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Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Ozone-hole Nobel winner, Montreal Protocol advocate, presidents’ adviser.


Mario Molina (right) and his supervisor (and fellow Nobel prizewinner) F. Sherwood Rowland in 1974.Credit: UCI
Mario Molina (right) and his supervisor (and fellow Nobel prizewinner) F. Sherwood Rowland in 1974.Credit: UCI

In the mid-1970s, Mario Molina helped to predict that global emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) could deplete stratospheric ozone. A decade later, scientists at the British Antarctic Survey reported that a vast hole had appeared in the ozone layer over the South Pole. Molina’s tireless advocacy and scientific diplomacy helped to bring about the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement to phase out CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals. Molina shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with his former adviser F. Sherwood Rowland and the Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen for their work on stratospheric chemistry. He died on 7 October, aged 77.

The Montreal Protocol, the first United Nations treaty to achieve universal ratification, reduced stratospheric chlorine and bromine, and the ozone hole has begun to recover. In 2003, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan described the treaty as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date”. Its implementation, and Molina’s later work on air quality in megacities, and on climate change, improved the quality of life for millions worldwide. A treasured public figure in the United States and Mexico, he was a trusted adviser to US president Barack Obama.

Born in Mexico City, the son of a diplomat, Molina went to boarding school in Switzerland. He studied chemical engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in his home city, and applied chemistry at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Doctoral studies in physical chemistry at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, brought him to the United States, where he built his career.

At UC Irvine, he and Rowland calculated the threat posed by CFCs to the atmosphere (see M. Molina and F. Rowland Nature 249, 810–812; 1974). The chemical inertness that made CFCs valuable as refrigerants and propellants also prevents oxidation removing them from the atmosphere, where they become a Trojan horse for introducing chlorine to the stratosphere. There the gas can catalyse the destruction of ozone, allowing harmful high-energy ultraviolet (UVB) light to penetrate to Earth’s surface.

Communicating this work to the media and policymakers was Molina’s initiation into scientific diplomacy. These efforts created momentum for the phasing out of CFCs in aerosol cans, accelerated by the discovery of the ozone hole, and concluded with the Montreal Protocol. However, basic questions remained unanswered: why was the ozone hole localized over the South Pole, and seasonal?

Molina found the answer in the surface chemistry of ice particles that make up the beautiful ‘mother of pearl’ polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) observed during the winter over the South Pole. During the dark, cold polar winter, stratospheric chlorine is stored in the relatively inert forms of gas-phase chlorine nitrate, hypochlorous acid and hydrogen chloride.

Molina and his research group, then at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, did creative experiments to mimic PSC particles: reactions between ice surfaces and chlorine compounds led to the release of chlorine. The winter build-up of the gas in the Antarctic polar vortex due to such reactions leads to intense ozone depletion when sunlight returns in the polar spring.

A mystery remained as to why ice should be such an efficient catalyst for these stratospheric processes. Calculations based on the reactions of hydrogen chloride with a crystalline ice surface predicted that chlorine activation would be much less efficient than is observed in the lab or in the environment. Molina suggested that the difference might be due to a disordered surface layer, or quasi-liquid layer, on ice. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, his research group did experiments confirming that hydrogen chloride at low stratospheric temperatures induced such disorder, and that it played a part in activating chlorine.

While he was institute professor at MIT between 1989 and 2004, Molina and his then-wife and long-time collaborator, Luisa Tan Molina, began work on air quality in mega-cities (broadly, those with more than ten million inhabitants) in the global south. To steer policy, the Mexico City Project combined unprecedented large-scale field studies of atmospheric chemistry in urban neighbourhoods, involving hundreds of international scientists, with in-depth analysis and stakeholder engagement. This work improved the air quality in his beloved home city.

In 2004, Molina relocated to UC San Diego and founded the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies on Energy and the Environment, a think tank based in Mexico City. In his last decades, he spent increasing time in Mexico, but remained an inspirational faculty member at UC San Diego. In 2014, he spearheaded a major public-outreach initiative on climate change, ‘What we know’, for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Molina could communicate the essence of a technical issue to anyone, with gentle diplomacy and scientific credibility. He served as a scientific adviser to several presidents of Mexico, and, as a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he advised three popes and co-authored the 2017 report ‘Well Under 2 Degrees Celsius: Fast Action Policies to Protect People and the Planet from Extreme Climate Change’. In his final months, he advocated passionately for mask-wearing to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Mexico.

Monday, October 26, 2020

World Trade Center Footage

Early Story of the Establishment of the WTC Building in New York

NEW YORK - On September 11, 2016, it coincided with the 14year tragedy of the World Trade Center attack, New York, United States (US).

The tragedy of the collapse of the tallest skyscraper in the west of the United States which is considered a terrorist attack has not only shocked the world of international politics and economics, but also of the international architectural stage.

The construction process of the World Trade Center complex was first completed in 1973, when Governor Nelson Rockfeller called it a dream come true during the inauguration on April 4.

After collapsing on September 11, 2001, it gave rise to ideas about what and how to rebuild the skyscraper. The reason is that the building is not only the center of world trade, but also a symbol of American pride.

As reported by Business Insider, Wednesday (14/9/2016), construction of the tower began in February 1967 at a cost of up to USD 500 million or the equivalent of IDR 6.5 trillion (exchange rate IDR 13,161).

It was architect Minoru Yamasaki who designed the two 110-storey buildings built on a hollow structure supported by steel columns. More than 10,000 workers were involved in the construction of the complex including a 5-hectare tower and plaza with a 25-foot statue of Fritz Koeing.
These twin towers have 43,600 windows and more than 600,000 square feet of glass. Each building can accommodate up to 50,000 employees and approximately 200,000 visitors every day.

In the 1973 opening ceremony, architect Yamasaki said the World Trade Center was a symbol of humanity's dedication to world peace. More than just a necessity, but this building is a monument to world peace. This building is a representation of human belief for humanity.

However, the reality is in contrast to 180 degrees when this most prestigious skyscraper fell victim to a tragedy of terrorism which is far from a peace said by the architect Yamasaki.

Friday, August 14, 2020

American History : When Everything Changed

American history, or really history in general is not always marked with outstanding events, stunning personalities or remarkable speeches.  Much of the history of a great nation is slow steady improvement, set backs and then how a people recovers from those set backs.  But in the context of American history, there are a number of truly phenomenal moments when everything changed.  These are not just one day events, although some are that sudden.  But these are events that once they transpired, Americans thought of themselves, the world and their place in the world completely differently.  And it’s worth noting what those events were and how they changed Americans forever.

Obviously the revolution itself and the founding of the country changed a small group of colonies who thought of themselves as Englishmen far from home.  When the independence of America was done, that vision of ourselves was completely different.  We were now a proud new nation, a new type of nationality that had its own view of the world and its own hopes and dreams as well.

World War II was the kind of event that once we underwent the tremendous trial, struggle and victory that such a war demands of a people, we never could go back to seeing ourselves again in the same way as we thought before the war.  Our victory against Japan, Germany and their allies gave us tremendous confidence that we could affect world history for the better.  But it also gave us a tremendous sense of responsibility.  When we dropped those bombs on Japan, everybody on the planet began to understand the horrible power that was now in the hands of mankind, for a season in the hands of America and the huge responsibility for the fate of mankind that came with that kind of power.

Pearl Harbor while part of World War II deserves its own mention because of the fundamental change to how America viewed itself in relation to the world.  Prior to that attack, America considered itself invulnerable.  Like a teenager that thought they could never be hurt, we had never been attacked on our homeland before.  But Japan proved that they not only could attack us but that they could hurt us very badly.  Yes, we responded with a fury but from that moment forward, we knew that we, like everybody else in the world, were vulnerable and we had to start behaving differently in a world full of both friends and enemies.

Outside of the military world, the famous I Have a Dream Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963 did not just change the black community forever.  Yes, that speech had a mighty impact on the way the African American community saw their future and it gave inspiration and hope to a struggling civil rights movement that spurred it on to victory.  But it also affected all Americans because we started to see ourselves as a community of many cultures, many races and many orientations.  It was the beginning of acceptance in this country.  But that is a process that is far from over.

In modern times, the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 had a drastic effect on the minds and hearts of America and indeed on the world.  We are still learning how that effect will finally show itself as the ripples of shock, fear, anxiety and reprisals are still going on.  But to be sure, as with Pearl Harbor, the effects on our feelings about our place in the world and our vulnerability were certainly be changed forever.

When America Proved that Anything is Possible

It was one of those moments in American history that the people who were able to watch it for the first time felt like they were in a science fiction movie.  But with televisions cameras on every move, the nation and the world watched on July 20, 1969 as three American astronauts landed on the moon. 

The project had been in the works for years to be sure.  You have to wonder with the phenomenal amount of work, expert engineering and the amazing genius that created the rocket ships and everything that would be needed to make the flight possible, if even those in NASA sat in mute wonder and had goosebumps when “Buzz” Aldren was the first man in history to put his foot on another world and pronounce those famous words –

“That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

That phrase, which itself was carefully prepared, has a lot of wisdom in it.  Sure, touching another world for the first time in human history was a tremendous accomplishment for America.  But more than that, it signaled a new era for humankind everywhere.  All of a sudden, the moon wasn’t a far away myth, full of mystery and magic.  All of a sudden, people everywhere felt like they too could touch the stars if they put out their best efforts too. 

It was also a huge moment for the unity of all people.  Few things cause the world population to come together and link arms and be one people, not separate countries.  Most of the time, it’s a terrible global disaster that makes us all bond together.  But this time was different.  This time is was a moment so phenomenal that everybody stopped and watched and everybody knew that this was not just a great accomplishment for three astronauts and scientists that put them there.  This was a great accomplishment for mankind.

American history is populated with tremendous events, both bad and good.  But it’s worth a moment to sit back and reflect on what the first moon landing meant and continues to mean for Americans and the American spirit.  You have to wonder if any other nation would have had the ability, the creative powers, the powerful minds and the collective will to see this kind of amazing accomplishment through to success. 

It’s even more amazing when you remember that just a few years earlier, on September 12, 1962 that President Kennedy challenged American to rise to this challenge in a speech at Rice University.  It takes a lot to make something as historic and earth shaking as landing on the moon a reality and visionary leadership such as Kennedy showed that day was a big part of why this landing made history.

This amazing achievement points out something outstanding about the American spirit.  Americans are a people who dream big.  And to land a man on the moon took big dreams.  But we didn’t just dream to put a man up there, it was not acceptable unless we got everybody home safely as well. 
For the most part the American space program has had a phenomenal history of success in breaking through barriers that nobody had every done before.  Yes, there have been set backs and tragedies along the way.  But Americans are not quitters and through all the struggles we face, we face them together.  But we never forget to look up at the stars and dream of the day that yet again we see an American set foot on another world and plant out flag in that soil to be signal forever that America was here!

American History : The Legacy of Columbus

If you thought back to the first things you ever learned about the history of America, the one that jumps out is that Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America is 1492.  While the date is correct, we later learned when our study of history became more scholarly that there is some dispute about whether Columbus discovered America at all.  So what is the real legacy that this legend of Columbus has given to the American culture that has made him such a revered figure in cultural history?

So much of the Columbus story is approximate that, at first review, we would almost relegate the story of how Columbus discovered America to the level of a myth that borders on superhero worship.  But Columbus was not a myth.  There really was an explorer named Columbus who carried out three bold journeys across the ocean and during those journeys, he did indeed discover “the new world.”  His ships really were named the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and he did indeed embark one of those three voyages in 1492.

The legacy of Columbus then is more than just the facts of his exploratory journeys and their outcome.  There is reason to believe that Columbus’s fabled “discovery of America” did not occur on North American soil but somewhat further south of here, somewhere in the Bahamas.  But the legacy of Columbus lies in his spirit and the challenge he took on that is part of the American spirit and one we identify with so strongly.

Part of the legend was that Columbus embarked on this trip for the new world despite the prevailing “scientific” belief that the world was flat.  Now research in recent times have surfaced sufficient documentation to show that sailors of that time never did believe that teaching.  Their extensive knowledge of navigation and astronomy, which is crucial for any successful sea voyage, was sufficient for sailors to know that the earth was round and that they would never “fall off the edge.”  However, the image of those brave men launching out to sea, against the advice of popular opinion, to find something new and exciting so connects  with the American spirit of discovery and adventure that this myth persists as part of the legacy of Columbus.

Americans do have a tremendous sense of discovery and adventure and a deeply seated need to conquer new lands, to reach out beyond their own grasp and to do the impossible.  This was the spirit of Manifest Destiny which gripped the nation long before there was any reason to believe that this meager band of colonists had the resources to settle a great nation.  Americans always have had such a firm belief in themselves and a core faith that they could do the impossible.  That part of the American spirit is what connects to Columbus’s setting out on these bold missions facing certain dangers so he too could discover new lands and have great adventures.

The legacy of Columbus also lies in the American desire to explore.  Even though the source of the quotation is only a science fiction show, the “mission” of the fictional space ship “The Enterprise” sums up a deep desire in the heart of all Americans.

Space, the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.  Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds.  To seek out new life and new civilizations.  To boldly go where no man has gone before.

For Americans, the mission of James Kirk is a perfect restatement of the mission of Christopher Columbus.  And it is the mission of America which has driven this country and its citizens to discoveries and achievements that have never been done before.  It is that spirit of Columbus in all Americans that is one of the things that have made this country great.

American History : The Great War

The history of America is decorated with some of the great conflicts that have ever been fought by civilizations and for great ideals.  This was never truer than in World War II which was sometimes called the Great War.  As is so often the case, it was not a war that America wanted to become part of.  So often, it is when aggressors bring war to America that she is forced to respond.  But in all cases when America responds, it is with a fury that her enemies will seldom forget.

When you think about it, the very idea of a world war is terribly frightening.  And in every way, World War II was a world war because it caught up virtually every country and every continent in a global conflict that went on for years.  The enemies of America and her allies were well armed, intelligent, determined and powerful.  But America was up to the challenge and it will be up to the challenge again if the likes of Hitler dare to threaten civilization like this again.

World War II was also virtually a textbook case of flawless collaboration with our allies.  Working together with them almost like we were one country and one army we deployed our forces across multiple theaters of combat from Europe to Asia to Russia and across the globe.  We had to fight more than one enemy.  Hitler’s Germany alone was a frightening enemy as it spread its evil influence across Europe capturing country after country and threatening to swallow up the continent whole and then move on to capture lands in central Asia and even America.

But we also had powerful enemies in German’s allies, particularly Japan.  When this frightening enemy struck our forces at Pearle Harbor, it was a blow to America that could not be ignored.  For Japan, they had hoped to cripple the American military and remove all hope from the American heart to be able to strike back or become part of the conflict.  They got exactly the opposite as every man, woman and child in America rallied to build the kind of war machine that would bring the Axis powers to a crashing end, no matter what the cost.

But the most important thing that America said to the world when it took on Hitler’s armies and defeated them was that totalitarian rule of free peoples would never be tolerated.  Hitler had dreams of world domination like the great kings of ancient Rome of the early Germanic empires.  But America had thrown off dictators when we founded this country and declared that we would not become the pawn of kings or tyrants.  We were not going to turn over that hard fought freedom to a madman while there was a fighting will left in this country.

It was not an easy battle or one without cost.  Thousands of America’s youth gave their lives to preserve the freedoms that had been won by our forefathers.  Our leaders had to show a resolve and a unity that they would not blink in the face of a challenge and they would not let down the brave American soldier or the civilian population that stood behind them until Hitler and his allies were in defeat. 

The world saw what America was made of in that great conflict.  It saw that a country that was gifted with great wealth and prosperity was also willing to turn those resources to defend its borders and defend its allies.  It was a stern lesson for our enemies to learn that America was not a country to be trifled with in combat.  But then we showed that we were not a vindictive country when, even in defeat, we reached out to Japan, Germany and other defeated peoples and helped them rebuild from that awful war.  This too is a testimony to the American sprit and the American sense of fair play.  Let’s hope that an enemy never rises up again to test that will because they will find as Hitler did, that America would not fail to respond to the call to battle or the call to honor which is her legacy.

The Declaration of Independence

If you had to think of one document other than the Bible that people can most easily quote almost without thinking about it, that one document would be the Declaration of Independence.  The comparison to the Bible is apt.  Not that the Declaration of Independence is holy in a religious sense of the word.  But it has a place of reverence in the hearts of the American people and in the history of the founding of this great nation.

While not the first words of the Declaration of Independence, these stirring words have that kind of prophetic power that anyone who hears them in immediately inspired by the beauty, the poetry and the deep truths that were so beautifully expressed in that historic document.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This one statement from that famous declaration so beautifully demonstrates some core principles that show why this document has such a deep impact on the American mind and heart.  The statement that the truths in this document were indeed truths is a profound statement in its own right.  The Declaration of Independence does that suggest that what is being declared in those pages are theories, possibilities, even political ideology.  These are truths which puts them on the same value as statements of values as often taught in a religious setting.  Truths are eternal values and values that are not changed by circumstances, by whomever or whatever is handling the government of the land or by the whim of lawmakers.  These truths exist above those temporal earthly ideas and live on that plain of the eternal. 

“Self evident” is a powerful phrase and it reflects on the founder’s belief in what was called natural law.  Natural law is the belief system that there are laws that are part of our natural state of existence and that they cannot be taken away (inalienable).  These laws are our rights as creations of the almighty and any government system must recognize these laws because they are above government.  It is a basic belief system of the American system that ALL people are entitled to these rights and that they cannot be taken away.

The mention of a creator in the declaration of independence is very important because there are those who would maintain that the separation of church and state tells us that the government is at heart a secular institution.  Clearly the founders did not lay the foundation of our country on that groundwork.  They saw the inheritance we as Americans have in our rights and freedoms to be part of our legacy from God and as such, above the government and something the government must back off and leave alone as well as prettiest and defend.

The Declaration of Independence is truly an amazing document especially when you consider the “primitive” state of the nation when it was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed on July 2, 1776 to become the backbone of our American system of government.  It became an often referenced and quoted document, even becoming a part of President Lincoln’s famous inaugural speech when he said with such deep conviction…

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Because these words are such a deep part of our American heritage, American history and the American spirit, they are often a crucial center part of any study of history in the schools in this country.  That is why school children in every state are so familiar with these words. 

But it would do us all well to take some time once a year or so and take our copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it either as a private moment of reflection nor with our families.  What a wonderful fourth of July tradition that would make.  Then as you watch the fireworks celebrating the birth of the country and its independence, you will have those words fresh in your heart to remind you that it was our creator that gave us our freedoms and independence and nobody has the right to ever take them away.

American History : The Cold War

When we look back over the span of centuries that represents American history, it is easy to call out major military engagements which represent the major wars of this country.  From World War II to the Civil War to Korea to World War I, America has been involved in many military engagements and emerged victorious in all but a few of them.  But one of the strangest, longest lasting wars that America has entered into was the one that was called “The Cold War”.

For many Americas living today, The Cold War was a fact of life for decades.  The reason it was a cold war was that there was no battlefield, no armies on deployment, no body counts and no major engagements to report.  Instead it was a long period of silent animosity between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the end of World War II up to the early 1990s. 

The strange thing was that the cold war grew out of our relationship with the Soviet Union during World War II which was a relationship of friendship.  But the seeds of the “conflict” were in place at the end of that horrible war.  With the presence of nuclear technology, the concept of a “superpower” was born.  This was not itself a source of tension until the Soviet Union themselves developed the bomb as  well and a long cold stand off ensued in which both nations trained thousands of these weapons on each other to warn the other that they must never consider firing those weapons. 

It was a staring contest that lasted almost fifty years and created a tremendous drain on both economies.  Both countries had to maintain “parity” of their nuclear weapons so neither country got more than the other thus throwing of the balance of power and giving one combatant an unfair advantage.  This was a strange logic in that both countries possessed enough weaponry to destroy the earth dozens of times over but still they insisted on “having parity” throughout the cold war.

It was clear that no battle between the Soviet Union and America could ever be tolerated.  The potential outcome of engaging those weapons had the power to destroy life on planet earth.  But neither country was prepared to lay down their arms and begin the process of making peace with the other.  So the weapons continued to point at each other, day after day, year after year, for fifty years.
So instead of conducting battles directly, the two countries fought each other through small wars around the world.  The Soviet Unions, working with China happily contributed to the humiliating loss in Vietnam that the United States endured.  But the United States then turned around and armed the Afghan Mujahideen which lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union in their occupation of that country.  From proxy wars, the space race, and occasional face offs such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War continued for decades testing the will and resolve of both countries never to look away and give the other the advantage.
Finally the pressure on the economies of the two countries took its toll in the early 1990s, particularly in the Soviet Union as the stress of sustaining such an expensive and unproductive war forced the Soviet economy into collapse and the empire broke up.  The United States had won the cold war by sheer will to endure and stubborn refusal to give in.  This is a seldom spoken of element of the American spirit but it is one that the Soviets learned to their own disaster not to test.  Hopefully no other “superpower” will ever think they are equipped to test it again.

American History : The Civil War

America has been part of some devastating battles over her long history.   World War I and World War II were tremendously difficult conflicts and ones that taxed the nation’s resources to the maximum.  But none of those conflicts can compare to The Civil War not only for the brutality and devastation of human life but in the damage to social fabric that was caused by that terrible conflict.

America is proud that it has never had a battle on its native soil.  Other than Pearl Harbor and 911, we have never even been attacked on our own soil.  So it took a war of brother against brother, American against American to make even the possibility of war within the borders of America even possible.

The war’s statistics are staggering for a relatively short conflict.  The war started on April 12.  1861.  It was the confederacy that drew first blood attacking Fort Sumter in South Carolina.  The battles of the Civil War and legendary.  We have come to honor the dead of both sides of this bloody conflict by preserving many of those historic battlefields even to this day.

Throughout the war, the North was at an advantage in preparation, equipment and supplies.  But General Lee, who commanded the confederate army, was a brilliant strategist and the battles often resulted in massive casualties on both sides.  When the final tally was drawn up, over 970,000 American citizens died from the Civil War.  While that may not compare numerically to the huge losses in the two world wars later to come, this figure represented 3% of the American population at the time.  And since the huge majority of the war dead were from America’s youth, the hope for her future, the set back this war had on the development of America’s economy was truly remarkable.

In modern times we look back on the Civil War as a titanic battle to bring an end to the horrors of slavery in this country.  And to be sure, the Civil War is and will forever remain a central part of black history and the beginning point of the civil rights movement in America.  But the causes of the Civil War were complex and diverse which only made negotiation and resolution of the war more difficult in advance of conflict.

Part of the issue that was being fought out was the rights of states for self determination as balanced with the rights of the federal government to determine affairs in the individual states.  On the surface, this may seem trivial compared to ending slavery but put in context, it was a critical relationship to iron out in light of our not very distant memory of our revolution against England for trying to impose unreasonable controls on the colonies. 

American’s are fiercely independent people and that independent spirit was born in the battles of the revolutionary war where America stated firmly that they would no longer bow to a king or let the centralized government have such sweeping control over individual lives.  The outrage over how England tried to put the colonies under servitude was the foal that caused the explosion known as the Revolutionary War.  And much effort was made to assure there was language in the constitution and other critical documents to assure that the federal government would be severely limited from interfering in the lives of its citizens.

Beyond that the preservation of the union as one country was also in contest in the Civil War.  But it was the moral issue of slavery that made the Civil War such an emotional issue and one that caused people to fight with such ferociousness to defend their side.  In the end, even Abraham Lincoln made slavery the central rational for the war and determined that the end of this barbaric practice would be the legacy of this horrible conflict.

But one thing that also was a legacy of the Civil War was the determination that we, as Americans, would never turn our war machine on our own citizens again.  The war tore families apart and literally caused brother to war against brother.  Since reconstruction and the union of America, the country has had a bruise in its national psyche over this war and that bruise reminds us that we are one people and we would always be one people devoted to the causes of truth, justice and the American way of life.

American History : The Boston Tea Party

There are some events that took place during the historic time when America was declaring its independence from England that are so historic, so iconic that they have taken on the status of myth and legend as much as history.  And certainly the Boston Tea Party fits that description.  This is such a stand out event in American history that it is common to see school children reenact it during elementary school plays or skits.  And the participants names including John Hancock, Paul Revere and John Adams have similarly become classic heroic figures in American folklore and history.

But the events of December 16, 1776 were not fable or myth but real and important parts of the development of the American Revolution that was crucial to the early foundation of this country.  The situation of taxation that was being imposed by Brittan on goods that were coming into the colonies was one of serious stress on the colonists because they had no control over those taxes.  And that tax situation was made more extreme with the relationship between the British government and the East India Tea company who was receiving tax breaks for their goods that would place them at a competitive advantage in the Americas. 

These kinds of preferential treatment only aggravated the already tense relationship between the colonies and Britain and many in leadership over the American states saw the way England was handling the situation as conspiratorial to try to hurt the economy of the growing new country and to impose restrictive rule through taxation on the colonies and the colonists.  That is why that famous proclamation “No Taxation Without Representation” became one that is historic for the outrage against the English that took the colonies into revolutionary war that eventually lead to the independence of the American colonies and the beginning of a new country.

Finally on Thursday, December 16, 1776, decisive action needed to be taken.  And our forefathers were nothing if not known for bold and decisive action in the fact of tyranny.  The East India Tea Company had docked the HMS Dartmouth in Boston harbor full of a fresh import of tea for the colonies.  It was time for the colonists to make a statement that this unethical and immoral use of taxes on tea was for all intents and purposes an act of war and they were going to treat it as such.

Badly disguised as Indians, the brave colonists boarded the HMS Dartmouth and her sister ships, the HMS Beaver and the HMS Eleanor and skillfully and efficiently dumped the entire delivery of tea into Boston harbor.  All totaled, over forty five tons of tea went into the water that night.  It was a stunning blow.  But more than that it was a slap in the face of the British government and a gauntlet laid down that their attempts to rule the colonies b tyranny were not going to be tolerated any longer.

This event was pivotal in pushing the hostilities between England and the colonies past the “nuisance” stage and setting forces in motion for war.  But more than that, it was such a bold statement of defiance that many colonists were inspired to join the increasing chorus calling for war and independence. 

For loyal Britains, the idea of separating and forming their own country was hard to grasp.  But the leadership of the men who planned and executed the Boston Tea Party demonstrated a new independent spirit.  This was the kind of backbone, the sense of pride and independence that was to come to define the American spirit in years ahead.  But it took the courage and boldness of this little band of men to demonstrate that being trod on by a foreign tyrant was not something we had to put up with. 

It made a statement to England and to the colonists at the same time that revolution was possible and they really could think of themselves as free people who would bow to no king.  From that time forward the independence of America was inevitable.  These visionary leaders showed us an America that gave power to its people, not to kings or governments and the result in how America works and our lives are lived is the direct outcome of bold protests such as the Boston Tea Party.

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