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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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"



It said no more than 5 consecutive replies are allowed in a thread. Here’s a work around.



This is a great fucking read. In 1836, a black AMAB presenting as female (I hesitate to label with any of our modern concepts like “trans woman” or “non-binary person” because it was the 19th century and gender was a whole other world) was caught prostituting and pick pocketing in Manhattan. Peter Sewally/Mary Jones would go out in the day in male garb, but at night would be a female prostitute, and a quite successful one at that. Sewally/Jones was charged and convicted of Grand Larceny (theft) and served five years, before being released, possibly making a comeback as “Beefsteak Pete” in the 1840s, before vanishing from the historical record.

Brief aside, Sewally/Jones’s claim to have served in the military is kinda dicey. On the one hand black soldiers were not admitted into the national army from 1783-1863, but on the other hand the testimony also says that Sewally/Jones was in New Orleans for a time, so maybe (s)he was able to serve in the Louisiana Militia, a more racially integrated institution.



This is dope. Also I feel I should comment here from time to time, if for no other reason than to break up the 5 posts in a row.

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249 years ago today the Incident on King Street, later dubbed The Boston Massacre, occurred. This is an area of particular expertise for me, as I worked as a Redcoat at the Old State House here in Boston for two summers, and the marker for where the massacre took place is just in front of that building (the actual location was in the middle of what is now a high traffic seven way intersection), so you can imagine we got asked about it a lot.

The incident began when a man accosted a guard in front of the Boston Custom House (now a Bank of America, go figure). The British soldiers in Boston were imported from England, not locals, and were thus despised by the populace as a symbol of Britain’s control over colonial America. Which is why Edward Garrick decided to harass one of the guards claiming a bill was due when it was not (Garrick would go down in history for insulting a guard, but not for being good at it). The guard disregarded him, but Garrick didn’t give up and the dispute got heated. The guard hit him with the butt of his firelock. Garrick cried out “I have been murdered” (pictured: Edward Garrick)


A crowd arrives at the State House to intimidate the guards. Captain Thomas Preston rounded up four men to go reinforce the two posted at the Custom’s House. The crowd is shouting at the guards daring them to shoot, throwing snowballs which frequently contained rocks. This is where accounts get dicey but the version that I trust is that a snowball with a rock in it hits a musket causing it to discharge. Captain Preston went over frustrated and asked the soldier “why did you fire?” The other soldiers, highly trained and sensitive to commands, heard the word “fire” and began to shoot. It’s at this point in the story I need to remind you that these are military police, not civil police. If they had not followed an order given, particularly at a time and place where the army was ripe with dissent, they would have been hanged for refusing an order.

Five were killed and some greater number wounded on King’s Street on March 5 1770, but there’s really only one anyone remembers today (apologies to my friend Lorenzo who played another Massacre victim for his costumed tours). His name was Crispus Attucks. We don’t know much about him. He was either an escaped slave or the son of one. His mother was probably Native American but we can’t really know what tribe because we don’t know where he was born. He was a ship worker, suggesting he was an escaped slave as many of them would work the seas to avoid slave catchers. Whatever his background, he was at the scene of the Massacre, and became the “first blood of the American Revolution.” How awkward that a war fought by slave owners began with a black martyr. Interestingly, Attucks (1st picture) was fairly light skinned, part of why the Native blood seems credible. As the 19th century began and endured, Attucks’ image would become more of a caricature of what white Americans thought black people looked like as he became an icon used by abolitionists (see 2nd picture, a depiction of the Massacre from 1858). I’m not sure how much of an icon Crispus was in his day, as he is notably absent from Henry Pelham’s contemporary engraving of the Massacre, which Paul Revere would add a dog to and declare his own (4th picture. Look at that pupper.)


In a town of 15,000, 5 people being killed was a big deal. It made news all across the British Empire, too. The guards and Captain Preston were arrested, but not court marshaled. Governor Hutchinson decided it was a criminal matter, not a military one. Samuel Adams, the head of the rebel junta The Committee of Correspondence, knew that the soldiers must be given a fair trial to display that America was not a land of mob rule (a debatable stance) and hired his cousin John Adams to defend the guards. John bought on his friend Josiah Quincy Jr (who may be who the town Quincy, MA was named for – it’s not clear but it was definitely someone in his lineage) and the always overlooked Loyalist barrister Sampson Blowers. Blowers would go on to flee America after the Port Act shut down the courts and put him out of work, returned to America during the War only to be persecuted as a Loyalist, and then flee to Nova Scotia where he worked on the Supreme Court to abolish slavery.

The trail was heated, of course. Testimonies came from Preston, the guards, and many eye witnesses. Ultimately the verdict came down acquitting all defendants but two guards, who were convicted of manslaughter and not murder (had they been found guilty of the latter, they would have been hanged). The guards were branded on their thumbs with an “M,” and my greatest regret as a guard would be that I never used henna to write the same on mine.

Two parting thoughts on the Incident on King’s Street:

  1. Captain Preston and the Massacre is a great name for a punk band.

  2. His Majesty King George III gave Crispus Attucks more justice than Eric Garner ever received.



On this day in 1836, the Alamo fell. To honor this day in American history, here’s a deep dive into the Texan Declaration of Independence I wrote on the old Forum in October 2015.

Texas has been reserved a special seat in Hell as the only state to fight TWO wars over slavery. I think we’ve thoroughly established in many other threads about the better known of the two wars, the American Civil, but often forgotten is the Texan War of Independence. See, the other reason Texas is special is that it spent seven years independent of the Union or any foreign government, longer than any other state in the contiguous 48. Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1835, and achieved recognition as a sovereign state in 1836. There was a dispute about where the border between Mexico and Texas was, ultimately resulting in the Mexican-American War, but right now we’re gonna focus on Texas as an independent country first.

Now, if you read the Texan Declaration of Independence, it’s actually quite reasonable. It points out that Mexico had welcomed immigrants from the US in the 1820s, pledging that they would accommodate these settlers to continue their lives as they were lived in America, which it did not. The Declaration observes that the Catholic state of Mexico had not been kind to its Protestant immigrants, failed to establish a proper system for trial of criminals, and didn’t establish a level of government smaller than the national government, despite provisions in the Mexican Constitution that guaranteed otherwise. It continues to elaborate that Mexico had failed to establish a public school system, a policy that would have proven Mexico to be more progressive than the United States at the time. The final blow to Texas as a state was in 1834, when the Mexican government rewrote its Constitution, without summoning delegates from across the country, resulting in a Constitution that did not consider the needs of all its citizens.

This seems like a good set of reasons to declare independence (to me, at least), until you start reading about everything that had happened before it, and the lives of the people who supported it. You see, Mexico had welcomed US citizens into Mexico in the 1820s, however Mexico passed the Laws of April 6, 1830 (Mexico seems to not be as good at naming legislation as us in America), which outlawed immigration from the States. Research into the lives of those who signed the Declaration of Independence has found that 50 of the 60 signatories had immigrated to Texas from the US after this act had been outlawed, making them illegal immigrants, living without Mexican citizenship. Furthermore, the political prisoners who had been taken (described in the Declaration as having committed “a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government”) were militants, attempting to draw insurrection. And then there’s this whole issue of the National Government working in “an unknown tongue”, because the US Immigrants refused to learn Spanish, the official national language of Mexico (brief reminder that the US did not and continues to not have an official national language). But then there’s the issue of slavery. You see, slavery is never brought up in the Declaration of Independence, making the Texan insurrectionists of 1835 a tad more self aware and possibly more progressive than the Texan insurrectionists of 1861, however it lives on in the fine print. You see, in 1829, Mexico nationally abolished slavery, causing an uprising in Texas. The uprising is what resulted in the Laws of April 6, 1830. Of course, we’ve already established that much of the Texan Independence movement arrived here after 1830, so they kept their slaves, because when in Rome, sack it like a Visigoth.



I was just tweeting about this (in much less detail of course).

Santa Anna did nothing* wrong. :wink:

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Yeah he sent multiple military expeditions to liberate Texas’ slave population. Military dictator, sure, but pretty good at it.

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