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Happy 4th of July!
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mcmasters



Joined: 28 Jun 2012
Posts: 436

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:41 am    Post subject: Happy 4th of July! Reply with quote

That's right. We revolted. Had a revolution. Kicked your tea-sipping asses right outta here. Yeah. You Brits want us back? Come on, come and get some. Come and get us. Yeah.

What's that?

You don't?

You don't want us back?

Hmmm.

Okay. No, I understand.

I wouldn't want us back either.
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ewomack
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... yesterday was the 3rd so that would make today... oh yeah!
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mcmasters



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewomack wrote:
Hmmm... yesterday was the 3rd so that would make today... oh yeah!


Thursday!
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Happy 4th of July! Reply with quote

mcmasters wrote:
That's right. We revolted. Had a revolution. Kicked your tea-sipping asses right outta here. Yeah. You Brits want us back? Come on, come and get some. Come and get us. Yeah.

Heh. Funny thing about that is that the war to crush the rebellion in the American Colonies was hilariously unpopular in Great Britain. To begin with, the smorgasbord of taxes that started the whole thing had been an effort to dig England out of the massive debt from the Seven Years (French and Indian) War. Add to that the fact that most of Britain's population relied on trade with the North American colonies for their living in one way or another, and you had the equivalent of Vietnam (except worse, because England's generals couldn't wage a crushing campaign because there were a lot of loyalists, they didn't want to piss off by marching through their farms and gardens).

By the time the French entered the war in 1777, the PM was already looking for a way out and more than willing to talk to the American Diplomatic Delegation.

And the Revolution didn't actually resolve anything. The American States didn't become a real nation until 5 years after Yorktown, when they ratified the Constitution, and Britain didn't acknowledge independence in any realistic way until after the War of 1812.

Really, the only historical significance that the Fourth has is in the sentiment that governments and their power derive from the people, and that there is no other authority for their existence (this had been hinted at and stated before, but this was the first time that the sentiment was used as the basis for civil war).
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Marscaleb



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unpopular or not, the British government still had vast resources and capabilities to fight that war.
It is unprecedented to have a part of another nation successfully break off and form itself as a new nation as the United States did.

There is an arbitrary element to the celebration of the fourth, especially since the Declaration of Independence wasn't even signed that day. But truthfully it is a very significant date. It could be argued that when the constitution was ratified was more significant and should be celebrated as the start of the nation. But the celebration of the Fourth of July is not about celebrating the birth of the nation, but it is "Independence Day," the day we declared to stand on our own.
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wendyw
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marscaleb wrote:

It is unprecedented to have a part of another nation successfully break off and form itself as a new nation as the United States did.


Not really.
On the scale of the thousands of years of recorded history we have the late 1700s are pretty damn recent. The British empire wasn't the first to go around colonizing foreign bits of the world and it certainly wasn't the first to lose control of some of those colonies. Colonial powers rise and fall and then others come along to replace them.

That's not to say that American independence wasn't a major event, but was it an unprecedented one? No.
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mcmasters



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
Marscaleb wrote:

It is unprecedented to have a part of another nation successfully break off and form itself as a new nation as the United States did.


Not really.
On the scale of the thousands of years of recorded history we have the late 1700s are pretty damn recent. The British empire wasn't the first to go around colonizing foreign bits of the world and it certainly wasn't the first to lose control of some of those colonies. Colonial powers rise and fall and then others come along to replace them.

That's not to say that American independence wasn't a major event, but was it an unprecedented one? No.


I think it was fairly unprecedented in the modern era from say the rise of European nation states in the 1400s or so up to the American Revolution. The Netherlands were controlled by Spain for awhile and broke away, that comes to mind but if many others I'm not sure. After the American Revolution, history is dotted pretty regularly with it, the last 150 years or so a map of Europe gets outdated about as soon as it's printed.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technically, the Wars of the Spanish Succession were all about the secession of the Netherlands from the Spanish Crown. So, not even in their recent history.

What made it different, and made it important (beyond the monolithic powerhouse the nation became) were those 200-odd words at the beginning of the Declaration. As I said, they'd been said before, but mostly by philosophers. 1776,in Philadelphia was the first time the makers of policy stood up and said, Every man (later revised to person) is equal, and men (and women) create governments to secure their natural rights. People don't exist at the pleasure of the king; the king sits at the pleasure of the populace.

And that made all the difference.
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mcmasters



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marscaleb wrote:
There is an arbitrary element to the celebration of the fourth, especially since the Declaration of Independence wasn't even signed that day. But truthfully it is a very significant date. It could be argued that when the constitution was ratified was more significant and should be celebrated as the start of the nation. But the celebration of the Fourth of July is not about celebrating the birth of the nation, but it is "Independence Day," the day we declared to stand on our own.


I agree about the Constitution and I think there is officially a Constitution Day or Week or something but let's face it, that ain't gonna catch on unless you attach a day off to it. For most Americans, the Constitution is that thing, you know, that thing with the words. And for many of the rest, cynics like me, it's that thing that no matter what it says our leaders are going to do what they want anyway. But it does provide some broad limits, which I suppose is good.

July 4th, even putting aside the traditional food and fireworks stuff, can bring out a lot of that primal visceral imagery: fighting and winning a war against great odds, the plucky underdog perseveres, surviving a brutal winter, shocking the world, etc. Constitution Day, whenever it is, can't compete with that..."hey, let's celebrate by...what? Reading it? Huh?"
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mcmasters



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Technically, the Wars of the Spanish Succession were all about the secession of the Netherlands from the Spanish Crown. So, not even in their recent history.

What made it different, and made it important (beyond the monolithic powerhouse the nation became) were those 200-odd words at the beginning of the Declaration. As I said, they'd been said before, but mostly by philosophers. 1776,in Philadelphia was the first time the makers of policy stood up and said, Every man (later revised to person) is equal, and men (and women) create governments to secure their natural rights. People don't exist at the pleasure of the king; the king sits at the pleasure of the populace.

And that made all the difference.


On top of that, this was right in the wheelhouse of the Enlightenment and the winding down of the "Divine Right of Kings" thing. It was something people could see with their own eyes: wait a second, the KING is being defied and they're getting away with it! I don't think French peasants were reading the Dec of Indep when they decided to lop off their own king's head but it was one of those "paradigm shifter" moments. And the Dec of Indep has that long list of grievances against the king for all the crap he was allegedly responsible for.
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nsanelilmunky



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you're looking for 'paradigm shifter' moments for comparison:

Holy Roman Empire, formed about 962 CE.
Russia, foundation of current state can be traced back to 862 with a major breakaway in 1480 CE.
Switzerland, formed around 1291 CE.
Netherlands, as was stated earlier, in 1648 CE.
Hungary, Norway, Denmark, and others can trace theirs back to between 850s-960s CE.

Then there's the non-Euopean ones like Japan (660 BCE) and China (221 BCE).

Even the phrase of 'all being equal' isn't a first. The Magna Carta was edited in 1354 to say "any man, of whatever estate or condition he may be" (changed from free man).

Yes, it's a nice holiday with many feels and an important historical document, but it's not the first.
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mcmasters



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nsanelilmunky wrote:
Well, if you're looking for 'paradigm shifter' moments for comparison:

Holy Roman Empire, formed about 962 CE.
Russia, foundation of current state can be traced back to 862 with a major breakaway in 1480 CE.
Switzerland, formed around 1291 CE.
Netherlands, as was stated earlier, in 1648 CE.
Hungary, Norway, Denmark, and others can trace theirs back to between 850s-960s CE.


Those events were life-and-death important to the immediate participants and no doubt had long lasting implications in their regions, but these weren't watershed moments the way the American Revolution was. None of them really led to a meaningful shift in thinking about the relationship between a person and the government. However flawed it was at the time (elites still held all the cards and power only grudgingly shifted down the ladder) and however much it didn't, or hasn't, lived up to its best ideals, the experiment in creating a nation based on more than "hey, look, we all happen to live in this one geographic area and speak the same language!" has been one of the most interesting stories history has spit out.

I don't think the lives of Russian peasants changed greatly between, say, 862 and 863.
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nsanelilmunky



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And hacks out the part of my reply that stated the change that you say isn't there (Magna Carta quote). ...and the asian states for good measure? XD

Not important in the long run though? The Holy Roman Empire was the parent state that the Austrian and Prussian Empires came from (and from Prussia came Germany), Russia is still a super power and the main force behind taking down WW2 Germany (not the US), Switzerland was the first Federation state and is still considered a major state due to their banking and scientific innovation, Hungary was one of the major buffer states that kept the Ottoman Turks from the rest of Europe, Japan was a gateway for westernisation of east Asia and should be mentioned for the Tokugawa era on up along with it's influence on the US, China- super power and owner of about $1.22 trillion of US dept, and the rest have their place in the world if not as poignant as the rest. Take out any one of the above countries and the world would be a very different place today. Butterfly effect.
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twest820



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmasters wrote:
None of them really led to a meaningful shift in thinking about the relationship between a person and the government.

So your timeline would be more along the lines of
    prehistory: formation of tribes
    3000BC: establishment of Egyptian dynasties
    508BC: creation of Athenian democracy
    100BC: introduction of Confucianism as a state idiology
    9BC: formalization of the Roman senate
    1215AD: Magna Carta
? There are various other notable goings on and the dates reflect some of the more defined moments in what are generally ongoing trends. But these would generally be the earliest instances of shifts in putting thought into practice which I'm aware of. For example, dynastic rule emerged in Sumer not much after it did in Egypt and the Shang dynasty came about independently 1300 years later in China. Documents along the lines of the Magna Carta go back to at least 1100 and one could say the Magna Carta didn't really run its course until perhaps the French Revolution---the Psionian conspiracy to depose Nero in 65AD (!) and the Western Schism from 1378 to 1417 probably belong in there somewhere too.

Some are debatable. Or at least I'd argue there are notable differences in practice among Confucianism, Constantine defining Christianity as the religion of the republic (and the subsequent evolution of western and eastern Christianity and the Holy Roman and Byzantine empires), sharia law in the Islamic Caliphate, and the transformation of Marxism into Communism. Religious empires also came about independently in mesoamerica; the Aztecs around 1350AD and the Incas in the late 1400s.

nsanelilmunky wrote:
Not important in the long run though?

Historically important, unquestionably. In terms of the contract between individual and state the Holy Roman Empire's pretty much just a retrenchment where western Christianity tries to get back to "good old days" of Rome, though.
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nsanelilmunky



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

twest820 wrote:

Historically important, unquestionably. In terms of the contract between individual and state the Holy Roman Empire's pretty much just a retrenchment where western Christianity tries to get back to "good old days" of Rome, though.


Woo! Someone who knows what their talking about!

Anyway, I would think that the Holy Roman Empire would be somewhat significant in that way with Martin Luther. Changing who people went through for 'salvation' and the taxes, etc... I know it's not a true shift from monarchy, but it was very significant in how they perceived themselves in relation to the government and the idea of divine right.
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