The History Thread (Lizi's Trivia Thread)


I think that’s what’ll happen if we still have Facebook servers in the 26th century. If those are lost, we’ll probably have the same amount of documentation we have now of the 16th century, but for a massively larger population.


Hmmm, interesting. I hadn’t considered we may not have all the data. Well I’m gonna guess at some point in the intervening 400 years Facebook etc will notice they have more data for people who’ve not updated anything in a decade than they do for people actually… like alive.

At some point that issue is gonna have be be dealt with. I wonder what they’ll do. Archive it? Repurpose the aging hardware in the datacetner to serve more current customers (tantamount to destroying it). Something else?

It’ll be an interesting question that will likely be answered within our lifetimes. At some point, there’ll be more dead facebook users than living ones. What happens then will be interesting. Maybe even will be public.


Only like five of the Confederate States issued statements as to why they were seceding. Most of them just issued Ordinances severing ties with the Union for seemingly self evident reasons. But the ones that did issue declarations were so long and rich that they’re worth studying. On the old forum I posted the Mississippi declaration, my favorite at the time, but today I found Texas’ declaration and it has this bit that is so compelling.

[Texas] was received [by the Union] as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.


I think that is what we call “saying the quiet parts loud”


Months ago I picked up a compilation of speeches from Reconstruction and Thaddeus Stevens’ January 3 1867 speech is fucking timeless. The 14th Amendment was making it’s way through the States but Thad didn’t think it went far enough and started pushing for the Reconstruction Acts, which gave more power to the Congress over the states formerly in rebellion.

We have broken the material shackles of four million slaves. We have unchained them from the stake so as to allow locomotion, provided they do not walk in paths which are trod by white men. We have allowed them the unwonted privilege of attending church, if they can do so without offending the sight of their former masters. We have even given them that highest most agreeable evidence of liberty as defined by the “great plebeian” the “right to work.” But in what have we enlarged their liberty of thought? In what have we taught them the science and granted them the privilege of self-government? We have imposed upon them the privilege of fighting our battles, of dying in defense of freedom, and of bearing equal portion of taxes; but where have we given them the privilege of ever participating in the formation of the laws for the government of their native land? By what civil weapon have we enabled them to defend themselves against oppression and injustice? Call you this liberty? Call you this a free Republic where four millions are subjects but not citizens? Then Persia, with her kings and satraps, was free; then Turkey is free! Their subjects had liberty of motion and of labor, but the laws were made against their will; but I must declare that, in my judgement, they were as really free as ours is today… Think not that I would slander my native land; I would reform it. Twenty years ago I denounced it as a despotism. Then, twenty million white men enchained four million black men. I pronounce it no nearer to a true Republic now when twenty-five million of a privileged class exclude five million from all participation in the rights of government.

Technically Thad’s population numbers include women even tho he only says men, but that doesn’t detract from the power of the speech.


Wasn’t it only relatively recently in the evolution of the English language that “men” specifically meant “the male of the species”? Hence why the ceremonial “men” meaning “all of humanity” still sticks around to this day?


Yes but Stevens was advocating for male suffrage only so it’s kind of a grey area.


True. It was certainly very progressive for its day, though in hindsight we can see the glaring omission of women.


The Radical Republicans had a complicated relationship with women’s suffrage. William Lloyd Garrison was probably the most rabid and vocal male suffragette in American history, and Frederick Douglass was with the movement throughout the 1850s and 60s. The passage of the 14th Amendment brought scorn from women’s suffrage advocates as it introduced the word “male” into the Constitution (this did not practically do anything, keeping gender suffrage to the States, but it was a bit of a sting due to it being totally unnecessary). Thaddeus Stevens in particular was focused on what was obtainable, and the momentum of emancipation gave more political capital to the rights of black people than women’s rights had.

Stevens and his associates never disavowed women’s right to vote, but it wasn’t brought to the National table in their lifetimes. Sumner was the only one I’m aware of who actually had to take a stance on the issue, after Elizabeth Cady Stanton called him out in a criticism of the 14th Amendment (a peculiar choice since Sumner was kept off the drafting committee for political reasons). He said it was “the question of tomorrow,” a statement that backs up what I’m talking about with political feasibility.


Eric Foner (Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, Gateway To Freedom: A Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which was a Pulitzer winner) is giving a talk at BU and I’m going.


Fucking obscure 19th century wars.


Broke: Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land is essentially imperialist because it asserts that white men had right to Native lands.

Woke: Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land is a revival of the Native American ideal that there is no private property in land, an especially bold value to hold on to simultaneous to Stalin’s failure at collectivization in Russia


Happy Big Block of Cheese day everybody! Here’s my cheese day master post from the Dank History Stash, first posted May 30 2017.

"My favorite part of American history (right now, at least) is the transition from the “Era of Good Feelings” ideals of elitism to the more inclusive philosophy that the Democratic Party was founded on and rose to significance with, and I have found no better example of this transition than the distribution of cheese.

In 1809, Thomas Jefferson was leaving the Presidency after two terms of ambiguous leadership but wide popularity. A group of Massachusetts farmers brought a 1,230 lb wheel of cheese to Thomas Jefferson as a farewell gift. It was accompanied by a message of great enthusiasm, explaining the great service Jefferson had given to the country and detailing the process of the creation of the cheese (including a strange detail from the abolitionist state that no slave labor was used to make the cheese). Jefferson kindly thanked the gentlemen, rolled the cheese into the White House (you’re welcome for that mental image), and used it for dinners for some time until the cheese went bad and the President dumped it into the Potomac river.

Fast forward to 1837. Andrew Jackson was leaving the Presidency after two terms of ambiguous leadership but wide popularity. A group of farmers (I believe from Kentucky but I can’t verify that) remembered the cheese gift of 28 years earlier and decided to replicate the feat. The group made a 1,400 lb wheel of cheese (170 lbs more than the first wheel because Jackson was way cooler than Jefferson) and brought it to the White House. The message that accompanied the cheese was orally delivered and thus is lost to history. Jackson was flattered by the gift and invited all the nation to the White House to share in the cheese. Of course, in an era with such limited transportation, not everyone could get to Washington, but still common men living with little or nothing found the time to come from hundreds of miles away to meet the President and eat the cheese.

While Jefferson’s block of cheese was largely forgotten, the historical community has never forgotten Andrew Jackson’s block of cheese. It made a brief revival, even, in 2015, when the Obama Administration introduced an annual event “Virtual Big Block of Cheese Day,” an event embracing the communication aspect of Jackson’s event (the aspect completely absent from Jefferson’s) in which high ranking officials took to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to answer questions from the public. No cheese was distributed, however the officials did wear cheese hats like those Green Bay Packers fans wear during their time answering questions.

(Sources: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham, Andrew Jackson: His Life And Times by HW Brands, and"