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The measurement debate actually goes back to our nation’s very beginning.The original metric system was developed in France during its revolution, and was so radically decimal that it divided the day into 10 hours.American manufacturers have put out all-metric cars, and the wine and spirits industry abandoned fifths for 75-milliliter bottles.The metric system is, quietly and behind the scenes, now the standard in most industries, with a few notable exceptions like construction.As our first secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson was charged with deciding which set of measures would be best for the country.He had been instrumental in creating the dollar—the first fully decimal measure any nation ever used.There is no question that a uniform global system of measurement helps cross-border trade and investment.
Decolonization in Eastern Europe and South America created new nations keen to adopt modernity and standards that would align them with Western Europe.
Jefferson rejected the metric system, however, because in origin he found it to be too French—which was saying something coming from the nation’s foremost Francophile.
His beef was that the meter was conceived as a portion of a survey of France, which could only be measured in French territory.
In all these cases, however, conversion was dictated by democratically deficient governments bucking the will of the people. actually came at the start of the 20th century, Alexander Graham Bell, and other notables testified at congressional hearings on metric conversion.
The 1880s imposition of the metric system in Brazil led to a full-scale uprising that lasted months. The head of the new Bureau of Standards put forth the metric system as a vital national interest.