TIL: The original proposal for standardizing measures in the U.S. was created before the metric system was finalized. And it was using feet, inches, etc., but as a decimal system. However, when they had already agreed to make a yard the same as the new meter, the French turned around and changed the definition of the meter in the very last minute, thereby throwing off the international harmonization effort.
... In short: they didn't want to have a neutral, natural basis for the meter. It had to be based on a line going through Paris.
Fun bonus fact: the current system that was officially sanctioned in the U.S. much later, is not based on any natural measurement, but on the metric system.
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