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Trade Unions Are Outlawed

Out of a growing fear of a new Reign of Terror as occurred in France, Great Britain has outlawed trade unions or any attempt to meet, organize or simply one worker persuading another worker to "combine" for leverage to increase their wages. These new laws are called the Combination Acts. In this sense "combination" means a conspiracy to organize a union. Meetings of any kind over 50 people are already prohibited after commoners threw stones at King George the 3rd as he walked to Parliament. There is a real threat here, and government officials are reacting to it. However, the trade unions are not going away. They are going underground. They will return with a vengeance, over and over again. In time, trade unions and the government will reach a compromise, an uneasy balance of power. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The trade unions remained a serious threat to government into the early 20th century. They were outlawed by the Soviet Union and the Nazi Party which was the worker's party. The excuse was that a progressive government served the function of a union, so unions could be dispensed with. Historically speaking, when unions and churches challenged governments, bad things happened like riots and bombs. Outlawing unions only drives the unions underground. The power of an individual worker is the withdrawal of his labor, but to be an effective tool in negotiation with a large employer, it helps when workers combine. I'm OK with that in terms of worker safety and wages. I shudder when unions become a protection racket. "Hey! That's a mighty fine business you have there, Mr. Factory owner. It would be ashamed if anything were to happen to it." Hostess closed shop and laid off over 18,000 workers a few years ago. Although the company had come to an agreement with the Teamsters, other unions wanted to strike. A strike threatened the viability of the company so the business shutdown and sold off its assets. While workers are often indispensable to the success of a business, the purpose of a business is not to hire workers. The purpose is to make money for the shareholders. If it cannot do that, the business itself becomes dispensable and the workers disposable. [6]

Napoleon Saves Liberty by Becoming a Dictator

Corruption is everywhere in France. The Law of Hostages charges the local nobles for every theft and deports 4 nobles for every French patriot murdered. It is an ugly business. People are starving. Crop failures and the British blockade have made a bad situation even worse. The people need help. One of the five members of the ruling Directory is an idealist. He calls upon Napoleon Bonaparte to help reorganize the government. Napoleon is very popular, a winner amongst so many who have failed. He came to the French Revolution filled with optimism. He wanted to eliminate corruption and have the people return to the simple life. As Napoleon approaches Paris, the citizens cheer. Even the Directory cheers, not realizing what is to come. When there are rumors of another Reign of Terror, the legislature votes to leave Paris. Napoleon addresses the government and in a series of speeches he says "No. I do not want to be a dictator." He then sends his soldiers in to flush out the traitors... "traitor" being defined as anyone not in full-throat support Napoleon. A little over 1/5th of the legislature survives and two members of the Directory. Napoleon and the two remaining Directors write a new constitution for France... one without all the messy DIRECT democracy stuff in it. He believes that the people are not educated enough to make such decisions for themselves. [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Napoleon was willing to take over the government because it needed someone to straighten it out, but he required a push from his brother who was a member of the legislature. He also needed the support of a critical member of the Directory. The panic that ensued over the rumors of a new Reign of Terror reminded me of the panic that gave Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers. The German Reichstag fire caused a lot of chaos. A known communist was caught at the scene. He admitted starting the fire. All it takes is one knucklehead associated with your group and you are going down with him. The Communist Party lost its credibility in the government. Adolf Hitler urged that martial law be declared and civil liberties suspended. They hardly had time to think. They just did it. It was a power play more legal than Napoleon's, and millions of times worse. [9]

In Other News

  • The Rosetta Stone is discovered in Egypt. It allows translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics into a known written language. Before this discovery, translators were stumped. [7]
  • A mammoth is found preserved in the ice of Siberia. It's dead. Although carcasses had been discovered before now, this is the first fully documented case. [7] [10]
  • George Washington rides in glory to his ancestors. His final words are "Tis well." He was 67. [7] [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1799, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Combination Act 1799 - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
  2. Luddite - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
  3. Luddism. carbon.ucdenver.edu (2014). Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
  4. Pynchon - Essays: 'Is it OK to be a Luddite?'. web.archive.org (28 October 1984). Retrieved on 22 January 2015. “Historically, Luddites flourished In Britain from about 1811 to 1816. They were bands of men, organized, masked, anonymous, whose object was to destroy machinery used mostly in the textile industry. They swore allegiance not to any British king but to their own King Ludd.”
  5. Trade Union: History - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 25 January 2015. “1799”
  6. Hostess to close, lay off 18,500 after 'crippling' union fight. Fox News (November 16, 2012). Retrieved on 2 June 2016. “The privately-held company had reached a deal with the Teamsters, but a smaller union representing bakery workers refused to agree to concessions, prompting the mass layoffs and closing down of hundreds of plants, bakeries and delivery routes. That prompted harsh words from both the company and from Teamsters officials.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 372-373. 
  8. Age of Napoleon: A History of European Civilization from 1789 to 1815, The, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster, 117-118. ISBN 067121988X. 
  9. Reichstag fire - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 June 2016. “Historians disagree as to whether van der Lubbe acted alone, as he said, to protest the condition of the German working class. The Nazis accused the Comintern of the act. Some historians endorse the theory, proposed by the Communist Party, that the arson was planned and ordered by the Nazis as a false flag operation. Whatever the truth, the Nazis used the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.”
  10. Woolly mammoth - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 June 2016. “Between 1692 and 1806, only four descriptions of frozen mammoths were published in Europe. None of the remains of those five were preserved, and no complete skeleton was recovered during that time.[111] While frozen woolly mammoth carcasses had been excavated by Europeans as early as 1728, the first fully documented specimen was discovered near the delta of the Lena River in 1799 by Ossip Schumachov, a Siberian hunter.”
  11. George Washington - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 June 2016. “Washington died at home around 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, 1799, aged 67. In his journal, Lear recorded Washington's last words as being Tis well.'”

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