The Good, The Bad, and The Energy

The notion that the great English empire and hierarchy should tremble at the air pump or electrical machine, would have been laughed at during the time Priestly first interjected this thought. However, after the American revolution we can see that he was right. The thing that swayed the fight was power and energy, that is how we are able to use and profit off of. Johnson notes that the colonists “didn’t have enough energy on its side” (Johnson, 142). However, that all changed when Franklin negotiated with France to have them send over eight hundred tons to the colonists. By doing this the “stored energy changed the balance of power between the struggling colonial army and the redcoats” (Johnson,143). The way that energy was able to change the tides of battle, ultimately lead to the colonists winning a war that should have ended in six months. Changes in science, especially those that allow humanity to manipulate how much power we are able to use are the ones that can change human history.

Johnson notes that “… energy flows are such a crucial factor in the development of human societies” (129). Here he notes that lives change in response to how energy flows in society. One contemporary issue that comes to mind when looking at the effects that energy has on the world is nuclear power. There are many positives behind nuclear power, but there are many drawbacks from using this type of power, that it can easily be manipulated to create bombs. This is a large what if, but many countries do not want to give this energy source due to it being so versatile and powerful.

One thought on “The Good, The Bad, and The Energy”

  1. Jacob, I dig your title first off, shout out to Clint Eastwood. I think it was a very good idea to frame the usage of energy and how governments should take the scientific creations of it’s people into consideration by pointing out the role it played in the American Revolution. Energy is generally considered as something that powers our homes or cars, so it’s refreshing to see energy being looked at as something that can be stored as gunpowder in muskets and cannons to help shape the result of wars and battles. I also think it is interesting how much we revolve back to nuclear power and nuclear bombs as a modern example of these readings, but it’s very fitting. It is a source of power that can be used either to further economy or fuel a devastating war, just as gunpowder and electricity were used in Priestley’s era. Where, if anywhere, would you suggest as being a place in the modern world akin to the scientific advances and social revolutions of mid to late eighteenth century England? Is there anywhere like that at all today?

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