19th Century, Architecture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Mississippi River, omnipresent history, railroad, Transportation

Stone Arch Bridge Opens 1883

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November 23, 1883

“The Stone Arch Bridge spans the Mississippi below St. Anthony Falls. Once called “Jim Hill’s Folly,” the bridge provides a crossing for trains and becomes a Minneapolis landmark.”

First, I need to confess my bias against the railroad barons based on my reading in college to You. Will You forgive my assumption that Hill was a “Robber Baron” like many of his peers; captains of industry synonymous with trains? The rails in this era often made choices that yielded pain for the Midwestern farmer, manufacturer, or anyone who wasn’t in partnership with them. (They gained sweetheart deals for themselves and their allies, and charged exorbitant prices to the farmer whose harvest would spoil if they waited for better. I do not abhor competition, but bristle when I sense oligarchic or monopolistic control.) 

Digging into my assumptions, I found that I had wrongly placed all capitalists of this epoch in the same camp, but this is inaccurate. May I elaborate? Market capitalism is based on building a better product, and selling it at a voluntarily determined price. State capitalism twists the arm of government to sell an inferior product at an involuntary price. 

Clearly, Hill belonged more to the former camp than the latter according to Loyola economics professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo. Here lies evidence of Hill’s opposition to the state capitalism of the “Robber Barons”.

“Hill’s rates fell steadily, and when farmers began complaining about the lack of grain storage space, he instructed his company managers to build larger storage facilities near his rail depots. He refused to join in attempts at cartel price fixing and in fact “gloried in the role of rate-slasher and disrupter of [price-fixing] pooling agreements,” writes historian Burton Folsom. After all, he knew that monopolistic pricing would have been an act of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.” **

Additionally, the following quote of Professor DiLorenzo hints at why Hill’s competitors mocked the Stone Arch Bridge as “folly”, and his own internal motives.

 “In building his transcontinental railroad, from 1886 to 1893, Hill applied the same strategy that he had in building the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba: careful building of the road combined with the economic cultivation of the nearby communities. He always built for durability and efficiency, not scenery, as was sometimes the case with the government-subsidized railroads. He did not skimp on building materials, having witnessed what harsh Midwest winters could do to his facilities and how foolish it was for the NP (Northern Pacific Railroad – his competitor) to have ignored this lesson. The solid granite arch bridge that Hill built across the Mississippi River was a Minneapolis landmark for many years.” ***

G-d, did I have it all wrong! I find myself humbled to discover that Hill is a good man, who built a better railroad. Will You honor those like him, who love their work, and offer it back to You and society as an act of worship?!

Will You free those of us harboring bitterness towards the state capitalists, and towards this spirit in man that is willing to use the law in self service? Will You free us from the admonition “Good enough for government work”? Will You lift this spirit of the slacker: up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?

Lord, quite honestly, I hate the heritage of price fixing and theft! I abhor the curse that these judgment’s have put on our state, its’ people, our freedom of travel, and all lands that were granted, bought or stolen by the railroad lines. I  despise how the rails withheld the good that they could have chosen to perform for their fellow man, and still yielded a generous profit!

Yet, I am a man of mixed motives just like them. I withhold from doing the good I know I can do, and sin against my brother in my heart. I judge them. I think evil of them in my thoughts. I harbor resentment. Lord Jesus, King of the Universe, have mercy on me a sinner for my judgments!

Will You bring blessing to every rail, every piece of land, every train, every rail employee, and all the cargo that enters or exits this state of Minnesota? Will You profoundly bless the Stone Arch bridge, and esteem its’ symbolism? Will You be the bridge and span this rift between free-market entrepreneurs and fixed-market magnates? Amen!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** DiLorenzo, Thomas J. “The Truth About the “Robber Barons”” excerpt of Chapter 7 “How Capitalism Saved America”. Internet. MIses Institute. 11/01/2017. https://mises.org/library/truth-about-robber-barons

*** DiLorenzo citing Burton W. Folsom Jr., “Entrepreneurs vs. the State: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America”, 1840 — 1920 (Herndon, VA: Young America’s Foundation, 1987

**** Read more about these lovely arches? https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/historical_sites/stone_arch_bridge/#group_2_150339

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19th Century, abolition, African American, Black History, education, Governors, History, Indian, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, State Government

Ramsey Becomes Governor

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January 2, 1860 to Juyl 10, 1863
Alexander Ramsey takes office as the state’s second governor. He was the only man to be both appointed as governor of the territory and then elected as governor of the state.

Ramsey was re-elected in 1861. In January 1863 he was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate. He resigned the governorship at the end of June 1863, after the legislative session was over.

His administration was marked by sound economic management-particularly of the state’s school lands-and by two crises: the Civil War and the Dakota Uprising. Ramsey was in Washington, D.C., in 1861 at the time the Civil War began, and as governor offered the first volunteer regiment for the Union Army.

Jesus thank you for Alexander Ramsey. Thank you for the leadership through two of the most trying events our state has faced; The Dakota Uprising, and the Civil War. Holy Spirit, I invite You to move and direct my thoughts and prayers. That said, today I feel You are taking me on a tangent.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Master, What can one add that hasn’t been said about the Dakota Uprising? Scholars from many backgrounds have analyzed the information regarding this scar in Minnesotan history, and yet there is a gnawing sense of brokeness between Native and non-Native Minnesotans. How to proceed? How do you want to connect the head to the heart of this issue?
As a human being, I can see that there usually aren’t uprisings without provocation. These promptings could be active; i.e. land concessions pushed by rail backed by the power of the State or Federal government. These promptings could be passive; a neglect to uphold ones end of the bargain. What human would respond well if they were told to “eat grass” when they asked for provisions that were rightfully theirs?

Does an offense give us the right to commit atrocities of counter offense? To commit the sin of transference by literally nailing innocent parties to the doors of their homes? I posit to You, Good One, that although we are made in Your image, we have marred it by quashing our offender, our enemy. Who will save us from this cycle of offense and counter-offense, come “come close” and “stay away”?

Many of us have viewed the Native American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Indians! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all non- Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards First Nations?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards Indians?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Native American human being?

In the same light, we have wrongly grouped Non-Natives as having a singular viewpoint. We have, at times, monolithically condemned those of European descent as “racist” and “invaders”. Are You not the Creator of the Americans of European descent?
Will You forgive all Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards European Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Non-Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards European Immigrants?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-Native American human being?

In a similar vein, will You forgive this State our offenses to You by the judgments foisted on Governor Ramsey, and any political leaders since who have wrestled such weighty conflicts? They have to make difficult choices based on incomplete information, and yet we, as their constituents, often show no mercy on their human frailties! Christ have mercy on our judgments of our leaders for not fixing OUR broken hearts, and their divisive and untrusting attitudes! Can new laws make people show respect and love towards each other?

Taking another huge bite, I’m sure the enemy wreaked havoc in the state through the Civil War. I’m sure many were conflicted about trying to establish peace between the North and the South, slave and free, through warfare. Help me sort out the things to pray over this event.

First, forgive the audacity and judgments of the Church towards slavery. Granted, there was not one monolithic point of view, but there were many that named the name of Jesus, and still saw fit to hold slaves. Will You forgive us this view as a state? As a nation? As the Church of America?

Many of us have viewed the African human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Africans! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all non- African Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards Africans!
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of slavery of Africans.
3. Any legal expressions of slavery towards Africans.
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the African human being!

Second, will You forgive African Minnesotans, and any of the ancestors of American enslavement:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards non-Africans!
2. All our words of judgment of non-Africans.
3. Any legal expressions of revenge towards non-Africans.
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the non-African human being!

Being from a military family, in a sense I’m proud that our forefathers were among the first to voluntarily to die in battle opposing slavery. The righteousness of slavery had been a bone of contention and internal conflict in our psyche when were still Charters from England. Thank You that many in our State have consistently supported the rights of life and liberty for all through the ages.
Would things have been different if the Church had risen in prayer and fasting over the injustices of slavery? The Church has followed culture into physical war so often, instead of engaging the enemy inwardly. We have tried to change the heart of our nation towards the black African slave through external battle. We try to bring peace to the world around us without first doing the work of making peace with You and your children in our hearts. Christ have mercy on us!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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