The History Thread (Lizi's Trivia Thread)


Any Dollop fan knows where this is going…


My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly Australian civilization now leans on the triumph of he Human species and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the first Emu war. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain our species, and to pay that debt.

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my hate of giant battle turkeys comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.*

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to Steve Irwin and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, Steve Irwin willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Irwinian Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Bruce, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.*


Did you just lift that intro from Old Negro Space Program?


Inspired by, but not lifted from, it’s just a handful of words different from the Sullivan Ballou Letter, from the Civil war.


August 29th 1786 was the beginning of Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts. It was by a group of farmers surrounding but not necessarily lead by veteran of the Revolution Daniel Shays as resistance to debt collection in Massachusetts. Taxes had risen since Independence was established and common folk found themselves in more trouble rather than less. It might be generous calling it a rebellion, as it had not central objective besides annulling the debts of these farmers, no goal for upheaval on a broader scale and no vision for what should replace the existing system, but its impact on the nation was so profound that it earns that title anyway. It was the success of this glorified riot that made George Washington put his political power behind the new Constitution, not to appease Shays’ rebels but to be able to squash them (as he did in 1794 in Pennsylvania).

Also, I don’t mean to be a bother, but can it say “Lizi’s Trivia Thread” again?


I’ve just changed it, but I implore you to try. You may have the power to change thread titles as I believe that’s imparted when you’re an active forum user for long enough. Just like click on the title of the thread a few times and see if you get the option.


I should’ve logged in as “Greg” and done that, duh. Elizabeth doesn’t have enough activity yet.


Lol, doy, I just realized you’d have that issue. Well whatever the case it’s set now and I can continue to enjoy Lizi’s history summaries.


So I’m posting this here in part because you should know it and in part because it’ll make it easier for me to find in the future. In 1859 John Brown held a convention to establish a provisional constitution for use after the revolution. Those present included the entire Brown family, Frederick Douglass, and James Monroe Jones, an escaped slave, Oberlin graduate, and weapons manufacturer who supplied many of the guns used at the Harper’s Ferry raid. In “Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America,” Evan Carton recounts this scene describing a debate over the flag to use:

“It was this embrace of the Stars and Stripes as their standard at which many of the black delegates balked. Too many of them, James Monroe Jones grimly observed, already carried America’s stripes on their backs.”

So next time someone asks “since when did the American flag become offensive,” the answer is apparently 1859.


160 years ago today my favorite Lincoln moment at the Lincoln-Douglas debates:

Douglas [paraphrased]: Lincoln is two faced
Lincoln [direct quote]: if I had a second face, would I wear this one?


On this day in 1787 a group of aristocratic elites came together to sign a document to replace the Articles of Confederation. Although some of the men like Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris, and James Madison had been pushing for a stronger central government for some time, others like George Washington were not convinced of its necessity until Shays’ Rebellion nearly overthrew the Massachusetts government. I cannot stress enough that the Constitutional Convention aimed to stop future rebellions through force, not by addressing their causes.

All the men at the Constitutional Convention were wealthy merchants or land owners, many both. Robert Morris was the wealthiest man in the New World at that point (though Morris is perhaps one of two signers of the Constitution I respect despite it). Washington, who presided over the convention, was the largest land owner in the young nation. Benjamin Franklin stands out as probably the only delegate who was not a merchant or a planter.

The drafting of the Constitution is shrouded in mystery. Journalists were not allowed in the Convention and no official notes were taken. It very much occurred in the room where it happens. We do know from private documents now public that Hamilton “talked for six hours, the convention was listless” about the necessity of a strong executive branch and an “elected monarch.” Charles Pickney was likely the author of the controversial three fifths compromise. In a debate over the taxation of States according to population, southern delegates argued that slaves should not be counted for taxation as they were like livestock, sheep even. To this Benjamin Franklin slyly retorted “sheep have not been known to make insurrection” (I possibly have this phrasing wrong).Still, the document was signed by all of the members of the Convention. Not many thought it was a perfect document, which is why there was a process to amend it built in, but they did believe it was the most perfect document they could create at this time.

Drafting and signing was one thing, ratification was another. It went directly to the states and the states didn’t like it. Patrick “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” Henry denounced the executive branch as being too powerful, and needed more Congressional oversight (the Virginia legislature voted over Henry’s objections, depriving Henry of liberty, yet he lived to 1799). Northern newspapers railed against the infamous Three Fifths Compromise, arguing that it weighted southern votes over northern ones, and that if Madison wanted to include the African Americans in his representation, he should have to free them. In future generations, William Lloyd Garrison would decry the Constitution as “a pact with slavery.” In a rare moment of clarity, even Thomas Jefferson opposed the Constitution initially. Madison played politic well and wined a dined the legislatures to pass the Constitution in 12 states, in part by promising them the ability to submit amendments to the Constitution to be made into a Bill of Rights (this Bill of Rights won over Jefferson, tho Madison himself thought it to be a futile effort that a true tyrant would disregard – a point John Adams would justify).

But that was the 12 States that put it through the State legislature. What of the 13th? Well, Rhode Island knew better. Rhode Island put the Constitution up to a popular vote, the only state to do so, and it lost. President Washington quickly embargoed and blockaded Rhode Island to bully them into joining the Union, as their slave traders were invaluable to the South.

Washington’s belief that the Constitution would be able to squash future rebellions was proven true multiple times, but I think the one Washington did and would still point to as the one that proves it’s success was the 1795 Whisky Rebellion, wherein proletariat Pennsylvanians took a stand against Hamilton’s regressive taxes (although the rebels did stop the tax from being enforced, so why Washington considered this a success was never clear to me, but he did).

SOURCES: The Quartet by Joseph Ellis, American Revolutions by Alan Taylor, a biography of Robert Morris form the 1910s I’ve forgotten the name and author of, and I threw a few Hamilton allusions in there.


When someone says you’re “applying 21st century views to X century events” it usually means that you’re voicing opinions that they haven’t heard but totally existed at the time. For instance, I often hear it said that advocating for black equality during reconstruction falls into this trap, by which logic Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, and 4 million African Americans had 21st Century views in the 19th Century.


Interesting, and I hadn’t considered that argument for more recent history.

I will say that when I’ve started talking ancient roman soldier life I’ve heard that same argument when I start talking about what that must have done to the minds of the soldiers. Nothing Tacitus has written seems to ever talk about anything resembling PTSD.


I first encountered the argument in my US History class in college. Unfortunately I left before I could provide citations for how bogus it was, particularly around slavery. It can be applied to older history too. I often think about Marcus Manlius Capitolinus, an early “demagogue” (remember, a demagogue is often a hero of the people who lost). He is usually depicted as power hungry due to his insurrection, but his entire record is of generosity and justice for the plebs. In Classical writing, “applying 21st century views” usually means voicing the views of the poor, who often couldn’t write or whose records were considered insignificant.

RE: PTSD, I’m not a scholar on antiquity, but I do remember my Latin teachers talking about Roman soldiers experiencing PTSD. Tacitus was a historian paid by a highly militarist state, iirc, and obviously wouldn’t want to depict the more unpleasant aspects of the massive military.

Also, the Forum just started giving me shit for monopolizing the conversation.
(this is only kinda accurate cause there’s also a bunch of posts on the Greg account)
Nobody minds, right? It’s called my history thread for a reason, yes?


Nobody minds, it’s got your name at the top. I literally come to this thread to read what you have to say.

RE: Tacitus, yeah he was paid by Rome to write the book of Roman heroes. Lives. This is why I often bring up the surviving plays we have. They’re not ‘history’ in the sense that they’re a record of events that occurred but they’re still plays meant to be relatable. One of the things I’ve seen happen in… some Greek writer’s play was a soldier in a phalanx (kinda implied to be a well off guy because his armor was better than the other soldiers) soiling himself in the line.

It seems like it was meant to be comedy for the audience, maybe that they were supposed to be able to relate, maybe they’d known someone who did that. I’d say it isn’t like proof that it happened but implies that the soldiers of ancient times reacted to that kind of warfare the way we might today. Therefore PTSD and the like likely also affected them (sorry this is a discussion I’ve had more than once in real life and countless times in my head)

Also the forum is now giving me shit for only talking to you.


Same question, that’s ok?


Yeah its all good. You ask the best questions in this thread.


The greatest hero of the Revolutionary War was not the conventionally credited George Washington, the recently popular Alexander Hamilton, nor the truly sympathetic Benedict Arnold. The greatest hero of the Revolutionary War was Guy Carleton, a British general who, after signing a treaty saying American slave owners would be able to recapture any slaves that fled to British lines, smuggled 3000+ escaped slaves to British Nova Scotia where they would live free, including 17 slaves who fled Mt Vernon. Carleton did compromise to have a commission to identify slaves and, if identified as runaways, would return them to their masters. However, there was no way to verify the identity of a slave, so very few slaves were foolish enough to give the commission their real names.

SOURCE: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.


If you see that post about The Incident on King’s Street aka The Boston Massacre going around Facebook, it’s neither an accurate account nor a fair comparison.


Do you think, with the advent of Facebook and Twitter as our primary means of communication, a social history of the early 21st century will be easier or harder to write than one of the 16th after an equal amount of time has passed?


To be honest I imagine it’ll be wildly different. My understanding of how it’s done now is historians dig through loads of letters, and essays and books written at the time, most of it likely mundane and not having much to do with what they wanted to study. Then they write their book, their take, on what happened. (they likely also read historians who already studied the primary material and maybe some that were working from documents we no longer have)

The historians of the future will basically do the same thing, but I imagine will have just orders of magnitudes more garbage to sift through to both get the general feel of the time and hunt out the tiny morsels of like actual detail about events that occurred between the people actually doing the thing.

However it’ll mostly be digital so more advanced searching and techniques for sussing out patterns may be used. Also I imagine data normalization will be a priority of future historians. Like they wanna search all the text in facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat and whatever else the kids use these days and like the method of pattern matching they’re using works better on more data so it’s better to run one search against all of them rather than a search per desperate service so they gotta make the data play nice with each other.

It’ll be interesting. I think.