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The Code of Louis: Often Humane, But Often Severe *

King Louis the 14th of France has decreed that any prostitute found with one of his soldiers within 5 miles of the Palace shall have her ears and nose cut off. The King believes that severity is best for keeping the peace. The logic goes that when a king is laying down the law, the local tyrants will not feel the need to exert so much local control so that the people will suffer less in the long run. The King uses detention without trial, secret warrants and brutal, arbitrary punishments of uncertain length to keep the peace. The Code of Louis is bringing order to France and even the nobility are toeing the line. The King requires them to live in the Palace under his supervision. (It is a really big Palace.) The nobles still hold the flashy positions in government, but the administrative duties go to those with real ability. New ranks in the army are created: Major and Lieutenant colonel. These ranks cannot be bought. They can only be earned by merit. The King is dragging France kicking and screaming into the modern age and he's breaking heads to make it happen. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
My sense is that historians admire King Louis while admitting that what he did was unfortunate... but necessary. We are looking at the beginnings of the modern era. King Louis was not part of the Enlightenment, but the Enlightenment would have had difficulty coming into being without him. What is the Enlightenment? You are living in it. It's a whole new way of thinking and each of us has been raised from birth to bask in its glow. To explain it now is like trying to explain to a fish that he is wet. It seems so natural that you may wonder why it needs explanation at all. It is simply natural thinking... natural law. Obvious. Or is it? Our brutal ancestors seem obviously wrong, but they thought they were obviously right. What were they thinking? And what are we thinking today? Our sense of right and wrong follows naturally from certain assumptions we have made on how the world works. That is what is changing with the Age of Enlightenment... a change of those first assumptions, and the American Revolution will be the result. [3]

The Reality of War and the Dream of Germantown, Pennsylvania

French troops have attacked the Palatinate (a province in modern day Germany). As French troops devastate the land in their war against the Holy Roman Emperor, many German families are displaced. Thanks to the "Peace of Westphalia" the civilians are not murdered.... much... but it's bad enough. Twenty years from now, France will do it all over again, even worse, but for now, the people pick up their belongings and try to stay ahead of the turmoil. In this same year, William Penn marries into money and purchases some land in western New Jersey. When Penn visits Germany in 1677 he will gain many converts amongst these displaced Germans and their thoughts will turn to the New World. They will sail across the Atlantic in hope of finding a better world. With Penn's help, they will establish Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683 and they will become strong advocates in the anti-slavery movement. [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The answer is yes. George Washington slept there. Those familiar with Germantown must be shouting "Hey! Germantown is just a suburb of Philadelphia!" It is now. It was absorbed into the city in 1854. Germantown is important because some features that are now considered "American tradition" were established in Germantown and what is often called "Pennsylvanian Dutch" is actually German. Also, those familiar with the Bible, might be surprised to learn that English translations of the Bible have retained the German names of places and people of the Bible. Unfortunately, what sounds like a reasonable rendition of a Hebrew name in German, sounds really odd when pronounced in English. A good example is the city of Jerusalem. In German it sounds like yer-ROO-shall-lem. In English, the J takes on a hard-G sound, so it simply sounds strange, but there is nothing you can do about it now. It's tradition! [8] [9] [10] [11]

Chicago: Land of the Skunk and the British Rock Band, Jethro Tull

Father Jacques Marquette comes to the shores of Lake Michigan to convert the Indians. Father Marquette is not the founder of Chicago but the name comes into usage by the non-Indians around this time. Chicago means "land of the skunk." [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I should also mention that Jethro Tull was born in 1674. Really. He developed the horse-drawn seed drill and the 1970's British rock band was named after him. I'm not kidding. The only connection with Chicago is that the band played a concert there in 1973. [14] [15] [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1674, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Age of Louix XIV: a History of European Civilization in the Period of Pascal, Molière, Cromwell, Milton, Peter the Great, Newton, and Spinoza: 1648-1715, The, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster, 16-18. “'A measure of severity,' he told his son, 'was the greatest kindness I could do to my people; the opposite policy would have brought in an endless series of evils. For as soon as a king weakens in that which he has commanded, authority perishes, and with it the public peace. . . . Everything falls upon the lowest ranks, oppressed by thousands of petty tyrants, instead of by a legitimate king.'” 
  2. Alex Shrugged notes: I didn't make it apparent so I'm saying it here. The title of this section "Often Humane but Often Severe" is a near exact quote from the book "The Age of Louix XIV" by Will and Ariel Durant.
  3. Age of Enlightenment - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 November 2015. “The Enlightenment, known in French as the '’Siècle des Lumières’’ (Century of Enlightenment), and in German as the '’Aufklärung’’, was a philosophical movement which dominated the world of ideas in Europe in the 18th century. The principal goals of Enlightenment thinkers were liberty, progress, reason, tolerance, and ending the abuses of the church and state.”
  4. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 308-309. “Fr. troops devastate the Palatinate” 
  5. Age of Louix XIV: a History of European Civilization in the Period of Pascal, Molière, Cromwell, Milton, Peter the Great, Newton, and Spinoza: 1648-1715, The, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. “In 1677 Penn, George Fox, Robert Barclay, and George Keith crossed the Channel to preach Quakerism on the Continent. Some of Penn's converts from Kirchheim founded Germantown in Pennsylvania, and were among the first to declare it wrong for Christians to have slaves.” 
  6. Germantown, Philadelphia - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “Germantown has played a significant role in American history; it was the birthplace of the American antislavery movement, the site of a Revolutionary War battle, the temporary residence of George Washington, the location of the first bank of the United States, and the residence of many notable politicians, scholars, artists, and social activists.”
  7. Electoral Palatinate - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “The fragmented territory stretched from the left bank of the Upper Rhine, from the Hunsrück mountain range in what is today the Palatinate region in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the adjacent parts of the French region of Alsace (bailiwick of Seltz from 1418 to 1766) to the opposite territory on the east bank of the Rhine in present-day Hesse and Baden-Württemberg up to the Odenwald range and the southern Kraichgau region, containing the capital cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim.”
  8. Traupman, John C.. "German Pronunciation", The Bantam new college German & English dictionary. Bantam Books. ISBN 0553141554. “j like y in English yet” 
  9. Heuman, Fred S.. The uses of Hebraisms in recent Bible translations. Philosophical Library. ISBN 0802221904. 
  10. Pennsylvania Dutch Are Of German Heritage, Not Dutch. Kerchner.com (31 August 1996). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “The people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, often falsely depicted in travel advertisements by the tourist industry with images of a little Holland Dutch girl with wooden shoes, are not Dutch, but are of German and German speaking heritage, They are the descendants of the early german speaking settlers of the inland counties of Pennsylvania who arrived in Pennsylvania prior to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.”
  11. Eadie, John. "Chapter IX. ALLEGED GERMANISMS", The English Bible: an external and critical history..., Volume I. Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “But while Tyndale did not merely 'do into English' the German of Luther, he always translated with Luther's version before him, and many phrases are shaped or suggested by it.” 
  12. A Living Language - UW-Milwaukee, 2015 Research Report. uwm.edu (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “Chicago (land of the chigag, or skunk) and Wauwatosa (firefly).”
  13. Jacques Marquette - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “Marquette and his party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago.”
  14. Jethro Tull (band) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “Ian Anderson and Martin Barre of Jethro Tull in Chicago, 1973”
  15. Jethro Tull (agriculturist) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015. “Jethro Tull (1674 – 21 February 1741, New Style) was an English agricultural pioneer from Berkshire who helped bring about the British Agricultural Revolution. He perfected a horse-drawn seed drill in 1701 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows.”
  16. Jethro Tull Aqualung Live Performance 1977. youtube.com (2015). Retrieved on 6 November 2015.

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