Friday, July 15, 2016

History: The Year is 1828

I've uploaded year 1828 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Tariff of Abomination -- The Congress produces a tariff so convoluted that is pleases enough people to vote for it, but no one loves it. It is going to cause real problems down the line.

The Beginning of the Liberal Wars -- It is the aristocrats against those who dream of liberty. (Liberty will win but not this year.)

The Red Barn Murder -- Bill and Maria elope but only one of them will make it to the honeymoon.

In Other News -- Jules Verne, the Red Cross and the DC motor.

The Tariff of Abomination

The economic line between the Northern states and Southern states is well drawn. As an industrial economy, the North fears cheap imports from Britain killing their emerging businesses. The agrarian economy of the South wants to sell raw materials to Britain in exchange for hard currency that seems to find its way North no matter what they do. President John Quincy Adams is from Massachusetts, so he wants a protective tariff to force citizens to "Buy American." (They don't say it that way, but that is what they are thinking.) The South hates any tariff with a hot, hot hate. Tariffs always add a significant burden to the Southern economy by increasing the price of manufactured goods. Then the Southern economy must wave bye-bye to their hard currency as it heads North into the pockets of the manufacturers. To cobble together the votes needed for passage, the tariff soon becomes an obvious political payoff to various constituencies. The Southern representatives call it the Tariff of Abomination. It passes and America's economy goes south. By 1832, it will reach a crises point. South Carolina will declare the Tariff of Abomination unconstitutional and nullify the law. At this point it is an open question whether a state has the authority to nullify a Federal law under this circumstance. When the question comes up, Andrew Jackson will be President. Jackson is a law-and-order guy, so the fur is going to fly. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Slavery is part of the economic issue. British banks were holding a lot of I.O.U.s from Southern plantations owners who seemed incapable of paying off their creditors. A good example was Thomas Jefferson who died deeply in debt. While he could have benefited from some good financial advice, the laws of Virginia prevented him from selling off his slaves while he was still in debt. In a modern context, if you owned a factory and declared bankruptcy, the court would not look kindly upon an owner who had sold all the equipment to his brother-in-law for 10 cents on the dollar. That would look like fraud to most judges. Most plantation owners were not going to sell their younger slaves until the bank notes were paid off. Younger slaves produced income. The law restricted slave owners from freeing older slaves who might become a burden on community services. The practice of breaking up slave families did not help the situation since an elderly couple might expect their children to help them. That was why Jefferson was careful not to break up slave families if he could help it, and why he ended up well-loved by his slaves, but deeply in debt at the end. [4]

The Beginning of the Liberal Wars

Although the Napoleonic wars of conquest are over, rebellion has broken out in Portugal. After the death of King John the 6th, the succession has come into dispute because King John's elder son, Pedro, is already ruling in Brazil. John's younger son, Miguel, points out that Brazil is now independent so Miguel should take the throne. Neither Portugal nor Brazil want reunification, so Pedro abdicates the throne of Portugal in favor of his 7-year-old daughter, Maria, rather than his brother. Maria needs a regent and regency politics are always tricky, so Pedro attempts to appease the various factions by emending Portugal's constitution to join the opposing factions and then names his sister as regent. That doesn't work out. The conservative aristocracy still want Miguel as ruler and want to rid themselves of the Napoleonic legal liberties imposed upon them. Miguel agrees, takes the throne and starts putting things right. ("Right" is defined as back to the good old days with the good old boys in charge.) Those who prefer the Napoleonic liberties are called Liberals and thus the Liberal Wars begin. Mass arrests. Blood and sorrow. The Liberals are going to win, but its going to take a while. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Keep in mind that the word "Liberal" is used here in the old sense of the word... "One who defaults to LIBERTY!" Napoleon had pushed hard to break the back of the aristocracy, but after Napoleon's defeat, there was some backlash. The aristocracy wanted it's playground back, but the Napoleonic Code of Laws made a lot of sense... especially to recently freed serfs. The laws were reasonably easy to understand which made it difficult for the aristocracy to confuse things. Certainly people in power don't want the serfs to understand the law because if they understood the law, then the serfs would start asking embarrassing questions, like... "Why are you doing this to me when it says right here in the law that you CAN'T do this to me?" The Napoleonic Code also limited the judicial power so that judges couldn't simply legislate from the bench. Changes in the law had to come through the legislature. I know what your are thinking. When a Congressman complains that he can't READ the bill because he needs an accountant and two lawyers just to UNDERSTAND the bill then perhaps there SHOULD NOT BE A BILL in the first place. If we had followed that rule, there would be no Obamacare, nor, for that matter, a Federal Reserve. [6] [7]

The Red Barn Murder

Just some friendly advice to all young lovers: if it doesn't work out, please don't murder each other, but if you must murder, don't bury the body in a big red barn where her stepmother will find the body. Supposedly, Bill and Maria are to elope that evening. Certainly Maria thinks so. Bill doesn't show, giving the excuse that his brother has taken ill. He shows up at Maria's house the next day and tells her that the sheriff has a warrant for her arrest. Bill says he will carry her things to the red barn about a half mile away and meet her there. Then they will sneak out of town together. Maria is never seen alive again. Her stepmother gets plenty of newsy letters from her new son-in-law, Bill. What a treat! But she wonders why Maria is not writing to her directly. After a prophetic dream, Maria's stepmother convinces her husband to take her to the red barn. They find Maria's body in one of the grain bins, tied in a sack with Bill's handkerchief still wrapped around her neck. It is easy enough to find Bill. He is now married to Mary and running a boarding house for ladies. Bill says that Maria's death was an accident. After the trial of the century, Bill swings. 20,000 people show up to share in the experience and the town will become a tourist attraction for years to come. [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Obviously, Bill had a less than stellar character. He was called "Foxey" in school mostly because he looked sly. Later, he passed bad checks, stole his father's pigs and generally acted like the criminal that he was.... but not a murderer. Not violent. Thus rumors started that perhaps Bill wasn't the murderer after all. Maria's stepmother was very young, only a year older than Maria herself. Perhaps there was a torrid love triangle! And what of the couple's love child? Well... you can see why the whole affair stirred up such interest. And the Red Barn Murder continues to stir up interest into the modern day with books and TV episodes... and this podcast.

In Other News

  • Jules Verne is born in France. He will write classic adventures such as, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days. He will inspire such authors as Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury. [9]
  • The founder of the Red Cross is born. Henry Dunant will be the first recipient of the Nobel Peace prize for organizing the Red Cross. In the modern day it seems less organized for helping than for processing donations. [10]
  • The DC electric motor is invented. It is more complex than the electric motor that Faraday invented. The original model is in a museum and it still works! [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1828, Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment