Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh, Right.

A correction appearing on today's NYT op-ed page:

An Op-Ed article on Wednesday, about the founders’ debates about climate, misstated the status of the United States in the winter of 1783. It was an independent country, not a collection of colonies.


Anonymous said...

I hate to be a nit picker, but given that the English showed up again in 1812 and tried to reassert control over what was theirs, I just wonder whether the independence was still not fully baked. There are countless wackos who've declared their homes to be sovereign countries, but that doesn't make it so.

Just being picky because it's been a bad day.

Roberto said...

WTF, Anonymous ...

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why the War of 1812 is called the second war of independence. Britain routinely sailed ships into what are now American waters and then raided the towns as if they were their own. Jefferson ignored this to curry favor with the Brits. But we know what happens when you give in to bullies. Eventually there was a real war.

In any case, the Treaty of Paris wasn't ratified by the US Congress of the Confederation until January of 1784. The Brits didn't ratify it themselves until April and the documents weren't formally exchanged until later.

Washington was still a long way from being President.

Plus, let's look at the only major point of the treaty still in force. It didn't establish the US of A, it just established the states as independent entities free of British rule.

So even in 1784, we weren't an "independent country".

It was a messy time. I think Anonymous is onto something here.

Shoot when I watched Americans coo over the wedding of Chuck and Di, I thought that we were still one sort of one nation.

Roberto said...

I'm reminded of Zhou Enlai's (perhaps apocryphal?) response when Henry Kissinger asked him for his view of the 1789 French Revolution. "It's too early to say."

Nineteen eighty-four was certainly too early to discuss the longterm sovereignty of the Soviet Union. And it's hard to imagine Zhou's (Mao's) China holding its shape for another 50 years.

The United States? Perhaps the Anonymi are correct; perhaps it is "too early to tell" ...