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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 John Tyler by Gary May

Today's selection -- from John Tyler by Gary May. Well after the War of 1812 and for much of the 19th century, many Americans detested the British. Some joined Canada in rebellion against Great Britain, and there were frequent incursions and incidents leading the two countries to calls for renewed war:

"For Americans, Britain remained the great international bogeyman. In the years following the War of 1812, Britain's international power and wealth had continued to grow and its navy stood as the greatest in the world. New Englanders felt especially vulnerable given the presence of British troops in Canada, which shared a disputed border with Maine. When a rebellion against Great Britain erupted in Canada in the late 1830s, Americans had sympathized with the rebels, and citizens from Vermont to Michigan actively joined the fight. The British crushed the revolt, but tensions still ran high.

"In December 1837, British partisans, armed with pistols, pikes, and cutlasses, had attacked and boarded the Caroline, an American steamer in New York waters known to have carried arms to the Canadian insurgents. In the fight that ensued, three partisans were wounded and one American died, apparently from a stray bullet. Passengers and crew were escorted safely to shore, and the battle, such as it was, ended ten minutes after it began. Then the British set the Caroline afire and the ship slowly sank. New Yorkers were enraged, and local newspapers exaggerated the event, calling it a massacre during which two dozen American innocents were slaughtered. The Livingston Register called for 'Blood for Blood' until the nation's honor was restored. President Martin Van Buren had sent General Winfield Scott, dressed in full military regalia, to the New York-Canadian border and the immediate crisis ended without further bloodshed. But the British never apologized or compensated the Caroline's owners for the loss of their vessel, and Americans cried 'Remember the Caroline' and waited for the next incident.

The capture of the 'Caroline', 1837, illustration from 'Cassell's Illustrated History of England'

"Their wait ended in the winter of 1837-38, in the Aroostook River Valley, part of the disputed territory that pitted Maine against New Brunswick. The Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War with Great Britain, left unresolved the line that separated the northeastern boundary of Maine. The dispute was later submitted to the king of the Netherlands, who issued a compromise that the British accepted but the U.S. Senate rejected. Later attempts at mediation had also failed, and that winter new problems arose. Americans who were settling in the area noticed British interest in a road running through the Aroostook Valley, a safe supply route to reinforce Quebec and Montreal, if military necessity so required. ...

"Canadians and the Americans again prepared for battle. The 'Aroostook War' was mostly one of words. Nova Scotia's legislature appropriated funds in case fighting broke out, and Congress authorized President Van Buren to call for fifty thousand volunteers (the regular army then numbered only seven thousand men) and backed them up with $10 million. 'If war must come,' proclaimed Pennsylvania senator James Buchanan, 'it will find the country unanimous .... The only alternative is war or national dishonor; and between these two, what American can hesitate?'
"The American who hesitated was the president, who again sent his peacemaker General Scott. After a year's hard work, he arranged a truce in March 1839. But the underlying cause of the crisis -- the contested border between Maine and New Brunswick -- remained a dangerous irritant between America and Britain.

"In November 1840, the Caroline affair erupted anew when Alexander McLeod, a Canadian deputy sheriff believed to have been involved in the attack on the ship, was arrested in New York and put on trial for arson and murder. The British strongly protested and informed their minister in Washington that if McLeod was executed it would 'produce war, war immediate and frightful.' They could not understand why the U.S. federal government would not intervene in a state's judicial proceeding. Almost a year had passed before McLeod was acquitted and the crisis was calmed for the time being.

"Tyler inherited these 'sticks of dynamite waiting to explode.' 'The peace of the country when I reached Washington on the 6th day of April, 1841, was suspended by a thread,' he later observed. Then, a new crisis occurred in November. Nineteen slaves imprisoned on the Creole, an American ship bound for the slave markets of New Orleans, rebelled. They murdered slave owner John Hewell, beat the captain and several of his crew, and forced the Creole to sail to Nassau, in the British Bahamas. There, officials bound by Great Britain's Emancipation Act of 1833, which had abolished slavery, eventually freed all the slaves on board, including the rebellion's leader, Madison Washington. Southerners were especially angry; Mississippi newspapers suggested that if the United States failed to protect American 'property,' there was little reason for any state to remain in the Union."

John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845)
Author: Gary May
Publisher: Times Books
Copyright 2008 by Gary May
Pages: 82 - 84
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WalStreet, "The 20th Century Motor Corporation" and "Who Is John Galt?"

The WalTon Family is "worth" over 100 billion dollars, more than the "bottom" 40% of Americans. It is not envy, jealousy or sour grapes to say that they and the "top" 1% of concentrated wealth in this country have designed, built, and maintain an economic empire based upon slave and indentured servitude to sell at the lowest prices their product and service of simply distributing things around and investing in themselves alone while their own employees must seek Government Subsidies to survive even as they continue to work at two or three jobs to avoid Poverty. Some 100 years ago, JP Morgan increased the ratio of owner's wages to worker's wages proposed by Plato from six to one to twenty five to one. Now, the ratio is 500 to 1,000 to one. Both men and women worker's wages have decreased precipitously for at least 45 years. A family making $51,000 per year, if given a modest and well deserved increase of just 2% should now be making $81,000 per year. More people live in Poverty now than ever before, and yet "they" have cut Subsidies and Benefits, rejecting a modest increase of the Minimum Wage to $10 per hour. The same mentality for defending Slavery in the Southern States exists now, namely, that Slavery was superior to slave wages and conditions simply because slave owners took better care of their "property" for the same reason a business owner would care for and maintain his properties: To stay in business. At the same time, factory workers in the Northern States lived with inadequate wages, longer hours worked under conditions that were indeed dangerous and impoverished with no Benefits. They were "free" to be exploited and disposed of all because they were "rented or leased out" rather than "Property." Slavery is, of course, despicable but the argument is valid. One working multiple jobs for Poverty Wages or works and receives Subsidies to survive is both disposable and suffers in silence as prices continue to rise while wages are frozen. The model of Wall Street, whom also produce nothing nor do anything productive, controls on top. 

In 1850 onward, the "white collar clerks" were largely despised because office work was viewed as NOT real work, and like Insurance workers, only generated and pushed paper around for a living. I agree "Work" must be redefined over time to include more than manual labor and industrial or agricultural production and services. Technology Booms have accelerated FarceBook into Initial Public Offering, among many others, by providing a dubious product or service that is popular. The "bottom line" for Corporate models is simply to make money for a star chamber of top members, not to do good things for people. This System, among countless other integrated components is long overdue for pruning and begs to be dismantled and replaced despite the anonymous mob who are vigorously trying to preserve, control, and perpetuate it in league with the Big Names defending it.

I have a guilty pleasure in the "Atlas Shrugged" trilogy of movies based upon Ayn Rand's ideas and look forward to the last installment, "Who Is John Galt?," Still, I am disgusted by the Political and Corporate views it has inspired much like the Tea Party Movement. John Galt and those who joined him in the Novel were of high Intelligence, Relative Integrity, and fiercely Alive. Ayn Rand's entire idea was to create the ideal man character to take the lead in "stopping the motor of the world" by refusing to contribute his productivity to an exploitive, corrupt, and dying System, NOT save it. Live and let "it" die so another world is born. It's when Atlas, the man that holds up the world, weakens and, finding no help or solace, simply "shrugs" and let's it drop. 

How To Disappear Completely REMASTERED: Radiohead and David Herrera @Vimeo/Rebus101