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.