1786

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One Language to Rule Them All

While living in India, William Jones has noticed that certain phases in English, appear in Sanskrit. He begins a comparison of Sanskrit with German, Latin and Greek. The words and the grammar are too similar to be a coincidence. His findings suggest a common root, a common language, an ancient tongue. He then theorizes a possible invasion of an Aryan race which influenced local languages. Jones has no evidence to back up such a claim, and in later years the invasion theory will lose credibility, but the idea of a Proto-Indo-European language will live on. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The idea of an original Proto-Indo-European language is an educated guess. I think it is a good guess, but there is no written evidence of it ever existing. Scholars estimate that the original language was spoken around 3500 BCE (Before the Common Era). That is also an educated guess, somewhat similar to a reasonable weather forecast. (Take your umbrella anyway.) I have noticed similarities between Norse, German, and Hebrew. My religious teachers tell me that Hebrew was the original language, but my college professors say, "No way." (I am nodding politely to my religious teachers and siding with my professors on this one.) I'm not sure who did what first, but it sure is interesting. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Shays' Rebellion and a New Constitution

Now that the war is over, economic conditions are improving. (Just about anything would be an improvement.) In order to pay off its war debt, Massachusetts has raised property taxes, but frankly, there is no money to pay for anything! I mean creditors are demanding gold and silver for payment of debt, but there is none available. It's a barter-economy now and farmers are barely feeding their own families. Daniel Shays is a veteran of Bunker Hill. He joins 2,000 farmers in protest, but the legislature refuses to entertain this insult to their dignity. (I'm not kidding. They actually think that... including Samuel Adams.) Since judges authorize foreclosures, the protestors march on the courts instead. By early next year, Daniel Shays will lead an attack on the Springfield armory but they will be repelled and eventually scattered. In the end, Shays will receive a pardon, but the Boston papers will cast him as a super criminal leading an army of 20,000 or more! He will eventually move to New York to escape his infamous notoriety. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... there are two issues here, one economic and one political. First, the economics: Existing loans were being delayed or discounted by some states which is what Massachusetts and Rhode Island eventually did. People who are not sure they will be paid back, will not loan money. It's silver or gold or get out. Second, Shay's Rebellion wasn't as big a problem as the newspapers made it out to be. Nevertheless, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton used the fear of a rebellion as a hammer to beat the politicians into modifying the Articles of Confederation. Madison and Hamilton wanted a stronger central government to handle these crazed rebels, consolidate the war debt... and tax the states. Shays Rebellion is one reason why the Convention in Philadelphia replaced the Articles of Confederation with... "a more perfect union," the Constitution of the United States of America.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Fredrick the Great is Gone

"The Old Fritz" Fredrick the Great has died of pneumonia. This is the last in a long series of illnesses he has been suffering ever since he was out in the rain and cold inspecting his troops. He was 6 hours on his horse and by the time it was over, he was shaken and spent. He was never right again. He suffered from gout and dropsy. The normal "cure-all" was bleeding, but it didn't help. He ordered that upon his death he should be buried next to his horse, but they disobeyed that order and entombed him. Years later, when the French invade Prussia, Napoleon will visit Fredrick the Great's tomb and remark to his generals...[11]

"If he were alive we should not be here." -- Napoleon Bonaparte.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I mention this event because George Washington admired Fredrick the Great. Washington died under similar circumstances although much more quickly than Fredrick the Great did. Washington was already sick, but he insisted on riding out to do the normal inspection of his plantation. It was freezing cold and snowing. When he returned he refused to change out of his wet clothes and it all went downhill from there. They called the doctors. They bled him because that was the cure-all. (Balancing the humors.) And then he died. That was in 1799. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1786, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Pinker, Steven. Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, The. HarperPerennial. ISBN 9780965307758. “What happens if we try to go back farther in time? The languages of the Angles and the Saxons did not come out of thin air; they evolved from Proto-Germanic, the language of a tribe that occupied much of northern Europe in the first millennium B.C. The western branch of the tribe split into groups that gave us not only Anglo-Saxon, but German and its offshoot Yiddish, and Dutch and its offshoot Afrikaans. The northern branch settled Scandinavia and came to speak Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. The similarities in vocabulary among these languages are visible in an instant, and there are many similarities in grammar as well, such as forms of the past-tense ending -ed. 
  2. Tolkein, J. R. R., Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Quality Paperback Book Club; BOOK CLUB edition. 2001. ISBN 9780965307758. (BOOK) Quote:
    "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."
  3. William Jones (philologist) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 May 2016. “Jones is also known today for making and propagating the observation about genetic relation between the Indo-European languages. In his Third Anniversary Discourse to the Asiatic Society (1786) he suggested that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin languages had a common root, and that indeed they may all be further related, in turn, to Gothic and the Celtic languages, as well as to Persian.”
  4. Proto-Indo-European language - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 May 2016. “Indo-European studies began with Sir William Jones making and propagating the observation that Sanskrit bore a certain resemblance to classical Greek and Latin. In The Sanscrit Language (1786) he suggested that all three languages had a common root, and that indeed they might further all be related, in turn, to Gothic and to the Celtic languages, as well as to Persian.”
  5. Paleo-Hebrew alphabet - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 May 2016. “The term was coined by Solomon Birnbaum in 1954 who wrote 'To apply the term Phoenician to the script of the Hebrews is hardly suitable'. Even so, the script is nearly identical to the Phoenician script.”
  6. Hebrew alphabet - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 May 2016. “The Hebrew alphabet known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as of other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two script forms in use; the original old Hebrew script is known as the paleo-Hebrew script (which has been largely preserved, in an altered form, in the Samaritan script), while the present 'square' form of the Hebrew alphabet is a stylized form of the Aramaic script and was known by Israel's sages as the Ashuri script (Assyrian script), since its origins were alleged to be from Assyria. Various 'styles' (in current terms, 'fonts') of representation of the letters exist. There is also a cursive Hebrew script, which has also varied over time and place.”
  7. (October 1995) The Word: The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Sources of English. ISBN 9781568216157. Retrieved on 13 May 2016. 
  8. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 364-365. 
  9. Shays' Rebellion - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 May 2016. “Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts (mostly in and around Springfield) during 1786 and 1787. Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels (called Shaysites) in rising up against perceived economic injustices and suspension of civil rights (including multiple eviction and foreclosure notices) by Massachusetts, and in a later attempt to capture the United States' national weapons arsenal at the U.S. Armory at Springfield.”
  10. Ellis, Joseph J.. Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, The. Knopf. “But initial press reports vastly exaggerated the size of the rebel force and the scale of its political agenda. Instead of two thousand insurgents, the gossip mills in the Confederation Congress imagined a force of twenty to forty thousand, with plans to secede from Massachusetts or even march on Boston. Madison and several other delegates believed that the rebellion was instigated by British agents in Canada who were plotting to bring western Massachusetts and Vermont back into the British Empire.” 
  11. Rousseau and Revolution, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. “In June, 1786, he summoned Dr. Zimmermann from Hanover. He balked at the drugs prescribed for him, and preferred lively conversations about literature and history; to keep him quiet Zimmermann prescribed Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Dropsy was added to his troubles, and incisions made to reduce the swellings developed gangrene. Pneumonia completed the siege, and on August 17, 1786, Frederick died, aged seventy-four. [...] When Napoleon, after defeating the Prussians at Jena, came and stood before Frederick's tomb, he said to his generals, "If he were alive we should not be here."” 
  12. George Washington - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 May 2016. “On Thursday, December 12, 1799, Washington spent several hours inspecting his plantation on horseback, in snow, hail, and freezing rain; later that evening he ate his supper without changing from his wet clothes.”

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