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Showing posts from August, 2017

Remembering a Princess: a personal recollection with a Regency parallel

Every once in a while a momentous event occurs that’s bigger than life, and causes time to seemingly stop for a moment. Later you’ll ask others, “Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard that ...?”
For some in the Boomer generation, it’s “Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was assassinated?” For Millennials, it could be when the Twin Towers fell. As for me, I remember the night twenty years ago when I heard the news that Princess Diana had died.
On that August night I was camping with family and friends in the Oregon coastal woods, enjoying Labor Day Weekend and our last summer holiday before the school year started. It was late in the evening, and the campfire had burned down to few glowing embers. After helping to clean up the residue left by the S'mores, a gooey marshmallow, graham cracker and melted chocolate treat that's manadatory camping fare in our family, I followed the trail through the darkness to the dank and badly-lit communal b…

The Peterloo Massacre - August 16, 1819

Democracy can be a messy business. In the United States, we cannot forget the colonial revolt of 1765-1783 that forged our nation, or any of the political convulsions in the 240 years since that have further defined and refined our democracy, including our Civil War in 1861-1865, the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving women the right to vote, or the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968), to name but a few.
And in the United Kingdom, an incident that occurred during the Regency era has come to be regarded as a pivotal moment in the evolution of British democracy.
Here’s what happened: On August 16, 1819, about a dozen or so people were killed and hundreds more were wounded when soldiers and others (including the 15th King’s Hussars) charged into a crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Fields in Manchester, England. 
According to contemporary accounts, the crowd was a peaceful assembly; about 60,000 people had come to hear orator Henry Hunt and other speakers discuss the n…