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.

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's a Small Room

During the time period right before the civil war slavery was the elephant in the room. People didn't discuss it although events occurred that were a direct result of it. During this time many things such as the Caning of Charles Sumner, the Dred Scott Decision, and the Gadsden compromise  happened

All of these were a direct action caused by the dispute about slavery, but no one named it as the main instigator. They blamed the people who partook in the events and their actions, but never what caused those people to do what they did. For example, when the caning of Charles Sumner happened, everyone blamed Preston Brooks's actions on what Sumner had said about his uncle. In reality, Sumner was talking about Brooks's uncle's involvement in the encouragement of slavery. Slavery was the root of the problem but it wasn't directly blamed for being it. This incident also furthered the divide between the North and South because pro-slavery people supported Brooks while anti-slavery supporters were outraged about what happened to Charles Sumner.

Along with the Caning, the Dred Scott Decision was influenced by slavery. Dred Scott and his master had lived in free states for a long period of time so Scott felt as though he should be considered a free man. SCOTUS ruled 7 to 2 against Scott because a)slaves were not considered citizens, so they did not have the right to sue in court, b) enslaved people could not win freedom by simply living in a free state and c) the Missouri Compromise was ruled unconstitutional and all territories were opened to slavery. Clearly, slavery was not completely ignored, but it was definitely not recognized the way that it needed to be by the government.
The Gadsden Compromise was also an event that was heavily influenced by slavery and the possibility for more slave states. The US paid $15 million for all of Nevada, California, Utah and much of Arizona and New Mexico in the Treat of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The US also paid $10 million for a much smaller strip of land known as the Gadsden Purchase only 5 years later. The smaller strip of land was to be used to make a transcontinental railroad to the new territories which were established with no mention of slavery. Southerners and pro-slavery  people wanted to be able to move people out to these new territories. This way, when the territories applied for statehood, they would want to be slave states because the majority of their population supported slavery. The overall goal was not stated as to further pro-slavery states, but to extend the amount of land in the United States. Like the caning of Charles Sumner, it was pretty obvious to everyone else that slavery was really the number one motive to buy the new land and to build a railroad in the South that conveniently led right to the unestablished territories.... Because that's not suspicious at all.  Clearly slavery was still a major issue at the time, but no one wanted to talk about it; that is why it was the elephant in the room. 
Picture of my group's timeline
Description of the event specified on timeline
Continuation of descriptions

'Elephant in the room' Google Images
"Gadsden Purchase", "Dred Scott" "Dred Scott Article" and "The caning of Charles Sumner"

Liberty, Equality, Sorority

Recently in my Honors History 10 class, we discussed Women's Rights during the mid 19th century. We talked about their roles in society, how oppressed by men they were, and how they fought for their rights. Women were extremely limited by their rights. Women were allowed to own land but once they got married it became their husband's, they couldn't vote, women could  not control who got custody of her kids when her husband died, they could not sue their husbands, and it was very difficult for them to divorce their husband. along with lots of restrictions, there were also many things that women were expected to do. They were expected to clean the house, watch the children, mend/make clothes and teach their children. This was a lot of responsibility for one mother and the father would not be around to help her because he would be doing "manly" things.
One of the many ways they fought for there rights was by publicly speaking about them. The first time they ever did this was at the Seneca Falls Convention. There were many different reactions to this convention. Some newspapers published reactions to the convention. Some reactions were supportive of the movement while others were not. The Oneida Whig newspaper thought that women had already tried to get rights, a long time ago, and that it was bound to fail again. The Mechanics Advocate felt as thought women were meant to stay at home and cook dinner.The two major arguments that they made against women having rights were that Adam was made before Eve and that Eve sinned before Adam. They used thee arguments to trap women into complying to men. Neither of the two newspapers had very strong arguments,. The National Reformer responded to the Mechanic's Advocate's claims by saying that they "had done them a great injustice" by making them inferior to men.

In today's 21st century society there are still a lot pf prejudice's against women. In the video above, women and men are depicted doing the same thing, but words in the background show how society perceives the actions based on their gender. I think that this is a fairly accurate representation of what goes on in society. There are definitely things about men and women that have to be different, but in terms of politics, jobs, and actions men and women should be treated equally. While this is very accurate, I also feel that in recent years the prejudices have become less prominent. A lot of people are still working for gender equality. Recently, I went to a lunch seminar about women in Science, Engineering, and Math. It was very interesting to hear about how they were treated at the place they work. Some said that everything was equal, while others said some men treated them as inferiors, but were then scolded by their boss. This is a huge step in the right direction for our country.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Social Reforms

From: Fenton, Samuel. The National Temperance Offering, and Sons and Daughters of Temperance Gift. New York: R. VanDien, 1850. 

     The Sons of Temperance was a brotherhood of men who supported the temperance movement during the early 19th century. The three main goals of the brotherhood were to protect its men from the evils of intemperance, help provide care for the men when they get sick, and improve their characters. Most of the member did not want to be known so their lists were kept hidden and in most places even the meetings themselves were a secret. The artist behind this image would have wanted to show people how bad alcohol as and the affect it had on families. Due to the author's bias, there may be some exaggeration on the actions of the father while he is drunk, but it is still a reliable source. 
     Overall, the massage the engraving is trying to end is clear: the excessive drinking of alcohol is effecting the family life in a negative way. The father comes home and beats his children or wife for no reason. This led to high tension and lots of fear during this time period. While this image does an excellent job of depicting the effect of alcohol on families, it does not show how it effected life outside of the home. I.E. people's jobs and the economy.  
     If you look closely at the picture, you will notice that the family is cowering in fear of the father. It appears as though the mother is trying to protect one of the children while the eldest daughter takes the largest beating. Her clothes are torn and the rest of the house is destroyed. One thing I thought was interesting was that the artist made it so that the father was beating the girl with the alcohol bottle. I think that this symbolizes that it isn't really the father's fault, but the alcohol's. This would really help to get the message about temperance out to the public. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another Brick in the Wall

Recently in History, we discussed Latin American revolutions during the early 19th century and how they were impacted by race. The essential question for this lesson was: Why is it essential to acknowledge human values regardless of race? How are the events in the Latin American Revolutions evidence of this social imperative? These questions were important to think about a we studied the revolutions because at a first glance, the revolution had nothing to do with race, but with the government ruling people. After learning the background information, it is easy to recognize that government was ruling people and assigning them lifestyles based on the race of their parents. This wasn't a very fair way to tell people how they could live so the revolutionaries did something about it.

Some similarities between the three revolutions that my group noticed was that they were all against the colonizing European countries. The Mexican and Grand Columbian were both against Spain. Not only where they all against similar governments, they all happened in the same time period: between 1810 and 1830. The final and most important similarity between these was that in terms of class it was often the lower classes fighting against the upper classes for more equal rights. While they were similar, there were also some differences. For one, the Mexican and Gran Columbian revolutions were against Spain while the Brazilian revolution was against Portugal. Also, there was a lot more violence in the Mexico and Gran Columbian revolutions than in the Brazilian.  

As mentioned in the previous paragraph one of the major common threads through each of these revolutions was that the lower classes were fighting the upper classes. Back in the time of these colonies, your social class was determined by the race of your parents. Even today there are still some decisions that seem to be based on race. I feel as though we still use people's race to judge them and sometimes we use it as a reason to spark change. For example, with the Treyvon Martin case everyone was upset in the court's ruling because they felt it was unfair because he was black. They used it as an excuse to have rallies and say the case wasn't handled correctly when it really was. If it had been a white kid who got shot that night the court's ruling wouldn't have changed, but there wouldn't have been as many protests or controversy about it. Especially these days, race is a touchy subject. It is one not addressed as much as it should be in a classroom because it can be seen as offensive or biased in some people's eyes. This avoidance definitely affects our society today in a negative way. There are a lot of controversies and debated about the effect race has on our society and when all of the examples are explained this proves very true all over the world.

Here is the timeline my group made about the revolution in Gran Columbia:
1810: Young Simon Bolivar is a an officer in Caracas 
April 19, 1810: Bolivar is a part of a conspiracy that expelled the governor of Venezuela and took control 
July 1811: National Assembly declares Venezuela's independence 
July 1812: the Spanish authorities rally, recover military initiative and regain control of the entire providence. Bolivar fled and wrote the Manifestos de Cartagena, a powerful political pamphlet addressed to the people of New Granada. 
1813: Bolivar is the head if an army of liberation and he returns to to Venezuela where he wins six successive engagements against Spanish forces. On August 6, 1813 he entered Caracas where he took political control with dictatorial powers 
July 1814: he lost Caracas, so he marches to Bogota which he succeeds in recapturing from the Spanish; makes it the new capital city, but soon the Spanish recover it again 
End of 1817: he is back in Venezuela building an army in the region of Orinoco river 
1819: Bolivars small force of 2500 men, crosses the Orinoco and crossed the mountains during which many of the rebel band died 
August 7, 1819: the Spanish army surrenders during an engagement at Boyaca, three days late her enters Bogota 
December 17, 1819: the Republican de Columbia is proclaimed covers the entire region of modern day Colombia Ecuador and Venezeula. 
24 July 1821: in Venezeula won a battle that yields him to his native city of Caracas 
May 24 1822: bolivars favorite general, Antonio Jose de sucre, won a victory at pic hunch as d prongs the patriots into Quito 
1830: Bolivar ruled until May of 1830 when he resigns and intends to retire in Europe, but dies along his journey. Before he died he found out that Ecuador and Venezuela seceded formally from Gran Columbia