Friday, July 29, 2016

History: The Year is 1838

I've uploaded year 1838 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Trail of Tears -- The Cherokee take one in the neck from the government and head for Oklahoma. A lot of them won't make it.

The Missouri Mormon War -- The Mormons take one in the neck and head for Illinois. Some of them won't make it either, but they will prosper there, for a little while.

The Pastry War -- A French pastry shop owner demands payment for damage done by Mexican officers. His demand spirals out of control and starts a war with France.

In Other News -- Queen Victoria, the National Weather Service and John Wilkes Booth.

A Trail of Tears

By solemn treaty, the Cherokee Nation has been granted rights to a large region in Georgia, forever... that is until gold is found. Then... somehow... "forever" is redefined to mean, "Get the heck off this land and move to Oklahoma." (Oklahoma is designated as "Indian Territory.") A few Cherokee Indians escape to the Smokey Mountains, and others, who had bought private plots of land, are allowed to stay. 2,000 Indians volunteer to move to Oklahoma, and are transported by water, but as many as 16,000 are force-marched out of Georgia. They will lose approximately 4,000 to disease and exposure, mostly in Illinois. The Cherokee call it the Trail of Tears. Many tribes have followed similar trails and shed their own tears. Due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, a couple of Supreme Court decisions and what can only be described as outright cheating, the Indians tribes have been pushed off to Oklahoma... the final, true land set aside for the Indians in perpetuity... that is, until oil is discovered there. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... I've painted a bad picture of the US government, and in many ways it deserves it. I'd like to stop there, but in fairness, it looks like a dispute between state rights and federal rights. Georgia wanted the Indians out and the Feds didn't want to enforce their rights which might have sparked a civil war. (We got one anyway, but that is hindsight talking.) On the whole and generally speaking, the Indians got the worst of it when confronting settlers migrating west and most of the US official abuse looks like an I-don't-give-a-crap-anymore attitude. This was due in part to viewing the Indians as savages or because the government did not understand leaderless organizations. (Frankly, they do not understand them today.) The Indians had "chiefs" but making a deal with "the chief" wouldn't always stick if the "young bucks" wouldn't go along. I can hear the objection now... "But Alex! What about defending property rights?" Historically speaking, the Indians used two strategies for survival against settler encroachment. The most successful was to use the "scolding houses" as they called the courts. Maintaining one's property rights is a "scolding house" strategy. Buying plots of land and defending their right to property worked better than claiming a national right to lands in perpetuity. Nations can be conquered and then "the nation" belongs to the conqueror. It's not pretty, but it happens a lot. However, in those days even property rights wouldn't have protected the Indians completely. Laws only work when they are for everyone and in case no one has noticed, laws seems to be enforced selectively even today. (I'm looking at YOU, Hillary!) [3] [4]

The Missouri Mormon War

LDS Church members or "Mormons" as they are often called, have been moving west. Their leader, Joseph Smith, has prophesied a New Zion in Missouri. (Technically speaking, a prophesy is not a prediction. It is more like an authoritative message.) The recent financial panic across the nation has caused a sudden collapse of a stock company in Ohio organized by LDS members. They exit Ohio and head for Far West, Missouri... part of New Zion. Missouri is a slave state, but most LDS members are outspokenly anti-slavery and they vote accordingly. With their rapid growth, they are changing the balance of power and have become the targets of violence. In response, a secret guerrilla group called the Danites strike back. As tensions mount, Captain Bogart and the Missouri Militia are sent out. The Captain makes a dog's breakfast of disarming several Mormon residents. Rumors reach Far West of a wild mob about to massacre the Mormons. Armed men quickly organize to meet the trouble. Near Crooked Creek, a Mormon scout runs into a Militia sentry. Shots are fired and when when the dust settles, 1 Militiaman lays dead and another stabbed through the mouth with a sword. Word is sent to Governor Boggs that half of Bogart's company has been mutilated and massacred. Governor Boggs directs the Militia to exterminate or remove all Mormons from the state. The Militia choose "remove", but it is not pretty. After trials for treason, signing over their property, and paying the Militia for their trouble, Mormon families are turned out into the cold. They head for Commerce, Illinois and buy the town. They will rename it Nauvoo, meaning "beautiful". (In Hebrew, it is pronounced Navu or Novu in this context.) By 1844, the population will grow to the size of Chicago of the day. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is tempting to think that the persecution of the Latter Day Saints was due entirely to religious differences, and that was a large part of it, but with the sharp uptick in the population and a lot of bad money being passed around, people were suspicious of the stranger. Although it seems reasonable for a people to form their own protection group, when it was announced the Mormons would be doing this, non-LDS folks were extremely jumpy and believed almost every rumor. The anti-abolitionist groups were terrorists by another name and as I reported in the previous year, Elijah Lovejoy was murdered by anti-abolitionists FROM MISSOURI simply for expressing his opinion in his newspaper PRINTED IN ILLINOIS. There were lawyers willing to protect the rights of minorities, but they often faced armed mobs themselves. In one case, Attorney David Rice Atchison who was also a captain of a Militia company, escorted several Mormon leaders to Independence, Missouri so that a judge could hear their petition for redress, but it became too dangerous for them, even under guard. Atchison marched them out of the city to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy and that was that. He later became a Senator. [11]

Final note: This is a complex subject. If I missed something, don't get angry. Just send an email to AlexShruggedHistory at gmail dot com. I like you guys. I don't want to piss you off, but if you think I got something wrong and you don't let me know, it's on you.

The Pastry War

As you no doubt recall, Texas beat the tar out of General Santa Anna last year. He is in retirement now, but before he came to Texas, he was struggling with revolutions throughout Mexico. The fighting back and forth naturally produced a lot of rubble, and a little French pastry shop in Mexico City was damaged and looted. We know it was French because it was owned by a Frenchman named Remontel and he identified Mexican officers as the culprits in the looting. He demanded compensation, but he was rebuffed, so he wrote to the King of France and unburdened himself to the King. The King then wrote to President Bustamante of Mexico demanding compensation for his subject to the tune of 600,000 pesos. In modern terms this translates into "No-Way, José" or slightly less than "un-FREAKIN-believable". Bustamante naturally refuses, and all Hell breaks loose. The French start a blockade of Mexican ports so the Mexicans use Corpus Christi Bay to smuggle goods in and out. The Texans don't want a war with France, so they shut down the smugglers and patrol the coastline. Finally, General Santa Anna is called out of retirement, but all he gets for his trouble is his leg shot off by the French. It is buried with full military honors, and he will parlay his sacrifice back to the halls of power. Bustamante will pay the 600,000 pesos early next year. [12]

In Other News

  • Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom is crowned. Thus begins the Victorian Age, although some historians date its beginning from 1832 when reforms were enacted to reduce election abuses. [13] [14]
  • The Father of the National Weather Service is born. Cleveland Abbe will use the telegraph to collect weather reports and make reasonably accurate predictions using probability and statistics. [14] [15]
  • John Wilkes Booth is born in Maryland. He will assassinate President Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theater on April 14th, 1865, 5 days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox. [14] [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1838, Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

History: The Year is 1837

I've uploaded year 1837 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Panic of 1837 -- It's a run on the bank as the banks run out of coin to pay off their accounts. I talk about bitcoin a little bit.

Kindergarten: It's for the Children! -- Modern education is born. I talk about the origin of the kindergarten and Horace Mann of the Massachusetts Board of Education.

Killing Lovejoy -- An abolitionist is murdered in a free state.

In Other News -- Cell theory, the Young Turks and the telegraph.

The Panic of 1837

It is too easy to blame President Andrew Jackson for strangling the 2nd Bank of the United States and causing an economic Panic. Granted, he didn't help the situation, but analysts cannot agree as to the direct cause of the Panic of 1837. Nevertheless, it is clear that specie (that is, real "Heavens to Betsy!" coin money) is moving west along with the massive migration of people. It is emptying the New York coffers. (For context, the cities of Chicago and Houston are incorporated this year.) Martin Van Buren has replaced Jackson as President, but before he left, Jackson had withdrawn the deposits of the United States government from the Federal banks and distributed the coin to state banks of uneven reliability. For better or worse, that moved a lot of coin out of New York and drained their reserves to a dangerously low level. At this time, the only legal tender is gold or silver coins. Banknotes are NOT legal tender, so when people try to redeem them for real-coin-money (maybe to cover their stock market losses or to move west for better pastures) the banks run out of real-coin-money and refuse to redeem their private banknotes. Many banks close their doors. By next year the economy will improve only to take a nosedive the year after that. The economy is riding a roller-coaster, and a lot of people are going to get hurt. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most people today engage in electronic funds transfers such as credit card purchases and direct deposit. This makes the coin-shortage issue go away... mostly. People trust electronic notations in computer ledgers... until they don't. When Cyprus banks were collapsing in 2013 due to the economic upheavals of Greece, the account holders took a 47.5% haircut... in exchange for the equivalent in bank stock. (Thanks a lot!) Why didn't depositors pull their money out first? The banks were closed and electronic withdrawals were limited until the required amount was digitally transferred to Germany. It was a "one-time" event, and it always is.... until the next time. Maybe "Grandpa" wasn't so crazy when he started hiding money in coffee cans under his bed. Bitcoin could solve an individual's initial problems by shielding a certain amount of money, but one must own a bitcoin first. And thus we return to the age-old problem... if I am not holding an acceptable "coin" in my hand, transactions soon break down into a barter economy until enough acceptable "coin" is available to act as money. (That is my thinly veiled attempt to advise the listener to have cash on hand, just in case. You probably won't be given much warning before the government decides that you don't really need all that money to get by.) [6] [7] [8]

Kindergarten: It's for the Children!

The road to educational reform is paved with good intentions. It begins in Germany with the youngest students. Friedrich Froebel believes that children have individual abilities and their needs must be addressed as individuals. Until recently, he ran an orphanage in Switzerland and published an educational magazine entitled "Features of Human Education", but he is back in Germany now, and he wants to put his ideas to work. He opens a school for youngsters called the "Play and Activity Institute". He will later call it "Kindergarten" and thus the word will enter the lexicon of German and English speakers. He will also develop an educational tool kit for preschoolers called Froebel Gifts. It includes, among many things, a ball, a wooden cube and a wooden sphere. He has noticed that the children delight in the shapes. (You can see where this is going. Right?) This is education through play. (Adults are so sneaky!) Any modern person would take one look at the kit, and recognize its purpose instantly, but in 1837 it's going to take some education of the adults first. A Prussian government official will soon ban all kindergartens as the tool of godless demagogues. He will mistake Friedrich Froebel for Karl Froebel who is an art teacher and apparently, a godless demagogue. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, in the same year Horace Mann was appointed to the newly formed Massachusetts Board of Education... the first in the country. He had no background in education which made him the perfect person for the job. No preconceptions. Right? (Strike palm to forehead vigorously.) However, he was a graduate of Brown University and gave a speech entitled, "The Progressive Character of the Human Race." As I have said before, education is a form of indoctrination. Most people don't like indoctrination because at some point they don't agree with what is being indoctrinated. In a group situation there will always be an objection to what is taught even when they are teaching handwriting. Practicing handwriting always involves copying an existing phrase or sentence. Hmmm... which sentence shall we choose for our young children to copy and remember? Whatever your answer, the parent standing next to you will be tempted to swat you right in the back of the head. That is why homeschooling is increasingly popular. It's not just because of same-sex bathrooms or gender identification issues. Parents want a say over what their children are taught and as their pleas fall on deaf ears, they will quietly toddle off to handle it on their own. [11]

Killing Lovejoy

I can't let this event go by without note. The abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy is murdered by anti-abolitionist terrorists as he attempts to protect his own printing press from destruction. This is not the first attempt and Lovejoy will die during the last. His feelings on this inevitable outcome are noteworthy... [12]
"... I trust, that through the grace of God, I am prepared to meet them — even unto death itself. My friends are trembling, my enemies -- numerous and influential -- are open and fiercer in their threats, but I can truly say I was never more calm."
-- Elijah Jovejoy, living in Illinois, a free state. [13]

In Other News

  • The cell theory of biology becomes reality. A plant biologist and an animal biologist are having dinner and talking shop when the discussion turns to those strange elements floating inside the cell. The elements are so much alike that they soon realize that all living things are composed of cells. [14] [15]
  • Giuseppe Mazzini is exiled to London. He will foster a number of revolutionary groups across Europe including "Young Italy" and "The Young Turks". Thus Italy will be united as a country one day and Turkey will come into being. [16] [15]
  • The electric telegraph is patented. Also that new-fangled Code of Samuel Morse will be demonstrated... Morse Code. It will soon be adopted as the standard. [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1837, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

History: The Year is 1836

I've uploaded year 1836 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Faraday Cage and EMP -- I talk about practical reasons for such a device.

Remember the Alamo! -- I talk about the one guy who leaves the Alamo.

In Other News -- Milton Bradly, Thomas Crapper and the strike anywhere match.

The Faraday Cage and EMP

With amazing foresight, Michael Faraday discovers that a static electric charge remains on the surface of a metal rather than traveling through it. He lines a room with foil and measures the amount of electric charge inside while hitting it from the outside with an electrostatic charge. He uses one of the oldest tools invented for measuring electric charge, the electroscope. Essentially, a non-conductive material is suspended by a fine thread of silk. Any static charge near it will pull the non-conductive material toward it. A similar effect occurs when your hair passes near a static charge. He proves that static charge is neutralized within the room. This discovery will have practical applications well into the electronics age such as reducing electronic interference, blocking radios waves and protecting electronic devices from the dreaded electromagnetic pulse or EMP. The electroscope will remain in use into the modern day measuring radiation dosage. My jaw is dropping. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
An EMP attack from North Korea seems unlikely, but a massive solar flare could do it. In 1859, such a flare fused telegraph wires. In 1989, a solar storm knocked out power across Quebec. Another barely missed the Earth in 2012, so it worrisome. Major electronics in 1989 were VERY EXPENSIVE and carefully shielded. Today, a sudden surge would destroy televisions, smartphones, GPS devices, most radios (except the ones with tubes), and the electronic ignitions of modern cars and trucks.... the trucks that will NO LONGER deliver spare parts nor groceries. You will need a small Faraday cage: a metal can, well sealed, insulated on the inside and grounded. You can store a small radio or electronic parts there. Shielding for larger areas gets expensive because it usually involves lots of copper. A more PRACTICAL use for a Faraday cage is to protect the modern credit card from thieves. A card can be activated when waved near a proper reader, Thus, a thief can wave a portable reader near your wallet and accomplish the same thing. You can buy a Faraday wallet for less than $20, or you can make one out of duct tape and aluminum foil. Regarding the effects of power lines, and wireless utility meters, I don't worry, but if YOU worry, building a Faraday cage is within the means of most people. You can at least surround your bed at night for peace of mind and store a few essential electronics underneath the bed.... just in case. [7] [8]

Remember the Alamo!

General Santa Anna is here and he has brought his army. The Republic of Texas has declared its independence. Their fortunes, their lives and their sacred honor are at stake and they know what it means if they fail. Col. William Travis is holding the fortifications at the Alamo, but he is having no better luck than Mexican General Cós had last year during the Siege. With forlorn hope (which is no hope at all) he draws a line in the sand. All who are willing to die with him shall cross it. Even Jim Bowie, almost dead from tuberculosis, has his bed carried over the line. One man remains... "Moses" Rose. Up to this point he has fought bravely alongside Jim Bowie which has never been a safe place to stand, but Rose says that he is not yet ready to die. He escapes westward through the town of San Antonio which is separate from the Alamo in these days. The defenders resolve to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Three days after Rose clears the wall, a cry goes up. "The Mexicans are coming!" It is March 6th, 5:30 in the morning. Travis shouts, "We'll give them Hell!" The Alamo cannon fire hits the Mexican troops with a sickening slap. Travis delivers two blasts from his shotgun and receives one to the forehead in return. It is a slaughter until the north wall is breached. The Texans fall back. Jim Bowie lays on his death bed and asks for no quarter. None is given. It is too late for that now. Former Congressman Davey Crockett is left to defend the chapel. He had told his constituents that if they insisted on going to Hell, he was going to Texas, presumably for an honest fight. He has found one as he and six of his men are the last to fall. "Remember the Alamo!" becomes the battle cry at the Battle of San Jacinto a few weeks later. Santa Anna is going to pay and Sam Houston is going to collect. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Could the Alamo defenders have surrendered? Unlikely. Santa Anna needed to show resolve by crushing all opposition, ruthlessly. The wolves behind him would have taken him down, otherwise. Regarding Rose, he was Jewish as am I. I find him an embarrassment today although I think I would have been OK with him at the time. Like my father who fought in Korea, he had done his duty. If wanted to set down his musket, given a fair choice, that was his business, but I worry about the lesson it conveys today. It tends to paint Jews as weak and weakness draws enemies closer in... until the hammer falls. It is a mistake in tactics and I tell my fellows so. Regarding the Battle of San Jacinto, it was the major victory, but it would not have sealed Texas Independence alone. Fortunately, General Santa Anna was found the day after the battle hiding in the marshes. With his surrender his army was forced to capitulate. Later, Santa Anna was criticized for calling for liberty, but resorting to a dictatorship. He replied that, "A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one." I am not sure how the Catholic clergy held them back. As I recall, a Catholic priest led the Mexican revolution, at least at first. He was correct that a certain amount of rational decision-making by the people is required for a properly run democratic republic, though. [12]

In Other News

  • Milton Bradly is born! In his "checkered" life he will no doubt be "gaming" the system soon. [13]
  • Finally, strike anywhere matches that don't explode are invented. Don't strike them, though. They use white phosphorus and that is ... toxic. A less toxic formula will be found later. [14]
  • Thomas Crapper is born to everyone's relief. He will not invent the modern toilet but he will make the discussion of modern plumbing more acceptable as a topic. [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1836, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

History: The Year is 1835

I've uploaded year 1835 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

And So It Begins. The Texas Revolution -- A synopsis on conditions in Tejas as the Revolution kicks off.

Come and Take It: The Battle of Gonzales -- The Mexican Army wants it's cannon back, but somehow the town of Gonzales can't seem to put a finger on it. And speaking of fingers...

The Siege of Béxar (San Antonio) -- General Cos is surrounded by the Texians but he hopes to hold out until help arrives.... Nope.

In Other News -- Mark Twain, Democracy in America and Colt patents the first revolver.

And So It Begins. The Texas Revolution

The Texians (not Texans as yet) haven't decided if they will fight for independence or a return to the Mexican Constitution of 1824. That was the Constitution to which many had sworn allegiance and hoped to see return. General Santa Anna has set himself up as dictator over a region extending from Panama to the borders of Oregon. For several years, the Texians have been in rebellion, but Tejas is the frontier and Santa Anna has his hands full closer to home. (He recently murdered 2,000 non-combatants AFTER he put down their revolution in central Mexico, so don't even THINK of messing with him!) He sends some poorly-equipped dragoons (that is, mounted infantry) and cavalry to Tejas to handle what he thinks will be a few skirmishes. In many ways he is correct. The Texians are mostly a volunteer army. They have taken no oaths, so they can leave as they please. They are their own captains and they think of it exactly that way. They also carry those Kentucky rifles that can shoot the eye out of the dove-of-peace at 200 yards. The Mexican Army is carrying those Brown Bess muskets with gunpowder that is "little better than pounded charcoal." At 60 yards, a hit might leave a nasty bruise. It's the grapeshot from cannon fire that is the threat to Texians. They have set up a provisional government called the Consultation, but winning the war seems more important right now. They can figure out the politics later. [1] [2] [3]

Come and Take It: The Battle of Gonzales

In happier days, the Mexican government had bestowed a small cannon upon the town of Gonzales for defense against Indians. The people of Gonzalez have never shown a bit of disloyalty, and Empresario Green DeWitt has been a strong supporter of Mexico, but things turn sour after some Mexican soldiers take over the store of a local merchant and viciously beat the local militiaman, Jesse McCoy, who tries to straighten out the misunderstanding. Having a town with lingering bad feelings toward Mexican troops and armed with a cannon seems like a bad idea, so the commander at San Antonio sends a few soldiers to request (not demand) the cannon back. (Cannon? What cannon?) After a lot of fooling around the commander sends Lieutenant Castañeda with 100 soldiers to retrieve the cannon... without violence if at all possible. In the meantime, Gonzalez defenders call for help. Texian volunteers arrive to find a very reasonable Mexican force on the other side of the river. The Texian volunteers haven't come all this way just to sit around! Under the cover of darkness, they cross the river. Shots are fired. A Texian falls from his mount and gets up with a bloody nose. The Texians in Gonzalez raise a banner that reads "Come and Take It" with the image of a cannon on it. The Gonzalez cannon is fired once and the Mexican force withdraws with maybe one or two soldiers killed and without the cannon. As battles go, it is insignificant, but as a first strike for liberty, it is a bonanza. [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Those are the bare bones of it, but there are a lot of interesting side stories that go along with the battle. A doctor named Lancelot Smithers heard of the coming confrontation and rode across Texas to negotiate peace, but he was arrested by Lieutenant Castañeda. As it turned out, Smithers was needed for translating and after some back-and-forth it was clear that both sides favored the Constitution of 1824! But since the Mexican Army was under the orders of Santa Anna, the Texians would not capitulate. The cannon itself didn't come with cannonballs, so they collected as much scrap metal as they could find and stuffed it in the barrel. Could this possibly be an effective weapon? According to an episode of Mythbusters, yes it could, but only at shorter ranges. The Mexican Army withdrew because the Lieutenant's orders stipulated that he was not to use force to retrieve the cannon. [2] [5]

The Siege of Béxar (San Antonio)

Well... General Cós has landed a Mexican force at the Bay of Copano which is north of what will one day be called Corpus Christi. It will serve as the beginning of his logistics train, and as plans go, it's not too bad, but when he hears of the Battle of Gonzalez, he moves quickly to the fortifications at Béxar (BAY-har, which sounds like "BEAR" with two syllables). It is present day San Antonio. He leaves a small force to guard his rear... too small, as it turns out. The Texians neatly cut off the General's supply route. He is royally... uh... without a means of support. Empresario Stephen F. Austin leads a force from Gonzalez to meet the General at San Antonio and sends Jim Bowie (the guy with the knife) to scout ahead and return. Bowie is a heck of a guy in a fight, but after the death of his wife, he has become a bit of a drunk and barroom brawler. He stops at Mission Concepción for the night, ignoring Austin's orders to return. In the morning, Bowie's scouting party is greeted with an overwhelming military force. With their backs against the river, they are trapped. For some reason, the Mexican forces come straight in. In a battle between roughly equivalent weapons, it might have worked, but the infantry cannot get close enough before those Kentucky rifles pick them off. The cannon fire is doing nothing but knocking the nuts off the trees. The Texians casually pick them up and pop them into their mouths. In 30 minutes it is all over. General Cós has learned his lesson. He will stay behind the fortifications and wait out Austin's makeshift army. The Siege of Béxar has begun. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Siege of Béxar revealed all the problems with a volunteer army. Time and again Austin wanted to attack the fortifications, but he was overruled by his officers. They had lost confidence in Austin, so he was replaced by Edward Burleson, his second in command. At first, Burleson did no better. The Texians were short on everything except rum. Jim Bowie caught out a Mexican supply patrol, but it turned out they were only carrying grass. If the General was willing to risk his men on a mission to collect grass, it meant the siege was working! It was now or never. On December 5th, the Texians attacked. They pushed the Mexican forces back to the Alamo and there the Texians pounded Cós with artillery fire. 175 Mexican soldiers rode off with Cós chasing them on foot, begging them to stay. On December 9th Cós ordered a flag of truce. The terms of surrender were that soldiers who lived in Béxar could stay. All others would leave with minimum weaponry for protection and a pledge to Almighty God to uphold the Constitution of 1824. Other than the Battle of San Jacinto, this is the most significant win for the soon-to-be Republic of Texas. [8]

In Other News

  • Mark Twain is born in a village of 100 people. Florida, Missouri's most famous resident will become one of the world's favorite authors. [9] [10]
  • Democracy in America, volume 1 is published. A French aristocrat seeks to understand how America works: "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." [11]
  • Samuel Colt patents his single-barreled pistol in England. Next year he will receive his US patent. It will be called the Colt Paterson. A cylinder rotates to align with the barrel after each pull of the hammer. You must partially disassemble the gun to reload though. [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1835, Wikipedia.

Monday, July 25, 2016

History: The Year is 1834

I've uploaded year 1834 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Damn the Yankees! The Farren Riots of New York -- An angry remark by a British subject sparks a race riot but it probably would have occurred anyway.

Welcome to the German Union! -- A few German city-states establish a free trade zone to challenge the economic power of England. This Union will grow and become the model for trade unions to come.

Faraday Discovers the Law of Electrolysis -- I give a couple of examples and talk about what the average homeowner and boat-owner should know about it.

In Other News -- Parliament is burning, the American electric motor, and Whistler's mother.

Damn the Yankees! The Farren Riots of New York

George Farren is the stage manager for a Bowery theater and a British subject. Exactly how he caused a race riot in New York seems improbable, but a series of vaguely related events has led to a firestorm. A local newspaper owned by the Tappan brothers has been agitating for the abolition of slavery. More than that, Arthur Tappan recently sat with a negro friend during church services. Rumors spread that Tappan had divorced his wife to marry a black woman and that black men are prancing around town, all gussied up and looking for white wives. There are more serious rumors that gangs of black men are preparing to set fire to the city. This is coupled with a recent wave of Irish immigrants with their own fears and prejudices. The July 4th celebration of the New York emancipation of the slaves is rescheduled to July 7th after a misunderstanding leads to a fight between whites and blacks. Then George Farren fires an actor favored by the pro-slavery movement. After getting grief, he remarks, "Damn the Yankees; they are a damn set of jackasses and fit to be gulled." It all comes apart after that. George manages to save his own skin by bringing out an actor who entertains the crowd with a demeaning song about black people sung to the tune of "The turkey in the straw". (Don't make me repeat the title.) The riots go on for 4 days. The police are overwhelmed. The church of an abolitionist preacher is burned to the ground. It is an ugly business and we have not seen the last of it. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
NOTE: Being anti-abolitionist did not make a person automatically pro-slavery. Many were looking for a legal transition away from slavery that didn't involve a war. Others simply didn't want to be forced to sit with black people in church. This attitude squares with what was happening in Europe in regard to the Jews. Europeans agreed, in theory, that the Jews should be freed from the ghettos, but it was a rare European who wanted their daughter to marry a Jew, and it wasn't only due to religious differences. At the same time, immigration from Germany and Ireland to North America really kicked into gear, disrupting the political equation in the United States. (One need not be a citizen to riot, and politicians worried about Irish riots in 1834.) [8] FYI, In 2016 stating one's race grants authority to one's opinion. Why exactly one's skin color grants special insight is beyond my comprehension, but if so, I qualify as having infallible insight since I am a Mexican-American (born in East LA), I am an Orthodox Jew, and my granddaughter is as black as President Obama... and as Jewish as the Chief Rabbi of Israel. She told me that if some white woman can call herself black then she can call herself white. To her mind, skin color conveys no special authority... nor should it.

Welcome to the German Union!

The German Customs Union is a free trade zone between several German city-states. It is like the European Union without that self-absorbed, officious, piece of ... uh... I mean it has the EU benefits without the EU central government. The negotiations began after the fall of Napoleon who had created the German Confederation. They had returned to the protective trade barriers which increased the costs of goods. With the rise of England as an economic power, the European states had to band together to compete. The German Customs Union is one solution. Austria is not part of the Customs Union since the Prince of Austria prefers more strict control. (Actually, he hates the whole Free Trade idea.) Over the next few decades the Union will expand to include more German provinces and several non-German states such as Sweden-Norway. Then many of the German states will consolidate politically into the Northern German Confederation and after that, the German Empire. The economic relationships will take twists and turns, break apart for a year and reform again stronger than ever. The Union will eventually be replaced by the Wiemar Republic in 1919 and we all know how well that is going to go. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The break down of economic barriers eventually led to a breakdown of political barriers where there was a common language. Language can act as a political bonding agent at times. That is why England remains so close to the United States even though the British cannot pronounce the word, "aluminum" (al-LOO-min-um). Nevertheless, we muddle through. The analysis on free trade I've read suggests that the German Customs Union is now used as the model for such unions since it was documented over a long enough time for step-by-step analysis of the process. No doubt it was studied carefully before establishing the European Union. Apparently, it was not studied carefully enough. The EU offered the benefits of free trade zones and easy travel. Unfortunately, free trade with some countries would mean the elimination of jobs in others, so the EU Constitution granted exceptions. The number of exceptions grew and grew until the EU citizens were voting on regulations regarding reindeer meat. Frankly, what does the average Spaniard know about reindeer meat, much less care? Soon it became less about free trade and more about forming the EU at any cost including giving over an individual's freedom to an unaccountable federal government. [12]

Faraday Discovers the Law of Electrolysis

What is electrolysis? Certain chemical reactions will occur with a slight electrical charge flowing through a solution. The electrical charge allows certain materials to move from one place to another at the molecular level. Thus one can use electrolysis to place a fine coating of metal onto another. This is called electroplating. I am oversimplifying. Just know that your average lead-acid battery works using electrolysis as it discharges and recharges. Lead-acid batteries can produce a little hydrogen if not properly charged, but not a lot. I can imagine OTHER electrolysis applications that could produce large amounts of hydrogen. A word to the wise is sufficient. I hope everyone out there is wise enough to use caution. [13] [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Why should anyone care? Because electrolysis can occur at home within your plumbing pipes. If you have both galvanized pipe and copper pipe as part of your installation, any electrical flow such as grounding your electrical grid to the nearest metal pipe, could start that process. Small holes in the pipe will develop over time. Remember... I am not an expert in SOLVING such problems. I simply know that electrolysis CAN BE a problem. I am told that an "insulating dielectric union" can be used. It is a connector with a rubber insulator that acts as a barrier to electrical flow. Of course, that kills your ground connection, so grab a piece of reinforcement bar and pound it into the ground. Connect your electrical ground to that. Done. On a boat, any metal exposed to water and a weak electric charge, could damage your boat over time... like say... your propellers. It doesn't take a lot of electrolysis to damage them and it doesn't have to be coming from YOUR boat. It could be any boat in the marina. I am told that boat owners use a zinc anode as a preventative measure. In theory, any electrolysis going on will chew up the zinc first. It is part of normal boat maintenance to check one's zinc anodes. Again, I'm not an expert. I simply know that it can be a problem. Good luck. [16] [17]

In Other News

  • Parliament is burning! The furnace normally used for coal is filled with wood. The flames start a fire in the flue and most of Westminster Palace goes up in flames. The few building left will be incorporated into the modern Westminster Palace that exists today. [9]
  • The American electric motor is built. Thomas Davenport takes apart an electromagnet, improves the wiring using silk FROM HIS WIFE'S WEDDING DRESS! What a gal! Emily Davenport's name will be included on the patent for the DC electric motor. (It is a real motor, folks.) [18]
  • Whistler's mother gives birth to Whistler. Whistler will return the compliment, painting the famous portrait of Anna Whistler... Whistler's Mother in 1871. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1834, Wikipedia.

Friday, July 22, 2016

History: The Year is 1833

I've uploaded year 1833 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Child Labor Laws and those Gosh Darn Illegal Aliens -- Real teeth are put into the child labor laws. I talk about debt, debtor's prison and Tejas which is being inundated with Anglo illegal aliens.

Banking on Disaster -- Andrew Jackson takes on the 2nd Bank of the US. He will win but the economy will collapse. I talk about solutions, but I don't think there is one.

In Other News -- The Barlow lens, General Santa Anna and American Party politics.

The Child Labor Laws and those Gosh Darn Illegal Aliens

Once more, the British Parliament has created a feather bed for the working children of the British labor force. Back in 1819 the Utopian industrialist (and future socialist) Robert Owen, limited children's work hours to 12-hour days and 9-year-olds could not be hired at all! (What is this world coming to?) Now a new law limits 13-year-olds to 9 hour days! (Are we raising loafers?) Everyone is required to wash their hands and face twice a day to prevent the spread of disease, and education is to be provided to fill in all those extra hours the kids have: at least 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Medical experts recommend an extended lunch hour for the health of the children.[1] (The current lunch "hour" is 45 minutes.) Most importantly, 4 government inspectors have been hired specifically to enforce the law along with many assistant inspectors to help them. Before this time, enforcement consisted of local officials reasoning with factory owners. (In a modern context, this would be like hiring gang members to stop drug dealers. It might work... uh... no. Probably not.) Now a professional PAID factory enforcement team has been established. Things are looking brighter. Soon 10-year-olds will be forbidden to work in the mines. (Yikes!) [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You can see how socialism got rolling. Working conditions during the emerging Industrial Age were hideous. Even the most libertarian-minded people of the modern day would be tempted to meddle with the labor laws under such conditions. With the new threshing machines killing jobs on the farm, people moved to the cities. But that meant kids could no longer contribute to food production or spinning wool. They naturally gravitated to the textile mills. If a young girl was reasonably well-educated, she might become a shop-girl. If you couldn't support yourself, you were sent to the public workhouse. In America, those who could not pay their debts went to prison... or Tejas. The Mexican government paid good money for A LIMITED NUMBER OF CATHOLIC SETTLERS to work the land, but that was a mistake. Too many white illegal aliens were crossing the border. (Those gosh darn white people were nuthin' but trouble!) That sounds funny, but it's true. The Texas Revolution probably would have happened any way, but illegal aliens from southern states like Louisiana were a disruptive force. [5] [6]

Banking on Disaster

Andrew Jackson won his bid for a second term as President promising to rid the country of the Second Bank of the United States. If you will recall, the First Bank was chartered by Alexander Hamilton, who used the bank to control the money supply and to provide a means for the US government to pay off its war debt. However, the Jeffersonian vision of government did not include banks. Jefferson believed that bankers were dishonest people whose only aim was to keep farmers in their grip and squeeze. So when it came time to renew the bank's charter, the Jeffersonian republicans let it lapse... right before the War of 1812. As the need for ready cash soared to meet the needs of war, President Madison scrambled to set up another bank. Thus in 1818, the Second Bank of the United States was established. Unfortunately, the bank president was an idiot, so during the Panic of 1819, Andrew Jackson almost lost his farm. Jackson doesn't forget old wounds. The current Federal bank president. Mr. Biddle, is competent, but he is also a bit of a wheeler-dealer. Jackson can smell something bad, so he tries to withdraw all the money from the bank (ALL THE MONEY!) He declares the bank unconstitutional and pays off the entire national debt... every last penny with money to spare, but not before Mr. Biddle tries to brings down the house. President Jackson will avoid most of the consequences of his actions. The Federal banking system will be turned over to the states in 1837, just in time for Jackson's successor, Martin Van Buren, to take one for the team. Several banks will fail. As cash liquidity dries up and the economy grinds to a halt, wildcat banks will spring up "out there amongst the wildcats." Unregulated (and probably non-existent) banks will set up for the needs of the moment and then fade away. For years to come, very few financial instruments will be more worthless than a federal note. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was this all Jackson's fault? No, but like most people of the time, he didn't understand how banking works. If for no other reason, a Federal bank is required to regulate the massive spending that a government the size of the USA engages in (even in Jackson's time). Collecting enough cash to buy pencils for the federal government can tie up money for long periods of time, and then suddenly dump large amounts of cash into the market to make the purchase. The pencil market would go into a frenzy to meet the demand and then collapse utterly. Don't even ask about the eraser market. Some sort of banking system is needed that can hold tax funds and parcel them out in a sensible, and generally non-disruptive fashion. Providing loans to state banks in the meantime, would help regulate the money supply and if it is done prudently, would help the economy over most short-term problems. But wait. What am I talking about? It's the GOVERNMENT! Forget I said anything. I lost my head. I'm saying that a Federal banking system is needed for a large economy such as the USA, but it needs to be revisited periodically. Setting a time limit on the renewal of the charter didn't work for us before. Maybe there is no way for a Federal banking system to work without a lot of suffering, and crying and gnashing of teeth. It's just too much money. Maybe limiting government obligations to an amount that the CURRENT LIVING taxpayers could conceivably repay makes sense. But again... it's the government.

In Other News

  • The Barlow Lens is invented. It increases magnification and corrects the focal point of colors for precise viewing. It will remain a popular lens into the modern day. [11] [12]
  • General Santa Anna overthrows Mexico's President Bustamante. Hooray!! For a while it looks like he will restore constitutional government to Mexico, but no such luck. [13]
  • The American Whig Party is established as real Party politics begin. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster unify their Party against the Democrats and Andrew Jackson. Eventually, the Whigs will be replaced by the Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln. [3] [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1833, Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

History: The Year is 1832

I've uploaded year 1832 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A New Jerusalem in America -- Joseph Smith and LDS moves to Missouri to await the Second Coming. Missouri will threaten their extermination.

A Modern Travel Guide is Needed -- Peace in Europe has created a touring class of people who don't have a lot of money but need a guide to select the best sights to see.

In Other News -- Skull and Bones, socialism, and Col. Travis is taken prisoner.

A New Jerusalem in America

After translating the Book of Mormon into English, Joseph Smith has received the revelation that a New Jerusalem will be established in America. The Second Coming is near, so he calls on his followers, the Latter Day Saints, to gather at a camp in Jackson County, Missouri. It is to be the location of the City of Zion. About 100 will show up this first year but their numbers will grow rapidly and the resentment of their neighbors will grow rapidly as well because part of Smith's revelation is that the land of the sinful will be given over to the LDS faithful. This revelation reflects what the Lord promised to the Children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai. The people of Canaan had displeased the Lord, and since the World is His, He can give His land over to anyone He pleases. You now understand why the people of Jackson County will be getting very nervous by next year. In 1838, the so-called Mormon War will break out and the government will issue the only order in US history to exterminate a religious group... or expel them. Your choice. The Extermination Order will remain in effect until 1976. (That is not a typo. The order will remain in effect into the 20th century!) [1] [2] [3]
"The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description." -- L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-Chief (and Governor of Missouri) Oct. 27, 1838. [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I believe in revelations. I do not denigrate such experiences. On the other hand, I do not run to follow every person who has a revelation. (In other words, I try to use my head for more than just a hat rack.) A careful reading of the Bible demonstrates that revelation is not limited to one group, nor to a few lofty leaders... not even to an especially good person. If you will recall, the leader of a recent slave rebellion, Nat Turner, reported that he was visited by the Holy Spirit. Good person or not, such revelations per se were not an unusual feature of the time. LDS lays claim to revelation into the modern day. The few revelations that LDS members have shared with me seem prone to be misunderstood. Certainly, I do not understand some of them, so I set them aside as a mystery and move on. I am an Orthodox Jew and that is difficult enough to understand.

A Modern Travel Guide is Needed

The first familiar travel guide was published last year by John Murray Publishers. The introduction to the guide reads like "Visit Europe on $5 a day!", though exactly what the book provides is not made clear. After the fall of Napoleon, relative peace has settled in and people have the free time to tour, but they need some help. These are not aristocrats traveling with an entourage. Their funds are limited and they want to see what they can see without a lot of fooling around. Existing guides are long narratives that point out all the sights but they seem unable to focus on which sights are WORTH seeing. Other guides report on the history of the region, but do not address the information a traveler needs such as: "Where is the best place to eat?" "What are the best hotels?" or "How do I schedule transportation?" The German publishing company, Baedeker, has republished Professor Klein's book, A Rhine Journey from Mainz to Cologne; A Handbook for Travellers on the Move. It will be updated, and in 1839, they will completely blow the doors off: providing maps, places to eat, hotels, how much to tip. The works. They will also mark the notable sights with an asterisk. (Ooooh! Shiny!) John Murray Publishers will enclose their handbooks in a bright red cover and thereafter, the public will associate "red cover" with "travel guide." [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
People in those days wanted the most for their money before Europe was gone. Oddly, people still want that. It is a real possibility that Europe as we know it now, won't be there in a few years. My daughter-in-law expressed that same concern, so she is traveling to Germany this year. (Her husband is working on his Phd.) She also wants to visit Iceland before it blows up. (Volcanoes. You know.) I used to joke about all the major Greek sites being be sold off to Disneyland but as Great Britain exits the EU and the financial crisis worsens, it is less of a joke. I wonder how much they would take for Deutche Bank? [7] [8] [9] [10]

In Other News

  • The Skull and Bones secret society is established after a dispute between Yale debating societies. Why? IT'S A SECRET! In the modern day, 15 men and women from the Yale junior class are "tapped" to become members. The chosen are usually campus leaders or people of note. [11] [12]
  • The word "socialism" comes into use. It is promoted in France by Pierre Leroux and by Robert Owen, the founder of the New Harmony utopia along the Wabash. [13] [14] [15]
  • Colonel William Travis is taken prisoner by the Mexican Army for a short while. His supporters in Turtle Bayou, Tejas, publish a set of resolutions supporting General Santa Anna and the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The General will later grind the Constitution into the dirt. (Did I say that out loud?) Travis will make his last stand at the Alamo in 1836. [16] [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1832, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1831

I've uploaded year 1831 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

America! Let Freedom Ring -- The song and lyrics for "My Country, 'tis of Thee" are compose.

Clausewitz "On War" -- He dies so I provide some quotes and talk about my father's experience in Korea.

Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion and Loving Your Enemies -- Nat is visited by the Holy Spirit and starts killing white people. I talk about Martin Luther King and his iron-clad discipline using peaceful resistance.

In Other News -- Charles Darwin, Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Coca-cola.

America! Let Freedom Ring

Samuel Smith is translating a patriotic hymn from the German when he is suddenly overcome with the need to write a patriotic song of his own. He picks up a scrap of paper and within a few minutes, he has written a song that will be sung by school children and adults alike for years to come... "America" or as it has come to be known in the modern day, "My Country, 'tis of Thee". My favorite arrangement is sung by Abby Anderson. Tears fill my eyes every time I hear her sing it. ([Click Here]) [1]
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King. [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
My daughter-in-law is a high school teacher. She was surprised to learn that I sang this song every morning as a schoolboy after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. She surprised me by reciting the Texas Pledge of Allegiance by heart. She is a real Texas gal. [3] [4] [5] [6]
Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible. [7]

Clausewitz "On War"

The cholera pandemic carries away the great Prussian strategist, Carl von Clausewitz. He spoke of "the fog of war". That is where the phrase comes from. He will be quoted again and again. Here are a few classics... [8] [9] [10]
  • Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. [11]
  • The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan. [12]
  • War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst. [13]
  • The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed. [12]
  • To secure peace is to prepare for war. [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
My father became a pacifist after he returned from the Korean War. My memories of him as a child convince me that he suffered some terrible trauma... several traumas. One morning, he pulled a dead man from the wire. The man was a Korean, the enemy. He carried a picture of his wife and child. My father knew that this man would have killed him if he could have. That was why he had been working his way through the wire, and yet, the picture made him seem so normal. My father explained to me that this incident moved him to become a pacifist. He had seen the worst, done his duty and he knew his own mind. I respected his decision. I loved my father but his efforts to make me hate the gun did not work. I have no love for the gun, but I have seen enough evil to know my duty. My family is counting on me, and I don't want my last full measure of devotion to be wasted throwing pebbles. I know my father would respect that decision.

Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion and Loving Your Enemies

Nat Turner is a slave and he is going to meet his Maker. Nat is not a wicked man. He believes in the Lord and preaches the Gospel. A few years ago he was visited by the Holy Spirit and told that he was to bear the sins of man just as his Savior had done and that Nat was to "fight against the Serpent" meaning the white slave owners. Then in February of this year, a total eclipse was taken as a sign that his preparations for rebellion should begin. He collected weapons and brought some fellow slaves into his plan. Then, on that August day, the Sun took on a strange color. It was a sign, Nat thought. They began their work killing the slave owners, leaving aside only those homes where humble white people lived. He freed hundreds of slaves and killed around 65 white men, women and children before the militia put them down. 56 slaves were hanged including Nat Turner, who expressed no regrets. Maybe a hundred or more were killed during the fighting. It is the worst slave rebellion is US history, and the consequences for the future are incalculable. In the weeks that follow, hundreds more slaves are killed by mobs. The slave owners are riding the tiger and there is no way off. [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the civil rights protests of the 1960s, the Reverend Martin Luther King emphasized the importance of passive resistance. His niece, Dr. Alveda King, participated in a passive protest as a young girl, but she stepped out of line and was arrested. She had broken her pledge, so they left her in jail. Though the offense was small, discipline had to be maintained. The Kings were holding the reigns on a riot. If they let go, they could lose it all. Many of King's supporters wanted revenge, but he knew that calmer heads must prevail. I am wondering when that time will come.
Don't get panicky. Don't do anything panicky. Don't get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.
-- Reverend Martin Luther King, during the bus boycott after Rosa Parks was denied a seat on the bus. [16] [17] [18]

In Other News

  • Charles Darwin sets out on HMS Beagle as a naturalist. Upon his return, he will put his notes in order, and realize that natural selection explains the difference he sees from species to species. [19]
  • Victor Hugo publishes his novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He wrote it so that more people would appreciate Gothic architecture rather than tearing it down. [20]
  • The inventor of Coca-Cola is born. After John Pemberton became addicted to morphine, he cured it with a mixture of COCAINE and alcohol. Later he came up with a non-alcoholic version with carbonation but THE COCAINE STAYED... until 1903. [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1831, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1830

I've uploaded year 1830 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Stop the Gin Mills! Drink More Beer! -- The temperance movement is starting, so beer is made easier to get than gin. That will not satisfy them, though.

The Thresher Riots Are in Full Swing -- The Luddites are destroying the threshing machines. This will lead to increases in the Dole. It's a trap.

In Other News -- The sewing machine, paraffin, and the Book of Mormon.

Stop the Gin Mills! Drink More Beer!

The temperance movement is just getting started and its followers have two strategies: encouraging self-control and prohibiting alcohol by law. The Beer Act of 1830 is a way to put off the prohibitionists. The "Gin Palaces" are inviting places, to be sure, but they sell hard liquor and the licensing board does not encourage alternatives. (Read as, the gin joints don't want competition from the beer joints, so they manipulate the licensing boards so that only hard liquor is licensed for production. Got it? OK.) The temperance movement is putting on the pressure, so the British Parliament allows the easy licensing of public beer and ale houses and they pass the Beer Act allowing for the personal production and sale of beer and ale. The hope is that with a cheap alternative to the devil's rum the people will moderate their drinking. Remember that in London, nothing will kill you quicker than drinking untreated water from the Thames. So, for now... all things in moderation. In five short years the proliferation of beer joints will be seen as "the highway to drunkenness." (A gateway drug, so to speak.) Then the temperance movement will shift into high gear. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day there is still a distinction made between licensing for the sale of beer and wine and the licensing for the sale of distilled alcohol. Every town has its reasons. Some of them are moral. Others are practical, such as keeping bars out of sight of kids. As a teenager I was cutting through the parking lot of a local bar when I noticed a car that looked suspiciously like our family sedan. After I mentioned it to my mother, I never saw it there again. (Hmmmmm. I wonder.) There is also the lingering fear of organized crime. One of my old friends was a rum runner during Prohibition. A lot of his buddies ended up under the car rather than driving it. After he got out of prison, he mended his ways and finally received a pardon from the governor. You never saw a prouder man. I miss him. But the rule is that if you are going to produce distilled alcohol you must give Uncle Sam his cut or he will be very angry. I do not pretend to know all the federal rules and there are local rules as well. Use your head. Do the right thing and remember... the "revenuers" have no sense of humor whatsoever. [6]

The Thresher Riots Are in Full Swing

It is summertime near East Kent. It is "the last straw", for the workers. The mobile-powered threshing machine is putting the Swing-threshers out of work. Threshing was once a manual skill. One must remove the head of the grain stalk without destroying it. Threshing machines have been used here-and-there, but with the steam engine powering them, a threshing machine can go anywhere. The Swing-threshers see their doom, so they break the machines. Thousands of riots break out across England. England is used to a certain amount of violence and intimidation between the workers and the landowners. It is an old dance, but the tune has changed. Threats, fire and terror continue into the next year. After the Swing Trials, nineteen men will "swing" from the gallows, but this marks a turning point. The Poor Laws will be changed. The Dole will be increased. Workhouses for the poor will increase but the number of poor will not decrease. It's a trap. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the USA, Poor Farms were eventually replaced by Social Security benefits. Migrant workers received unemployment pay. Initially, these programs worked, but the 13 million poor in 1960 that we tried to lift out of poverty by spending trillions of dollars, still numbered 13 million by 1980. We hadn't helped. Not even a little. [10] [11]
The most compelling explanation for the marked shift in the fortunes of the poor is that they continued to respond, as they always had, to the world as they found it, but that we--meaning the not-poor and un-disadvantaged--had changed the rules of their world. Not of our world, just of theirs. The first effect of the new rules was to make it profitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways that were destructive in the long term. Their second effect was to mask these long-term losses--to subsidize irretrievable mistakes. We tried to provide more for the poor and produced more poor instead. We tried to remove the barriers to escape from poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.
-- Charles Murray, Losing Ground, p. 9. [12]

In Other News

  • The first sewing machine is patented in France. The factory burns to the ground as workers fear that their jobs are going bye-bye. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]
  • A German industrialist discovers paraffin. He was experimenting with coal distillates. An efficient means to extract paraffin wax won't be developed until the 1850s. [18] [19] [20]
  • The Book of Mormon is published. This is also the year that the first Latterday Saints church is established although the movement will not officially receive that name until 1838. [18] [21] [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1830, Wikipedia.