Monday, June 15, 2015

Not Just a Bob Marley Song

Recently, in my Honors History 10 Class, we have been learning about Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans. We watched several videos and read a few primary source documents. We discussed the effect of the soldiers n the Native Americans. We also learned about all of the different ways the Natives resisted the soldiers. We discussed the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Dawes Act. Our Essential Question for this unit was: During Westward expansion, did the impact of federal policy towards the Native Americans match the intent?
An image of the different laws and
battles during this time period.
For many reasons, I believe that the answer to the question is no. Congress had some great ideas and ways to get the Native Americans to move, but they didn't think them through. For example, the Dawes Act was put in place in order to give each head of the family their own land to farm and live on. They didn't realize, however, that the Native Americans weren't used to the idea of 'cutting up' the land. They were used to sharing all of the land and having a community that lived together. They were not fond of the idea of dividing up the land and many resisted. I believe that Congress had the best intentions of trying to give each family their own land, but it ended up backfiring on them.
Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a story on the life of Native Americans and how they were affected by the Buffalo Soldiers. She highlighted the information that newspapers left out. This information was often the important details that showed the bad side of the Buffalo Soldiers. This is still very relevant today. News channels will often only show half of the story on their broadcasts. They will show the side that makes someone look the worst or is the most dramatic. This is not a good way to broadcast news, but is often the way that most audiences are attracted to.  


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St. Rockefeller

Over the last week, we have been learning about business giants in my Honors History 10 class. Our essential question for this unit was: did the captains of industry have a positive or negative impact on the public? In order to properly answer this question, we investigated two major captains f industries at this time. We watched several videos and read many primary source documents about the two men we were studying. While they were both very different, there were a few common threads between their lifestyles.
The two men we studied were John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Rockefeller was from a poor family whose dad owned his own business. Rockefeller went on to start his own oil business. He used many different strategies in order to keep his company on top. These strategies included buying out other companies and lowering his oil to prices that other companies couldn't compete with. Carnegie on the other hand was a major player in the steel market. 
Both were very successful men and I believe that they both had a positive impact on the general public. Yes, they did selfish things such as destroying the competition, but once they had all of the money, they gave it back to the people. They donated it back to schools and libraries around the country. In an interview with William Hoster, Rockefeller is quoted as saying "I believe the power to make money is a gift of God … to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience." Rockefeller believed that it was his duty to give back to the community and had no problem doing it. Carnegie believed in the Gospel of Wealth.  The Gospel of Wealth was a philanthropic idea that the wealthy should give so
Many of the people thought that Rockefeller was after the wealth.
They did not like the tactics he used to keep his business
a successful one.
me of their surplus of money to the poor or those who didn't have as much. His ideas aligned well with the thoughts of Rockefeller. The companies owned by the two men also provided many job opportunities for those who needed it. While I believe that the two men did have a positive impact, some people did not. The political cartoon to the right is just one example of what some people thought of Rockefeller. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Up and Down, Up and Down

Over the course of the past week in my Honors History 10 class we have been making a scavenger hunt. We started the process by choosing a battle. There were 20 battle descriptions put up on the smart board and we each got to choose one. There was about one battle per person with a few overlaps. We did not know the name of the battles. We researched the information given in the battle description in order to determine which battle it was. Once we figured out which it was we had to record the name, theater (where it was) and the victor. Before we could continue on our research we had to get this checked by our teacher. After we got approved we had to summarize the whole battle in only two bullets. This was difficult because so much happens during a battle and it was hard to pick out only a few bits of key information that related to the outcome. We put all of the information we found in a google doc with a lovely image to illustrate our battle. Each person made a QR code and that linked to their battle.
This is the QR code I created. If you scan it,
you can see the google doc that I created. If you
do not have a scanner please use the 'google
doc' link. 
They put these and the battle number on a piece of paper, printed it and brought it to class. These pieces of paper were hung up around the building so that people could travel from battle to battle. The directions for the next battle were put on the previous battle's google doc so that the reader would know where to go.  Each person started at their battle and then went on to the next (number 20 circled back to number 1). At each battle station the readers would write down the name, date, theater, victor, and two bullets about the battle in their Evernote account.
Once all of the running around was said and done, the class came together and discussed the answers to the essential question in a Padlet. In each theater there was a pretty clear victor. In the Western and Naval theaters the Union won the majority of the battles. They had good incentive and a better set of ships. They wanted to shut of the Confederacy from the West in order to stop the spread of slavery to the West. They also had to have control of the Mississippi River in order to cut of trade fro the south to any other places in the country. The limited population of the Western Southern states also contributed to the Union's dominance in that theater.  This battle strategy was a part of their Anaconda Plan.  In the Eastern theater the Confederacy often won the battles during the earlier part of the war. As time went on they started to lack supplies and morale. The Union on the other hand got stronger. Their strategy started working better and they formed a strong leadership for soldiers to follow. Towards the second half of the war the Union started to win the battles in the Eastern theater. 

Above or Below

Intro: what we did in class
freedom from above
freedom from below
my opinion/modern example

Prior to leaving for a much needed vacation, my Honors History 10 class discussed the freedom of slaves and how they were trying to achieve it. Our Essential Questions for the unit were:Who 'gave' freedom to enslaved Americans? Did freedom come from above or below? To what extant where Abraham Lincoln's actions influenced by the actions of enslaved Americans? We discussed the differences between freedom from above and freedom from below. Along with reading some documents about Abraham Lincoln, we also watched a video by Ken Burns. After watching the video, discussing the documents, and answering some questions we made a chart about each of the documents and whether they exemplified freedom from above or below.
Our chart shows whether the freedom was from above or below, why, and how much it exemplified its type of freedom.

The picture we analyzed during out activator
for the lesson. 
At the very beginning of the lesson we learned that freedom from above is when the government worked the free the slaves. This meant that the slaves had to depend on the government to free them. In the documents that we read surrounding Lincoln and slavery there were several examples of power from above being used to free the slaves. In Lincoln'c second Inaugural address he recognized that "These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it." He recognizes that the slaves had been the cause of the war all along but that everyone ignored them. He also recognized that in the past the government had not seen this but now they were going to work at it. Slavery had officially become the goal of the Civil War. It was no longer about the Union, it was about the people of the country and what was best for them.

Edwin M. Stanton 
Freedom from below was when the slaves took it upon themselves to gain there own freedom. They would have revolts, protests and escapes in order to get the government ot recognize their need for freedom. They would help each other to escape. One example of this was Harriet Jacobs. She was a born into slavery in Virginia. She managed to escape and hide in an attic for several years. After that she managed to get to the North where she became a nurse and wrote a very famous slave narrative. She needed the help of others in order to be able to escape, but she also managed to do it without involving the government or depending on them.In a different document that my group looked at, there were examples of power from below rather than above. Document X was a letter from General E. Burnside to the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. In this letter the general states that " the city is being overrun with fugitives from surrounding towns and plantations— Two have reported themselves who have been in the swamps for five years— it would be utterly impossible if we were so disposed to keep them outside of our lines as they find their way to us through woods & swamps from every side" By joining the Union soldiers in this abandoned town, the slaves are forcing the soldiers to deal with them. They aren't hiding and being submissive anymore. They are bringing their problem to the government and showing them just how wrong they have been treated in the past. This is power from below because the slaves took matters into their own hands in order to show people that they needed to be freed.

Protests in Baltimore
Recently, in the news there have been lots of protests. These protests in major cities like Boston and New York, were sparked by more violent protests in Baltimore, Maryland. The citizens of Maryland became outraged when they heard that Freddy Gray, an African American man, died of his injuries while in police custody. This news sparked protests that later turned into violent riots. While the protesting makes sense and was a good idea to catalyze change, the violence was not okay. The rioters ended up looting and burning down a CVS Pharmacy. Right across the street from said pharmacy was a senior citizen residence that relied on the pharmacy for medicine. There are no supermarkets or other pharmacies in the general area for the senior citizens to get their medicine from. I do not support the violence, but I do believe that the people were right in protesting. Something needs to be changed.They were letting the government know what their problem was. They made their issue with the way cops treated black people known. They supported each other and worked together in order to make a change in the world as they know it. The looting and burning of buildings was not necessary. If anything it probably made the police less likely to want to change things and more likely to be more forceful. The violence got so bad that the National Guard was called in. I happened to be in Baltimore Tuesday morning and saw all of the armed men at their temporary base at Camden Yards. I had just gotten back from my vacation, but it shocked me that there needed to be so much police/army presence. If the people had managed to keep the protests from turning into riots, then they probably would have made more of a change. These days they seem to have more people shocked and disgusted by what they did rather than trying to help them fight for change. In Boston, protests stayed calm and nonviolent. In New York, however, some were a little violent. I feel that the more peaceful protests are a better idea. It shows the government that there is a problem while also showing them that it should be fixed. It doesn't provide more opportunities for cops to violent or give the people more reason to be upset with law enforcement. This is an example of power from below because the people of the states are catalyzing the change that they want to see happen.

'Baltimore Riots'
'Edwin M. Stanton'

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"It was a short walk into slavery."

The Relationship between cotton and slaves in 1790
Recently, in my Honors History 10 class, we discussed the morality of slavery and how it was entrenched in American society by the early 19th century. As shown by the graphics, slavery was very much correlated to the amount of crops being grown in the South. As the people of the South started to rely more and more on slaves to work in their fields, slavery became more and more entrenched in American society. Slave worked crops brought in so much of America's export that if it stopped the country would be likely to have an economic collapse. It was for that reason, slavery could not be abolished very easily and was allowed to continue.

The difference in 1860. Use the hyperlink above to see
all the maps and statistics available. 
In order to better understand all of these concepts and actions that went on during slavery, we watched the PBS Documentary A Prince Among Slaves. Before watching the movie however, we got an idea of the differences between slavery in Futa Jallon, Africa and Natchez, Mississippi.  Slavery in America was a lot crueler than slavery anywhere else across the globe. The documentary highlighted the lack of dignity involved with becoming a slave. The owners of slaves would often beat their slaves and change their appearance. The owner has taken away their slave's identity. They have effectively wiped a human off the face of the earth.  This signified the start of a new life for the slave. However, this has effectively taken away the dignity of the slave. They are now longer the proud person they once were, but a shell of their old self who has been beaten into submission. While dignity is very important, the system of slavery based off of race also tends to forget the value of human life. It gives one specific group of people the power to control another based off of the color of their skin.  In Futa Jallon, there was  more fair system of slavery. People could only become slaves if they were a prisoner of war or had committed a great crime. There was also a better chance of freedom in Futa Jallon. The system there was not based on the color of one's skin so more people found it fair and fewer people tried to change it. Another thing that America's system of slavery ignored was the value of family. Oftentimes families would be split up and sent to work at different plantations. Because owners felt that the slaves were their property, they also felt that they were completely within their rights to do this to families. Plantation owners would split them up in the way that would earn him the most money.

Maps and Graphics from The University of Oregon

 'A Prince Among Slaves' from Google Images

Title is a quote from Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Succession of Secessions

The Election of 1860 was a very good indicator of the divide between the north and the south prior to the Civil War. In the highly populated North states Lincoln was the favored candidate because he was against slavery. Lincoln wanted to find a compromise by stopping the spread of slavery,  but not interfering with it where it was already established. People in the south did not like that idea so they voted for Breckenridge because he believed that there should be no limits on slavery. people of the sates in between the North and South turned to Bell for a compromise. His idea was to leave the Constitution and slavery as it was. People of the middle states were in favor of this because they knew that if war were to break out, it would be fought on their land. Missouri didn't like any of these ideas because there was a lot of unclaimed land to the west of them, were they could establish slavery. So Douglas got their vote because he opted to let the expansion of slavery be determined by popular sovereignty. When Lincoln was declared the winner of the election southern states started to secede. South Carolina was first, followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Later Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia joined them. These states declared themselves the Confederacy and created their own government separate from the Union. The video below explains these events and include pieces of artwork connected to them.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stats and Strategies

Recently, in my Honors History 10 class, we made infographics about the strategies and statistics of each side of the civil war. My infogram is about evidence that the North had more advantages and a better strategy which could help them win the war. I chose to represent facts that would support my opinion; such as the North's advantages in industry, the economy and railroad mileage. However, I also chose to include information about the slaves because some of them would have been able to show small signs of support to the north which would be yet another advantage. 
Organizing the information given to us and figuring out which pieces to include was very difficult. The process of analyzing the information helped me to get a better understanding of where each side stood at the beginning of the war. It helped me to understand how unprepared the South was and how ready  the North was.