Monday, June 15, 2015

Good Intentions & Bad Results

Quick notes before you read:
*To follow along with this lesson better, a good source we were provided with can be found here. It is a helpful visual provided by ABC-CLIO that basically states everything that happened with the American Indians, Buffalo Soldiers, and Westward-Bound Whites. 

**When I refer to Native Americans as "Indians", please note that I am referring to American Indians, not citizens of India. 
Enjoy this learning experience!!

Continuing to Make Our Final Exam

The end of week two of creating our final exam is coming to an end, and our class focused on Buffalo Soldiers & Native Americans for this next unit. We made another class-wide Google Doc to document our notes. Similar to week one, we watched multiple ABC-CLIO overview videos and took notes on main ideas, key people, events, and terms. The essential question my class decided on was; "During Westward Expansion, did the impact of federal policy towards Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans match the intent?". 

Buffalo Soldiers & Native Americans

Before moving ahead to answer the essential question, let's discuss what Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans really are. Buffalo Soldiers were African American soldiers from the Union (North) army that continued on as permanent soldiers in the army. Buffalo Soldiers reminded natives of buffalo spirit,  As you may already know, Native Americans were those who were apart of one of the first groups of people living in U.S. Before Westward Expansion, the Native Americans lived very peaceful and happy lives in western United States. The overview videos we watched help give a good look into the lives of the Natives. Natives relied on buffalo for everything; clothing and food. They lived on the Great Plains in western U.S. states like Colorado and New Mexico, and the major groups were Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota. Natives had rituals such as the Sun Dance and vision quests. Being child was great on the Plains. Games were heavily encouraged and they completed vision quests and puberty ceremonies as they became men. However, all of this would soon take a nasty turn. 

Westward Expansion

Natives being forced to leave during Westward Expansion.
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson officially signed the Indian Removal Act. To learn more about this Act, you can read my blog post I published about my group's presentation on Indian Removal. This act stated that certain tribes must leave lands in the southern U.S. to west of the Mississippi River. 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. Then in the 1840s, the California Gold Rush brought more people westward, and settlers trespassing on Indian land encounter hostility from the tribes and demand protection from the U.S. army. There were American Indian Wars on the Plains from 1861-1890, and a main battle from this is the Battle of Little Bighorn. Gold was discovered in the Dakota region, immigrants abused Sioux and the Sioux fought back. The Congress approved the creation of 6 regiments of African-American troops, becoming the Buffalo Soldiers, from 1866-1890. They were involved in at least 117 of the 138 campaigns fought against the Indians on the Western Frontier. In 1876, the U.S. government issued orders for all Indians to return to designated reservations or be considered hostile. However, the message did not reach many of the Plains Indians and is straight-up rejected by others. Confrontation comes to a head at the Battle of Little Bighorn, the battle explained before. 

Answering the Essential Question

Senator Henry Dawes
After analyzing that important document mentioned at the beginning of this post, we looked at the other documents provided on Edline. The first document was an excerpt from Helen Hunt Jackson's book A Century of Dishonor (1881), which mobilized public opinion for reform of U.S. Indian policy in the late 19th century, similar to the famous Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which contributed to the antislavery movement. I found the following quote essential; "These Indians found themselves of a sudden surrounded by and caught up in the great influx of gold-seeking settlers, ashelpless creatures on a shore are caught up in a tidal wave. There was not time for the Government to make treaties; not even time for communities to make laws." This captures how the Indians felt due to the actions of the government, forcing Americans into the West. Even if their intent wasn't to impact Natives negatively, that was the impact it had. The other document included excerpts from the Dawes Act (1887). This Act was also known as the General Allotment Act, and is known as the most significant piece of federal legislation related to the land rights of Native Americans. It was named after its main sponsor, Senator Henry Dawes from Massachusetts. The objectives of this were to promote Native conformity to U.S. culture and open Native lands to non-Native settlement. As you can see, not all federal policies had bad intentions. However, in 1890, the War Department ordered army buildup at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Tensions between American Indian ghost dancers and the U.S. army (including Buffalo Soldiers) led to the Wounded Knee Massacre, where more than 150 Sioux were killed. This massacre effectively ended Indian resistance to white culture. To answer the essential question, no. The impact of federal policy on both Natives and Buffalo Soldiers did not match the intent of these policies, that much harm was not intended when implicating the policies.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Captains of Industry

Working With Each Other, Not Against Each Other

The end of the school year is near, and that means preparing for finals week. Final exams usually consist of a huge amount of multiple choice and open response questions that the teacher comes up with covering the things we learned during second semester. For History this year, the process is a little different. Every History class that Mrs. Gallagher has will have three weeks to learn three new topics, and create 40 questions at the end of each week that are about what they learned that week. Instructions for the weekly plans can be found here. Week one is coming to an end, and the topic that my classmates and I learned about was Carnegie & Rockefeller. This is referring to entrepreneurs Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller. To start the unit, we made a class Google Doc that was shared with every student, and watched overview videos from ABC-CLIO. We took notes on main ideas, key people, important events, and essential terms. We then read the biographies we were provided on Rockefeller and Carnegie. There was also a primary/secondary source lesson that included documents and pictures, which we also analyzed as a class using the Google Doc. The essential question my class came up with today was; "Were the captains of industry a positive or negative impact to the public?".  

John D. Rockefeller

Political cartoon representing Rockefeller.
From ABC-CLIO "The Players" video.
John Davison Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839 in Richford, New York. He helped create the American petroleum industry, and is known to some as the greatest business leader in American history. He gained the money he needed to become a business mogul by supporting the Union Army during the Civil War. Rockefeller had a mostly positive impact on the public, considering he donated over $500 million to charity and for the advancements of education, medicine, and science. However, in 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, and that's when the public started viewing him differently. By 1880, his company ended up securing a virtual monopoly over oil refining and transportation and had become one of the largest corporations in the U.S. The public was convinced that all Rockefeller's actions were motivated by greed. This proves that he also had a negative impact on the public. He was quoted in an interview with William Hoster in the book God's Gold; "I believe the power to make money is a gift of God ... to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience." This sort of makes Rockefeller seem full of himself, but also shows that he truly wants to use his money for good. (remember how he donated over $500 million by the end of his lifetime?) To answer the essential question, I believe that Rockefeller had a positive impact on the public, despite his bad reputation. Actions speak louder than words.

Andrew Carnegie

A photo of Andrew Carnegie.
From ABC-CLIO "The Players" video.
Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. He rose from poverty to become one of the richest men in the world by gaining virtual control of the U.S. steel industry. Similar to Rockefeller, he also gave millions of dollars to advance education, establish public libraries, and promote world peace. This was a clear positive impact he had on the public. Carnegie amazingly learned to distinguish the wire sounds in telegraphs without using the instruments and became one of the first operators in the country to be able to take messages "by sound". He was promoted from delivery boy to operator in the telegraph office. Carnegie ended up being the superintendent of the eastern military and telegraph lines. During the Civil War, he helped coordinate rail transportation for the Union Army and organized the telegraphic system for the army. He became the best read and traveled American businessman of his time after traveling extensively through Europe. Carnegie started an interest in his new venture, steel, in the early 1870s. This was a smart move on his part, because the United States' need for steel during the Civil War boosted production, but Great Britain still produced more higher quality steel and dominated the market. Carnegie invested a majority of his fortune in steel production in 1873. He teamed up with Sir Henry Bessemer, who instructed Carnegie to make high quality steel for a lower cost. The U.S. surpassed Great Britain and became first in steel production, and Carnegie had a lot to do with that. This was another positive impact on the public. However, Carnegie's reputation was ruined by the Homestead Strike. The strike revealed Carnegie's plans to ruin the iron and steel workers' union. This outraged the public and quickly changed what people thought of him. By 1900, Carnegie became the second richest man in the world. He sold the Carnegie Steel Company to J.P. Morgan, who turned it into the United States Steel Corporation. Carnegie donated a lot to schools and public libraries, which is why I believe Andrew Carnegie also had a mainly positive impact on the public.
The Captains of Industry John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie both had an impact on society, and in my opinion, had a mostly positive impact on the public.