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 Martin Van Buren has replaced Jackson as President, but before he left, Jackson had withdrawn the deposits of the United States government from the Federal banks and distributed the coin to state banks of uneven reliability.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.

No comments:

Post a Comment