Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The world is filled with tension and unease.  Not the first time, most likely won’t be the last time.  Even in Jane Austen’s day and age, there was anger and hostility. People demanded rights and disputed land. So let’s take a look of just a few of the wars and rebellions that happened in Jane Austen’s lifetime.

Jane Austen was born in 1775.  Does this sound like a familiar year to anyone in the US? Something about the U.S. breaking free from British rule.  That year brought us battles at places like Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill.

1776 saw many changes in the U.S., including New Hampshire ratifying the first state constitution. The book Common Sense was published. And the Second Continental Congress enacted a resolution declaring the U.S.’s independence from the British Empire.

Then 1777 to 1778 we had more battles.  The Continental army wintered in Valley Forge.  The war ended with the British surrendering at Yorktown in 1781.

While the U.S. and England were recovering from the Revolutionary War, other areas were having their own difficulties.  The French Revolution began in 1789, which led to the downfall of the aristocracy in France.  That war lasted 10 years.

In 1790, the Saxon Peasant Revolt was being fought in Germany. It involved the hunting rights of the nobility.  Due to a harsh winter and drought that year, the peasants revolted, wanting the hunting privileges and socage (feudal system) abolished.

1791 brought the Haitian Revolution. It lasted 13 years and ended with the first free black republic.

And priorities were seen to when, in 1794, there was a Whiskey Rebellion in Pittsburg, causing then President Washington to declare martial law and used forces to quell the insurrection. The rebellion was over taxes. Taxes on whiskey? For shame. [Sorry, just a little humor.]

The Irish rebelled in 1798, a failed attempt to be free from British rule. 1803 saw another Irish rebellion against British rule.

The beginning of the Napoleonic Wars came in 1803, lasting until 1815, involving a multitude of countries involved throughout Europe.  These had a profound impact for global and European history, which led to nationalism and liberalism spreading across Europe and the British Empire becoming a world power.  It also led to independence movements in Latin America and the demise of the Spanish Empire.

In 1804, the only major convict uprising in Australian history was suppressed under martial law in the British colony of New South Wales. The convicts battled against the colonial forces of Australia.

While we are in the land down under, we have the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history, which happened in 1808, and was called the Rum Rebellion (wonder if Captain Jack Sparrow was around for that one) or the Great Rebellion.  Major George Johnston and John Macarthur deposed the New South Wales Corps. Afterwards, the colony was ruled by the military.

1808 was a busy year, as it also saw the Peninsular War and the Spanish American War.

1810 brought about the Mexican War of Independence from Spain. Spain fought battles for West Florida in 1810, followed by a bloodless expulsion from Paraguay in 1811.

The War of 1812 found us at odds with England once again, when there were issues with the U.S. trading with both England and France, who were at war with each other. England continued to interfere with shipping and assisted American Indians against the U.S.  Though a short war, the city of Washington was burned.

There were revolts and riots on English soil as well. 1780 had the Gordon Riots that broke out in London in a fervor of anti-Catholic sentiments. Riots and unrest was common as industrialization took hold, as rights of the workers became necessary.

In the year of Jane Austen’s death, England also had difficulties on their home front, when, in 1817, Pentrich, in Derbyshire, had an armed uprising consisting of 200 to 300 men (iron workers, quarrymen, stockingers) who marched on Nottingham. A government spy, known as Oliver the Spy, was the organizer of the event. Their demands included wiping out the national debt.

After Austen’s death, there were more, highly important, wars within a short time frame.  The year 1820 was an eventful year, seeing the Scottish Insurrection, and revolutions in Spain and Portugal.  Several South American countries fought for their freedom from Spain, including Ecuador and Peru.

So, hostility and fighting was unfortunately known in Jane Austen’s lifetime.  Some of the most important changes in the world were made in that timeframe, helping to shape the world we know today.

As the future unfolds, I hope we can look at what history has already shown us, so we can keep from making similar mistakes. There will always be someone spouting hatred, that particular fact will never change. There will always be disputes over land, money, and nations. And there will always be a need for kindness, love and understanding. In Jane’s precious stories, her characters try to find peace and love, a happily ever after.  Isn’t that what we all desire in our lives?  I hope you all find your happily ever after, and hopefully your right to bear arms…bear your arms to carry books, that is.

Thanks to Wikipedia for photos and images.

14 Responses to Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  1. M–Great post full of wonderful information that gives us perspective on the JA world. To get a stronger perspective on GBr…consider her opponent just 20 miles across the channel from 1630 to 2016 vis a vis revolutions. After the English Civil War (ends in 1642) and the Glorious Revolution (1688), Britain never again experienced anything we could term a revolution where the form of govt was under assault…unrest, but always channeled and eventually accommodated.

    Now look at France: The Fronde 1648-1653, French Revolution 1789-1793, Revolution of 1830, Revolution of 1848, Napoleon III’s coup d’etat in 1852, The Commune 1871. One could argue that the collapse of the Fourth Republic in the mid 1950s was another revolution which led to the installation of a conservative order under DeGaulle in 1958…which was then seriously undermined in the unrest of 1968. Whew! And why the difference? Because England/Britain (like Holland–thank you William and Mary) unlike France had to interact/trade to survive…and that meant that politics was dynamic and outward looking!! Even with the pretensions of the entrenched aristocracy (soon to fade under the onslaught of industry and cheap American wheat and corn), wealth whether from trade or land (London Real Estate–hello Scrooge) smoothed the way to power.

    • It is amazing how much fighting was happening and how many lives were lost during that time frame. We look at modern wars, with modern weapons, and we see a thousand deaths to be unbelievably high. During the time frame Jane Austen lived in, tens of thousands died from wars. It amazes me that there were any people still alive.

  2. Sometimes, especially lately, when I’m working on my writing, I start wondering what I’m doing. I mean, as you said, the world seems awfully turbulent of late. I start to wonder, why am I spending so much time and energy on this, when there is so much in the world that needs someone’s time and energy, maybe lots of someones? I also think, who will want to read my stories when there are so many very important things going on?

    But then I think about what I want after a day full of the world, and news, and thinking and caring and doing. I want a book. I don’t want a crime novel, or history, or anything too violent or too distressing (although I realize everyone likes to read different things, or we wouldn’t have so many books!). Just a few hours of peace each day in a place the world can’t touch. So, I write books, and I read books, and I guess that makes it easier watch the news and see the world and have hope that we’ll all be okay.

    • Actually, in our own way, we are offering up a commentary of the modern world by referencing the Regency/19th Century. As MS suggested, there are no really clear periods in history where there has not been strife–civil or otherwise. And there are lessons to be drawn. For instance, I have looked at two core themes that I derive from my reading of JA…a deepening social consciousness within her commentary (as seen by my use of “lessers and betters”) and that everything is much more complex and generally will defy simplification–not that there is not black and white, but rather that we need to look for the hidden discourse to understand why matters are black or white.

      But, hey, there i nothing like curling up with a great story to settle one’s troubled soul…and prevent one from doing a full Elvis on the flat screen!

      • I fully agree with the saying that remember the past to keep from repeating it in the future. Throughout history, we see the same situations happen over and over. Prime example, the Holocaust. It isn’t the only genocide that has taken place. Rwanda, Darfur, and more have experienced such atrocities. Until we can learn from the past, stomp out hatred, bigotry, and intolerance, we are doomed to continue repeating history.

    • There are other genres? Hahaha. After working crime scenes for 15 years, seeing some of the worst things people can do, I cherish being able to curl up with a good book to eacape. If your story has humor, you help to lighten someone’s life. If it is a mystery, you challenge their minds. And if it is a love story, what better to fill this world with? A world where hostility is overflowing, we all need more love to sooth our hearts.

    • It was interesting that in those years of her life, the US became our own nation, France made huge changes, the Spanish empire really changed. Lots of huge changes, especially in 2 of the largest empires being torn apart.

  3. As as Brit, I’m only familiar with the parts that concerned Great Britain, so some of this was new to me. Your last paragraph in articular is rather poignant and reminds me of the phrase often used on and around Armistice Day “lest we forget”. Let’s all hope that perhaps one day we no longer have to use it.

    Lest We Forget – three words renowned across most countries to show our remembrance of those who have fought, and those who have died fighting for freedom. It means that we will never forget.

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Melanie.

  4. Melanie, thank you for this interesting post! I am so ready to see the Kingdom of God manifested on the Earth!

    • I look at the history of bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and it saddens me that, even after 200 years, it still has a strong hold on the world. I think we need to dump Valium into the water supply and see if we can cool some people down. Heehee

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