Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Did Andrew Jackson Care About Everyone?

Andrew Jackson Overview + Indian Removal Act

For three days, we learned about the life and career of Andrew Jackson. Jackson was elected for President of the US in 1829. He was elected through a democratic process but concentrated most power in the executives. The essential question we had to figure out was; Is Andrew Jackson's long-standing reputation as "the people's president" deserved?. Jackson was involved in the Bank War, The Indian Removal Act, and the Spoils System. My group focused on the Indian Removal Act. Jackson wanted to remove the Indians to the west, so him and the settlers had more land. About 100,000 Eastern Indians were moved off of their homeland to make room for white settlers. Jackson wants Indian Tribes to move out west, he says each tribe will have their own land if they leave, and if they choose to stay they have to abide by the laws set for Americans. Indians wanted to stay because the territory Jackson provided was unknown and there weren't enough resources for them to support themselves. All of this information, found here, made it clear to my group that Jackson was the people's president to his own fellow Americans, but not to the Indians. He cared a lot for his own people, but didn't seem to pay much attention to what the original Indian tribes wanted and needed. To help teach this to the class, we made the following Google Presentation on Jackson's Indian Removal Act, and the effect it had.

Bank War & Spoils System

In terms of the Bank War and Spoils System, the essential question seemed to be answered in similar ways. First, the Bank War. Jackson tried to re-establish or eliminate the bank so that the lower classes have more say on loans. He only supported the lower classes for votes, he wanted to get rid of stock holders. Because of this, Jackson thinks he is indeed the people's president, just because he is looking out for the middle and low class economic groups & feels the bank has only supported upper class and corporations. The issue with all of this is that the upper class is filled with people, too. Andrew Jackson wants to be seen as the nice guy supporting lower classes, yet seems to be going against the upper class. This leaves the essential question almost up to opinion, and whether or not one thinks that he truly cared about all his people. 
The Spoils System is when a president promises people jobs if they vote for him. Jackson 'spoiled' those who voted for him. The qualification for getting a job was loyalty rather than intelligence. The ironic part about all of this was he didn't think government officials should be in position too long, yet was attempting extend his run. He ended up giving about 10% of jobs to people. This also answers the essential question in a weird way. Sure, Jackson cared about the general population of the U.S., but did he care about those who didn't vote for him or support his beliefs? Also, was his way of getting votes necessarily a positive strategy? For these reasons, I believe the Spoils System proved Jackson was not exactly a people's president, unless you voted for him. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Democracy in the Early 1800s

Over the last 3 days, my group and I analyzed various resources to find out the answer to the essential questions; How should we define democracy? How democratic was the United States in the early 1800s?  First, we defined democracy as 'a system of government in which the whole population or all the eligible members of a state elect representatives'. Basically, to keep it short, the power is vested in the people and they can make their own decisions on who they want running their nation. To show how non democratic the US was in the early 1800s, we made a poster and used the resources on Edline to help answer the question. The overall point is that the US was not very democratic and some didn't even know the true meaning of what it meant to be a democrat.

A clearer view of the images:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Does Skin Color Matter?

Source: http://goo.gl/gQC8FS

Latin American Revolutions Overview

Race should never be a problem, but it is. A person's race was and still is viewed as a big deal by many people. Even though I disagree with those who always make their decisions based on what race someone is, I have to acknowledge the fact that race played a big role in history. But today, we are here to find out; why is it essential to acknowledge human value regardless of race? We are going to
take the events of the Latin American Revolutions and use them as evidence of this social imperative. To start out the unit on Latin American Revolutions, we looked at a very essential map that shows when present-day Latin American countries received independence from colonial rule. The map can be seen below. First, let's learn about the different races in the population on Latin America in 1800. The largest percent of the population was made up of Indians, making up of about 50% of the population. These were people who lived in Latin America before the Spanish arrived. Next, the Creoles, who made up about 23% of the population. They were people of pure Spanish blood who were born in America. They owned the largest and richest mines and haciendas. However, they did not hold that many high-ranking jobs in government, the church, or trade. The African slaves, considered property, made up 11% of the population. Together, Mulattoes and Free Blacks made up about 8% of the population. Mulattoes were mixed people with African and Spanish blood. Mestizos, people of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage, mostly small farmers and shopkeepers, made up about 7% of the total population. Lastly, Peninsulares. They were born in Spain and migrated to the colonies. They made up less than 1% of the population, and they worked in high-ranking jobs in the government, military, and church. The highest social class was Peninsulares, then Creoles, Mestizos, Mulattoes, Indians, and African slaves in the lowest level. Now that we know about the people that made up the colonies, let's take a look at the events of the Revolutions.

This map represents when each country in Latin America gained independence.
Source: http://goo.gl/gQC8FS
This photo shows what the child of different race parents would be called. As you can see, every race was considered.
Source: http://goo.gl/gQC8FS

Brazillian Revolution Timeline

  • 1789: People who worked under Captain Minas Gerais revolted & protested for the imperial control and the imposition of new taxes.
  • 1793: Jose de Silva Xavier (Toothpuller) was hanged because he fought for Brazillian independence.
  • 1807 and 1808: Napoleon invades Portugal and Spain. Portuguese royalty fled to Rio de Janeiro. 
  • 1808: Spanish king Ferdinand VII is deposed (removed from office) and imprisoned.
  • 1815: King John VI of Portugal made Brazil a kingdom, placing it on equal footing with Portugal
  • 1820: Portuguese army started a revolution to get a constitutional government. John VI would be the constitutional monarch, but he had to return to Portugal
  • 1821: John VI leaves Brazil for Portugal reluctantly. His 23 year old son Pedro stayed in Brazil as the prince regent.
  • 1822: On September 7th, Pedro declares Brazil's independence. Pedro becomes Pedro the First, the emperor.
  • 1824: Pedro writes a constitution
  • 1825: Portugal recognizes Brazil's independence 
  • 1827: Brazil loses against Argentinians 
  • 1831: Pedro abdicates the throne and returns to Portugal

Brazil, Gran Colombia, and Mexico's Revolutions

My group read about Brazil's Revolution in this document for the activity. The timeline above is what we created using information from the document. After making this using the Brazil document, we shared our timeline with classmates from other country groups. (Mexico and Gran Colombia). We had to figure out what two things were similar between all three revolutions, and two things that were different. The two commonalities they shared was that all of the revolutions had success in gaining independence, and all countries broke apart from their ruling countries. Brazil gained independence from Portugal, Gran Colombia from Spain, and on August 24, 1821, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O'Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which approved a plan to make Mexico an independent constitutional monarchy. Race was an issue in all three revolutions and affected the events. Gran Colombia Revolution leader Simón Bolívar was born Venezuelan, so he was born in the new world. He wanted to lead an army against the minority of Peninsulares. The soldiers in his army were most likely Creole or in a lower class. In Brazil, the elites in the captaincy of Minas Gerais revolted against the imperial taxes, so they were possibly Creoles, and they revolted against the Peninsulares from Europe. Mexico's Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a catholic priest, so he was also most likely a Creole. He and a group of Mestizos, people with white and Indian parents, and peasants revolted against the Peninsulares. As you can see, race had a big impact on the Revolutions and nobody really liked the high class Peninsulares. 

Current Issues with Race?

Race is still a bigger issue today than it should be. Everyday, stories are being reported on about whether or not race was an issue with a certain event. The most recent event is the verdict on the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown on August 9th. The police officer that shot and killed Brown, Darren Wilson, was found not guilty last night. Many riots broke out, because Brown was unarmed. Since he is African American, a lot of people believe he was shot just because of his race. Whether that is true or not, it shouldn't even be something we have to worry about in this day and age. It is kind of depressing that kids in 2014 are growing up still with racism in their lives and on their TVs & computer screens. They shouldn't have to learn that some people don't accept others because of their skin color. It is very important to consider the issue of race because we need to put an end to it. A story from April of this year was about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling getting banned for life for saying racial comments towards blacks on recording. Race is still an issue in the U.S. today and should be paid attention to by people of all ages and put to an end. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Should We Remember Toussaint Louverture? (DBQ)

What makes a good leader? Political skill, toughness, honesty? President Lincoln showed all of these qualities and more, but it has been almost 150 years since he ended his term. Toussaint Louverture is definitely a name to remember when thinking about great leaders that had a big impact on their territories forever. Louverture worked as a young slave until the French Revolution occurred. He worked behind the scenes to encourage slaves to fight to fight for their freedom. By 1793, he commanded a rebel army against French forces on the island of Hispaniola. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the army in Saint Domingue (now called Haiti) in 1794 once the revolutionary government in France abolished all slavery in the French colonies. However, Napoleon Bonaparte had risen to power in France and was planning to reinstate, or bring back, slavery. Toussaint and Napoleon fought with their troops and Toussaint was captured and taken to France. While Toussaint was in jail, Napoleon pulled his suffering troops out of Saint Domingue and gave up the fight. Toussaint was dying of pneumonia in a French jail and never knew that Haiti became an independent nation on January 1st, 1804. The question is, how should we remember Toussaint Louverture? Toussaint Louverture should be remembered as a liberator of slaves, a military commander, and the ruler of Saint Domingue. His work as a liberator of slaves is most important because he was always fighting against reinstating slavery & had one of the most successful slave revolts in history.
First off, Toussaint Louverture should be most remembered as a liberator of slaves. To start off, he served as a doctor to troops and as a commander of a detachment of soldiers in the 1791 slave revolt (Doc A). This slave revolt started the Haitian Revolution, and it really proves how much Toussaint cared for the slaves. He later stopped his troops from their revolt against France, because Robespierre abolished slavery. Toussaint later defeats the British in 1798 and becomes ruler of Saint Domingue. He showed a lot of proof of caring for slaves and making sure slavery was not reinstated. In 1797 in his letter to the French Directory, Toussaint explains that “They bore their chains when they knew no condition of life better than that of slavery”(Doc B). He also even threatens the Directory, saying “we have known how to confront danger to our liberty, and we will know how to confront death to preserve it”(Doc B). This shows that him and his troops are willing to fight to the death if it means slavery will not return. The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801 further proves Louverture is a very important liberator of slaves. It states in article 3 that “there cannot exist slaves in this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born, live and die free and French”(Doc C). This article is very important, yet simple and to the point. It clearly states slavery will never exist in Saint Domingue. These are the many reasons we should remember Louverture as a liberator of slaves.
Another way to remember Toussaint Louverture in the future is as a military commander. As stated before, Toussaint served as a doctor to troops in 1791. He truly cared about their health and well-being. Also, Toussaint had a big impact and received mixed feedback on his work as a military commander. Hyacinthe Moyse, Toussaint’s adopted nephew, thought Toussaint was wrong to support plantation farming, so he decided to organize a rebellion. Moyse did not trust slave because of his “draconian [cruel] labor policy and gathering suspicion of his friendliness with the white planter class”(Doc E). On October 29th, 1801, the revolt broke out on the Northern Plain. Toussaint was so enraged that he ordered certain men to shoot themselves! He then ordered Moyse’s arrest and had him confined in the fort of Port de Paix (Doc E). These actions and decisions made it very clear Toussaint was a strong force and military leader, whether people liked him or not. Speaking of liking him or not, historian William Wells Brown wrote in his book that Toussaint had “superior knowledge of the character of his race, his humanity, generosity, and courage had gained the confidence of all whom he had under his command”(Doc F). Also, Toussaint made a good military decision when the French were coming to the port city of Samana to enslave people. Him and his generals burned down the cities that would have resources for the enemy, and fled to mountains so it became harder to fight. This was a good decision and deserves to be noted. Toussaint Louverture is a strong military commander and should be remembered as that, also.
Lastly, Toussaint Louverture should be remembered as the Ruler of Saint Domingue. Louverture was an exceptional leader, yet not everybody was in love with him and his ways of ruling. In Article 28 of the Saint Domingue Constitution, it states that “he is entrusted the direction thereof for the remainder of his glorious life”(Doc C). This proves that he was something special, if they stated that he would be Governor of Saint Domingue for life. There are advantages and disadvantages of this happening. The ruling could develop into a dictatorship, and people would have no say. An advantage is that the people trust him. The citizens had known Toussaint for a while at that point, so they knew they could trust him to start up Saint Domingue. They needed a strong leader to start out. Louverture really looked out for the people. There is also evidence of Toussaint being a strict ruler. It was stated in his proclamation that “any individual...tending to incite sedition [actions against the authority of the nation] shall be brought before a court martial”(Doc D). Another consequence he made for breaking the rules was “any manager or driver of a plantation upon which a foreign cultivator [field worker from another plantation] shall have taken refuge shall denounce him to the captain or commander of the section within 24 hours under penalty of one week in prison”(Doc D). This is saying that if a plantation manager did not report a runaway worker in 24 hours, they would get arrested. It is clear that Toussaint had strict rules, but at least he was trusted by his people, which is why remembering him as a leader of Saint Domingue is very important.
Although Toussaint Louverture accomplished a lot in his career, he should be most remembered as a liberator of slaves. Louverture was a great leader and military commander, but put the most time and effort into making sure nobody would get enslaved again. He made sure to tell the Directory that him and his troops would fight to the death if it meant slavery would not be reinstated. He did a lot to prove him and his work should be respected, and that is why we should remember Toussaint Louverture as a liberator of slaves.

Document A: Created from various sources.
Document B: Toussaint Louverture “Letter to the French Directory, November 1797.”
Document C: The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801. Signed by Toussaint Louverture in July 1801.
Document D: Toussaint Louverture, “Proclamation, 25 November 1801.”
Document E: Madison Smartt Bell, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, 2007.
Document F: William Wells Brown, “A Description of Toussaint Louverture,” from The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, 2nd edition, 1863. Engraving of Toussaint Louverture, 1802.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Were All Revolutions Failures?

The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848

In class, we started to learn about the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848: The Decembrist Revolt, French Revolution of 1830, French Revolution of 1848, the Frankfurt Assembly, and the Hungarian Revolution. To help guide us, we were given the essential question, the question we had to figure out by the end of the lesson using what we learned. Were the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 really failures as many historians have concluded? We started out by learning a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, a liberal French political thinker and historian. He said "We are sleeping on a volcano. Do you not see that the Earth trembles anew? A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon." We looked at a map portraying the Revolutions, seen below, and were asked how the map illustrated the quote said by de Tocqueville. The map symbolizes a volcano because peoples' rights have been oppressed, and them being unhappy represents the energy beneath the volcano, before exploding. At first, in 1830, there were only a couple revolutions. By 1848, they were much more widely spread throughout the south, and not just the north. The 'wind' of revolution, referring to the quote, means that the idea of revolting spreads, as well as the revolutions themselves. Once these ideas spread, the revolutions become harder and harder to shut down. And the 'volcano' explodes in 1848. My group and I then made a scale of measuring the success/failure of a social/political revolution. We showed that a complete failure would result in monarchs gaining more power and revolutionaries getting killed. Also, no goals getting reached. A complete success would result in no monarchy, a completely fulfilled goal, and no one killed in the Revolution. After doing this, we split into groups and got down to analyzing documents from the different Revolutions.

Map representing the revolution and repressions spreading.
Source: http://goo.gl/cX3R4L

The French Revolution of 1848

My group was assigned the French Revolution of 1848. We were given primary source documents as well as a summary of this Revolution to help us get started. First off, we needed to know the goals, opponent(s), and outcome(s) of the Revolution, along with the reasons it was a success/failure. The goals of the Revolution varied. The middle-class liberals wanted moderate political reforms. The socialists wanted far-reaching social and economic change that would help hungry workers. The opponent was the French government. Why? They shut down the lower class citizens' jobs and numerous workshops. The other opponents were the upper/middle class citizens, because they received the jobs that were taken away from the lower class. There were two parts of this Revolution: February Days and June Days. The outcome of February Days was the government, under Louis Philippe, created more jobs for the poor. The June Days outcome involved the upper and middle classes winning over the government and shutting down the workshops. The working class still didn't have enough money, and Louis Philippe gives up his throne. The final outcome of the French Revolution of 1848 included the amount of Frenchmen able to vote going up from 200,000 to 9 million men. Louis Napoleon is voted president and rules during a time of rapid economic growth. He ends up making himself the emperor. Now, let's go through the reasons for success and failure for the Revolution. Overall, it was a very neutral outcome. The pros included; gaining the jobs they wanted (February Days outcome), more people getting to vote (resulting in people having more power and more of a say), and Louis Napoleon helping with France's economy. the failure is the fact that the government took jobs away and gave them to middle and upper class citizens. 
The primary sources helped us and our classmates answer the essential question as well. The first source, written by Alphonse de Lamartine, from the History of the Revolution of 1848, describes to us the streets of Paris after the troops were waiting overnight. This shows that the revolution was small, along with the following quote: "The people were not numerous in the streets; they seemed to allow the invisible spirit of revolution to fight for them, and that small band of obstinate combatants who were dying for them in the heart o Paris." Another primary source was very interesting and describes everything that was being thrown into the streets to build barricades for protection against the French army. This depicted a goal of the Revolution. After analyzing the primary sources, we made a survey online using Survey Monkey. Our classmates were given the document we used and the online survey, and they took it in class with our help. For the most part, the students understood the lesson as well as we did, as you can see in the screenshot below, showing a question everyone got right. Most of the class agreed with us in that the outcome was mostly neutral, or in between a success and neutral. 12 people voted for neutral, whereas 14 voted for neutral/success, (not a complete success).

A screenshot from our survey, showing that everyone in the class understood this question asking about who abdicated (gave up their throne).
Take our survey: http://svy.mk/1xgjJ0Z

Agree or Disagree?

To start off, I disagree with the historians. I do not think all of the Revolutions were complete failures, but some may have been. First off, the Decembrist Revolt. The Decembrist Revolt is considered a complete failure because no goals were accomplished. The people wanted Constantine in power rather than Tsar Alexander I, but Constantine refused to take the throne. After Alexander I died, Nicholas discovered he would be the next tsar rather than Constantine. All of this was not a good thing at all for the revolters, and that makes the Decembrist Revolt the only revolution we studied that was a complete failure. The French Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 both were either neutral or in between neutral and successful. Neither of them would ever be considered complete failures. The French Revolution of 1830 was interesting, because things were accomplished, but not completely. Louis Philippe, the new king, let more people vote, but only the wealthier citizens of France. Under his ruling, the upper bourgeoisie prospered, and the majority of the people were still unable to vote. This tells me there are pros and cons, just like the French Revolution of 1848. In this Revolution, the number of voters went from 200,000 to 9 million people, which was very positive and helpful, and Louis Napoleon helped with France's economy. However, jobs were taken away from some lower class citizens and given to the middle and upper classes. This all shows that no, not all the Revolutions were failures, even if there were some faulty parts of them.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reversing Napoleon's Changes

Congress of Vienna Overview

The essential question for the Congress of Vienna was what should people in power do when their power is threatened? Our first activity, the activator for the lesson, was to read a background essay on the Congress of Vienna. We had to analyze this essay by finding the general mood and nature of the Congress of Vienna, as well as finding the attendees from each country and the questions addressed by the Congress. First off, the general mood of the essay was pretty clear. The people in the Congress are wealthy, they grew up wealthy, and always got what they wanted. There were representatives from Austria, France, Prussia, Great Britain, and Russia. The representative from Austria was Prince Metternich, he was elegant, sophisticated, vain, and "excelled in the arts of seduction". From Prussia was King Frederick William III, and he brought one of the most educated and largest delegations to the meeting. Next, Viscount Castlereagh for Great Britain. He was an aloof and eccentric person, who had previously caused a scandal in London when, as a member of Parliament, he had hoped to end malicious political intrigues by challenging a rival cabinet minister to a duel. Representing Russia was Tsar Alexander. He was tall and blonde, and was a man of sudden impulse and excess. His sexual appetites were also insatiable. (We didn't need to know that). The end of the article wraps up by telling us that by the end of the historic gathering, the delegates accomplished what they had hoped to do – the treaty was signed on June 9, 1815.

A photo representation of the Congress of Vienna meeting.
Source: http://bit.ly/1tar7GK

Timeline of Congress of Vienna Events: 

September 1, 1814: Congress of Vienna covered
March of 1815: Napoleon returns to France and reaches Paris
June 8, 1815: Final act of the Congress of Vienna signed
June 18, 1815: Battle of Waterloo -- Napoleon's final defeat

Map of Napoleon's Empire in Europe while ruling
Source: http://bit.ly/1u0gEBn

Balance of Power

With Napoleon defeated, Metternich had to adjust the map of Europe, and had to come up with a solution that all the representatives from the Congress of Vienna could agree on. His final decision involved a Balance of Power. The decision was to bring French territory back to its boundaries as existed PRIOR to expansion. Basically, it reversed the change of Napoleon's conquests and created a Balance of Power between Russia, Austria, Prussia, Britain, and France. The land redistribution ensured a balance of power for the allies in the face of any later attempts at French expansion. Ultimately, Napoleon was viewed as the enemy rather than France as a whole, so they were part of the list of countries in the balance of power. Stolen artwork was to be returned and France did have to pay reparations to the Allies. Overall, the peace settlement was not terribly vindictive, and I believe Metternich & the Congress of Vienna made a good decision by balancing out power among countries, to get things to how they were before Napoleon. 

The map of Europe AFTER the Balance of Power, and reversing Napoleon's changes.
Source: http://bit.ly/1DTWN8f

Did They Make the Right Decision?

I do in fact think the Congress of Vienna made the right decision in using a Balance of Power among Russia, Austria, Prussia, Britain and France. I also agree with not viewing France as the enemy rather than Napoleon. Napoleon took over all these countries during his conquests and should be blamed if they are looking for someone to blame. I do think the powerful should be willing to sacrifice some of their power under certain circumstances. The Balance of Power was a good idea because it wasn't just one ruler ruling over all the countries. It was a way of using power with Allies. The powerful should always be looking out for their people, and should be up for some sacrifices every now and then. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Getting Competitive with Ideologies...

What are Ideologies?

Ideologya system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
In class, we were asked to define the following terms; liberal, conservative, and nationalism. I had no idea what a liberal was, or what nationalism was. I had the idea that conservative people liked old fashioned traditions. They like to save and spend money wisely. That was correct. The modern conception of a conservative is defined as "holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion". The modern conception of a liberal is defined as a person that is "open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values". These already seem total opposite to me. Finally, nationalism is described today as "patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts" and "advocacy of political independence for a particular country". All of these are ideologies. I keep saying these are the modern conceptions of these terms because the meaning has changed over the years. The essential question we had to end up figuring out was: What were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?  

Presentation - Conservatism

Conservatism (19th Century): A very traditional ideology that argued that time-tested traditions were the only solutions to social and political problems. They believed revolutions and the expanding of innovation and reforms were wrong and resulted in violence.
Using basically any app we wanted, each group in the class had to make a one minute presentation that explained the ideology we were assigned. There were 3 ideologies and 6 groups, so 2 groups got the same ideology. They would then go head to head and see which presentation won the class over. My group was assigned conservatism, and we decided to make our presentation on Educreations. You can watch our presentation on conservatism here.
This presentation represents conservatism because the scene opens with a king, his son, and a noble in the king's bedroom. The king is dying on his bed. He tells his son that he wants him to be the next great king. The noble in the background asks why they don't vote for a new king, rather than just passing it onto the next generation. The son explains that this strategy has always worked and is a tradition. This portrays conservatism because conservatives believed that time-tested traditions were the only solutions to social and political problems, and that constitutionalism led to a lot of chaos. They also believed, in the 19th century, that monarchy (a form of government with a ruler) worked, as well as aristocracy and church power. The next slide of the presentation shows the noble who made the suggestion getting beheaded for putting out the idea that what they were doing wasn't working. 

Liberalism & Nationalism

The ideology article on Edline and our classmates' performances helped me understand what liberalism and nationalism were described as in the 19th century. First, liberalism. We watched a video made by a group of classmates that did their presentation on liberalism. After watching this, I had a better understanding of what exactly liberalism was. At first, I noted that it was the complete opposite of conservatism. Liberalists did not like old traditions, supported new ways of ruling - based on merit, freedom and rights, advocated for middle class participation, yet not for women or the poor. The liberalists were not accepting of all social levels. Next, nationalism. A group made a funny animated video using M&M's talking. The M&M's kept talking about how different they all were - because they are all different colors. However, a Skittle then comes and says he will rule over them. The M&M's team up and realize they are all the same candy (representing when people are all from the same country) and defeat the foreign, weird Skittle king. Nationalists in the 19th century were people with similar beliefs in traditions, languages, and other things that make them the same, who decided to 'team up' and prevent foreign rulers. This representation with M&M's was funny and at the same time really let me understand what nationalism was. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Napoleon: Good or Bad Leader?

A photo of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
Source: http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/biographies/c_historians.html

Napoleon Bonaparte Overview

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15th, 1769 on the Mediterranean Island of Corsica. He was sent to a military academy at the age of nine. After graduating from this school in Paris, he became a second left tenant in the Artillery, and the French Revolution made him more prominent. Napoleon ended up conquering many different countries and gained a lot of military success. The countries he conquered included Italy, France, Belgium, Egypt, Austria, Australia, Spain, and Germany. In November 1799, Napoleon was part of a group that successfully overthrew the French Directory. After seizing political power in France, he crowned himself emperor in 1804. Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. His forces were defeated by the British and Prussians. He was exiled to a remote island called Elba, where he died at age 51 in 1821. Napoleon is thought of as amazing to some, but horrible to others. Today, we will discover what experts think about Bonaparte's historical career, and the impact he had on both France and the world.

A full overview on Napoleon's life.

Napoleon's Impact: Political, Economic, Social

Napoleon had a huge impact on France itself, and the world. He also had huge social, political and economic impacts that changed how people lived their lives. In terms of political issues, Napoleon had both a positive and negative impact, depending on who is being affected. The political impact was positive for poorer, lower class citizens. This is because he created meritocracy. Meritocracy made it possible to get a job without needing family connections. Also, serfdom was abolished. However, his impact was negative for the kings of the countries he took over. The king had to follow the Napoleonic Code and follow his rules, whether they liked it or not. His political impact was also negative for churches, because church political power was significantly reduced. Now, onto his economic impact. For the most part, it was positive. Napoleon established the Bank of France and balanced the budget, encouraged growth of industry, controlled prices so more people had access to higher quality items, and built canals to encourage trade. However, his impact was negative for Italy because he stole a lot of money and wealth from them. Onto the last category of social impact. Napoleon's social impact was positive. He created meritocracy, which eliminated the importance of titles and abolished serfdom nobility, which made it possible for more citizens to have right to property and access to education. All of this tells me that Napoleon had mostly positive impacts on the lower classes, whereas the nobility would probably prefer to not have him in power.

Madame de Staël vs. Marshal Michel Vey

Madame de Staël and Marshal Michel Vey had certain views on Napoleon. Very different views. We will start off by looking at what de Staël had to say about Napoleon as a ruler. She claims that he liked to "persuade men by force and by cunning", and he "considers all else to be stupidity or folly". This quote tells me right away that she clearly did not think of Napoleon as a good and smart ruler. She went on to say that his system included intruding daily upon France's liberty and Europe's independence. Her opinion made it clear that she was a noble, and she thinks Napoleon is evil. Nobility didn't benefit from Napoleon's ruling, so this is predictable for a noble to think of him like this. Marshal Michel Ney had a totally different opinion than de Staël. He says that Napoleon has the right to rule over "our beautiful country", referring to France. He goes on to say that Napoleon is an august emperor, meaning a respected/impressive ruler. This piece of information given to us tells us that Napoleon impacted Marshal Michel Ney in a good way, and he clearly likes Napoleon more. He was a soldier to Napoleon, and he realized while working how much of a great leader Napoleon was.

"While we do not hesitate to speak with proper severity of Napoleon's reckless course in 1813 and 1814, of his obstinate adherence to a military solution of the difficulties which encompassed his Empire, of his indifference as a soldier to the evils of war, of his forgetfulness as soldier of his duties as a sovereign, -- while we recognize these defects and faults, let us be equally frank in acknowledging his great qualities, -- his untiring industry, his devotion to the public service, his enlightened views of government and legislation, his humanity."

-John C. Ropes, The First Napoleon: A Sketch, Political and Military 

The quote above was included in the reading about historians who spent most of their lives researching Napoleon, called The Lost Voices of Napoleonic HistoriansI thought this quote was important to include because it shows more of what people thought of when they heard Napoleon's name, as well as the impact he had on the world. The author who wrote this pointed out that so many people easily point fingers at Napoleon for his bad aspects. Ropes wants people to rather note that he had plenty of good to offer, including his devotion to public service and his humanity. This quote shows that people could see what made Napoleon both a good and bad leader, even though most people just focused on the bad parts. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Marx vs. Smith: Helping the Poor

Rock Paper Scissors...with Chocolate.

History class on Friday was very interesting and different. Once we sat down, we were given Hershey Kisses. I received 2, the same amount of the rest of my group. However, there were a couple students that received around 7 or 8 pieces of chocolate. This did not frustrate me, even though I am obsessed with chocolate, but it frustrated a lot of people. We were then given an activity. We were told to play rock paper scissors with other kids in the class. If you lost a game, you gave that person a piece of chocolate. Once you ran out of Kisses, you had to sit down. Everyone was told to play, nobody could just keep their chocolate and stay sat down. This was frustrating because I lost my first two games and lost all my candy after only two games of this. I'm probably really bad at rock paper scissors. Once most people had lost their candy, we got back to the lesson. A lot of people revealed that they thought the game was unfair, and based on luck. We starting learning about Karl Marx's Theory of Communism, which will be described in more detail in the next paragraph. Mrs. Gallagher then collected all the candy back from people that had some left, and redistributed two pieces to every person in the class. This was an example of socialism, because there was economic equality. Mostly everyone in the class was happy because we all had the same amount of "wealth", as in candy. We then were asked if we would play rock paper scissors again, with the risk of losing all our candy without getting it back. A few people wanted to play again, but most didn't. We never ended up playing, to explain communism. The goal of the classless society had been achieved, and no government was necessary. (Mrs. Gallagher, the distributer, represented the government). The class ended and we finally got to eat our delicious chocolates.

Marx and Smith

The Industrial Revolution changed how people looked at "rich vs. poor". Karl Marx, a German philosopher, had to think of a way to help the dramatic difference between the nobility and wealthy people, and everyone else. He wanted to help the poor people and get them to be treated as fairly as the wealthy ones. He came up with his Theory of Communism. It started with capitalism. Private ownership of industry, unequal economic classes, where some win (bourgeoisie) and most lose (the proletariat). Marx didn't like this, and we now move onto the next step. He said, in order to make things more fair, people would create a government system of socialism. The goal of socialism is to bring economic equality. It aims for a classless society. To finish off Marx's theory, he said that the majority of people would not accept the possibility of sharp divisions between rich and poor any longer. By any means necessary, even violence, they would create communism. Communism is when the goal of classless society is achieved, and no government is needed to run a nation. All the parts to the theory are explained in more detail in our class notes. Marx came up with this theory because of the conditions in England during the Industrial Revolution. Poor people were treated with no respect, despite ability or work ethics. Marx was sick of how defining the classes of society were, so he wanted to make a change. Many people would have hated Marx's theories during the Industrial Revolution, including nobility and wealthy citizens. Most likely, wealthier people probably would not want to help the poor. The nobility was happy with the amount of power they had, and did not want a classless society to make them seem less important.

A mini biography on Karl Marx, creator of Marxism.

Economist Adam Smith also wanted to help the poor, but had a very different approach than Karl Marx. He came up with The Invisible Hand. Adam Smith basically told the government to leave people alone to buy and sell freely among themselves. To just leave self-interested traders to compete with one another. People want to pay less for high quality goods. The people of the nation will buy whatever is the cheapest. If two items are the same price, they will buy the higher quality and better product. This system helps the poor because products will be cheaper and more affordable because of the market competition. More things will become affordable, making it possible to live easier in the society.

Video on The Invisible Hand, explaining the system in detail.

Theory vs. Theory

Both theories obviously required a lot of work and creativity. But which one is better? In my opinion, The Invisible Hand theory is better. I also think that Marx's theories would work, and poor people would benefit with Marxism, too. However, I believe that The Invisible Hand is a better approach. It makes more sense to me to let people work things out on their own, and see what happens. I also agree that this would benefit the poor, because products would gradually become cheaper and those in poverty could buy more things for everyday life. I believe that both are good solutions, and don't think a third alternative system is necessary. Either of these systems could work in a society.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wanting to Work in the Mills?

Video: Daughters of Free Men

Factory conditions during the Industrial Revolution were torturous and horrible. Even though everyone knows that, there were reasons girls wanted to go to the mills and start working there. A lot of girls, including Lucy, begged their parents to let them work. Lucy is the girl from the Daughters of Free Men video. Lucy Hall wanted to go to the Lowell Mills to work, and make money to send back to her home to help pay for mortgage. Her father was very hesitant to send his little girl away to work in Lowell. We were asked what we would do if we were Lucy's father, and I said I would be fine with sending her. If she really wanted to work there, and would make more money for her family, I would think it was a good idea. The rest of the video revealed more about Lucy and the girls she worked with in Lowell. Once the girls got to Lowell, they were very excited. It was a real city! There were many people and places to see, and they were excited to buy city dresses during their time there. They were all very interested in the general atmosphere. However, once the work started, the girls became frustrated. The wages weren't very high, and they didn't have much time for meals and relaxing. The girls decided to protest. Harriet is a girl who shows Lucy how to run the weaving machine. It is clear that Harriet is much more determined to protest and fight for better wages than Lucy is. This is because Lucy has a home, and somewhere to go. Harriet does not have a home she can easily return to, so she wants to be treated more fairly. The strike failed and the mill owners ended up hiring new people.

Benefits of Working at Mills

The decision to go to a mill and work was a huge decision for a girl in these times. They had to consider both the costs and benefits of working at a mill. The benefits are mostly based on independence. Benefits of being a "Mill Girl" also included the girls sending home money. The girls sent home money to help pay the mortgage for their families. Also, they learned to care about money more and be more independent. It was good for the girls to earn their own money and buy their own clothes because they felt like their own person. If they stayed home, they would most likely make their own boring clothes, rather than going into the city and buying dresses. In Lowell, the girls got 3 months of education, and there is even a book containing a collection of articles written by factory girls. The cover of the image shows that the girls were educated and had a life outside of the mills. It was also good in the social aspect, because the girls met friends at the mills as well as family figures. Even though a lot of good seemed to come out of working, the mills were definitely not all fun and games. 

Cover of book with my edits on it.

Costs of Working at Mills

A lot had to be sacrificed in order to work at the mills in a factory. The family the girls belonged to had to give their child away. It was very emotional for families to let their child go, as one can tell in the photo below. At the mills, a new set of problems had to be faced by the girls working there. First of all, health and injuries hugely impacted the workers. A lot of injuries and accidents are explained in this article about factories in Great Britain. Even though this is not about Lowell Mills, many of the same accidents may have occurred. Machinery was being handled all day, which is bound to cause injury. Health was also a big issue. Many girls were working in the same room, so once one worker got sick, mostly every other one did too. Another cost was being away from family. One of the biggest downfalls was being treated unfairly by the overseers and mill owners. The girls were not treated with the respect they deserved when working in the mills. It is not fair to punish a worker because they don't do something right only once. 

Photo showing a family letting their daughter go to work.
Source: http://goo.gl/wzHJmh

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chatting About Depressing Things

In class on Tuesday, my class had a live chat with Jamie, a worker from the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, England. Before the Google Hangout, there was preparation involved in getting ready for the live chat.

Preparing for the Chat

In class last Friday, we were told about the live chat. We found out that Jamie would be our tour guide and we would be talking to him during the Google Hangout. First, we went onto the Textile Galleries on the museum's official website. The webpage had PDF files on the side that we clicked on to learn more about some influential textile designers and creators. An interesting fact about Richard Arkwright, the creator of the Water Frame, was that he was more of an improver on other people's ideas than an inventor. I found this surprising because I thought he was the type of person who was more like a leader and created his own machines more often. We then watched a special video Jamie made for us, explaining some terminology and machines around the museum. Our job after the video was to use our Google search skills to see what each machine did and what each word meant that he mentioned in the video. I learned about the hopper feeder scutcher, which is used to break up cotton bales into loose clumps of fiber that can be processed further. Also, the draw frame, which is a machine for combining and drawing slivers of the textile fiber. (A sliver is a continuous strand of loose cotton ready for drawing and twisting). We then prepared possible questions to ask Jamie for the chat. Some questions my group came up with were; 'has anyone gotten hurt in the museum?' as well as 'how have textile machines changed since the Industrial Revolution?'. That was the end of class on Friday, and the chat was coming up on Tuesday.

The Chat

On Tuesday, we got into class and prepared to take notes on the chat. Throughout the chat with Jamie, I learned a lot of things about working on the mills in England. A big idea that was discussed was the health/well-being of the workers. It was very clear that the mill owners had no concern for their workers' health. Profit was much more important than the well-being of the workers. Many people got arthritis from working so much. The bathroom conditions were disgusting - one bathroom for over 100 people. Illness was very common, clearly. It was spread very quickly, because someone would put their mouth on a tool and pass it onto someone else. Another huge aspect was breathing in cotton fibers. The dust would get into many peoples' lungs since certain parts of the mills were filled with dust. Getting hurt was also very common. Workers got hurt in the rollers, shins could get hurt and hair could get caught. The carriage could run into them, also. It was a very dangerous place to work in general. A lot of women went deaf from hearing looms running all day, and many had no front teeth from the shuttle hitting their front teeth. Another thing I learned is that every member of the family was apart of the process. The children would 'comb' the thread, the mother would usually spin the thread on the spinning wheel with a pedal. Eventually, weaving began to be a woman's job. There were both positive and negative impacts of industrialization on families. A positive thing was that money was being made to help pay mortgage. However, the negative impacts overlook that in my opinion. The pollution was awful from all the factories, making it more dangerous to breathe in fumes near a factory. The environment in general was dirtier. Also, the life expectancy was very low due to living and working conditions. This means many families fell apart because of their parents dying at a young age. The mills would then buy orphans, because there were so many due to life expectancy, and hired them as slaves and acted as apprentices to them so they could work there once they were able to. In general, life was depressing for workers in many ways.
The "Throstle Frame" - many workers got hurt working with it.


I thought the Google Hangout was a good idea. I learned a lot from Jamie, the explainer. I think it was easier for me to understand things with an expert on this information talking about it. I liked how he is a historian in a real museum and was able to answer our questions and show us real machinery close up. The only thing I disliked was the quality of the chat, and I usually could only understand every other word he was saying. Also, I could not see the details of the machines he was explaining. That isn't anyone's fault, and was predictable since he was in another country. I think we should do this again with experts throughout the year, and I think other people would also like to. 

An image of an orphan that the mill took in. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beginner's Guide: Creating a Museum Exhibit

My group's exhibit.


The curating process was filled with a lot of work and preparation for our museum exhibit. The analysis process was important when creating this exhibit. It was important to figure out what our main theme of our poster was going to be. In the process, we took a look at all the sources we were given. For each source, we wrote down what motivated the author/creator to produce the source and what a visitor should learn from seeing this source in our exhibit. After analyzing all the sources, we thought about what the main theme was with all of them. The sources mainly focused on slavery and cotton production. We came up with the title "Spinning Into Slavery" with that in mind. The first source was a photo of Richard Arkwright's invention, the spinning frame. It was the first water powered spinning machine. The next source was a picture of the Boott Cotton Mill. This was built alongside a power canal system, and produced drillings, sheetings, linens and yarns. The third source was the title page for a Student/Teacher Teaching Kit. It showed that slavery in the south was driven by the need for cotton, and was intended to make people aware that the north was not as innocent as it claimed to be. Next was a graph of US slavery statistics from 1770 through 1860. It showed that slavery spiked in some states after 1820, once the Industrial Revolution started. This was intended to show that industrialization encouraged slavery. The next source was a map of British cotton trade in about 1850. This map showed the imports and exports of cotton around the globe. There were a lot of imports & exports in and out of Great Britain, India, China and the Carribean. No imports or exports to South America or Australia were shown on the map. The last source was a table showing the number of textile mills and slaves in Lowell, MA. We made this into a line graph to better display the spike in slave population as more textile mills were built, and as the Industrial Revolution developed. We hope that when people saw our poster, they learned about the issue of slavery once the Industrial Revolution started, and how big of a deal it was.

Visiting the Exhibits

Each exhibit I saw was very organized and showed a lot of interesting and surprising information. First, group A's exhibit "Spinning a City". Group A's exhibit was about the loom, the Spinning Jenny, and other ways to produce linens. This exhibit taught me that London's population went up due to revolutionary inventions like the Spinning Jenny, and people were intrigued by them. The next exhibit was called "Steam Powered Transportation: Now We're Getting Somewhere". As the title says, the exhibit was about different forms of transportation that changed how people lived. Inventions like the steam engine and railroads helped people get to where they wanted, faster. I liked this poster because of the timeline and thought it was a smart way to present the information. Group C's exhibit was titled "Pollution of the Revolution". This exhibit was interesting because it showed the effect inventions had on the environment. We've been learning about how amazing the inventions were that were created, which is true, yet this is the other side of the story and the poster includes a photo of polluted water filling up a street while smoke comes out of buildings. This helped me learn that pollution was a huge deal and grew rapidly due to inventions. The last exhibit I saw was titled "Condemning the Innocent: Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution". The title immediately told me that children during the Revolution were put to work at a very young age. A fact that surprised me was that 50% of ten year olds were put to work. Something that disappointed me was finding out that children were given the job to pull loads because they were small enough to fit in the mines. Even though the topic was negative, I liked how this group had little mine cars to connect their information, and I thought that was a good idea. 

My favorite poster: Group C's "Pollution of the Revolution"