Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Native Courage from the West

In class we learned about westward expansion in America and its impact on Native Americans and buffalo soldiers. We discussed if the impact of federal policy matched the intent of the American government.
Line of buffalo soldiers
Buffalo soldiers were African-Americans who started out in the Union army and continued on in the U.S. army as "colored troops". The army would provide food and shelter for the soldiers with steady jobs that allowed them to leave the south. These soldiers would often fight Native American tribes that were resisting the advancements of the government. They also held a significant role in the Indian wars. Many soldiers won medals of honor for fighting in the Indian wars, which showed that they were given more respect with their jobs being of higher social status and importance. Along with fighting, the buffalo soldiers would help the U.S. by traveling and mapping unknown territory and creating a path for immigrants to move west.
Many Native American tribes occupying the west faced numerous challenges from the U.S. government. There was a group called the Sioux who lived in the Great Plains in the center of America. The major Sioux tribes were the Dakota, Lakota, and the Nakota. In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson enacted the policy of Indian removal which made the tribes in the south move west of the Mississippi river. The transcontinental railroad allowed many Americans to flood into the plains in the west after the civil war and in the 1840s the gold rush in California brought even more. Even though the Second Treaty of Fort Laramie had promised possession of the western Dakota Territory to the Native Americans, western immigrants invaded because gold was discovered there. Soon, the government tried to force the Native American tribes to designated reservations to make sure they wouldn't get in their way, but many tribes refused or did not get the message. This led to the Battle of Little Bighorn between the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians and the United States. The Sioux and Cheyenne fought hard and defeated the U.S. troops. However, this caused even more troops to be sent to the area to suppress the Native Americans. Eventually the tension between the tribes and the U.S. troops caused the Wounded Knee Massacre, which killed more than 150 Sioux. This basically ended the resistance of the Native American tribes against the U.S.
I do not think that the impact matched the intent of the American government. This is mainly true for the Native American tribes. They believed that they would be helping the Native Americans with many of their policies. By forcing them into reservations, the government thought they would be protecting them by giving them their own land away from the western settlers so it wouldn't cause conflict and fighting. In reality it was not fair for the tribes seeing as they already had their own land and it was the U.S. troops who were the ones invading and causing trouble. Many immigrants were moving westward for the gold so they were just thinking about themselves when they were trying to "help" the Native American tribes by controlling them. The buffalo soldiers, however, were given respect and the government benefited from their service.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Monopoly: Not Just a Board Game

John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie are two business icons from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In class we have been learning about their impacts on American economy and business. We were discussing whether the impacts were positive or negative and in my opinion, while they were alive and in business their impact was negative but their influence in modern times is positive.

Rockefeller and Carnegie became very wealthy using many strategies to work their way to the top of the economy and gain monopolies over multiple industries. Rockefeller had a prominent role in the oil industry and was able to buy up most oil companies that weren't doing well after the war. He used horizontal integration, which is when a company buys out competitors that have similar production, by lowering prices until competitors couldn't match his. This helped him create his monopolies. Carnegie was prominent in steel manufacturing and was able to produce higher quality steel with lower prices. He developed his monopoly by using vertical integration. This is when a company controls other companies with different stages of production that would normally be separately run. This way he could make profit off of each stage of production without having to giving money to other companies to supply him. These were negative because monopolies created a very uneven balance of power and will often be fueled by greed. In order to prevent uprisings and keep the country working together and happy, power should be distributed more equally. Rockefeller and Carnegie were taking opportunites away from other people to succeed and acquiring an unfair amount of power for themselves, even if they may have had good intentions.
"The Vision of Rockefeller" showing Rockefeller's
company as an octopus gaining monopolies over different industries

Rockefeller and Carnegie's influence on modern business is significant and more positive. They introduced many useful strategies in business that can help people succeed. The reason this is not negative and will not result with the same uneven balance of power is that people saw that it was not fair and now there are ways of preventing it from happening. Back then the government was in laissez-faire capitalism, which means that they would not control the economy and would leave it to the big businesses, allowing monopolies to occur. Now the government has more control over it. Their monopolies showed people that it should not happen again so now a more equal balance of power is protected more.  People will be able to use their business strategies without gaining too much control. Rockefeller and Carnegie's actions at the time may have been negative but they had a positive effect on business today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Power Above vs. Passion Below

In class we discussed who 'gave' freedom to slaves. If it was from above, it means the people with more power of higher classes in society who caused their freedom. If it was from below, it means the slaves themselves took action and were able to overpower those above them and gain freedom. First, we split into groups to analyze various documents. Among them were an open letter to Horace Greeley, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclomation, the second inaugural address. Each group had to figure out if it was freedom from above or below. After all of the groups shared, we each made diagrams to show how each document answered if freedom was from above or below.
The documents written by Abraham Lincoln showed freedom coming from above. His main goal during the war was to save the Union, which involved freeing slaves. This is evident in the letter he wrote to Horace Greeley. Lincoln of course still believed the emancipation of the slaves had to be done because all men are created equal. In the Emancipation Proclomation, he freed the slaves in the rebellion states and saw it as an act of justice. There were two more documents that showed freedom coming from below. Document X was a letter from a Union general who had taken over an abandoned town. The town had been taken over by fugitive slaves. This shows that the slaves took action for their own freedom and gained control over higher classes. Document Y was a picture showing slaves of a man named Jefferson Davis that left and went to a bayou where Union soldiers were. Just like the other document, this shows the slaves fighting against the higher powers to gain freedom for themselves. 

I think that freedom from the slaves mainly came from above. The majority of the documents showed this. Even though action taken by slaves did contribute, people of higher classes would be able to make more change since they had more power and authority. There are still situations going on today that are causing more people with less power to speak up. For example, the protesting in Baltimore and many other places in America shows people from 'below' fighting to get the attention of the authority to show them we need a change. They are done waiting for the people from 'above' to recognize that there are still numerous issues with how people are treated and how they are using their power. It just goes to show that society hasn't really advanced as much as people thought it had. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Hunt Through the Civil War

In this lesson, we learned about the individual battles in the civil war. We created a scavenger hunt with each stop being a different battle in chronological order. Every person picked a battle, with some partnerships, and made Google docs for them. Everyone started at different points and as we all got to them we had to scan a QR code to access the doc. We included a picture, general information about the battle, and some details about why the victor, either the Union or Confederacy, won. This required us to do research on our chosen battle. I chose the last battle which was called the Appomattox Campaign. After the scavenger hunt, we used the information we collected to determine which side dominated in each of the three theaters, east, west, and naval. We all shared our thoughts about it on a website called padlet. 
Map showing territories and movement of troops during battles of Civil War

On the padlet we determined that the union dominated in the naval theater. They were more supplied with ships than the Confederacy. They were also receiving more reinforcements and were able to have a stronger army that could last longer in battle, as shown in the surrender of Fort Donelson. The Union army overpowered the Confederacy and used a strategy to surround their troops and force them to surrender. Also, at Fort Henry the Unionwon because they had more ships that were stronger in battle. The Union also dominated in the western theater for most of the same reasons. They were more supplied than the Confederacy so they were able to be more prepared for the battles. The Union also had a larger population in the west than the Confederacy. At the Battle of Shiloh, the Union was able to win because they outnumbered the Confederate troops. Concerning the eastern theater, the Confederacy had dominated at the beginning of the war, but the Union started to dominate in the second half of it. This was mainly due to the Union's lack of strong leadership in the first half of the war. At the Battle of Bull Run, the Union troops were not as prepared and they were slow to positioning. This caused the Confederacy to win. The leader of the Union troops at the beginning disagreed with Lincoln about their strategy. Once Ulysses S. Grant became the leader, the Union began to dominate. 

This is our class's padlet:

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Country Divided

In class we created educreation videos about the election of 1860. Educreations allows you to have a slideshow of pictures and record your voice over them. We used pictures of various items like paintings and newspapers to provide visual for our narration of the events. The main question we were aiming to answer was if the results of election of 1860 was representative of the deep divisions over slavery. All of the candidates for the election had different views on slavery and how to deal with it. The most well known of them was Abraham Lincoln who was against slavery. Lincoln ended up winning the election with the majority of his votes being from the northern states. His win caused many more states in the south to seceed from the Union. This led to the start of the fighting. The US was divided because of views on slavery.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Stats and Strategies of the Civil War

We created infographics about the civil war and the advantages and statistics of the Union and the confederacy. I used to present my information. For most of the information, it was comparisons between the north and south so I mostly used graphs that showed the two numbers next to each each other. For the slave population and number of industrial workers it was a size comparison graph to show how much bigger the slave population was in the south and that there were more industrial workers in the north. I used a bar graph to show the differences in the infrastructure of both regions such as railroads and manufacturing. These differences showed the strengths and advantages each could have over the other. I summarized the advantages at the end using the data presented before. Using helped me to see these differences clearly and what the statistics meant about the advantages for the north and south. It also helped me see what contributed to the outcomes of the war. I could see that the north was in better shape with its government and economy. Also, the motivations for fighting for the north and south were clearer after seeing the conditions they were in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adressing the Elephant in the Nation

My timeline showing events in 1850s

Short descriptions of each event 
We have been learning about the "elephant in the room" during the 1800s. It was the issue of slavery in the U.S. It was a very prominent focus of dispute and everyody knew that, yet it wasn't directly talked about as the cause for the problems. There were sharp divisions between pro-slavery and anti-slavery territories and there was long debate between the two. Both groups had the goal to eventually take over the entire U.S. and would fight to spread the beliefs they thought to be right. There were many events that happened within the 1850s that showed this fight. The 1850s had a mixture of events in favor of slavery and against slavery. To show each event, we created timelines. They have small descriptions for each event and mine had pictures for about half of them. The way we arranged it was if the event was good for anti slavery people, it was put above the line and if it was the opposite it was put below.
Map showing Missouri Compromise territories 
All of the events on the timeline can show how slavery was the elephant in the room during this time. One of the five parts of the compromise of 1850 was the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act which said that everybody was required to assist in the search and capture of fugitive slaves to bring them back to their masters. This was even required in the free states and said that the slaves were still technically slaves there. This meant that there basically wasn't any free states since they would still be captured and brought back no matter where they were. This act was subtly trying to get rid of any free states and make the northern states pro slavery. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise established that the
territories north of the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitiude line would be free states in the future. However, the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 made the compromise irrelevant because it opened up the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to anybody who could settle it. The compromise had said they would be free states in the future but this allowed for anybody to settle in some of the territory and determine the stance on slavery based on popular soveriegnety. So it was open for pro slavery people to settle and make it a slave state. This caused a big rush to the territories so people could claim it for their own views. In the Dred Scott Decision in 1857, an enslaves man named Dred Scott filed a suit against his owner to free him and his wife saying that they once lived in anti slavery states so they shouldn't be considered slaves anymore. Dred lost the case and as a way of dismissing it the Supreme Court ruled that he "could not be a citizen of the state of Missouri, within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, and, consequently, was not entitled to sue in its courts." Also, as a result they ruled that slaves could not get freedom by living in a free state. This basically got rid of the idea of free states. The supreme court is trying to back up their rulings with the constitution and not directly adressing the pro slavery views that caused their decision to be made.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slavery that Spread like a Virus

Slavery in 1860
Slavery in 1790
In class we studied how slavery became economically in America in the 19th century. We used excerpts from the Founders' constitution and many maps and graphs to show the progression of slavery in America. The maps and graphs showed the drastic increase in cotton production in the south along with an increase in slave population, even though many people thought slavery was declining. The pictures are from the website,, showing the spreading of slavery from 1790 to 1860.  The north used free laborers and the south used slave labor. This was the major production of the south and was sort of taken over by the southern states. They did not show the northern states so there was sort of a separation between the north and the south. The south working together with cotton production. Slavery was needed a lot in the south whereas in the north it was outlawed. The northern states also relied on cotton production, though, with industrialization. They needed the cotton factories to supply jobs and money for people. Even though northerners didn't see slavery, they still depended on it for the success of their cotton industry.
Having a system of slavery based solely on race takes away the dignity of those enslaved. It reduces them to be seen as objects to their owners instead of individual people just like them. They were just used for labor and treated terribly. Their personalities and characteristics are just thrown aside as if they're non-existent. The former lives of the captured people suddenly mean nothing to the owners. This system bases people's positions on their race and not on how hard working people are or how skilled they are. They made the assumption that characteristics were only determined by somebody's race. The dignity of the slaves was completely lost. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Continuous Struggle of Gender

In the mid-19th century, women were given little rights and high expectations for their conduct around others. There were many laws that restricted women from doing things that men were allowed to do such as vote and simply sign a contract. There were many more actions that were considered socially wrong. Women could not speak in public in front of people because it would be seen as them trying to get attention from men and that’s the last thing the men in charge  wanted. There were many women who sought to change the way they were treated in society and got together for the Seneca Falls Convention. During this long meeting, they discussed women’s rights and roles in society and eventually composed the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. In this document, it says “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.” It then proceeds to show all that men had been doing to oppress women and deny them the rights they deserved. These were the actions that they wanted to change and get rid of. After that, there is a long list of resolutions in favor of equality such as having the same amount of moral conduct expected of men that had always been expected of women. There were many reactions to this document after it was made public. It was shocking to a lot of people. Women back then weren’t known to speak out for their rights, so when such a big convention was put together with prominent female speakers it was the focus of many people.  Some newspapers reacted in favor and some against. There were also those such as the Oneida Whig which were unsure that it would have much success and that these women should rethink what they are doing. Overall, the writers found it to be an interesting occurrence that was very unexpected.
In modern times, it is much less shocking to people when women speak out against oppression and for gender equality. You will see women protesting in many places and delivering powerful speeches all over the news. We have been given more of a voice now, yet there is still great debate over rights. There are still those people that believe in strict gender roles and try to put women down with silly expectations. The struggle between genders is still prominent. To show that women are still thought of and treated differently than men when we shouldn’t be, the company Pantene made a commercial to address the unfair labels put on women:

In this commercial women are compared to men in the exact same circumstances and it shows how people will label both genders. One pair that can still relate to treatment of women in the 19th century is when the man is thought of as smooth for having confidence and dressing nice but the woman is seen as a show-off. This shows that with many people there is still the thought that women are always trying to attract men and shouldn’t be showing any skin or simply have pride in her look. Also, a very powerful one is when the man in charge is seen as the boss and someone to look up to and follow after, but the woman is bossy. This can hold a lot of women back because the moment they try to speak up and be a leader for something they believe in, they are shut down and disliked. A lot of people have formed the ridiculous habit of dismissing a woman simply because they think women are weak and cannot handle positions of power, when they should be listening to her words and the emotions behind them. Women can handle leadership just as well as men. These days, some people will still try to silence a woman that speaks out, but not as drastically as in the 19th century. Women have come a long way, and some day people will realize no gender is greater than the other.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Power of the Mind

"Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men - the balance - wheel of the social machinery. I do not here mean that it so elevates the moral nature as to make men disdain and abhor the oppression of their fellow men. This idea pertains to another of its attributes. But I mean that it gives each man the independence and the means, by which he can resist the selfishness of other men.

It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility towards the rich; it prevents being poor. Agrarianism is the revenge of poverty against wealth. The wanton destruction of the property of others - the burning of hay-ricks and corn-ricks, the demolition of machinery, because it supersedes hand-labor, the sprinkling of vitriol on rich dresses - is only agrarianism run mad. Education prevents both the revenge and the madness. On the other hand, a fellow feeling for one's class or caste is the common instinct of hearts not wholly sunk in selfish regards for person, or for family. The spread of education, by enlarging the cultivated class or caste, will open a wider area over which the social feelings will expand."
-Horace Mann

Horace Mann was a big advocate for reform in public education in the mid-19th century. This is an excerpt from Twelfth Annual Report to the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. He really believed in the importance of education for all people and the positive impact it could have on society as a whole. Horace would often travel to many different schools to see the quality they were in and the changes that needed to be made to improve them. He had many writings advocating for better education as a right for everyone and to show people it should be an integral part of your life. In the 1800s, public education was poor quality in many places. It was not accesible to all people. The education reform movement called for a change to this and other aspects to public education. They believed that public schools should not be associated with any particular religion and paid for by local taxes. Also, teachers were to be well trained so as to provide students with the proper educations they needed. This document shows the reasons behind the main idea of this movement which was to provide all people with an education. People will live better lives if they are able to understand concepts that they often face throughotu their lives. However, it doesn't quite show the other beliefs the movement was fighting for. Horace is saying that education will help people to be more understanding of others' lives and how to work with each other to live peacefully and successfully. Education will help somebody get far in life and earn money by helping to advance society in a way that will benefit others. 

Mann, Horace. Twelfth Annual Report to the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. 1846. Intellectual Takeout. January 15, 2015