DAILY BRIEFINGThe Moron's Daily Briefing
Feb. 4 - As a shrinking percentage of the American population may know, Americans established their independence from the British Crown in 1783 despite the lack of a United Nations resolution authorizing their action.
While the world struggled to come to terms with this flagrant disregard for the opinion of the various kings, tsars, sultans, and other legitimate heads of state, Americans directed their attention to problems closer to home, such as high taxes, judicial anarchy, nude midget wrestling, and the lack of a common American currency. Indeed, currency standards were so lax that many Americans printed their own money, a state of affairs that made business nearly impossible (although it did provide some relief from a chronic toilet paper shortage).
Nowhere were these problems more pronounced that in rural western Massachusetts, where farmers had been especially hard hit by the economic depression that followed the Revolution. Many farmers were unable to pay their debts and were therefore put into jail, where it was apparently hoped they would become either more economically productive or less angry. Those who managed to stay out of jail petitioned their government for relief but got none. Remembering the lessons of the Revolution--especially the one about it being okay to shoot people when, in the course of human events, etc.--they finally decided to take up arms.
A 39-year-old farmer in Pelham named Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Revolution, got things started by jamming a sprig of hemlock in his hat. Instead of calling it macaroni, however, he led 1500 men to occupy the Springfield Courthouse. This was the first of a series of attacks on government targets. The Rebellion--Shays's Rebellion--persisted over the winter. At last, on February 4, 1787, the rebels were decisively crushed by federal troops at Pertersham.
Such was the price they paid for having a Rebellion instead of a Revolution.
Ironically enough, exactly two hundred years later (February 4, 1987), Liberace died in Palm Springs.
It's Independence Day in Sri Lanka.
Oscar De La Hoya turns 30 today. He shares his birthday with fellow athlete Lawrence Taylor (1959). Less athletic birthday celebrants include Alice Cooper (1948), Dan Quayle (1947), David Brenner (1945), Rosa Parks (1913), and Charles Lindbergh (1902).
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac