Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Communism and Chocolate....

Recently in history class, we did a fun activity. The teacher handed out two pieces of candy to everyone in the classroom. Except for two people: they got eight pieces. We were then told to play rock, paper, scissors for the candy. If you lost you had to give the piece to the winner. I played, and was out of candy within my first three games. Once I was out of candy had to sit down and watch the rest of the class play. While I was watching I noticed a couple of things: it was easier for the 'rich' people to keep their candy, only one person who started out with two candies had more than that, and people were teaming up. They were 'investing' in each other. This game was very frustrating because there was a lot of luck involved. Or in my case, there was just a tendency to guess what the other person was thinking wrong. It was also really frustrating because the rich people always had candy! They couldn't have gotten rid of it if they tried (which they didn't), but still. It was pretty ridiculous. After a while, the teacher intervened and collected everyone's candy. Then she redistributed them all back evenly so that no one had more than anyone else.
The whole point of this activity was not so that was could have a couple of friendly games or rock, paper, scissors, but so that we could learn about communism, capitalism, socialism, and Karl Marx. We were just recreating it with candy. We started with capitalism: there were varying amounts of candy for everyone in the class and there was the freedom of competition. Then the teacher collected all of the candy and handed them back out equally to everyone. This represented socialism, where the government controlled everything. Communism is where no one had more than anyone else and everyone contributed to the overall wealth.  The rich people were not happy about this because it meant that they would have less money. There was a classless society created and everyone agreed to share.
The idea of capitalism, socialism, and communism was Karl Marx's he wanted to help the poor by giving them the same amount of money as rich people.Sadly, this idea does not work as well in practice as it sounds. Governments have to force their people to share the wealth. However, Karl Marx was not the only person with an idea on how to make poor people richer. Adam Smith came up with the idea of the Invisible Hand: a system in which the government didn't control the trade. This idea meant that people would look for high quality goods for the lowest prices. It would make it so that poor people would be more likely to afford them and businesses that mistreated their workers would not prosper.
Personally, I think that the Invisible Hand is a better theory because no one has to give up their money, and the businesses become better quality. Also, the poor people would be able to more easily afford the businesses' items. This would make everyone happy: the rich people get to keep their money and the poor people can afford more things. The only problem is that the poor people don't have more money and the rich people are till rich; goods are just made affordable. This system is better then communism because there would be less revolting and more cooperation.

Congresses Tend to Make Bad Decisions

Recently in History, we learned about the Congress of Vienna.  The essential question for this activity was: what should people in power do when their power is threatened? In class, we read different scenarios and read the three options that were given as to how the people in power could have solved the problem. We posted our choice along with a brief explanation. Then we found out what the people in power actually did, and how we overestimated how much they would be thinking of their people.

The Congress of Vienna was the gathering of all of the influential powers in Europe following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was hosted by Klemens von Metternich in Austria (Vienna to be exact). A lot of things changed, such as the reconstruction of the European map, after the Congress met, but one major thing they did was establish the Principle of Intervention. This principle made it so that if there were any rebellions, foreign powers could step in to quell them. England was the only one to not be a part of this. This principle kept many rebellions from happening and made it easier to stop or put an end to the ones that did happen. For instance, in the 1820's Austria crushed an Italian rebellion.

I think that the people at the Congress should have considered their people more. If they could have sacrificed some of their power, then they wouldn't have had to establish a lot of the principles they did. They also would have had fewer rebellions on their hands.  I know that they didn't want to give up their power and that was the whole point of the principles, but they could have given up just some of it and saved themselves a lot of trouble in the long run.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's Just an Idea...

Recently in my history class we had a smack down. Groups went head to head and competed for candy. Each group was assigned a topic and required to make a creative video that was no longer than a minute. The possible topics for the videos were liberalism,conservatism,and nationalism. We made the videos in order to answer our essential question: what were major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?

Our video topic was liberalism. We decided to make a common craft video because they are creative, but still get info across to the viewers. We started our video by giving definitions that our audience would need in order to understand the rest of the video. Then we got creative and added the bulldozer to show that liberals wanted to get rid of aristocracy, monarchy, traditions, and the church in order to have freedom, rights, and meritocracy. Finally, we showed what the end result of doing this would be. People would be able to climb the social and economic ladders, but there would still be clear societal divisions.

From other groups' presentations I learned about conservatism and nationalism. Conservatism is an ideology based on keeping traditions in place. These beliefs would keep monarchs in power and prevent revolutionaries from acting up. Poor people would not benefit because they would have no chance of climbing the social ladder.Nationalism is the ideology based off of people of the same nationality, cultural practices, beliefs and language should unite as one to fight a common enemy such as a foreign ruler. This would unify more countries and possibly lead to fewer wars if they are all fighting against one common enemy. Liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism all had major influence in 19th century political and social actions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not Dynamite

During History class, we have recently discussed/learned about Napoleon Bonaparte. Sure we learned about how many different places he conquered, how big, bad rules were scared of him and how he changed the economies of the places where he ruled, but the overall massage was clear: don't underestimate the little guy.
A not so short guy who was smart and cunning. 
Napoleon Bonaparte. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon>.

Napoleon really did change a lot through his overtake of Europe and America. He changed economic, political, ad social systems. In one of the primary sources we read, Madame de Stael Felt as though Napoleon didn't have plan for what he was doing and it would ruin Europe. She was proven wrong when Napoleon started to increase trade by taking on public works projects such as building roads and railroad tracks. Napoleon also balanced the budget, removed other trade barriers, and established the Bank of France. While Madame de Stael had her doubts about Napoleon, Marshal Michel Nay did not. He believed that Napoleon was the only person capable of taking over Europe and doing it right.

Marshal Michel Nay supported Napoleon mostly because he would gain more power if Napoleon had more. Marshal Michel Nay's social standing was not the only one to change during Napoleon's time. Napoleon changed social systems by getting rid of serfdom and nobility, limited the use of title, and gave citizens more rights/property and access to a proper education. Before this, there was a lot of power held by the monarchies and Napoleon worked to  give some of it back to the people in lower classes.

He also helped poorer people by forcing he Directory to resign and  establishing meritocracy. These political changes caused the church to lose some of their power and forced monarchs to obey the Napoleonic code. Due to Napoleon's success many people feared him and were willing to follow the code.. The only country in Europe that Napoleon couldn't defeat was Britain. Britain ended up being his downfall.

Links to sources:
Madame de Stael and Marshal Michel Nay Primary Sources: http://www.edline.net/files/_5HGnA_/b0569448657d86ed3745a49013852ec4/Unit_3A_Activity_1_Primary_Source_Readings.pdf
Other opinions of Napleon:

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Different Type of Advertisement

Recently, in history, we have been studying the Lowell Experiment. This was an industrial project that tried to avoid the negative aspects of Industrialization in England. In order to do this, owners and industrialists had to come up with a way to get girls to want to leave their homes and families in order to work in the mills. Their solution was to install a 'paternal system' that emphasized the protection of the women. There was a father figure that set rules and a code for behavior. There was also a mother figure, the boarding house keeper, who regulated behavior outside of the mill, maintained a 'homey' environment and made sure girls had a good reputation.
This is the cover of a work of articles written by the girls in the mills. This showed how educated they were while they worked.
Lowell Offering. Digital image. Berwick Academy, Apr.-May 2001. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. <http://berwickacademy.org/millgirls/offering.htm>.

The benefits of having to maintain a safe and moral environment was that the girls could earn their own money and  have a sense of independence. Their families got help paying the mortgage, had one less mouth to feed, and were sure that their daughter's morals would be upheld.  The family's needs may have influenced a girl's decision to work in the mills. Along with the benefits, there were also some costs. Girls were separated from their families for long periods of time, worked in dangerous conditions, wages were cut, had long hours, and there was a greater risk of catching a disease, just to name a few.
The owner's and overseer's were happy to have women working for them because they could treat them worse than they would men. Women had fewer rights back then, there were less objections, and they weren't as greatly needed as men on a farm. This led to negative outlook on women during this time period. they were meant to do the jobs no one particularly wanted or that men couldn't do. they were considered fragile and easily manipulated. Owner's were proved wrong once their workers started revolting against wage cuts they tried to instill.