war is already over.

Road Building becomes Cheaper, Quicker, and Better

While attempting to straighten up the course of a road, a Scottish engineer, John McAdam, notices that the old roadbed is a lot thinner than normal building practices would recommend, yet, the road has held up for years and has not turned to muddy ruts. The Roman method of road building calls for deep layers of large stones and gravel pounded in layers. It is a arduous and expensive method, but McAdams has determined that if the roadbed is raised above the general level of the land, and slightly crowned so that water is allowed to run off, a thinner layer of gravel and rock dust can be used. The gravel must be smaller than the width of the wagon wheels. This will allow the wheels to crush the gravel and lock it in place for a unified roadbed to protect the soil from becoming muddy underneath. These roads will soon be called macadam roads. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As a young man I was a soils inspector for earthwork construction. Probably the two biggest mistakes I have seen in road construction are... One: The moisture level for the soil and gravel was too wet or too dry for proper compaction when the roller went over it. That led to cracks or ruts in heavy traffic areas. And Two: The compaction roller did not work the edges of the roadbed well enough when there were existing curbs and gutters. Naturally, the guy running the roller doesn't get too close to the edge because he doesn't want to damage the curb, but if the city places a bus stop there, the wheels of a heavy bus will finish the compaction job. An indentation is created near the curb line where water collects. The water soaks down creating mud under the surface. The next bus rolls over the mud and turns an indentation into a pothole. Then the city lays a quick patch of asphalt over the pothole, sealing in the mud, and the process begins again. This is why a bus stop sometimes requires extra roadwork because the roadbed was never properly prepared at the edges. [3]

Napoleon's Waterloo

"Napoleon has humbugged me, by God... so I must fight him there" -- Wellington pointing to the map position of Waterloo. [4] [5]
Last year Napoleon was exiled to Elba, but his supporters still have faith in him, so he raises an army and deposes King Louis the 18th of France. Thus begins Napoleon's Hundred Days. (Actually it will be 111 days but who is counting?) Currently, the Congress of Vienna has been meeting to clean up Napoleon's previous mess, so it is easy to agree to a 7th Coalition to fight Napoleon. Napoleon must strike before the Coalition can gather an effective force. The battleground is Waterloo in modern day Belgium. Wellington receives word while he is attending the famous Duchess of Richmond's ball. Everyone who is anyone is there... instead of on the battlefield. Wellington's forces get there in time to reinforce the Prussians who are in retreat. Napoleon thinks the Prussians are defeated. (Big mistake.) He chases Wellington to Waterloo where Wellington has placed most of his army behind a low ridge. Rumors that the Prussians have already reorganized are dismissed. The battle begins late because of the muddy ground. By 4 PM the battle is still raging. The French cavalry charges, but it is too soon. Wellington's formations devastate them. Then the Prussians arrive to save the day. Napoleon is forced to retreat. It is June 18th. By the 24th he will abdicate and by July he will surrender and be exiled to Saint Helena until his death in 1821 from natural causes. DEFINITELY NATURAL. His supporters who encouraged him to return will die from unnatural causes. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've greatly simplified a complex battle. Historians are divided on whether the Prussians won the battle for Wellington, but all agree that without the unexpected (by Napoleon) Prussian attack, Wellington could not have won. The significance of the Battle of Waterloo was to underscore the need to stop the constant fighting in Europe. They were sick and tired of it. The Congress of Vienna split up the European powers so that no one country could become strong enough to dominate the others... like... oh... I don't know... FRANCE? Four decades of peace followed. [8]

The Bloody Battle of New Orleans and the Federalists' Waterloo

It is nearing the end of the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson is a major general in his state's militia. His men call him "Old Hickory" because he is tough like hickory. When the Indians go on a murder spree, holding children by the legs and beating their heads in, Jackson brings justice to them, harsh and swift. Like most Americans, he believes that the Spanish and the British are arming the Indians, so he threatens the Spanish forces at Pensacola and takes their fort. He moves on to New Orleans. The British land a force there, but wait for reinforcements. On December 23rd, 1814, Jackson's forces attack. Although the British beat them back, it forces them to rethink their strategy. They delay. That Christmas Eve, the Treaty of Ghent is signed. The War of 1812 is over, but out on the frontier, neither side realizes it. January 1st, 1815, the British attack. Jackson's eastern line fails, but the British have run out of ammunition so they retreat. During the night of January 7th, 780 British troops cross the Mississippi to create a diversion the next morning, but they get bogged down in the mud. The main British force makes a frontal assault under the cover of darkness and a heavy fog. As the sun rises, the fog lifts and they are exposed. It is a slaughter. It is embarrassing to say, but the British commander has forgotten to bring the ladders needed to scale the earthworks. Inside of 25 minutes, 700 British troops are killed, 1,400 are wounded and 500 are taken prisoner. Only 13 Americans are killed. The British bugle boy who played throughout the battle, actually lives. For the next several days the British navy bombards the fort at New Orleans and then departs. The Battle of New Orleans is over, but it never had to be fought. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Once again, when telegraph lines are finally laid, unnecessary battles will not be fought. It seems like a side note, but the Federalists met at the same time in Hartford, Connecticut. They were discussing their on-going complaints. Treason is probably too strong a word, but it was perceived as such by the public. With Jackson's win, the Federalists all looked like fools. They were done. Please note that Andrew Jackson had many admirable qualities, but one can legitimately criticize him severely on many points. He was a volatile man. For example, suggesting that the government should put his picture on a Federal note would earn that person a bullet to the head. I don't think I am exaggerating here. And one more thing... I had the Battle of New Orleans on the list of things to talk about, but all suggestions are welcome. I am weak on the 19th century and I can use all the help I can get. You won't hurt my feelings. I promise. [14]

In Other News

  • UK corn laws increase the price of corn. Economist and philosopher Thomas Malthus suggests that high corn prices will increase the buying power of elitist landowners that will somehow allow factory owners to hire more workers. The key to this idiotic scheme is to make plundering, elitist landowners rich. What other virtue it has is lost on me. [15] [16] [17] [7]
  • The Great September Gale hits New England. This is a 3.0 hurricane with an 11 foot storm surge. It is the worst hurricane to hit New England in 180 years. From this hurricane, a Harvard scientist will determine that a hurricane is actually a moving vortex. (Yes, it is.) [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1815, Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

History: The Year is 1814

I've uploaded year 1814 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Oh Dolley! Washington is Burning! -- The British burn Washington D.C. Dolley Madison saves that portrait of George Washington.

The Sun, the Universe and Everything -- The spectroscope can measure speed as well as substance.

In Other News -- Napoleon is banished to Elba, Star Spangled banner and the 80-hour work week.

Oh Dolley! Washington is Burning!

To say that the British are bitter over this little war with America is an understatement. President Madison has lifted the embargo on British goods, but the British don't care. They have blockaded the East Coast so that American exports are down 90% from their pre-war numbers and imports are down 75%. The British won't risk damage from the shore batteries of major ports, so they are pummeling smaller ports into rubble. On August 18th they bottle up American gun boats near the mouth of the Patuxent River (pay-TUX-ent), and make their way over land to Washington DC. It is a punishing march in the 100 degree heat of summer. The troops are dropping like flies. They march through the night to make up for lost time. The American forces have had weeks to prepare, but they fail in their most important task. They have not burned the bridges. President Madison almost blunders into the British troops as they come over the Bladensburg Bridge. Meanwhile, Washington residents are leaving in a panic. The First Lady, Dolley Madison, has the presence of mind to save priceless historical treasures including that famous portrait of George Washington. The British advance under a flag of truce, but there is no one left in Washington to negotiate with, so they set fire to the city. Washington D.C. is burning. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The gunboats gave the British a good fight and they held as long as any man could expect, but it is clear that the American forces didn't believe they would actually have to defend Washington DC. President Madison was riding with the troops, but he was in his 60s, and he had been ill all summer. The defense failed at the Bladensburg Bridge. It was a rout. It is probably unfair to say that the American troops ran screaming like little girls, but one witness wrote, "The young ladies were very merry relating their attempt to fly on the supposed approach of the enemy to their residence and that they were out run by the militia." The rout at the bridge soon became known as the Bladensburg Races. The British said that they set fire to the city in retaliation for the American's deliberate and outrageous burning of Port Dover (Canada) a few months prior. The burning of Port Dover was due to an out-of-control lieutenant, and as bad as that was, the burning of Washington seems all out of proportion. [4] [5]

The Sun, the Universe and Everything

It may not seem like much, but without this discovery, one could not measure the Universe. Joseph von Fraunhofer has invented the spectroscope. This device allows him to view the spectrum of various substances when they are made hot enough to give off light. He notices a bright line within the spectrum of one substance. Then he uses his spectroscope to view the light from the Sun and discovers 574 darkened lines. (There are actually millions of these lines, but hey. He's just getting started.) He wonders if there is a correspondence between the bright line of his burning substances and the darkened lines in the Sun's spectrum. As a matter of fact, there is. When a particular substance is heated to the point of incandescence, the light it gives off has a distinctive signature. Combinations of substances will give off a more complicated signature but they can be untangled to the point where one can determine what substances made that particular light. One can determine the chemical makeup of a light across the room, or from the Sun, or from the light of a star in the next galaxy. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So what? Well... when astronomers used this tool to analyze the light of stars they noticed that some stars had completely unknown absorption lines. Their signatures didn't match with any known substance. Then someone noticed that the hydrogen line was out of place. It was shifted toward the red part of the spectrum if a star was moving away, or it was shifted toward the blue if it was coming toward us. This is known as red-shifting and blue-shifting. How far the lines were shifted determined how fast the star was moving. Some lines were shifted so far that it was unbelievable! For a better analogy think of a train blowing it's horn. As the train is coming toward you, the horn has a high pitch, but as it goes by, the pitch drops and becomes lower. Something similar happens to light. These absorption signatures allow scientists to measure the speed of the expansion of the Universe and that is simply amazing. [7]

In Other News

  • Emperor Napoleon abdicates and is banished to the island of Elba. The forces of the 6th Coalition have pushed Napoleon all the way back to France. He is forced to surrender his throne to King Louis the 18th. Napoleon will face his Waterloo, next year. [2] [8]
  • Francis Scott Key publishes the Star-Spangled Banner. Actually it is a poem entitled, "The Defense of Fort McHenry". It is about what he saw when he was held prisoner on a British ship as it attacked the fort. The poem will become the lyrics of America's National Anthem. [2]
  • The 80-Hour work week is established. A company town schedule is considered humane: a 6-day work week, wake-up at 4:40 AM, 30-minute break for breakfast, 45-minute break for lunch. Much better than slavery. Right? [9] [2]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1814, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

History: The Year is 1813

A Monument to the Triumph of Napoleon in Plaster

Don't tell anyone but there is a plaster elephant, 78 feet tall, standing in the middle of the plaza in Paris. The plaza is the former site of the Bastille, the prison that became the symbol of tyranny and sparked a popular uprising against the French monarchy known as the French Revolution. The Bastille was torn down and replaced with a fountain, but somehow the statue of a woman with water pouring forth from her breasts didn't seem appropriate so Napoleon decreed that a monument of triumph be built, but the Arc de Triomphe isn't going to work there, so Napoleon decides on a bronze elephant with a hollow leg so that people can enter and climb to the top. At this point in the construction, the base of the monument is complete, but a new architect is hired. He decides to build a full-size model of the elephant in wood and plaster to give people an idea of what the final product will be like. It looks magnificent in drawings, but in person it is less than magnificent. With the turn in Napoleon's fortunes this year, the delivery of the bronze is quietly cancelled. The plaster model will remain on display for several years and become the home for rats and a hiding place for a fictional character in Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5][6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Some historians use the Elephant of the Bastille as a metaphor for the crumbling of the French Revolution. After Napoleon's failed incursion into Russia, several nations joined forces to push him back across the Rhine. So many people were killed in that battle in 1813 that they were still finding bodies a year later. A monument to Napoleon's failure and the triumph of his adversaries was built in Leipzig, Germany. It is called the Monument to the Battle of the Nations and it is magnificent. As far as Les Misérables is concerned, it is a fictional account, but the events that take place begin after the fall of Napoleon in 1814. I've not read the book, and I walked out of the movie about a third of the way through. However, Anne Hathaway gave a magnificent performance. [7]

'Don't Give Up the Ship!' The Battle Flag of Lake Erie

This is the War of 1812 and the British have blockaded Lake Erie with two war ships they already had on site. They cut off the supply line to Detroit while British forces cross the Detroit River. They capture a United States ship named the Adams in port. The US forces need more gun ships on Lake Erie to challenge the British, but the only effective way to do that is to build new ships, so they do. The facilities for building ships is inadequate, but they have a master ship builder and the iron will of Captain Oliver Perry. (He is the older brother of Matthew Perry who will open up the ports of Japan for American shipping whether they like it or not.) Captain Perry will challenge the British on the Lake, but first, he wants a new battle flag. His friend suggests the dying words of Captain James Lawrence of the frigate USS Chesapeake be written across the flag, "Don't Give Up the Ship." With a shortage of experienced sailors on both sides, Captain Perry sets out to challenge the British on his flagship, the Lawrence. Perry catches the best wind called the "weather gauge". He sails right into the British squadron and pounds away with cannon fire. Ships become entangled as their rigging crashes all around. It soon becomes a melee. The damage to Perry's ship, the Lawrence is horrifying, but in the end, the British surrender control of the Lake. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Captain Perry got all the best lines in this story. He said, "If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it," and he wrote to General William Harrison, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." The Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal inscribed with words in Latin that read in English, "Valor finds or makes a way. Between the Fleets of America and Britain September 10, 1813.". He was thereafter known as the Hero of Lake Erie. And for clarity's sake, there is no "Congressional Medal of Honor". The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the military for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded by an act of Congress for whatever reason they deem appropriate and it is sometimes presented by the President of the United States. [10]

In Other News

  • Mexico declares its independence from Spain. [11]
  • Jane Austen publishes "Pride and Prejudice" [11]
  • The waltz becomes the most popular dance in Europe. [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1813, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

History: The Year is 1812

I've uploaded year 1812 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The War Napoleon Cannot Afford to Win -- Russia has been cheating on its treaty regarding commerce so Napoleon takes over 600,000 troops into Russia and returns with less than 120,000. He was defeated by General Winter.

Mr. Madison's War -- The War of 1812 was a mistake of politics, and misinterpretation of evidence. There were real grievances, but slow communication allowed the two sides to go to war before they could resolve their differences.

In Other News -- Louisiana, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and mining lamps.

The War Napoleon Cannot Afford to Win

"It is possible, and even probable, that Napoleon will defeat us, but that will not bring him peace... We shall leave it to our climate, to our winter, to wage our war." -- Czar Alexander the First.
After the humiliating defeat of Russia by Napoleon's forces a few years ago, Russia has nearly gone bankrupt. Napoleon has imposed an embargo on all British products but this policy has hurt Russia more than it has hurt the UK. Thus, Czar Alexander the 1st has authorized his customs agents to identify British goods as Made in America. This has infuriated Napoleon so he amasses the largest army in history (to this point). Over 600,000 soldiers will march into Russia. Less than 120,000 will march out. If every soldier had tried to shoot the man standing next to him, more men would have survived. The Russians used the same tactics as George Washington did, avoiding a decisive battle, leading the opposing army on a merry chase, and draining their resources. The tactic works, but the Russian nobility is upset that their lands are being trashed, so the Czar replaces the younger general with an older, more experienced general... who continues the same tactic until General Winter arrives. ("General Winter" is an old Russian joke, but it applies to Napoleon and it will apply to Hitler during World War 2.) 70 miles outside of Moscow, Napoleon finally catches the Russian Army. It is a slaughter. 70,000 troops are killed, wounded or captured in a single day. It is like the dog chasing the bear. When the dog finally catches him, watch out. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
For a comparison, 70,000 in a day verses 83,000 in 4 months at the Battle of Anzio during World War 2. Napoleon knew about Russian winters, so he set out in the middle of summer. His troops carried only summer clothing. If he had stayed with his original plan he would have hunkered down for the winter in prepared quarters, but the Russian army always seemed within reach. His army was strung out and it was during Napoleon's retreat that the winter weather started killing his troops and maiming his horses. 200,000 horses were lost. FYI, when a horse slips and falls on ice, most times you end up shooting the horse. If the horse was pulling a wagon, you lose the wagon. If the horse was pulling a cannon, say bye-bye to the cannon. Napoleon's horses needed a special traction device on the shoes called calkin or calks, but the French didn't know how to make them. The Russians knew but they weren't telling. [4]

Mr. Madison's War

Great Britain is at war with Napoleon and they need experienced sailors to man their warships. Over 12,000 sailors from vessels flying the American flag are impressed into the British Navy. "Impressed" is a nice way of saying "Shanghaied". Most of these impressed sailors are American citizens. The American government has officially complained and so far, Britain has flipped America the bird. In May of last year, the American frigate USS President opened fire on HMS Little Belt which was followed in November by the Battle of Tippecanoe. The aftermath revealed that the British are equipping Indians for war. (Really?) And then President James Madison uncovers a secret plot by the British government to encourage New England (mostly Federalists) to secede from the Union! (FYI, this is a mistake. Britain couldn't care less.) Meanwhile Congress has authorized increases in militia enlistments up to 80,000. To ease the tension, the British Parliament concedes that it must make concessions to America if for no other reason than to free itself up to concentrate on its war with Napoleon (the real threat). Due to the slowness of communication, the American Congress starts debating a declaration of war at the same time. Madison submits his war message to Congress, and on June 17th, 1812, the Senate votes 19 to 13 for war, but their hearts are not in it. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
If they had better communication this wouldn't have happened. The telegraph is going to stop a few wars once an overseas line is laid. The vote in the Senate was much closer than it appears. When a few Senators realized that the vote would pass no matter what they did, they switched their vote in support of the war. A similar thing happened before Gulf War 2 (as I recall). President Bush the Younger asked the Senate for a vote in support of the war and it passed. Then some Senators asked for a re-vote so that they could change their vote. That motion was granted, so that Senator Hillary Clinton could get on the record voting for the Iraq War.... and against it. She knew she could finesse it later on. When Senator John F. Kerry ran for President he was ridiculed for saying that he voted for $87 billion dollars of war funding before he voted against it. It was funny how he said it, but don't be too hard on Senator Kerry. All politicians do this. It is called LYING, and it is not exclusively a Democrat trait. [7] [8]

In Other News

  • Louisiana becomes the 18th state. Not all of it. They will add a few pieces here and there along the way. [9]
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales is published. [10] [11]
  • The Felling mine explosion prompts the invention of the mining lamp. Currently they are using candles and a device that throws off sparks. (Do I have to say it?) [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1812, Wikipedia.

Monday, June 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1811

I've uploaded year 1811 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The War of 1812 Begins in 1811 -- Near the river of Tippecanoe, William Harrison will make his name as an Indian killer and pitch the country into the War of 1812.

The Luddites Sabotage Progress -- Textile workers organize to attack textile factories and break the machines that are putting them out of work.

In Other News -- Jane Austen publishes and Harriet Beecher Stowe is born.

The War of 1812 Begins in 1811

The battle takes place in the Territory of Indiana near the Tippecanoe River. The Indian tribes have formed an alliance to resist the incursion of white settlers. A Shawnee named Tecumseh (teh-KUM-seh) organizes the alliance along with his brother "The Prophet." (He receives messages from the gods.) They establish a central camp called Prophetstown that acts as a supply depot, and training camp. About 1,000 Indians live there and this has made Governor William Harrison nervous. The Secretary of War authorizes Harrison to negotiate with the Indians, so Harrison marches his troops to Prophetstown and arranges to meet with the Indians the next morning. All seems well, but that night, "The Prophet" receives a mystical message that the white man's gunpowder has turned to clay. The Indians surround Harrison's camp, but a sentry spots them and fires a shot. The camp is awakened. Harrison's men leap to their feet, but they are silhouetted against the camp fires and go down hard. Harrison mounts the first horse he can find, a BLACK horse. This saves his life because the Indians are looking for Harrison on his WHITE horse. The Prophet is singing songs of victory, but it is soon apparent that the Indians have lost. The Indian alliance is shattered, and when the Americans find British supplies in Prophetstown, they are certain that the Battle of Tippecanoe was a British plot. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Some historians believe that this was the 1st battle in the War of 1812. People's attitudes on both sides became very firm after those British supplies were found. Governor William Harrison had let his guard down somewhat when the Indians were so willing to talk. Frankly, it is difficult to predict what people will do when they don't know themselves. After the battle, Harrison took the nickname of "Old Tippecanoe". Many years later he ran for President with the campaign slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." (Yes. Reminding voters that he was an Indian-killer really helped the campaign.) Thirty-two days into the Harrison Administration, "Old Tippecanoe" dropped dead, making John Tyler President. When it was time for reelection, Tyler made his campaign issue the gathering in of the Republic of Texas as a state, but James K. Polk took the issue away from Tyler and signed the agreement making Texas the 28th state on December 29th, 1845. [3] [4]

The Luddites Sabotage Progress

For hundreds of years the weavers of the textile industry have been the mainstay of any economy. (For a modern comparison, they are like the union autoworkers of the 1960s and 70s.) But with the advent of automation such as carding machines to separate wool, and power looms to make cloth, the production of each worker has doubled, tripled, and quadrupled which means that fewer workers are required to do the same work. More and more textile workers are now out of work, so the textile workers have organized to attack the factories. The machines are broken. Wooden shoes are thrown into the gears. The shoes are called "sabot" (sah-BO), which is where we get the word, "sabotage" meaning a deliberate attempt to destroy. These saboteurs are called "Luddites". No one knows for sure where the name came from but by tradition, it is derived from the name, Ned Ludd, one of the first to break a machine. In the modern day a "Luddite" is any person who opposes new technology. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a notion that somehow businesses are holding back on jobs in order to pocket big profits for the rich. Other than with government-supported monopolies like professional sports franchises, I don't see how that could work. A business pays the least wages it can and still attract the best workers. If there are many qualified people willing to do a job, a business can pay a worker less. If there are fewer people to fill the slot, a business will pay more. Why? Because if a business doesn't pay more, then its competitor will hire the workers away and the business will fold. The Luddites didn't want charity. They wanted to work, but they only wanted to work doing the same old things the same old way. New, efficient technology usually causes a displacement of workers. It is a pain in the neck for those workers who are displaced but if we didn't move forward with new technology what would we do with all those people who made buggy-whips or those guys with shovels that followed horses down the street?

In Other News

  • Avogadro's Law is published. If any number of gases are of equal volume, temperature and pressure, they contain the same number of molecules. [11]
  • Jane Austen publishes "Sense and Sensibility". Great movie and book. "Sensibility" means "Lacking in sense." (See... "chucklehead.") [12]
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe is born. She will write "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the novel that suggests that slave-owners are persecuting Jesus. (Uncle Tom being the aforesaid "Jesus"-figure.) [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1811, Wikipedia.

Friday, June 17, 2016

History: The Year is 1810

I've uploaded year 1810 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Thomas Jefferson's Pacific Empire of Astoria -- Jefferson has wanted an American colony on the Pacific coast and he thinks John Astor is the man to make it happen and he will, for a while.

The May Revolution and the Fight for Independence -- With Napoleon's brother on the Spanish throne, Argentina takes a chance at revolt and so does Mexico.

In Other News -- The results of the US census, public billiard rooms and the introduction of homeopathy.

Thomas Jefferson's Pacific Empire of Astoria

John Jacob Astor is the son of a butcher, but when he immigrates to the United States after the American Revolution, he takes up fur-trading. In the following years he amasses a fortune buying raw hides from Indians and selling the processed fur to England, but when the Embargo Act cuts into his profits, he works with President Jefferson to establish the 1st American colony on the Pacific coast to take advantage of the fur trading opportunities there. It is a two-pronged effort, by land and by sea, to establish Fort Astoria in modern day Oregon. By next year, Captain Thorn will land his ship near the mouth of the Columbia River and begin construction of a trading post. The overland expedition has pre-positioned its British-made equipment in Canada in order to circumvent the American embargo (with permission from American lawmakers). The overland expedition will reach Fort Astoria by 1812. John Astor's Pacific Fur Company will begin operations, but the Indians of the Pacific Northwest will prove to be shrewd bargainers. Astoria will not be as profitable as first hoped and with the War of 1812 begun, the company officers will sell their shares to a competing British fur company and return to the United States in 1813. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Please note the very close relationship between government and business back then. Jefferson was excited by this expedition. He was known to have maps spread out on the White House floor and he could be seen crawling around on his hands and knees inspecting them. Also note that the Pacific Fur Company's ship was manned mostly by British subjects. War with Great Britain was imminent so hiring a British crew shielded them from attack. In fact, the entire expedition was an American effort, funded by a German immigrant and manned by British subjects, French-Canadians and a few Hawaiians. (I know. Hawaii looks like it is out of the way, but the prevailing winds made it a good resupply point for sailing ships.) John Astor was also negotiating a trade deal with a British fur company in the region. That kept business relations friendly... while attempting to stab each other in the back... as normal business practice demanded. [4]

The May Revolution and the Fight for Independence

After the successful American Revolution and the shaky French Revolution, people around the world have longed for independence. Buenos Aires is the capital of a large Spanish viceroyalty called the Rio de la Plata that was formed in 1776 out of several smaller Spanish holdings. It encompasses modern day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. They didn't like domination under the King of Spain and they like domination under Napoleon even less. English warships have attacked Buenos Aires several times and during one such invasion the leadership runs away from the battle and moves the government treasury with it. Even though this was exactly the planned response, it looks bad so a new leader is selected. From here it gets complicated but a series of military governors will be thrown off and an attempt at a representative democracy will result in the break up of the region. Paraguay will declare its independence. By 1814, the last vestiges of a viceroyalty will collapse and Argentina will become an independent state, but the modern Argentina will not be organized until 1861. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
While Argentina and Paraguay were throwing off their chains, Mexico was working on independence as well. A priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, led a revolt against the Spanish junta. By the next year, the priest was captured, put up against the wall and shot, but the revolt itself continued through a succession of leaders and a lot of shooting. By 1820, the ruling elite was looking for a compromise with the rebels and by September 27, 1821 Mexico won its independence. Cinco de Mayo, or the May 5th celebration is NOT Mexican Independence day. It commemorates a victory over French forces on May 5, 1862, and in the United States it has become a great excuse for a party. The modern Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th. [7] [8] [9]

In Other News

  • The United States population is 7,239,881. This is an increase of almost 2 million from the 1800 census. [10]
  • Billiard rooms open for business in London. 8-ball pool won't appear in the USA until 1908. [5]
  • Homeopathy as a medical practice is established. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann says, "The highest ideal of therapy is to restore health rapidly, gently, permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles." [11] [5]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1810, Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1809

I've uploaded year 1809 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Berners Street Hoax -- On a bet, a prankster makes an address famous.

Intercourse is Now Illegal in the USA -- They mean buying and selling with the UK and France.

Significant Birthdays -- Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, etc.

The Berners Street Hoax

Theodore Hook has the face of a fellow one can trust, but should not. He is a prankster. For example, he takes a cab, but he cannot pay the fare, so he knocks on a doctor's door and cries in despair that a woman needs a doctor. The doctor thinks he is about to deliver a baby. Hook insists that the doctor take his cab, but when the doctor arrives, it is the address of an old spinster woman. Thus the doctor must pay for his ride and Hook's as well. In another incident (and there are many) Hook bets a gold coin (about $322 in today's money) that he can make any address famous. Samuel Beazley takes the bet so Hook writes 4,000 letters and sends them out. On the designated day Beazley and Hook are watching Number 54 Berners Street as a chimney sweep arrives to clean Mrs. Tottenham's chimney. The housekeeper is irate. She did not order a chimney sweep. Then another sweep arrives and another and another, each claiming that he has an appointment to clean the chimney. Then wagons of coal arrive, and sweet tarts, undertakers, the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York and the Lord Mayor of London. The house is in an uproar. The newspapers report on the hoax with the required disapproval and a bit of a smirk. Number 54 Berners Street is now famous. Theodore Hook collects his gold coin. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I'm not even sure this was a real bet. Samuel Beazley was an architect, but he was also a playwright. He primarily wrote comedies. This hoax looks suspiciously like material for a play. Secondly, writing 4,000 letters by hand and paying for their delivery hardly seems like a profitable way to earn a gold coin. And I hope that no none tries such a hoax today. In most states contracting a workman without intent to pay is considered fraud. Nevertheless, everyone had a good laugh except for Mrs. Tottenham, her housekeeper and all of those fellows who had to load and unload those wagons of coal. And while I'm thinking of it, this was the time when coal became a popular way to heat homes. They used anthracite which is a lot less smokey than burning other types of coal. [3] [4]

Intercourse is Now Illegal in the USA

Not THAT kind of intercourse! They mean buying and selling. In the last few days of the Jefferson Administration, the ineffective Embargo Act is repealed and replaced with the Non-Intercourse Act, which is even MORE ineffective. Essentially it says that American shipping is free to trade in all ports except for those of the United Kingdom and France... which is just about everything. The intent of both the Embargo Act and the Non-Intercourse Act is to punish the UK and France by withdrawing the privilege of commerce with the United States. (Hey! Stop laughing! It might have worked... on Pluto!) This continues the steady march to the War of 1812. President James Monroe replaces Jefferson as President this year. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are other Non-Intercourse laws having to do with the buying and selling of Indian lands. A large section of the Northwest was designated as "Indian Country", but as we know, that region was reduced over time. The taking of Indian land was not necessarily a coordinated long-term strategy, but it was predicted by George Washington from the beginning. Other than shooting the early settlers, the US government could see no way of keeping the settlers from moving West and pushing back the Indians. [6]

Significant Birthdays

  • Abraham Lincoln is born in Kentucky. He will eventually be elected President of the United States and preside over the American Civil War. [7]
  • Charles Darwin is born in England. He will develop a theory of evolution through natural selection and survival of the fittest. [8]
  • Edgar Allan Poe is born in Boston. He will write poetry, mysteries and strange, dark stories such as "The Tell-Tale Heart" that is best read on Halloween. [9]
  • Alfred Tennyson is born in England. He will be best known in America for his "Charge of the Light Brigade". [10]
  • Louis Braille is born in France. He will develop a reading system for the blind based on touch. [11]
  • Kit Carson is born in Kentucky. He will become an adventurer, and wilderness guide. His fame will grow as he becomes the subject of dime novels. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1809, Wikipedia.