Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Out of Many, One

Charles Thomson and the Great Seal of the United States
Both images are in the Public Domain
E Pluribus Unum, the Latin for "Out of Many, One." This was the original motto of the United States of America. As the designer of the Great Seal of the United States, Charles Thomson (born in County Londonderry, Ireland by the way) put it in his report to Congress on the design...
The Escutcheon is composed of the chief & pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The Pieces, paly, represent the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief and the Chief depends upon that union & the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America & the preservation of their union through Congress. 
The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress. The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers. The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue. 
Reverse. The pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra, which commences from that date. (Source)
The reverse of the Great Seal is shown on the back of the dollar bill, for those who want/need to know. But what jumped out at me in Mr. Thomson's statement is this...
The Pieces, paly, represent the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union.
Something I've been thinking on lately, a lot really, led me to dig into this motto and this Great Seal. Especially the motto, which is also the title of this post.

Out of Many, One

Originally what would become our nation was thirteen separate colonies, all with a Royal Governor who answered directly to London. They were not united other than that they all answered to the same sovereign. In fact, many of the colonies were very different in outlook, customs, and history from each other. Even today these colonies become states are rather different -
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
(Though truth be told, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are as alike as siblings nowadays, back in the 1700s not so much.)

It took a lot of work from statesmen in all thirteen colonies to forge one comity capable of taking on and eventually wearing down Great Britain to the point where they threw in the towel and let us go on our way. It was very much a "near run thing."

So prior to 1775 you have what are in essence thirteen separate political entities, not quite nations but with enough in terms of economy and population to certainly be more well-equipped to be standalone nations in modern times. (There are countries out there now which barely get by, some are nations in name only. Somalia and Libya spring to mind. I daresay the Virginia or Massachusetts of 1774 if plunked down in modern times would be far more successful as nations than those two benighted areas of the world.)

Over time though, splits began to occur, and not just between the "industrial" North and the slave-holding South. (Industrial is in quotes because there were still vast tracts of agricultural land in the North, though the North was far more industrial than the South.)

For instance, in the War of 1812 the New England states weren't all that keen with going to war with Britain, one of their best customers. At that time I count three, maybe more, proto-nations within the United States: New England, the Northeastern States without New England (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). and the South (those states south of the Mason-Dixon line).

In 1850 another proto-nation was added to the mix, California. Their culture was far different from the older parts of the Union along the Atlantic coast, which were different themselves from the newer areas of the U.S. which we now call the Midwest.

1861 to 1865 saw the attempt to dissolve the Union formed in 1776. Now rather than multiple proto-nations, we saw the attempt to create a new nation completely separate from that formed in 1776, though with many of the same traditions and heroes. A common history but two very different cultures.

The great bloodletting which ensued forged a new nation. Prior to the war many considered proper term in referring to the nation as these United States. Separate entities agreeing to certain common things, sort of answering to a Federal government, if they felt like it, and free to leave the Union whenever they pleased. After the war, the more proper term was the United States. What was many was now one. Cemented in place by the blood of the soldiers who fought on both sides. Though it wasn't until the Spanish-American war that the country was truly one again.

What was birthed in blood between 1775 through 1783 had been reborn and perhaps made stronger by the blood spilled between 1861 and 1865. One thing which hamstrung the Confederacy from the start was the refusal of the individual states to listen to the central government in Richmond. After all, that was the alleged reason for secession, not wanting to kneel to the Feds in D.C. As they couldn't play nicely together, they failed.

There are those who would like to revisit secession. Of course, there are many who love to repeat the errors of the past, after all, they had the "wrong people" running things before, that's why it didn't work, not because the concept was bad. (See socialism...)

In today's' world small nations have no say, other than in that high expense, no action, debating society on the Hudson we know as the United Nations. A good idea (maybe) but poorly executed. In reality, it wasn't a very good idea when it was conceived, dictatorships and democracies are incapable of playing nicely together, sooner or later they will be at each other's throats.

So why is secession in the wind again? Look at who wants it, if you can't be a big fish in a big pond, break the pond into smaller ponds. It's all about power, it's all about control. Remember, in the end it's a group of people who think they know better than you. So they can't let you run your own life, they will run it for you.

Or ruin it.

We need to hang together. Otherwise...

There are some very big fish out there in the world who would love nothing better than to see the United States devolve into a bunch of small, squabbling nations. I for one think we're better off as one nation, indivisible...

You know the rest.




Sources:
http://www.greatseal.com/mottoes/unum.html
http://www.greatseal.com/committees/finaldesign/index.html
http://greatseal.com/committees/finaldesign/thomson.html

52 comments:

  1. Charles Thomson has kinda large-but-dainty hands. And you know what they say about guys with big hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, yes, yes, I do.

      At first I thought the way he was holding his hands was a bit "odd," then I realized that he was resting them on the handle of a cane. And not doing a weird Montgomery Burns imitation.

      Delete
    2. They wear big gloves, of course.

      Ah yes, canes. From back when it was all the rage for a gentleman to wander around with a bludgeoning weapon as a fashion acccessory.

      Delete
    3. Sometimes they had a pointy thing hidden inside as well.

      Delete
    4. Big hands are not the only large body parts shown in that portrait.

      Paul L. Quandt

      Delete
    5. On second look, the good Cap'n is indeed correct. It's a book. Probably with a hollowed out space for a pistol.

      Maybe.

      Delete
  2. But, remember, society was not always so polite. You sometimes needed an aide to exit an arguement impolitely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yet again, an outstanding post. 20/20 vision it is that you have.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
  4. The divisions that vex us is, IMO, urban vs. rural. Among the Founders brilliance is the Electoral College. Swiped from Brilliance Maps.

    Overall Trump won approximately 2,600 counties to Clinton’s 500, or about 84% of the geographic United States. However, Clinton won 88 of of the 100 largest counties (including Washington D.C.). Without these 100 largest counties she would have lost by 11.5 million votes.

    You see this today in various states where rural areas want to leave the state and form their own state. Colorado and California come to mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is also evidence to suggest that Shrillary won a number of counties in California from illegals voting. Illegally of course.

      Forming new states within the union I have no issue with.

      Delete
    2. Provided the provisions contained within the 10th amendment are adhered to a bit more faithfully, I'd agree with you.

      Delete
    3. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

      The Feds ignore a lot of the Constitution, as do the States.

      Delete
    4. There is evidence of illegals voting in every blue-dominated city, including Chicago, New York (City), Boston, Austin, etc.

      Almost like, you know, anywhere the democrats are in power. But I see no correlation, just sheer coincidence. Like the lack of correlation between the increase sales of guns and carry permits vs the decrease in crimes in areas where gun sales and carry permits are allowed. Sheer coincidence. So sheer that it can be measured on a sub-atomic level, but still sheer. Total coincidence. Totally. Totaaaly, bra.

      Delete
    5. Amazing series of coincidences! Uncanny.

      Delete
    6. Hmmm, I'm thinking of a new Observed Law of the Internet.

      Renault's Law - The point when the obvious has been so obviously overstated that someone posts "I am shocked- shocked- to find that (something) is going on in here!" or any paraphrase, including "Shocked, ..."

      So, in this case, I am invoking Renault's law. I am shocked-shocked to find that democrats would allow election fraud...

      Delete
    7. And now the urge to watch The Movie is overriding any other wants...

      Good thing The Movie is such a great movie.

      Delete
  5. "The Feds ignore a lot of the Constitution, as do the States."

    No kidding; they have starting with the first President and Congress.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, rules are for the plebes, not the folks in charge.

      Delete
  6. AW:

    Have you read the most recent comments in our ( yours and mine ) comment thread in yesterday's post?

    PLQ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, successfully ducked your evil weapons of anti-andrewism and made it to another day. Andrews for the Win! Whoooooo.

      Delete
    2. WOW! Comments from one post spilling into another! This is a first! (I think.)

      Delete
    3. I think it's the first intentional cross-post comments. I know of one time I cross-posted accidentally, and I seem to remember it occurring to others a few times.

      So, once again, a record (but with the dreaded asterix at the end. Yay, the Barry Bonds of posting, yay.)

      Delete
    4. "Ha, successfully ducked your evil weapons of anti-andrewism and made it to another day. Andrews for the Win! Whoooooo."

      Ha, I say, and ha again. You just think you have; wait until you go to sleep. Will you wake up? And if you do, will it be where you were when you went to sleep or somewhere totally different?

      Paul L. Quandt

      Delete
    5. Since when has Mrs. "Just wait until you fall asleep, you know I can stay up longer than you" Andrew ever let me sleep?

      And I have no fear for my safety, being protected by the vicious deadly snoring Rottweiler of doom herself (the dog, not Mrs. Andrew.)

      Not to mention, you abduct me you then take responsibility for all my chores and stuff I do for both Mrs. Andrew and Mrs. Andrew's dog (the aforementioned Rottweiler.)

      Hmmmmm...

      Ha. Jokes on you. Whether I stay or get abducted. Either way I win.

      Kinda like the really bad kink joke about both sides of a sub-dom relationship getting what they want...
      Slave: "Mistress, punish me!!!!"
      Mistress: "No."

      Delete
    6. Well, we could go on like this for many days, but I'm going to let you have the last word.

      Paul

      Delete
  7. For all the negatives about Lincoln and his war to force the South to stay, he at least truly planned on a path of forgiveness after the war that would have bypassed most of the pure stupidity and evil of Reconstruction. Unfortunately, some loony democrat with a gun (gee, how many times does that have to be repeated in history until someone in today's media draws a correlation between the party, the weapon and the act?) killed Lincoln, thus putting a pissed-off democrat in charge, thus allowing the second-worse peace solution ever in the US's history (worse is our part in the Treaty of Versaille, and we all know how that ended, don't we?)

    People never seem to remember all that.

    And the future if we have another grand inconvenience? The losers could only hope the victors aren't as malicious and vengeful as the North was after Lincoln's assassination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AW is one of the truly smart ones. I am always greatly impressed by his comments ( except when he and I are bickering like three year olds ).

      Paul

      Delete
    2. But very smart - evil genius smart - 3 year olds.

      Delete
    3. We have a couple of those in the family. Granddaughters, ya gotta love 'em.

      Delete
  8. I always thought an 'e platypus union' was an online association of Australian animals. At least, that's what I told my Latin teacher as she escorted me out of the classroom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That ranks up right there with the famous Simon and Garfunkel line that goes "Wake up, do the Watusi, wake up."

      (I have always had a hard time understanding lyrics unless the treble is turned up to max and the bass (pronounced like the fish, not the place where lots of AF planes hang out, just to twig those music perfectionist snobs out there, oh, like Mrs. Andrew) turned down low. Finally figured out what those two whack-a-doodles were warbling about when I was 45 or so...)

      Delete
  9. I would add one more proto-nation - in fact for a while it had been one - Texas.
    It has joined the fate with Confederacy in 1860s, but had - nad has even today - very distinct culture and economy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent observation, Texas is, well, it's Texas innit?

      Delete
    2. Except for Austin and Houston...

      Delete
    3. The exceptions that prove the rule?

      Delete
  10. Leave us then not forget the Republic of California, and the Kingdom of Hawaii.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would just like to pontificate and announce that Penna is a commonwealth, whatever that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As is Massachusetts. Like you said, whatever that is...

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)