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Where Are They Today?

For the next few years the situation in the American colonies will simmer. The embargo of British goods has lost some momentum as tariffs are rescinded or reduced. So let's look at where key people of the American Revolution are this year...

  • Alexander Hamilton is a 15-year-old bastard. He is also a bookkeeper at an import-export business in the West Indies. One of the partners is ill so Hamilton takes over. He berates captains for not meeting their schedules... AND THEY TAKE IT! This kid is going far, but there is no glory in bookkeeping which causes Hamilton to remark, "I wish there was a war." [1]
  • George Washington is 39-years-old and has taken the embargo on British goods about as far as it can go. He is diversifying his farming from tobacco into wheat and horse trading. His slaves are fishing and raising chickens in order to feed themselves. He talks about "The Cause" (meaning liberty) but not revolution... yet. [2]
  • James Madison has graduated from Princeton at 20-years-old. Frankly, he hates the law but Thomas Jefferson has sent him some interesting books on ancient Greece and democracy. Oh, dear. Madison is getting ideas. [3] [4]
  • Henry Knox has opened The London Book-Store in Boston. It features books on military tactics. Knox is 21-years-old and a personable guy. John Adams will frequent the bookstore. During the American Revolution, Adams will be the Secretary of War and Knox will be a colonel and later a general for the artillery. [5]

Great Scott! It's Groundhog Day!

Sir Walter Scott, is born this year in Scotland (of course) to a mother who loves poetry. His fame as a poet and novelist will range far and wide. He will be the founder of a new type of literature... the historical novel. He will be the author of Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. He will also author the poem, "The Lady of the Lake" from which Fredrick Douglass will derive his last name. The Presidential theme "Hail to the Chief" will come from the same poem. Also the phrase "Great Scott!" will be a reference to Walter Scott. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Sir Walter Scott is very quotable so here are a few quotes...
  • Tell that to the marines--the sailors won't believe it.
  • A miss is as good as a mile.
  • Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.
  • To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so.
  • Success or failure in business is caused more by the mental attitude even than by mental capacities.

And, of course, the famous quote from the movie, Groundhog Day (1993) in the diner as Phil is stuffing his face, Rita quotes...

The wretch, con-centered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Rita ends with, "Sir Walter Scott!"

Phil laughs so Rita asks, "What? You don't like poetry?

Phil responds mockingly, "I love poetry. I just thought that was Willard Scott. I was confused." [8] [9]

The First Factory

Richard Arkwright has made improvements to the original carding machine and has taken on a partner to establish the first modern factory. The carding machine is used to separate the fibers of cotton or wool by turning a crank. The fibers are then suitable to be made into yarn. Now the machine is water-powered. It may not seem like much but compared to the way it was done in the past, they are producing piles and piles of cotton and wool without requiring a lot of trained labor. They turn the crank and money practically falls out the other end. [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Richard Arkwright is sometimes called the Father of the Industrial Age but several people earned that honor, such as James Watt, who patented an improvement to his steam engine around the same time. When they finally linked the steam engine to the crank of the carding machine they were able to site factories based on where they could get cheap labor or ease of product shipping rather than looking for those few spots with running water to power the cranks.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1771, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America. Sourcebooks, Inc.. “In late 1771, Cruger became ill and sailed to New York for five months to recover and entrusted the sixteen-year-old Hamilton with management of the firm. Hamilton was finally getting some taste of being in a position of greater authority to match his youthful ambition.” 
  2. Middlekauff, Robert. Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader. Knopf. ISBN 9781101874233. “By summer of the next year, 1771, the trial at stopping imports had fallen apart, and Washington gave it up. News of the repeal by Parliament of the taxes on all items except tea finished off what had been only a partially successful attempt.” 
  3. Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father. PublicAffairs. 
  4. James Madison - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 April 2016. “After graduation, Madison remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy under the university president, John Witherspoon, before returning to Montpelier in the spring of 1772. He became quite fluent in Hebrew. Madison studied law from his interest in public policy, not with the intent to practice law.”
  5. Henry Knox - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 April 2016. “In 1771 he opened his own bookshop, the London Book Store, in Boston 'opposite William's Court in Cornhill.' Largely self-educated, he stocked books on military science, and also questioned soldiers who frequented his shop in military matters.”
  6. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 356-357. 
  7. Great Scott - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 April 2016. “Mark Twain also uses the phrase to reference Sir Walter Scott and his writing. Twain's disdain for Scott is evident in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), in which the main character repeatedly utters 'great Scott' as an oath, and in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), where he names a sinking boat the Walter Scott.”
  8. Groundhog Day (1993) - IMDb. imdb.com (2016). Retrieved on 22 April 2016. “A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.”
  9. The Wretch, Groundhog Day (1 minute in). YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 22 April 2016.
  10. Richard Arkwright - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 April 2016. “In 1771, the partners built the world's first water-powered mill at Cromford, employing 200 people mainly women and children.”

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