Monday, February 18, 2013
I've got a half dollar just like this one, only not in quite as good shape, and bearing the date 1813.
it prompts me to think about life in this country as it was 200 years ago. We were at war with England for a second time, and holding our own, as the Brits were preoccupied with the Napoleonic wars and the American campaign was a back-burner project.
But in 1814 Napoleon was defeated and sent into exile, and England landed three large armies in the US, two on the coast and one in the south. One of them captured Washington, D.C. and burned it, chasing President Madison and his wife from the White House.
The Americans counter-attacked and drove all three armies back into the sea, the last one at New Orleans in 1815, after the British had already sued for peace the year before. News traveled slowly in those days.
This was before America became the awesomest country in the history of civilization, of course. Back then it was just an experimental startup, but we felt very good about ourselves after the Battle of New Orleans, as it was beginning to look like the experiment would succeed.
And it did, for a while. But now I wonder if this country or anybody in it could produce something as beautiful as this coin today.
The second Battle of New Orleans didn't go as well as the first one. Mother nature kicked our ass, and now we're not feeling all that good about ourselves.