From The TSP Survival Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Alaska: Going, Going... SOLD!

The pocketbooks of the American taxpayer are now 7.2 million dollars lighter (around 120 million in today's dollars). Russia has sold Alaska to the United States of America. Negotiations began and ended rather quickly after an assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander the 2nd was thwarted. President Andrew Johnson sent a delegation to Russia in friendship and to express joy that Alexander's near-death experience was not as near as the assassin had hoped. Having recently lost President Lincoln to assassination, the point was clearly made. This act of empathy has prompted the Russians to open negotiations to sell Alaska to the USA. After all, Russia isn't getting much income from the region, it cannot effectively defend it, and it doesn't want to get into a war with the USA anyway, so they are willing to let it go for a song. The main negotiator in Washington DC is Secretary of State William Seward. Seward offers $5 million and they eventually settle on 7.2 million. The treaty is signed. The Congress approves it and in less than 40 days the USA has expanded its land mass by one-fifth. (Watch your language. The kids are listening.) [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Manifest Destiny (and Seward) had declared that the USA would conquer all the Northern continent from East to West and North to South. (We are currently a little behind on that project.) That prediction might have motivated the Russians to sell Alaska while everyone was still in a good mood. Although it was a good deal even in those days, Alaska's potential was unknown. To most people it seemed like a frozen wasteland. They called Alaska "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" or other derisive labels. But no one had really surveyed the region for its potential resources. Then gold was found, and oil. In the 20th century, as the Cold War progressed, it became part of the Early Warning System where massive radar dishes watched for an imminent strike from Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). It was terrifying for a 1st-grade boy to go through nuclear strike drills in school. Air raid sirens would wail and we would crawl under our desks to wait for the all clear... or something else. As the joke went: sit down, hands behind your head, bend over, and kiss you backside good-bye. Imagine how much worse that would have been if the Soviet Union was part of the North American continent. I shudder to think. (Check out the movie, Ice Station Zebra, 1968, for a clue.) It could be argued that Seward saved the USA from thermonuclear war before the nuclear bomb was ever imagined. [4]

Wage Slaves on the Grange

A clerk from the US Department of Agriculture is traveling through the South and notices that basic farming practices have fallen behind the norm. He convinces the farmers to form the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry or "The Grange" for short. (A "grange" can refer to a farm or farmer's residence. It can also refer to a granary or barn although in modern times this is considered an archaic use of the word.) The organization is founded by men and women so both genders get the vote. This is novel for the time. The Grange starts off as a fraternal society. Secret rituals mark its beginnings, but as the Grangers grow, they realize that they have economic power as they pool their resources. The railroads have been ... uh... manipulating the farmers on transportation costs, so the Grangers build silos to store grain and wait for favorable prices. They buy farm equipment at a group discount, and pool their savings like a credit union. After the Panic of 1873 the Grangers will blame their economic woes on evil bankers and corrupt politicians. (They will also contribute to their own problems through overproduction, but don't try to tell them that.) "Raise less corn and more hell," shouts "Yellin Ellen" Lease. In the 1880s she will rail against Wall Street monopolies that force Americans into wage slavery rather than the self-sufficiency of farming. (FYI, Lease really didn't say "Raise less corn and more hell,", but she thought it was "good advice" and let the catch-phrase be attributed to her.) Several populist movements will grow out of the Grangers, but ultimately, they will hit the down-slope when they attempt to manufacturer their own farm equipment. Eventually they will refocus on their educational goals and survive as an organization into the modern day. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many organizations swell in popularity and then decline when they try to do too much. In their effort to do everything, they do nothing very well and lose track of their original mission. The Grangers didn't start off with a clear mission, but that wasn't a problem. While most advisors will tell you that an organization should have a well articulated mission statement, most organizations begin by feeling their way along, find their purpose later, articulate their mission and move on from there. If they can stick to the mission: a simple, clear-cut mission, the organization will flourish for generations to come. When they try to be everything to everyone, the organization loses focus as factions fight over competing priorities and limited resources.

On the Beautiful Blue Danube in 2001

Austrian composer, Johann Strauss, presents his waltz, "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," in February to lackluster reviews. The lack of enthusiasm may be due to the subtle start to the waltz. Waltz music is 1-2-3, 1-2-3, ballroom dance music. (Hint to composers... when you are composing dance music, don't confuse the people on the dance floor. It can become embarrassing.) What follows are a series of 5 exciting and (at times) rollicking themes. Strauss doesn't like this first performance, so he tweaks it up and presents it in Paris to rave reviews. Sales of his sheet music shoot through the roof. It becomes so popular that most people will consider it the unofficial Austrian National Anthem. People outside of Austria will recognize "The Blue Danube" from the soundtrack to "2001: A Space Odyssey" as Dr. Heywood Floyd takes a space plane from the Earth to the space station and later landing on the Moon on his secret mission to view the Monolith. ([Click here to jump into the middle of the waltz.]) ...or... ([Click here for a live performance]).[10] [11] [12] [13]

In Other News

  • Marx publishes "Das Kapital," Volume 1. It covers the laws of capitalism, where money comes from and how socialism grows from there. It is the epitome of 19th century economic theory. (I wish it would have stayed in the 19th century.) [1] [14]
  • The reinforced concrete process is patented. A French gardener is tired of clay pots that crumble and break, so he reinforces concrete using iron mesh. Thus, reinforced concrete construction is born. [1] [15]
  • George Westinghouse invents the railway air brake. Yes. THAT Westinghouse. Currently, train brakemen hop from car to car to manually apply the brakes. After witnessing a train wreck, Westinghouse realizes that compressed air could be used to operate the brake mechanism. The same train wreck will change standards for passenger cars, making them out of iron rather than wood and securing heavy items inside. [1] [16] [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1867, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 430-431. 
  2. Empathy - definition of empathy (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “The ability to identify with or understand another's situation or feelings”
  3. William H. Seward - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “In his speech prior to the 1860 convention, he predicted the territory would become part of the U.S., and when he learned in 1864 that it might be for sale, he pressed the Russians (then a U.S. ally) for negotiations. The Russian minister, Baron Eduard de Stoeckl, returned home on leave in 1866. Fearing that the territory might be overrun by American settlers and lost, he urged his government to sell it. He was given the authority to make the sale and when he returned in March 1867, negotiated with the Secretary of State. Seward initially offered $5 million; the two men settled on $7 million and on March 15, Seward presented a draft treaty to the Cabinet. Stoeckl's superiors raised several concerns; to induce him to waive them, the final purchase price was increased to $7.2 million. The treaty was signed in the early morning of March 30, 1867, and ratified by the Senate on April 10.”
  4. Ice Station Zebra (1968). IMDb (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “USN nuclear sub USS Tigerfish must rush to the North Pole to rescue the staff of Drift Ice Station Zebra weather station.”
  5. National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 May 2016. “The Grange, founded after the Civil War in 1867, is the oldest American agricultural advocacy group with a national scope. Major accomplishments credited to Grange advocacy include passage of the Granger Laws and the establishment of rural free mail delivery.”
  6. Oliver Hudson Kelley - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “In 1864, he got a job as a clerk for the United States Bureau of Agriculture and traveled the Eastern and Southern United States following the American Civil War. He felt a great need to gather together farmers and their families to rebuild America as he once knew it, and thought an organization of fraternal strength would best serve the needs of the farm families.”
  7. The Grange Movement. (2016). Archived from the original on April 2, 2003. Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “A major shortcoming of the movement was the failure to address what was probably the root cause of many farm ills—overproduction. There were too many farmers and too much productive land; the advent of new, mechanized equipment only exacerbated the difficulties. A few perceptive individuals recognized that flooding the market with produce only depressed prices further. Mary Elizabeth Lease of Kansas, one of the nation's first female attorneys, traveled to grange halls and urged the farmers to 'raise less corn and more hell.' Such pleas went largely unheeded, since most farmers preferred to blame the politicians, judges and bankers for their plight.”
  8. Grange: One Page History (PDF). nationalgrange.org (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016.
  9. Mary Elizabeth Lease - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “In 1888, she began to work for the Union Labor Party and gave a speech at their state convention. From there she became involved in the movement that would become the Populist Party. She believed that big business had made the people of America into 'wage slaves', declaring, 'Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master.'”
  10. The Blue Danube - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “Originally performed in February, 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesangsverein (Vienna Men's Choral Association),[2] it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. Its initial performance was considered only a mild success,[1] however, and Strauss is reputed to have said, 'The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!'”
  11. The Story Behind The Blue Danube - Strauss II - Classic FM. classicfm.com (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “The premiere of the Waltz For Choir at Vienna’s Dianabadsaal (Diana Bath Hall) took place on February 15, 1867. Considering its subsequent popularity, its reception was somewhat muted (apparently it received only one encore, which in Strauss’s terms equalled a flop). This may have been due to the fact that both the choir and the audience hated the words. But when, later that year, Strauss introduced the waltz in its orchestral garb to Paris at the World Exhibition, it created a sensation.”
  12. Kubrick´s 2001: A Space Odyssey. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “One scene from great sci-fi movie.”
  13. André Rieu - The Beautiful Blue Danube. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra playing 'The Beautiful Blue Danube' (An der schönen blauen Donau) by composer Johann Strauss II. Recorded live at Empress Sisi's castle; Schönbrunn Palace Vienna, Austria with dancers from the famous Austrian Elmayer Dancing School.”
  14. Capital: Critique of Political Economy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “In Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867), Karl Marx proposes that the motivating force of capitalism is in the exploitation of labour, whose unpaid work is the ultimate source of surplus value and then profit both of which concepts have a specific meaning for Marx. The employer is able to claim the right to profits because he or she owns the productive capital assets (means of production), which are legally protected by the capitalist state through property rights (the historical section shows how this right was acquired in the first place chiefly through plunder and conquest and the activity of the merchant and 'middle-man').”
  15. Joseph Monier - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “Clay was easily broken and wood weathered badly and could be broken by the plant roots. Monier began making concrete pots and tubs, but these were not stable enough. In order to strengthen the cement containers, he experimented with embedded iron mesh. He was not the first to experiment with reinforced concrete, but he saw some of the possibilities in the technique, and promoted it extensively.”
  16. George Westinghouse - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “The Westinghouse system used a compressor on the locomotive, a reservoir and a special valve on each car, and a single pipe running the length of the train (with flexible connections) which both refilled the reservoirs and controlled the brakes, allowing the engineer to apply and release the brakes simultaneously on all cars. It is a failsafe system, in that any rupture or disconnection in the train pipe will apply the brakes throughout the train. It was patented by Westinghouse on October 28, 1873.”
  17. Angola Horror - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 September 2016. “The accident and the public outcry that arose from it influenced many railroad reforms that soon followed, including the replacement of loosely secured stoves with safer forms of heating, the replacement of wooden cars with iron, more effective braking systems and the standardization of track gauges.”

External Links

Personal tools