Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Entry 3 (The Boston Massacre and the Reason Why Swatting At Protesters Isn't Quite A Sound Idea)

March 5, 1770- In one of the American Revolution's most pivotal incidents, British troops fire upon a crowd of colonial activists, killing three and wounding two. This incident would eventually be known as "The Boston Massacre."

In the late 18th Century, tensions were brewing between Britain and its North American colonies. British intervention in colonial affairs and the colonists' discontent with no parliamentary representation served as catalysts for the eventual American Revolution (1775-1783). King George III deployed detachments of British troops to enforce order in the recalcitrant colonies, particularly in Massachusetts, where colonial resistance thrived. In Boston, the local denizens were infuriated by the presence of British troops. The Boston Massacre was just one of the few prime examples in which colonial protesters directly clashed with British troops. Although the British troops were accused of what the colonists perceived to be outright murder, it was thanks to the defensive measure of lawyer John Adams (sound familiar?) that almost all of the British troops were exonerated of the indictments lodged against them. The Boston Massacre, however, was instrumental in furthering tensions between the British and the colonists to the point of open rebellion starting in 1775.

This Boston Massacre business has chilling resemblances to current events occurring now. As the Ukraine struggles to recover from a revolution, Venezuela finds itself in the midst of national turmoil as civilian activists clash with the government. In these countries, the government employed brutality and dispersal tactics to expel crowds of protesters. In addition, the uprisings in these countries consisted of struggle between an authoritative force and a group of disgruntled subordinates. It can be asserted that the American Revolution bears some similarity to the Revolutions of 2014. However, it is crucial to note that in any case, brutal dispersal tactics are ineffective in purging revolts. It is imperative that governments rely on direct negotiation with the people, and the people be willing to engage in dialogue whenever possible. Change can occur. The only question is: will change be achieved through rage or reasoning?

Entry 2

February 4, 1789- George Washington Chosen as United States' First Elected President
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale 
The initial decades following America's successful revolution against its former colonial master, Great Britain, were fraught with turmoil, decadence, and uncertainty. Achieving autonomy as well as political sovereignty was just the beginning in a long and eventful journey for our country. Following the American Revolution (1775-1783), the United States was plagued by debt, an inadequate political system, and decentralization. For the rest of the 18th Century, the young nation managed to neutralize early insurrections, stabilize its fiscal policy, create a new constitution, and elect its first president: George Washington. Washington's ascendance to presidency solidified America's ability to establish a new Federal government and cabinet in the wake of its new constitution. President Washington is renowned today for his role in commanding the Continental Army that fought the world's most powerful military at the time. However, his role as president is just as fascinating as his illustrious military career. As the first president of a newborn Republic, Washington was responsible for setting up precedents and behaving in honorable conduct that would inspire future helmsmen of later years. Several of his precedents, including serving for two terms, responding to the title of "Mr. President", delivering State of the Union Addresses to Congress, and many more, would influence the actions of later presidents (in fact one of the aforementioned precedents was eventually made into an amendment. Can you guess which one?).
Washington left behind what is essentially known today as a legacy. His precedents and political forays defined his legacy, and left behind a trove of examples with his successors could view and act upon. Washington was prudent in his terms as America's executive leader. He looked beyond his present circumstances and was clever enough to realize that his current actions at the time could have vast implications for his country in the centuries following his presidency. Indeed, all presidents would have had to deal with aspects of their legacy from time to time. This drove them to shape themselves and carve their reputations and personalities in ways that would appeal to future generations (clearly, some failed). 
But what about ordinary folk like us? Does the art of legacy-crafting exclude the rest of the population. Certainly not! Whatever circumstances we find ourselves today, we must make the most of it. We must lead by example, inspire others, and endeavor vigorously to ensure that we leave behind an inheritance for others to access. I am not satisfied with just "living." I'm more inclined to live in a way that makes a broad impact on the people around me and the setting I have been placed in. With just the things we've been endowed with (talents, materials, etc), we should be faithful in all that we do. Wouldn't it be marvelous if our legacy defined us in a positive light and simultaneously led others to follow in example? We need to start setting examples now. We need to be role-models now. We need to be diligent now. We need to be trailblazers. Now.
"The past has passed, the present is presiding, and the future is focusing on the forward." - Josh Chang (2014)

Originally published on Bear English

Entry 1

Hello everyone, this is Josh  with my first "History in the Making" blog post. The general synopsis behind "History in the Making" is to discuss historical events that occurred on a certain day. For example, today is February 3, so I will delve into a historical event that took place on that day. In addition, I shall also make notable connections and interesting points about the historical event in discussion. Here's February 3's History in the Making Post- enjoy!
February 3, 1917- Prior to America's Entry into World War One, the United States severs all diplomatic ties with a belligerent Germany.
1914 saw the conception of one of history's most devastating wars. World War One erupted in full fury between the opposing alliances of the Allied Powers (consisting of Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and others) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey, and others). For three years, both sides struggled to gain the initiative over the other, but to no avail. In 1917, the war seemed to gravitate towards Germany and its allies, but the United States was endeavoring to remain neutral in a conflict that demanded the country's allegiance to a particular side. Germany was pushing America to the brink of war by indiscriminately sinking the ships of neutral nations. In addition, Germany had transmitted a classified telegram to Mexico, urging it to align itself with the Central Powers. In return, Germany would assist Mexico in recapturing American territory that had formerly belonged to Mexico. These events pushed America closer to participation in a global war, and as a result, the country cut off diplomatic ties with Germany.
It seemed, at the time, that America's decision to sever diplomatic ties was vindicated. After all, it was consider "just" retribution for German aggression against the United States. In retrospect, however, the effects of diplomatic dissolution between both the US and Germany may have been unwarranted. War is a mindless enterprise that consumes all sensibility, self-restraint, and civility. By cutting ties, America was thirsting for war against Germany. However, modern diplomacy today is essentially crucial in deterring conflict. It serves as a first-line of defense and attempts to mediate differences between opposing entities. It wars against wars with reasonable words. It is peace's hope in times of political decadence and calamity.
Regardless of the intense rivalries between countries, or the escalating tensions between belligerents in a war, diplomacy should be an indispensable asset. Dialogue can produce results. All it takes is cooperation on all sides to ensure productivity. In today's world, where insurrections in unstable regions like Syria are prevalent, diplomacy is the one tool that can temporarily cease the carnage and provide an avenue for change.
Diplomacy is not disastrous; It is direct.  

Originally posted at Bear English