1766

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Mad King Christian and Deciding who Makes the Decisions

King Fredrick the 5th of Denmark is dead at the age of 42, having fathered many children. (Yes, he was a real horn-dog and he drank quite a lot which contributed to his early death.) His last words are, "It is a great consolation to me in my last hour that I have never willfully offended anyone, and that there is not a drop of blood on my hands." His reign has been a been a nice break for everyone. Now his son, Christian the 6th takes the throne at the age of 16 and he is insane. Shortly after his coronation, he marries the sister of King George the 3rd of England, Princess Caroline Matilda. She is 15-years-old and has no idea of his mental condition. Fortunately, King Christian doesn't like her. He says that it is "unfashionable to love one's wife," so he leaps into a life of sexual promiscuity. By next year he will fall into episodes of deep depression, paranoia, and self-mutilation. Then he will bring in a doctor who will become his salvation, the Queen's lover and the dictator of Denmark. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is an unresolved controversy, but for a while, Denmark was being led by Dr. Struensee (STREW-en-see) who was having sex with the Queen. That doesn't mean the doctor had bad intentions. (God knows someone had to do SOMETHING about the crazy king) but a number of reforms were pushed through that disrupted the expected path of Danish events. Was that all due to the doctor? Well... King Christian the 6th was insane but that doesn't mean "stupid". There are reports from ministers who worked directly with the King that he still had the mental capacity to make good decisions... at times. Unfortunately, the effort to hide the King's insanity make it impossible to know who decided what. In a similar situation, President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke which may or may not have done a lot of damage to his mental capacity, but the cover up caused fear that the country was being run by the First Lady, a woman without a high school education. Thus, the 25th Amendment was passed to handle this exact situation. President Ronald Reagan lost some of his mental capacity after he took a bullet during an assassination attempt, but doctors and staff concluded that he was forgetful, but well within bounds to continue. It all worked out, but deciding who makes the decisions when the decider is broken remains a problem. [5] [6] [7]

The Stamp Act is Repealed for the Price of Liberty

The British Navy has interdicted shipping from the colonies looking for violations of the Stamp and Sugar Acts... and find definite violations. Other ships make a run for it (like modern drivers speeding up while the police ticket another driver for speeding.) Benjamin Franklin is invited to speak before the British Parliament on behalf of the colonies. He makes the case that the colonies have no objection to Parliament collecting taxes for external transactions (tariffs) but he protests in the strongest way the taxes levied for internal transactions. The Parliament agrees to repeal the Stamp Act and to lessen the charges under the Sugar Act, but only on condition that a new law be passed that says that Parliament has a right to tax the colonies for any reason whatsoever, internal or external and always did have the right. This is called the Declaratory Act because it declares (rather than passes into law) taxation without representation. They are saying that they don't need a new law to do this. American colonists are mocked by the British press. The victory over the Stamp Act has flung the Americans into the abyss. "No taxation without representation" becomes the motto of the Sons of Liberty. [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If Parliament already had the right to taxation without representation then what need was there for the Declaratory Act? The early royal charters for the larger colonies were worded so that one could argue that the colonies had the right to pass laws for themselves. Parliament had to render that aspect of the charters null and void as it did to Ireland in order to bring it under the yoke of Great Britain. American colonists cheered when they heard the news of the repeal... believing they had won everything, but they had given up their liberty. Parliament had granted themselves permission to do whatever they wanted. "In all cases whatsoever", means in absolutely everything.

FYI: Read everything about the American Revolution with caution. The American leadership knew that history was in the making and that future generations would be looking over their shoulders. In 1774, John Adams directied his wife, Abigail, to preserve his letters to her and by 1776 he was copying his letters to Abigail in a book. Thomas Jefferson did something similar and George Washington preserved his official correspondence even though Martha burned his personal letters after his death. They knew you would be watching so they were not entirely candid. This was coupled with the hero worship they received from the next generation. John Adams reminded them that his generation did no better than the new generation could have done, but his protests went unheeded. That is why history from those days is a little too shiny, if you know what I mean. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Also Mentioned

  • John Mills publishes "An Essay on the Management of Bees". Benjamin Franklin will also sponsor him for the Royal Society this year. [13]
  • The Mason-Dixon Survey is completed. They will stay to make other measurements for the Royal Society. [1]
  • The 1st paved sidewalks appear in Westminster, London. [1]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1766, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 354-355. 
  2. Christian VII of Denmark - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “Christian VII's reign was marked by mental illness which affected government decisions, and for most of his reign Christian was only nominally king. His royal advisers changed depending on who won power struggles around the throne. In the late 1760s, he came under the influence of his personal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee, who rose steadily in power. From 1770 to 1772 Struensee was 'de facto' regent of the country, and introduced progressive reforms signed into law by Christian VII. Struensee was deposed by a coup in 1772 after which the country was ruled by Christian's stepmother, Juliane Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, his half-brother Frederick and the Danish politician Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.”
  3. Reddaway, W. F. (January 1916). "King Christian VII". The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press) 31 (121): 59-84. http://www.jstor.org/stable/550699. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  4. Toyne, S.M. (January 1951). "Dr. Struensee: Dictator of Denmark". History Today 1 (1). http://www.historytoday.com/sm-toyne/dr-struensee-dictator-denmark. Retrieved 14 April 2016. "The character of Dr. Struensee, firstly Court Physician of Denmark, then minister and dictator, is perhaps the strangest and the most perplexing in the whole history of European dictators. Historians have not yet reached an agreed verdict on the causes of his rise and the secrets of his short-lived dictatorship, and it is possible that the jury will never reach agreement on even the facts of the case before them.". 
  5. Woodrow Wilson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “On October 2, 1919, he suffered a serious stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his left side, and with only partial vision in the right eye.”
  6. Johann Friedrich Struensee - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “He rose in power to a position of 'de facto' regent of the country, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms. His affair with Queen Caroline Matilda ('Caroline Mathilde') caused scandal, especially after the birth of a daughter, Princess Louise Augusta, and was the catalyst for the intrigues and power play that caused his downfall and dramatic death. He died unmarried.”
  7. "While Known for Being Forgetful, Reagan Was Mentally Sound in Office, Doctors Say", The New York Times, October 5, 1997. Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “There was never anything that would raise a question about his ability to function as President, said Dr. Lawrence C. Mohr, one of Mr. Reagan's physicians in his second term. Ronald Reagan's cognitive function, belief structure, judgment, ability to choose between options, behavior and ability to communicate were totally and completely intact. 
  8. Declaratory Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “The Declaratory Act proclaimed that Parliament 'had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America ... in all cases whatsoever'. The phrasing of the act was intentionally unambiguous. In other words, the Declaratory Act of 1766 asserted that Parliament had the absolute power to make laws and changes to the colonial government, 'in all cases whatsoever', even though the colonists were not represented in the Parliament.”
  9. Declaratory Act - Great Britain. britannica.com (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “Parliament mollified the recalcitrant colonists by repealing the distasteful Stamp Act, but it actually hardened its principle in the Declaratory Act by asserting its complete authority to make laws binding on the American colonies 'in all cases whatsoever.'”
  10. Great Britain : Parliament - The Declaratory Act; March 18, 1766. Avalon Project (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “An act for the better securing the dependency of his majesty's dominions in America upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain.”
  11. Declaratory Act of 1766 ***. landofthebrave.info (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “The Declaratory Act of 1766 that asserted Parliament's authority to pass binding laws on the colonies contained the phrase 'in all cases whatsoever' which could surely be taken to mean the power to tax. The Declaratory Act of 1766 was almost an exact copy of the 1719 Irish Declaratory Act which forced Ireland into total submission under the Crown.”
  12. Ellis, Joseph J.. First Family: Abigail and John Adams. Knopf. “As John put it to Abigail: 'And the Question seems to be, whether the American Colonies are to be considered as a distinct Community so far as to have a Right to judge for themselves, when the Fundamentals of their Government are destroyed or invaded?' This was a defiant, even treasonable, position, which was one reason he asked her to 'keep these letters chiefly to yourself.' He also asked her to 'put them up safe, and preserve them,' for they provided 'a kind of picture of the Manners, Opinions, and Principles of these Times of Perplexity, Danger, and Distress.' One of the reasons that so many of their letters have survived is that they both recognized, early on, that they were living through a truly propitious moment likely to find a prominent place in the history books.” 
  13. John Mills (encyclopedist) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 April 2016. “On 13 February 1766[8] Mills was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society with Benjamin Franklin as one of his sponsors.”

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