Would you like to have lived in the 19th century?

NBF fan

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Dixie
I know most of us wonder what it would have been like if we were to have lived in the 19th century, especially during the Civil War era. Due to continued medical advancement, some might say it is a more desirable time to live now, but I think there are pros and cons to both time periods. Would you like to have lived in the 19th century? What would you like to have witnessed, or who is a person you would like to have met?
 
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Lubliner

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The Good Ol' Days weren't so Good Ol'.
Deliberately romanticized. These men and women did not put their real hardships on public display. When related, they deemed it a commonplace activity many times. I still think though, the natural world is more splendid than the man-made one in any era.
Lubliner.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Strange, I had this very same conversation with a co-worker 30-35 years ago. He was waxing poetic about how great it would be travel back and live in America's pristine youth. It took a while but I had to bust his bubble.

1. What are you gonna do when you scratch your arm working and develop an infection with no antibiotics. Not to mention all the other medical conditions that we can treat as easily as putting on a band aid which at the time would be more difficult than space travel.

2. As an experiment, wait for the heighth of a Ga/SC summer month. Do manual labor every day, working up a heavy sweat, wear the same clothes essentially everyday. DO NOT BATHE. Then go ask your Mama or sister for a hug. Better yet suggest to your wife/girlfriend a quick roll in the hay. My guess is that unless you are a very premature ejaculator the smell of vomit will permeate the air before ejaculation. And to his response that oh he'll just set up his own modern bathing arrangement--then what's the point of going back. But even if you do so how are you going to mingle with everyone else in the neighborhood when you would be the one vomiting.

I did mention a few other considerations, but I think I ended with mentioning something I had read in one of the very first CW books I had read in the 1960's. The author was discussing the mundane facets of life in the CW armies and he mentioned specifically food. He recounted that soldiers on both sides were blessed with an introduction to hardtack. He went on to specifically mention 2 favorite recipees for hardtack. First you could pound it with your musket butt to crush into a powder, but before pouring it into a pan of water to cook you could pick out the weevils.
Alternatively you could simply dump the biscuit into the water cooking the biscuit and the weevil so as to get the lbenefit of extra protein.
 

7thWisconsin

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Joined
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There is a phenomenon called ¨museum effect.¨ We tour museums, historic houses and recreated villages which are tidy and well-ordered and the illusion is passed along that the past was tidy and well-ordered. Until very recently, village museums like Colonial Williamsburg also highlighted the lives of fairly wealthy people, which passed on the illusion that the way they lived then was somewhat comparable to modern middle-class life. I think the past was a lot dirtier, and especially smellier than we can imagine. I think the past smelled bad. Thomas Hobbes´ famous words to describe it were ¨poor, nasty, brutish and short.¨
 

d17574

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Oct 4, 2017
I'd love to give it a try!!....no internet, no tv, no cell phone to keep you on-call 24/7. I'd love the big gardens, canning our garden's vegetables for winter, and receiving letters from home. I realize that life could/would be difficult, but believe that the good would outway the bad.
 

Fairfield

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Deliberately romanticized. These men and women did not put their real hardships on public display. When related, they deemed it a commonplace activity many times. I still think though, the natural world is more splendid than the man-made one in any era.
Lubliner.
Perhaps not always deliberate. "Rose colored glasses," the ones that gloss over the rough spots and see only the good, aren't limited to history. Immigrants, looking back to the Old Country often forget that it was conditions there that caused them to leave. People's childhood memories can tend to dwell on the positive. And fondness for some person skews one's perception, not seeing flaws & imperfections. Perhaps there is something healthy about this kind of myopia!
 

Lubliner

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Perhaps not always deliberate. "Rose colored glasses," the ones that gloss over the rough spots and see only the good, aren't limited to history. Immigrants, looking back to the Old Country often forget that it was conditions there that caused them to leave. People's childhood memories can tend to dwell on the positive. And fondness for some person skews one's perception, not seeing flaws & imperfections. Perhaps there is something healthy about this kind of myopia!
It goes back to the old question, 'Does history repeat itself?' and whether when we daydream of our own previous years ceasing to remember the terrible burdens we overcame, we would ever set our sights to do so again. We are wiser to move forward than repeat what has been already done.
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

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There is a phenomenon called ¨museum effect.¨ We tour museums, historic houses and recreated villages which are tidy and well-ordered and the illusion is passed along that the past was tidy and well-ordered. Until very recently, village museums like Colonial Williamsburg also highlighted the lives of fairly wealthy people, which passed on the illusion that the way they lived then was somewhat comparable to modern middle-class life. I think the past was a lot dirtier, and especially smellier than we can imagine. I think the past smelled bad. Thomas Hobbes´ famous words to describe it were ¨poor, nasty, brutish and short.¨
I visited St. Augustine, Florida from 1994 to 1997 and remember the historic area. And of course, the horse and buggy rides one could take for rental with a driver were so splendid until the horse pooped. Most wore the catching sack, but some had foregone the obvious, and the sudden droppings were rather amusing at the time. It proved to be so contradictory to what the 'dream' was about!
Lubliner.
 

Fairfield

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It goes back to the old question, 'Does history repeat itself?' and whether when we daydream of our own previous years ceasing to remember the terrible burdens we overcame, we would ever set our sights to do so again. We are wiser to move forward than repeat what has been already done.
Lubliner.
There also is an old answer: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes". Of course we are better off not second guessing decisions BUT (IMO) part of the great value of history is that we are able to discern patterns of actions & outcomes.
 

KianGaf

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May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I think it’s a yes and no on this one. I think people always idolise the past and make it something it wasn’t. For example from my own neck of the woods there is a famous ballad called “Dublin in the rare old times”. It’s a famous folk song that glorified a past that didn’t exist. A friend of mine that lived in the era always says to me what rare old times. In the part of the city he lived was housing for the poor and he says when he was a child some of his friends didn’t even have shoes. The past is hard to judge , people has different problems to today’s problems. I do think folk were tougher in them days.
 

Lubliner

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I think it’s a yes and no on this one. I think people always idolise the past and make it something it wasn’t. For example from my own neck of the woods there is a famous ballad called “Dublin in the rare old times”. It’s a famous folk song that glorified a past that didn’t exist. A friend of mine that lived in the era always says to me what rare old times. In the part of the city he lived was housing for the poor and he says when he was a child some of his friends didn’t even have shoes. The past is hard to judge , people has different problems to today’s problems. I do think folk were tougher in them days.
We should also remember what we consider as old nowadays was considered new in the former era. Some people would be disagreeable to black and white TV or just radio. But is WWII radio captured the nation, just as Black and White TV did in our own youth. For every lack of something that seems obvious to us, there always was something in the realm of ingenious achievement to make it compatable.
Lubliner.
 

David Knight

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Pontefract, Yorkshire.
Let me get this straight. You WANT to bed a female who has not bathed in a month. You really want to eat meat that you have to try and cut the rotten portions off before you cook. You really want to be accessible to dozens of diseases which have not, repeat NO treatments. Have fun.
However, no artifical colours or sweetners and I suspect only the very wealthy have to deal with being over weight.
 

Fairfield

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I suspect only the very wealthy have to deal with being over weight.
Off topic but obesity can be a clear sign of poverty. Being overweight doesn't necessarily stem from eating too much but also from poor eating habits. Also, when I lived in Edinburgh, I was told that it was necessary to put on 10 lbs. or so in the autumn in order to get through a Scottish winter!

Not that the clans were out at Gettysburg. ☺️
 
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However, no artifical colours or sweetners and I suspect only the very wealthy have to deal with being over weight.
I would love to watch you shaving the top off of a preserved ham. You know where you have to remove the rancid parts which are obvious to the eye in order hopefully to get below the putrid rotten meat to the edible portion.

And I guarantee you that if you could bring back artificial colors and/or sweeteners you would become an overnight millionaire selling it too your neighbors, who would beg you for more.
 

Bama Mike

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Feb 9, 2020
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Section, Alabama
I know most of us wonder what it would have been like if we were to have lived in the 19th century, especially during the Civil War era. Due to continued medical advancement, some might say it is a more desirable time to live now, but I think there are pros and cons to both time periods. Would you like to have lived in the 19th century? What would you like to have witnessed, or who is a person you would like to have met?
I think it would be exciting to live in every century with the knowledge of what each one held in store. However, fantasies are always perfect because you have control. Reality is a different animal. Fun to dream.
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
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Sep 19, 2014
I would love to watch you shaving the top off of a preserved ham. You know where you have to remove the rancid parts which are obvious to the eye in order hopefully to get below the putrid rotten meat to the edible portion.

And I guarantee you that if you could bring back artificial colors and/or sweeteners you would become an overnight millionaire selling it too your neighbors, who would beg you for more.
More tolerable if you have previously consumed C-Rats and MREs in the field. Food takes on the role as subsistence vs delicacy.
 

Trooper "D"

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May 20, 2018
I know most of us wonder what it would have been like if we were to have lived in the 19th century, especially during the Civil War era. Due to continued medical advancement, some might say it is a more desirable time to live now, but I think there are pros and cons to both time periods. Would you like to have lived in the 19th century? What would you like to have witnessed, or who is a person you would like to have met?
No. I wouldn't have Rock and Roll baby. That would never do.
Seriously I would not choose to live back then but if there was a time and place it would be California from the mid 1700s to the mid 1800s or so. On one of those Spanish Land Grant rancheros. Especially one with access to the sea. Of course I would probably be one of the peasants but it was a good life. Like the High Chapparal on the coast.
 

Trooper "D"

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May 20, 2018
The interest we hold for a different time period and those that have come before us really does make us wonder what our lives might have been like if we had been alive during that time. I too have always loved history, especially the Civil War. The strength and bravery showed on both sides is very commendable.
The bloodthirsty insanity is very commendable also.
 
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