The greatest age

  • Thread starter Colin W. Montgomery
  • Start date

C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
The Edwardian or rather the entire period from 1750-1920 was in my opinion the greatest era in all of human history.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,591
386
283
Easley South Carolina
Well, I don't know if it would be called the greatest. Matter of some rather subjective opinion I suppose. Without question however, it wss the single greatest surge forward in terms of technological achievement. Some wouldn't regard that as being a very god thing, but I wouldn't be one of them.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
Why isn't it? Not just in terms of technology but of genius too. And if you think about it, every major technology we use today, with the exception of computers, has its origins and development in the 19th and even 18th century.
The car: Karl Benz-1886
Electric Lighting: Sir Humphry Davy-1801
Communications: Morse and others-late 1700's-1837
Telephones: Alexander Graham Bell-1876
Flight: Montgolfier Bros.-1783
TV: origins in 1880's color in 1928

But even the car had origins in the 1700's.
The past was far far more advanced than most people realize unfortunetly
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
And I think one of the greatest achievements was the development of the telegraph and the creation of the great Trans-Atlantic cable in the 1840's.
Imagine it, for the first time in history you can actually talk to someone thousands of miles away in a blink of an eye. Simply incredible. Something so huge that it physically connected two continets!
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,591
386
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Why isn't it?<<

You'll notice I didn't make a positive statement that it wasn't, but that "I don't know if it would be called the greatest," I still don't know if it would be. There are a lot of people who would gladly assert that all that progress was one of humanties darkest hours. Not that I would agree with that position, but like I said, a highly subjective matter of opinion.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
life was better then too. And trust me I've put a lot a thought into that statement. And I can't stress it enough that 90 years wasn't that long ago. Hell, 200 years isn't that long ago. Its only so many lifetimes. I know all about life expectancies and what have you (many figures that people believe now I think were inaccurate). There was enough technology to live comfortably too. Now I will go into further detail if you like about why I feel this way, and give reasons for my responses. I await your reply Mr. Standart
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
Did you agree with my second and third post?
Thanks sir from Colin here in PA.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
I had a feeling you would bring that up. Thats just been drilled into your head about "oh the past was such a horrible place" No I don't think it was. I can find you some hardcore proof that life expectancy was 60-70 years. Brutal working conditions-thats the cost of progress and things were always getting better. Rampant disease? Where? The jungle? Thats another thing, like I said about the preconceptions about older technology being primitive, there were medicines then, there was advanced medical knowledge. Diseases were on the way out.

And the number one proponet of my argument- "testimony" from people I have talked to who lived then. According to them it wasn't the hell hole you described.

Wow we have come such a long way in a short 90 years- yeah right. In Erie, Pa a pizza delivery man was just going about his buisness when some guy strapped a bomb to his head. The man pleaded for his life with bomb squad personal before he was blasted away. Yeah we live in a better time.
You wouldn't find that in 1912. I promise you that.
You've got your terrorists
You've got your aids
You've got your ignorance
You've got your wars
You've got your overcrowding

need I go on.....
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
0
146
Colin, trust me, there was all kinds of nastiness back then too. People lived in unspeakable conditions - go take a copy of the Josef Riis photos out of your public library and have a look. Or get a set of his engravings.

Robberies with bombs were unusual, but with guns they certainly were not - and guns were far more widespread than they are now. You had two- and three-year-olds blowing themselves away with appalling frequency. Many boys under the age of twelve were sentenced six and seven times to jail for robbery with violence, and the recidivism rates were so close to 100% as to make no odds.

Terrorists? You think they didn't have terrorists? Wrong, me bucko. The IRA was very well known, and some of the political shenanigans in this country weren't too nice either. Don't forget Teddy Roosevelt was almost assassinated - and he was the most popular man in the country at the time!

We had wars too. And overcrowding, and ignorance - ye gods don't get me started on that.

I'm sorry for the rant, I understand you are new here, but I think you need to learn a little more history before making such sweeping statements. May I suggest The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible! by Otto Bettman ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0394709411/102-8274030-7326537?v=glance ) for starters, it gives you a nice overview of the era, and a lot of follow-up sources.
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
0
146
Well, not on this thread but yes, I tend to, it's a very good book that puts the past in much better perspective than an awful lot of people tend to see it.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
I didn't mean to sound so blind. Believe me from the time I was little all I ever heard from teachers and absorbed in books, whatever was how horrific the past was. I just want you to have an open mind. These are not sweeping statements, I have valid reasons and evidence for my statements. I stand by them. I am trying to change those views that people have. I have an enormous grip on history I can't stress that enough either. I have spent a great deal of my life involved in the study of history, particuarly this era. I completely understand what your saying, but I have valid reasons for what I am stating to. I was shocked that you said that I should learn a little more history?! Oh man. Well anyway, I am not saying that conditions were not terrible then too-to an extent. But how much of those ideas are yours? And where you get this information? it is from a book as well.Did that author live it? But were you actually there? To see it? To experience it? I wasn't but I know people who were. They say life then was better than it is now. That feeling had to come from somewhere right? Are you going to say the people who actually lived the events are wrong?
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
Why was it called the good old days then?
Had to come from somewhere.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
Right there was more dieases and working conditions were poor, but what about the little things. Things we no longer have. Its the little things that count.
 
C

Colin W. Montgomery

Guest
And even if I was to say, "ok yeah it was hell."
Its the achievements that make it great, not the conditions in which people lived, and if anything I think you can agree with me on that.

Thanks
 

Jack Devine

Member
Jan 23, 2004
178
0
86
"life was better then too."
In what way? I've spoken to people who lived around the turn of the century (my grandparents etc) and life was pretty nasty compared to today. The wealthy lived a fairly nice life, thanks to a literal army of servants, but for those in the middle class and working class it was filled with drudgery. Just cleaning clothes was a backbreaking job, now you can run three loads of laundry while relaxing in an evening. We have so many conveniences today that we can hardly remember what they are. My grandfather always thought that a thermostat-run furnace was a major treat, having spent years stoking a coal stove. My grandmother spent over an hour a day just cleaning the glass chimneys of the oil lamps - flipping that switch on the wall is a whole lot easier, cleaner and faster. The amount of work it took to simply exist back then was more than most of us can imagine. We have advanced so far, not just materially but ethically, that I would never want to live as the Edwardians did.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
The IRA was very well known
Not in the Edwardian era. It didn't yet exist as such - it only came into existance in 1919. Colin's broader definition of a mythical golden age - up to 1920 - does narrowly incorporate its earliest existence post Easter-rising, but it was not the organisation that we know today by that name (either 'Provisional' or 'Real' IRA). The 1916-1923 era incorporates the War of Independance/Black and Tan/Irish Civil War, in which the IRA were the military wing firstly of a force fighting for independence, and then later as a breakaway group struggling against the Free State Army.

While armed resistance to the British/Protestant/Orangemen etc in Ireland, and their counterparts fighting on the Loyalist side, go back many years to early groups such as 18th Century 'Defenders' and 'Peep of Day Boys,' the IRA did not come into existance until after the Edwardian era. It had its roots in the Fenian movement that rose in the mid 19th Century and, more immediately, in the formation of the protestant Ulster Volunteer Force in 1913. This led to the formation in November 1913 of the organisation that would in time become the IRA - The Irish Volunteers (Oglaigh na hEireann). The Volunteers were reorganised in the wake of the 1916 rising, merged with the remnants of the Irish Citizen Army and with a heavy influence from the secret organisation the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Michael Collins was an old IRB man). The newly named IRA swore allegiance to the Dáil Éireann in 1919.

Edwardians fearing the Irish independance movement would have spoken of 'Fenians' - some of the Fenian acts of the 19th Century were notorious or acclaimed, often depending on where your nationalistic leanings lay. I've seen references in at least one Titanic novel to the fear inspired by the finding of a Sinn Fein token on the ship - this is anachronistic, as the political party founded by Arthur Griffith was at the time seeking non-violent means of attaining independance. It was after the 1916 Rising that 'Sinn Fein' became synonymous (somewhat, for that era, innacurately) with the Fenians, the IVF, and more extreme measures - for the general public, any pro-Independance campaigner, whatever their approach, was a 'Sinn Feiner'.

I would quibble with a description of the early IRA as 'terrorists'. One person's 'terrorist' is another person's 'freedom fighter', and the Old IRA of Michael Collins and men like Tom Barry of the IRA's West Cork Brigade in the 1919 - 1921 War of Independance was not the organisation it evolved into - a terrorist group that targets innocent civilians and military targets alike. Collins actively refused to employ these tactics when they were proposed, saying 'you'll get none of my men for that'. He used guerilla-warfare tactics...very effectively! Michael Collins - 'the man who won the war', as Griffith characterised him - effectively led the Irish negotiating team in that signed the Anglo-Irish treaty.

The Edwardian Era represented a comparatively peaceful period in Anglo-Irish relations in terms of overt violence - while there had been armed risings in 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1867, when the last was crushed it wasn't until the 1916 Easter Rising that another one was attempted. There were violent incidents, often connected with the struggles over the Land League and the oppression of the Irish tenants (e.g. the 1882 Phoenix Park murders committed by the Irish National Invincibles), but increasingly the focus was on seeking a political solution. Men such as John Redmond, leader of the Irish Nationalist Party, were agitating for Home Rule in Parliament.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,591
386
283
Easley South Carolina
>> had a feeling you would bring that up. Thats just been drilled into your head about "oh the past was such a horrible place" <<

And it was a wonderland of goodness and light? Granted, the Edwardian Era had it's high points, and they're there for all to see. By the same token, it had it's lowpoints as well, and some were quite appalling by any reckoning. Those don't go away either.

>>Why was it called the good old days then?
Had to come from somewhere.<<

It's called "nostaligia" and that's little more then a wish for simpler times in a world that's becoming ever more complicated. Understandable, but hardly realistic. I'll grant that the Gilded Age had it's high points, but a lot of those high points were lost on those who worked in factories from dawn to dusk in conditions so dangerous that they wouldn't be tolerated in the developed world today, in homes with no running water, no electricity, none of the conveniences we take for granted today, racism an integral and all pervasive part of life, as was any manner of economic hardship, the list goes on.

The Edwardian Era certainly wasn't the unrelenting horror show of centuries past. I'm well aware of the fact that life expectancies were becoming longer, medical care was well and truly a science rather then some arcane art little better then witchdoctoring, and union activism was playing a major part in cleaning up some of the very worst abuses suffered by the working class. Inargueably...in my opinion...things were getting better, and that was part of the gold on the Gilded Age.

However, the gold had some tarnish on it and it would be pretty silly of me to pretend that they didn't exist.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
The best of almost any age - in terms of visual arts, invention, literature, music, and other human endeavours - is often excellent. I find much to admire in the Edwardian era, just as I find much to admire in the Amarna period of Ancient Egypt, the Tudor era, Colonial and Federation era Australia, the Victorian age etc etc. But appreciating what is good, noble, worthwhile, beautiful or enlightening in an age does not mean that, taken as a whole, it was better - or the best. The Victorians and Edwardians, for example, looked nostalgically back to a simpler pre-industrial world, and glamourised the Medieval period - some believed it had better values and quality of life, artistically and morally, and invented a chivalrous past seen through a patina of myth. Of course, the truth about the Medieval world is far from the paintings of Rossetti or the poems of Morris.

This is not to say that our age is superior in all respects, or that the Edwardian age was an execrable time to be alive - there is much to admire in the many achievements of the Edwardians. There is also much that isn't so lovely, so noble, so healthy or entertaining...at least, not measured by how we now feel about such things.

I'd love to visit. I just wouldn't want to live there.
 

Similar threads