Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Westphalia: Church Politics Adjusts Boundaries, Then Everything Changes
In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia created the modern nation-state.

The Prohibitory Act of the British Parliament Starts the Revolution. Whose Idea?
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Prohibitory Act of the British Parliament -- 1775
This is the British Act which started the Revolutionary War. The two Legislative bodies should have known better than to react in haste, but the British Parliament in London and its opponent the Continental Congress in Philadelphia -- started a Revolutionary War. Apparently Lord North issued a Prohibitory Act and John Adams responded to it, but the real hotheads were Charles Townsend and William Bradford. Everybody involved thought Independence was an improbable outcome.

Worksheet: "Boundaries and Leaders"' George Ross Fisher; ISBN....
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Prohibitory Act of the British Parliament

Apparently New England and Parliament had been negotiating over fishing rights, but it is not clear from the available correspondence whether this was a sincere effort to link New England to the former English Civil War or whether John Adams was conducting a pretense. Nor is it clear whether the omission of Parliament was a deliberate snub or merely a casualty of the poor communication. The tone suggests that Adams was openly chafing for war, while Dickinson at least maintained more diplomatic obscurity.

In any event, the huge naval response was certainly more warlike than the correspondence, and Adams was rather pleased to shift responsibility for initiating hostilities to the Mother country. There is no mention of the legalities of Westphalia in an Act which was both brief and heedless.

Originally published: Thursday, August 29, 2019; most-recently modified: Thursday, August 29, 2019


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