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'