Tuesday, August 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1850

I've uploaded year 1850 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

Another Compromise on Slavery -- California wants to join the Union as a free state but it will require a number of changes in the law about which states will be free and which will be slave states.

The Underground Railroad is Still Running -- Harriet Tubman joins the Underground Railroad as the number of runaway slaves soars.

Yet Another Arctic Rescue Mission -- Lady Franklin is missing a husband so an expedition goes out searching for him.

In Other News -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, California, American Express and Pinkerton.

Another Compromise on Slavery

With California demanding to join the Union as a free state, a new slavery compromise is needed to keep the Southern states from seceding from the Union. After the Mexican-American War the USA acquired new territories. If the Missouri Compromise was to be followed then California and Texas should be split into North and South since they both straddle the parallel line of 36 degrees 30 minutes North which is the dividing line between slave and free states. California wants to join as a whole state, and with the ongoing gold rush, money talks. There is also a border dispute between Texas and the New Mexico territory. Daniel Webster makes his famous appeal to the moderates of the North and South and Henry Clay pushes a series of resolutions to reduce the size of Texas to its modern day borders in exchange for taking over Texas debt. The slavery question in the territories is left to the voters to decide, which will lead to bloody fights in the future between the new and old settlers on the question of slavery. Slave trading in Washington DC is abolished although slavery itself is not, and the Fugitive Slave Act is strengthened. With these compromises, war is averted, but only for a few years. When Kansas and Nebraska gear up to join the Union, the stuff will hit the fan again. This issue is not going away. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Why didn't the Whigs just vote to make slavery illegal? Well... they were certainly powerful enough as a Party to do many things, but on the issue of slavery they were divided. Henry Clay, the leader of the Whigs, was a slave owner. His idea of slavery was more like indentured servitude. He believed that slavery could transition out in a generation or two as it did in Canada. But most people were either solid for slavery or solid against. Abolitionists saw the Constitution of the United States as a document of evil because it allowed slavery. Slavery was a stain on their soul that they wanted removed. No transition. No payment to slave owners. They didn't want to go to war to stop slavery. They just wanted it to stop. The extremes on both sides refused to compromise and the mushy-middle could only kick the can down the road. [3]

The Underground Railroad is Still Running

With the passing of a stricter Fugitive Slave Law, special commissions are set up that do not allow a fugitive to testify on his own behalf. No trial by jury is allowed. Penalties are assessed upon law officers who refuse to enforce the fugitive slave laws. The commissioner of these pseudo-courts is paid twice as much to rule against the fugitive than he is to rule on the fugitive's behalf. When this new law is challenged in various state courts it is often overturned, but the Supreme Court will uphold the practice. This new law is agitating the abolitionists so they step up their efforts to help slaves escape to free states and Canada. It is called the Underground Railroad, but it is actually any number of escape routes by road, or wagon, boat. Whatever it takes. Safe-houses along the way feed and house runaways until they can move on. One runaway slave is Harriet Tubman. She has been guiding slaves along the Underground Railroad over and over again, but with this new Fugitive Slave law she is extending the trip into Canada now. By all accounts Harriet Tubman is a making a difference, and in total she will guide about 70 runaway slaves to freedom. In the next ten years the use of the Underground will soar. That means a lot more people than Harriet will be breaking this law. [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a general rule that I've heard in many forms but it comes down to this: Do not make a law that people will not follow. Do not issue an order that will not be obeyed. Why? Because it encourages law-breaking and a breakdown of discipline. So, if you are going to pass a law, make sure that people understand it, so that they don't break it out of confusion, and make sure that it is a just law. Having the Supreme Court rule on the correctness of any law has become meaningless to me. They have been morally wrong so many times that I have stopped listening. And that is part of the problem. If I do not respect the lawmakers and those who rule on the law, then on the rare occasion when they are correct will I be paying attention? Probably not.

Yet Another Arctic Rescue Mission

Lady Franklin has asked for help to find her husband, Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin of the British Royal Navy. He was last seen on his mission to chart the Northwest Passage. He left with two ships, specially equipped with engines that not only propelled the ships but kept the men warm in the cold weather. They left with food for 3 years so it is possible they are still alive. The McClure Expedition is organized to look for Sir Franklin. The USS Advance also sets out to find him but both efforts will be fruitless. In a few years Dr. John Rae will ask some Inuit hunters about Sir Franklin and they will report that he and his crew left their ships and died of starvation on the ice. Apparently, they also resorted to cannibalism and when this report reaches Lady Franklin she will denounce Dr. Rea and so will most other people. Sir Franklin is considered a hero and he would never do anything so ignoble as eating his crew. Would he? (Actually, he can't. He is already dead, but don't tell Lady Franklin.) [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 2015 one of Sir Franklin's ships was found and then some of his dead crewmen. Some of them had saw marks on their bones. That means someone ate the crew. These type of expeditions often met with disaster, and then others expeditions would follow, looking for the first group... often urged on by a tearful wife of a member of the previous one. Franklin's expedition went wrong mostly due to bad food preservation. The contract for canned food was awarded to the lowest bidder at what must have been the last minute. The canned foods were sloppily sealed with lead and the lead seeped into the food. It caused lead poisoning. Lead poisoning leads to hallucinations, delirium, cognitive deficits (which means you think poorly) convulsions, seizures and a persistent case of dead. I am told symptoms will vary depending on the person. [10]

In Other News

  • San Francisco and Los Angeles are incorporated. California becomes the 31st state. Can your say "California Gold Rush?" I knew you could. [11] [12] [13]
  • American Express fast mail delivery service is founded. Henry Wells and William Fargo run the company. Hmmm... where have I heard the names Wells and Fargo before? [14] [15]
  • Pinkerton National Detective Agency is founded. Allan Pinkerton will make his name thwarting the attempted assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He'll miss the final attempt though. [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1850, Wikipedia.

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