1855

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The Lone Star Education Windfall

The US federal government has appropriated almost 8 million dollars to settle the Texas debt and any expenses incurred with the recent border treaty with Mexico... meaning paying for the Texas Rangers to patrol the border. For reasons that are complex and difficult to explain about 4 million dollars is left over or about 83 million dollars in today's money. (Nothing to see here. Let's move on.) Texas spends that money on government buildings and pet projects as one might expect. The money is also distributed to counties which use the money to build courthouses and such, but Texas does something that would be unexpected in modern times. It sets aside half of the money for education: community, religious, and even home schooling although they are called "field schools" at this time. Students meet under a tree or in a one room schoolhouse near the fields. There are no public schools as yet, and the state cannot directly tax residents for education. (It's illegal!) Communities organize their own schools and the state reimburses them on a per student basis. Whatever Texas was spending per student in 1854, they almost double it in 1855. The teachers receive the lion's share of the increase, and believe me, no teacher in Texas ever went hungry or could not find a place to sleep. This is all to the state's credit, but by 1860 the state will be deep in debt again. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though Horace Mann was experimenting with the Prussian unified system of education, public schools didn't get rolling until after the War Between the States otherwise known as the American Civil War which was technically NOT a civil war but don't get me started on that one! The point is that education in the United States at that time was uneven. Ethnic groups within Texas had different educational priorities and each made its own arrangements as they saw fit. No one was bellyaching about how their kids were forced to learn something that didn't fit with their world view or religious convictions because people with differing views didn't mix. If they needed classes taught in German, Spanish or Dutch, the parents paid for it and made it happen. It is a modern belief (almost a religious conviction) that mixing cultures results in harmony and understanding. I feel like I'm trapped in a West Side Story musical and I don't how to dance! There are reasons why we self-separate. It is because we prefer to interact with people who share a baseline understanding with us. Getting along with people I already more-or-less understand is hard enough, but the government wants me to get along with people different than I am. Fine. I can do that. But if I don't want to do that, I should be able to avoid it without the government telling me I am bad. I'm not bad. I'm just tired.

Bleeding Kansas

The capitol of Kansas is Topeka, no... Lecompton... wait... it's Leavenworth... uh... how about Wyandotte (WHY-en-dot)? Yeah. That's it! (Wyandotte is now part of Kansas City) Well... as you can see the Kansas Territory residents are having problems making a decision. They must decide whether to become a slave state or a free state. The reason for their indecision is because of MASSIVE voter fraud. The people of Missouri have been jumping the border and voting in the Kansas elections. The majority of Kansans are voting to be a free state but the number of fraudulent votes from Missouri is more than the legitimate votes. This has caused the elections to be thrown to the pro-slavery candidates. While the courts have called for a reelections in a few districts it is not enough to offset the massive pro-slavery win. Frankly, the Missouri "Ruffians" have become quite firm in their convictions on slavery.... violently firm. To combat the pro-slavery violence, Reverend Beecher has sent a shipment of Sharps Rifles to Kansas. The shipping crates are labelled as "Beecher's Bibles" so the rifles take on the same name. Reverend Beecher says that rifles are "a greater moral agency than the Bible." (Please note that his sister is Harriet BEECHER Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.) Over all, maybe 1,000 rifles will be shipped. By next year Kansas will be awash in blood. [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... the War Between the States didn't start until 1861, yet in Kansas there was already blood in the streets. If people are worried about a nationwide insurrection in modern times, it is going to take a lot more that a few riots by disgruntled people before things really get wild. FYI, the capital of Kansas is Topeka, but when Kansas was a territory, Topeka was considered an insurrectionist government by President Franklin Pierce because Topeka voted to be a free state. Pierce wanted to hold the Union together, so he kissed the backsides of the Southern slave owners and as a result, he sent the country spinning toward destruction. But the headlong leap over the precipice could not have been accomplished by one man alone. It took the help of the legislature giving the country a good hard shove as well. It is easy to say, "Why didn't they do what Abraham Lincoln did?" But Lincoln did not have the Southern voting block cutting off his every effort to end slavery or transition away from it. By the time the reality of war was upon them it was already too late. Looking back, we can see their future clearly. If only. If only. I wonder what our children's children will say about our actions today. What are we missing that will be so obvious to the generations to come? And will they shake their heads and ask why we did nothing?

In Other News

  • Cocaine is isolated from coca leaves. Until now, European scientists could not get enough fresh leaves from South America to isolate the alkaloid. [5]
  • Florence Nightingale institutes good hygiene standards in military hospitals. Although her "Lady with the Lamp" image of making the rounds at night might have been exaggerated, she did professionalize nursing in the years following the war. [6] [7]
  • Rayon is patented. It is nicknamed "Mother-in-law silk" probably because this early version of the fabric caught fire easily. [6] [8]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1805, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Fehrenbach, T. R.. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. ISBN 9781497609693. “Finally, in 1855, the Congress passed a new appropriation act: $7,750,000 more was given Texas, to settle both the old debts and frontier claims, once and for all. The details of this settlement are not important, nor is the fancy footwork that its passage entailed. What was important, then and for future history, was that the state emerged with almost $4,000,000 free and clear.” 
  2. The Price of Freedom: Sharps Carbine. Smithsonian Institute (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “As Missouri pro-slavery, 'Ruffians' flocked to Kansas, the New England abolitionists bankrolled 'Free-Soilers' to move to the settlement of Lawrence, Kansas. Henry Ward Beecher raised money to purchase Sharp's rifles for use by antislavery forces in Kansas. Rifles, said Beecher, are 'a greater moral agency than the Bible' in the fight against slavery. The guns were packed in crates labeled 'Bibles' so they would not arouse suspicion. Soon the Sharps rifles sent to Kansas were referred to as 'Beecher’s Bibles.'”
  3. Beecher's Bibles. History By Zim (August 31, 2001). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “His group raised around $625 and bought Sharps rifles, costing $25 each, and 25 Bibles. The crates of weapons were labeled 'Beecher’s Bibles,' so it would not arouse suspicion. On February 8, 1856, the New York Tribune ran a article on Beecher in which it discusses the ideology behind the guns.”
  4. Beecher Bibles. Kansas Historical Society (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “The total number of Sharps that reached Kansas between 1854 and 1858 will probably never be known. Fragmentary records indicate somewhere around 900 to 1,000 Sharps were purchased for the border conflict.”
  5. Cocaine - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “The cocaine alkaloid was first isolated by the German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke in 1855. Gaedcke named the alkaloid 'erythroxyline', and published a description in the journal Archiv der Pharmazie.”
  6. 6.0 6.1 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 420-421. 
  7. Florence Nightingale - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London.”
  8. Rayon - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 August 2016. “The solubility of nitrocellulose in organic solvents such as ether and acetone was the basis for the first 'artificial silk' by Georges Audemars in about 1855. Commercial production started in 1891, but the result was flammable and more expensive than cellulose acetate or cuprammonium rayon. Because of this expense, production ceased early in the 1900s. Nitrocellulose was briefly known as 'mother-in-law silk'.”

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