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Fundamental Change Begins

Something fundamental has changed, not only in Great Britain, but throughout Europe. The monarchy, as an institution, is a dying system. Great Britain has lost control of most of North America. A rag-tag militia with nice rifles but no shoes has taken it from them. Parliament has formally suspended operations against America. The American militias have hurt the British badly by losing. That is, draining resources from the British by running away and denying them victories. Examples are Bunker Hill and the Battle of Guilford Court House where the British lost so many troops that they would have been better off running away themselves. Certainly, General Nathanael Greene ran away throughout his fight in North Carolina. He was criticized for his tactics, but he whittled down the British forces. So now peace negotiations are under way, but the British are still trying to win something. While negotiating with Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams, the British are secretly negotiating peace with France, hoping to play one against the other. When Franklin finds out he makes the American treaty contingent on a negotiated peace between Great Britain and France. (This prevents Britain from splitting up the allies.) [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, France was in big economic trouble. They had financed part of the American Revolution but they weren't getting anything back for it in terms of larger markets. [6] And talk about hypocrisy, in 1782, France put down a democratic revolution in Geneva. The natifs (or natives) of Geneva were taxed so heavily that they rose in revolt for a democratic government. France, and others put down the revolt. The French leadership wanted to ease into government reform. When the French Revolution launched, the government wasn't prepared. King Louis the 16th and Queen Marie Antoinette lost their heads, not because they were terrible leaders, but because they had lost their credibility as monarchs. No matter what they did or said, even if it was good, the people no longer believed them. President Obama promised "Change you can believe in" and the people believed.... for a little while. But eventually the people stop believing the leadership. They stop listening and then they launch. [7] [8]

America's First Central Bank

The United States (plural) have not reached hyperinflation levels yet, but they are getting close. The United States have printed over 225 million dollars (face value) worth of continental bills, Congress has devalued the bill to 2.5% of its face value. The phrase "not worth a continental" becomes very popular this year. Inflation is out of control. Prices doubled in 1776, then doubled again. Now they have gone up 10 times. People are returning to bartering. Debt is piling up with no way to pay it. Last year, Robert Morris, the financier, stepped in to bring order to financial chaos. Morris was the guy who came up with the money to transport Washington and his troops south to Yorktown so that they could win the war, so he is important. He and Alexander Hamilton agree that the United States needs a central bank to control the money supply so Robert Morris establishes the Bank of North America. (No hissing please!) To get it started, 1000 shares at $400 are offered. This represents the first IPO of the United States of America. The bank will be replaced as a central bank by Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States in 1791. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Throughout US history you will see various financiers taking the role of saving the US economy either with their influence, arranging loans or with their own money after the politicians mess things up. One obvious example is Andrew Mellon who served almost 11 years as Secretary of the Treasury. He was a rich guy before he took the job and he was rich after. He wanted to lower tax rates across the board but especially on the rich. (The tax rate on the rich was over 80% at the time.) When a government makes a tax low enough, it is no longer worth the time or money to avoid paying the tax, so more people pay the tax and thus more money is collected. The flat tax is popular because it is simple and usually reasonable. No one likes paying taxes but if a tax is easy to calculate and reasonable, most people will pay it.

Lighter than Air Flight

The war to take back Gibraltar from Great Britain has spurred an idea in Joseph's mind. What if there was a way to float over the fortifications? He builds a small wooden frame and covers it with a light taffeta cloth (maybe silk). He lights a fire under it and the contraption hits the ceiling. He gets together with his brother and they build an even larger frame outside. It flies (unmanned) over a mile and crashes. Several passersby destroy it. Perhaps they thought it was a demon. Next year they will try it again... with people! [1] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The brothers demonstrated their "balloon" in front of King Louis the 16th of France and Queen Marie Antoinette. It looked like a work of art as much as a flying machine. They soon took passengers 3,000 feet in the air. Where oh where is the world going? And can you stop it? Should you stop it? You may not like change, but change is always coming, unexpected, and sometimes wondrous.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1782, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 362-363. 
  2. Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 May 2016. “In 1782 he was appointed Prime Minister for a second time (with Charles James Fox and Lord Shelburne as Secretaries of State) and, upon taking office, pushed for an acknowledgement of the independence of the United States, initiating an end to British involvement in the American War of Independence.”
  3. Rousseau and Revolution, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. “Vergennes had already ( 1781 ) meditated peace with England on the basis of partitioning most of North America among England, France, and Spain. [...] In November, 1782, he proposed to support the English in their endeavor to exclude the American states from the Newfoundland fisheries. These negotiations were quite in line with diplomatic precedents, but the American envoys, learning of them, felt warranted in operating with similar secrecy. Vergennes and Franklin agreed that each ally might deal separately with England, but that neither should sign any treaty of peace without the other's consent.” 
  4. Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 8 May 2016. “By 1782 Vergennes was growing increasingly frustrated by what he regarded as the inability of the United States to justify its use of the large sums of money which France had given them. He remarked to Lafayette, who had recently returned from America, 'I am not marvelously pleased with the country that you have just left. I find it barely active and very demanding.' Although he continued to enjoy a warm relationship with Benjamin Franklin, the American peace commissioners John Jay and John Adams distrusted Vergennes' motives and began separate peace talks with British envoys.”
  5. Battle of Guilford Court House - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 May 2016. “A 2,100-man British force under the command of Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis defeated Major General Nathanael Greene's 4,500 Americans. The British Army, however, lost a considerable number of men during the battle with estimates as high as 27%.”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: That is an assumption based on a remark made to Lafayette when he returned to France.
  7. Rousseau and Revolution, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. “In 1782 the natifs rose in a revolt that overthrew the patriciate and established a representative government (in Geneva). But the aristocrats appealed to France, Bern, and Sardinia; these powers intervened, the rebellion was put down, the oligarchy was restored. The natifs had to wait for the French Revolution to bring them freedom.” 
  8. Oligarchy - definition of oligarchy (2016). Retrieved on 9 May 2016. “Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.”
  9. Robert Morris (financier) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 May 2016. “Three days after becoming Superintendent of Finance, Morris proposed to establish a national bank, as urged by Alexander Hamilton. The first financial institution chartered by the United States, the Bank of North America, was founded in 1782. The bank was funded in part by a significant loan Morris had obtained from France in 1781. The initial role of the bank was to finance the war against Britain.[15] During the war the contributions of all 13 colonies and their citizens was roughly $800,000 dollars (about $112 million in today's dollars) and Robert Morris personally contributed almost $74 million (about $1.03 billion today) during the war and immediately thereafter.”
  10. John Steele Gordon. Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, An. HarperCollins, 60-61. ISBN 0060093625. 
  11. Bank of North America - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 May 2016. “The original charter called for the disbursement of 1,000 shares priced at $400 each. Benjamin Franklin purchased one share for 0.1% ownership as a sign of good faith to Federalists and the new bank and Hamilton made public endorsement of the establishment under his pseudonym.”
  12. Montgolfier brothers - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 May 2016. “As a result of these musings, Joseph set about building a box-like chamber 1×1×1.3 m (3 ft by 3 ft (0.91 m) by 4 ft) out of very thin wood, and covering the sides and top with lightweight taffeta cloth. He crumpled and lit some paper under the bottom of the box. The contraption quickly lifted off its stand and collided with the ceiling. Joseph then recruited his brother to balloon building by writing, 'Get in a supply of taffeta and of cordage, quickly, and you will see one of the most astonishing sights in the world.' The two brothers then set about building a similar device, scaled up by three (so 27 times greater in volume). The lifting force was so great that they lost control of their craft on its very first test flight on 14 December 1782. The device floated nearly two kilometers (about 1.2 mi). It was destroyed after landing by the 'indiscretion' of passersby.”
  13. Great Siege of Gibraltar - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 May 2016. “The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the Grand Assault of 18 September 1782. At three years and seven months, it is the longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces.”

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