Monday, December 30, 2013

Bennett's New Deal

Evaluate the effectiveness of Bennett's proposed New Deal programs in Canada.  Was it possible for Bennett to remain a conservative and propose similar programs to FDR?  How were his programs received by his constituents and how did they effect the election of 1935?

Bennett vs. King

As King loses the 1930 election and Canada moves into a conservative administration under RB Bennett, we see a key transition in policy towards coping with the depression.  How might this change compare to the one the United States experienced in 1932 when they replaced Hoover with FDR?  How did Bennett's policies differ from King's?  How effective were his early measures?

Canada: King's Responses to the Depression

Again, consider how Canada experienced the Great Depression with your previous knowledge of the United States.  Pay particular attention to Prime Minister Mackenzie King's speech on p. 153.  How would you evaluate King's response to the depression?   How would you compare it to Hoover and FDR?

The Canadian Experience

No country was immune to the Great Depression, but each country certainly had its own unique experience with the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s.  Canada's geography made it an interesting case--while it was immediately involved in World War I because of its political connections to Great Britain, it was immune to the physical calamities of the war. 

Based on your perception of the reading, how are Canada's before the Great Depression different?  What does it have to do with Canada's political structure?  How about geography?  

(as for the picture above, I just couldn't help myself...)

FDR and Obama -- Cut from the Same Cloth?

After watching the clips, I am wondering, is the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" relevant here?

I know you were all relatively young in 2008, but our economy was very precarious, and we were not sure whether we would face another depression like in the 1930s.  This might make the comparison all the more relevant.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stories from O Brother

"O Brother Where Art Thou" provides some interesting allegories about people's various experiences during the Depression.  Many of these stories deal with the desperate and/or strange moves people make to cope with the economic hard times. 

Share one scene (or recurring relationship if that's easier) from the film that stood out to you as a poignant Depression coping mechanism.  Describe a bit about it and why you chose it (was it the visual, musical, acting, etc.).  In what ways do you think the film represents how the Depression shapes human nature?  Is it accurate?

Friday, December 13, 2013

How Important is Attitude?

It is arguable that more has been written about FDR's personality than his actual policies. Also, his life experiences overcoming adversity in many ways made him an ideal leader (even if many of his constituents did not know he could not walk!). What are some key examples of FDR's optimism that stood out to you in the reading, and why? Is optimism FDR's greatest policy?

Critiquing the New Deal

While the New Deal was certainly a period of action marked by a series of government experiments, we still disagree on whether or not it was a success. The recession of 1937 proves that the programs were not resistant to economic decline, and the unemployment rate was still high by the late 1930s, despite the steady growth of the GDP over the decade. 

Which criticisms of the New Deal do you find most convincing?  Are they at all reminiscent to economic or political rhetoric that we still use today?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Moving Forward No Matter What

These sources indicate the importance of action in New Deal programs.  The piece about the Dust Bowl shows us the sense of desperation in those that have not moved forward.  The Oklahoma and pandhandle of Texas suffered so much from environmental destruction that many people found it necessary to leave the region entirely. 

The New Deal programs demonstrate that not only is it important for people to get back to work, but also to utilize natural resources in a more efficient and productive manner.  FDR stresses that rebuilding the country also means improving it for the future and ensuring that it would continue to grow. In addition to the Hoover dam, the Chrystler building, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller center and Mount Rushmore (to name a few) were all completed in the midst of the Great Depression.  Clearly these were all very expensive projects, and they all epitomize America today.  The old adage, "you have to spend money to make money" resonates with me as I imagine the country in crisis continuing to build rather than recoil in fear.

What, in your mind, did these New Deal programs accomplish?  What impact did they have on how the United States imagined itself?

FDR -- Leader or Shrink?

FDR's New Deal programs marked action rather than Hoover's inaction, and his ability to restore confidence in the American people is credited to pulling the nation out of the Depression.  To what extent was FDR acting as a psychological therapist to a very depressed United States?  Was his success more ideological than it was physical?  Or was only seeing believing for the very disillusioned public? 

Consider how some sick patients treated with placebos often are cured from their ailments even if they are not given any actual medication.  Did the United States simply need a more positive outlook?

Monday, December 9, 2013

It is no system of laissez-faire...

While President Hoover was heavily criticized for not doing enough to alleviate the initial problems of the Great Depression, he had already gained a reputation as a great provider of relief.  Hoover also seems critical of absolute capitalism and the potential dangers of large businesses holding monopolies ("it is no system of laissez faire"). 

What is, then, Hoover's ideal imagination of the government and the economy?  How does it manifest itself in his initial relief programs?  Why doesn't it work?

And then, the inevitable question--what do you make of the repatriation of Mexican Americans?  Why did the Hoover administration approve this?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Alright, we've had our fun, now let's get back to business

The Progressive Era is regarded by many as a temporary social, economic, and political experiment.  The Middle Class, and eventually governments themselves saw it as their responsibility to fix the problems brought about by massive industrialization and urbanization.  This reading portrays some of the agendas of postwar America as continually forward thinking, and that “welfare capitalism” was seen as the avenue for businesses to support continued economic prosperity. The image of capitalists as the new source of progress was both convincing and appealing, as their “free will” seemed enough to propel them to employ many, pay good wages, keep costs low, and thus encourage spending.  While this may have worked temporarily, it provided no protection to employees during the next inevitable economic slump.  It also made it appear that the new enemies of progress were not the corrupt practices of business but rather the continued vice and inability to assimilate among the poorest immigrant classes and ethnic minorities.  Perhaps this is why a candidate like Hoover was considered ‘normal’—not because he actually fit any previous standard, but he represented the old-stock Protestant American, and thus the best protector against the dangers of a “big-city” driven government. 

Sounds convincing, right?  In many ways it does, but to me, the paradox still seems unsettling.  Why were Americans so quick to blame outsiders yet again for the limits to the American dream?  Do you think Americans were duped by welfare capitalism, or was there some merit to this way of thinking?  And finally, do you think these thoughts still occur today, when immigration reform is a recurring (and seemingly unsolvable) problem?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Spending and Rolling the Dice

Clearly it would be misleading to assign one sole cause (like the crash of '29) to the Great Depression.  And while all the causes are valid, some are more interesting to examine than others because of the way they continue to shape our spending patterns

Relying on credit for purchases was a virtually new practice in the 1920s.  Stretching out payment plans made the average American able to afford luxury items for the first time.  However, buying an item on credit is not a payment as we all know--it is merely a promise to pay.  Effectively then, every purchase on credit that we make carries a risk.  What happens if we buy that expensive car, take out a student loan, etc., and then lose our job?  Defaulting on a loan is equally bad for business as it is for the consumer.

SO....why did retailers do it?  Why was the phenomenon of credit purchases so popular in the 1920s?   Why do you think it is so prominent today, despite the fact that it proved to be a colossal mistake during the Depression?

Sunday, December 1, 2013


As the introduction to Arthur Link's article indicates, the 1920s were patented by the time's politicians as a "return to normalcy."  In fact, this phrase was the pillar of Warren Harding's successful presidential bid in 1920. 

I hate to delve into a psychological analysis so soon after a break, but it begs the question, what is normal?  In a country that was less than 150 years old, is it accurate to label Republican leadership or laissez-faire economics as "normal?"  What arguments does Link make for why the Progressive Era failed to carry itself into the 1920s?  Which ones are the most convincing?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Topics? Groups?

In the reply box, write who is in your group and your top 3 topics.  

Example:  My group is Lauren, Osaro, and Anni and we are interested in:
1) The KKK
2) The Birth of a Nation
3) Sharecropping

Civil War and Reconstruction Topics

Black soldiers in the Civil War – the real “Glory” story?
Rebuilding the South – Richmond, images after the Civil War
Romanticizing the South – the Gone with the Wind approach
Blackface minstrelsy
Freedman’s Bureau schools
The Great Migration
Plessy vs. Ferguson
Chain Gangs – pre-prison labor?
Controversies about education – Booker T. Washington v. W.E.B DuBois
Beginnings of Pan-Africanism – Marcus Garvey
The KKK – the world’s earliest terror organization?
Mary Surratt execution
The Birth of a Nation – propaganda and film
Go West, Young Man – Homesteaders

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reconstruction: One step forward and two steps backward?

I like studying the period of Reconstruction because it was, to a large extent, a huge opportunity for Americans to restructure their government and society in the years after the Civil War.  However, by Reconstructions end, the South seems to have barely changed, and African Americans continue to find themselves living in a position of inferiority and danger. 

Why did the American government not accomplish more with this opportunity?  What do things like the black codes and the KKK reveal about how hard it is to change a society?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mourning Reconstruction, Mourning Emmett Till

I always saw the story of Emmett Till's murder as the epitome of all Reconstruction's shortcomings.  While Southern industry made strong moves to catch up with the Northern economy, it did so by reasserting white supremacy over society.  What is worse is that the federal government, wrapped up in economic woes, westward expansion, and imperialistic development, did nothing to protect the civil rights of African Americans. 

Till's story also brings us full circle, in the sense that it raises the issue of freedom, and the way that it applies to modern America.  In the 19th century, it was clear that freedom was not an absolute right awarded to all Americans because of the number of bodies that were deemed as property by the federal government.  By 1955, the year of Till's murder, one would think that freedom would expand to all those protected by the 14th Amendment.  But it did not.  Till's violated body, that his mother insisted upon showing to the world, displays the degree to which black Americans were still not given the freedom that Reconstruction policies had promised them. 

As we leave this unit behind us, we must consider what freedom actually is.  While slavery is over, the ability of the federal government to grant equal rights to all citizens seems to be a continuing battle.  The government's conception of freedom will change in our next unit to the idea of economic equality and what happens when capitalism is in crisis. 

So why should we mourn Emmett?  In what ways does his death demonstrate the degree to which the federal government conceptualizes natural rights by the mid 20th century? What went wrong?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reconstruction, Restoration, or Redemption?

Reconstruction policies took many forms in its ten-year duration.  And surely, it is important to distinguish between policies that were meant to restore political stability to the Union and those that brought rapid change (i.e. Civil Rights amendments).

What is undeniable, is that Reconstruction was an attempt to change society, even if critics argue it was a failed one.  Is Reconstruction the proper term?  Does the act of reconstruction imply that an institution is torn down and rebuilt from scratch?  Would a better word be redemption or maybe even restoration?

Pick a handful of specific examples from tonight's reading to help illustrate your point.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Too Much Too Soon?

Many of you in your posts from last night agree that the more radical Reconstruction policies (i.e. enfranchisement, black officeholders, etc.) may have shocked the South into a social system that dramatically differed from their antebellum condition.  Perhaps a more gradual Reconstruction policy--one that laid the foundation for racial equality but did not do so overnight--would have been an easier pill to swallow.

After all, white southerners were suddenly faced with an alternative reality, one where their black counterparts walked freely among them, despite the fact that just a few years earlier they had been bound into lifelong servitude.  A revolution in policy, for better or for worse, will likely instill resistance, and it is not a surprise that many of the more radical Reconstruction policies fizzled out when the violent counteractions of the white South became a daily reality. 

So, if we seem to agree that Reconstruction was a failure, we must face the difficult question--what was the alternative?  How could we revisit Reconstruction as a political, economic, and social possibility?  Would there be any way for the defeated South to accept terms that were handed down by the Union (largely Republican) government?  Yes, this is an impossible question to answer in hindsight, but still....what if we could truly do it all over again?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Policies and Intent

While Reconstruction was a period that saw dramatic changes in policy-making, it is generally regarded as a failure by historians.  While the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments abolished slavery and clearly defined citizenship rights for all Americans, its scope gradually diminished to the point that blacks' legal status in the South was virtually the same as it was in the antebellum period (if not worse). 

Why does Reconstruction seem so promising at first, only to fail a decade later?  What were the forces both driving Reconstruction policies as well as resisting them?  In your opinion, did any of the Reconstruction policies have a hidden agenda?  If so, what was it?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lincoln as Commander in Chief

As somewhat new to the political arena in 1861, it was clear that Lincoln still had much to learn upon taking office.  During a time of war, a president's decisions and role as commander in chief are even more crucial towards the country's future.

Lincoln had no political experience, unlike his Confederate counterpart Jefferson Davis, who had graduated from West Point.  Yet, this reading paint Lincoln as an arguably successful commander-in-chief, even if he drastically expands his executive power in order to do so. 

What is your evaluation of Lincoln as commander in chief?  What are the key decisions that he makes in order to ensure Union strength and an eventual victory.  And even more curious: why doesn't he fire McClellan right away, even upon Wade's insistence?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why Total War?

This reading perhaps tells us one of the darkest chapters of the Civil War--one where the Union went on a campaign of complete and utter destruction of the state of Georgia on its march from Atlanta to Savannah. 

How did this final stage of the war differ from previous ones?  Why did General Sherman use this strategy?  Do moral decisions get totally undermined by wartime strategy here, and was that OK?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Power of the Proclamation

We have already discussed the idea that the Emancipation changes the course of the Civil War--from a war to preserve the Union to a war to abolish slavery.

BUT, by the time the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, the idea of slavery seemed to take a new form.  Confederates believed that they were political slaves to the Union's oppressive government.  At the same time, Union soldiers would willingly seize fugitive slaves as contraband, which, to an extent, acknowledges the concept of slaves as property.

There is no denying that the Emancipation was at least one of the fulcrums that shifted the balance of power and strength between the Union and the Confederacy.  But if it doesn't end slavery, then why is it so pivotal?  Consider not only what we've already discussed, but other items that this particular article teaches us...

Monday, October 28, 2013

War Mobilization: The Myth and the Reality

I see many parallels between the US Civil War and World War I in terms of the idea of war versus the actuality of a total war.  In both cases, the vast majority of all parties involved saw the war as something that would be violent but quick, and swift and final.  No one could have predicted how complex the war would become.

....or could they?  Consider some of the problems that both the Union and the Confederacy faced when mobilizing for the early stages of war.  How prepared were they for actual conflict?  Consider the myth and actuality of First Bull Run--why was it anticipated as a sporting event but then experienced as a bloodbath?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Glory Reflections

Many African American soldiers enlisted in the Union Army because they saw it as an equalizer.  The idea that they could fire guns against the rebels along with their white counterparts was a moment many of them had waited for.  Furthermore, some black soldiers had been born into slavery, so they saw enlisting as a further leap forward.

After watching Glory (or most of it), how much of the soldiers' hopes were realized?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Emancipation Proclamation -- Wartime Strategy or Cry for Freedom?

The articles you are reading for today provides two very different schools of thought about the Emancipation Proclamation.  Supporters and opponents of the proclamation saw it serving two seemingly disparate purposes--one to seek foreign alliances, and one to catalyze nationwide emancipation.  It was either celebrated joyfully or distrusted and feared. 

But what was its function, really?  In this "post-racial" (no, I don't believe that we actually are, hence the quotes), country that has elected a black president, we tend to celebrate Lincoln and his Proclamation.  But we know that this 1863 decision only scratched the surface of the immense and violent racial battles that were still to come (and are still occurring today). 

So what is it that we are celebrating?  What is the Emancipation Proclamation?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Battle of Bull Run

"There was a festive mood as hundreds of civilians rode out from Washington to picnic and watch the entertaining spectacle of a one-battle war.  Instead they witnessed a bloody, chaotic catastrophe."  -- p. 665

What does this quote from the reading show us about the public's understanding and role in the war?

Monday, October 21, 2013

OK, the Deep South what?

After Lincoln's election and the initial period of secession, the United States entered into a period of limbo where it was not yet known whether they would fight one another, and if so--how long that war would be.  Your readings demonstrate the chaotic nature of this period. 

So the question is, which side was more ready to fight at the beginning of war?  Consider military preparedness/training/leadership, number of recruits, foreign alliances, etc.  How do the New York City draft riots paint a more diverse picture of the North?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Union within Disunion

This article describes how the South transforms from a disjointed, locally oriented rural nation into a new nation (albeit a failed one in retrospect). With the exception of Gone with the Wind, tales of southern nationalism and romanticization of Dixie are rarely told for the shame of slavery, Jim Crow, and the seeming backwardness of the southern tradition.

Does the article successfully disprove some of these notions? Do you believe that the Civil War helped create the modern South, even if the confederacy lost? Who was more nationalistic? North or South?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This will only hurt for a minute...

After Fort Sumter when the Union Army began to mobilize, the general consensus was that the US Civil War would be quick--violent, but fast.  Yet in hindsight, we know that the war was anything but  quick--from General McClellan's hesitancy, to bloody battles with high casualty rates but little to no forward momentum.  Plus, it was a constant struggle to adequately staff, clothe, feed and arm each army.

What do you see as the major setbacks in the early stages of the Civil War?  Evaluate the military leadership of the Confederacy versus the sheer lack thereof in the Union.  Why did Lincoln struggle so much to find an adequate military leader?

Friday, October 11, 2013

To secede or not to secede

For some states in the deep South where Breckinridge was overwhelmingly supported, secession was the logical course of action after Lincoln's election.  Others, however, especially border states, remained torn over the pros and cons.  What are some of the ideas that the readings suggest that may have motivated the border states to leave or to stay in the Union?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who to choose?

The election of 1860 was one of the most heated in American history.  Americans on either side of the slavery issue believed that they had so much at stake.

You are not expected to read the entire article, but to what extent do you feel that their fears were true.  Would Lincoln have ended the institution of slavery?  What were the alternatives?  Why was Douglas in the race?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fueling the Fire

Many argue that the two most controversial provisions in the Compromise of 1850 were the strengthened Fugitive Slave Act and popular sovereignty in the western territories.  Not surprisingly, both of these issues caused heated controversy almost immediately after the compromise. 

What do you make of Chase's argument about the Fugitive Slave Act?  Was it moral/emotional, or was he focused more on political logic?  

What is your personal reaction to the Jane Johnson piece?  What is interesting about the wording of the title?

Why is Sumner's piece so full of innuendo?  Why is Kansas a virgin, Butler a "chivalrous knight," and slavery a harlot?

p.s. Yes, I realize I scanned the Sumner piece with my handwriting all over it--apologies.

Friday, October 4, 2013


The Compromise of 1850 was meant to avert war.  Instead, it merely delayed the conflict by a decade.  The reading for tonight contains a variety of opinions asserting why the federal government needed to appease both the North and the South.  The provisions of the Compromise were drawn up by Henry Clay--a westerner. 

So--we have the benefit of hindsight.  The so-called "compromise" was nothing but a delaying of the inevitable Civil War.  Yet, many of the most prominent politicians were convinced it could save them.  How do we make sense of this?  Truly--what were they thinking?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Mexico Will Poison Us"

Yes, at this point, our readings may seem to be repetitive, but perhaps that's the point.  This chapter, from Hummel's Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men highlights the degree to which westward expansion (particularly the annexation of Mexico) reshaped the political parties in the United States. 

This begs the question--is it all about money and politics?  Is slavery--an institution that we undeniably regard as a social one today--only considered with regard to its economic and political ramifications? 

Use examples from the text--they always make your discussion hold more water.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The North and South -- Always Divided?

While the reading certainly addresses slavery as one of the major factors contributing to the American Civil War, it does not oversimplify the complexity of the time period.  The article states that there were two other potential causes of sectional rift--overall cultural differences as well as the industrialization of the North versus the stagnant agricultural economy of the South. At the same time, however, there seems to be a suggestion that the two regions, despite their perceived dissimilarities, actually shared many more values than they thought.

When you respond tonight, focus more on the similarities than the dissimilarities of the two regions. What do both of these regions still hold dear?  How much does it remind us of the United States today? 

Monday, September 30, 2013

What's wrong with a little industry?

In the mid 19th century, the western world was rapidly industrializing.  In addition to building a diversified economy, most countries reaped the benefits of new forms of industry--including steam, railroads, assembly production, and lower priced goods.  

Why, then, if most of these countries welcomed industry with open arms, did the South seem to lag behind?  Consider all the articles when addressing this question--with all the benefits of industrialization, what are the cons, and how does it affect the labor force?  Why would the South want to continue to remain predominately agricultural? (Yes, this has to do with perpetuating the economic status quo, but what other reasons could there be?)....

Friday, September 27, 2013

Who is destined?

Manifest destiny is a fascinating concept, particularly due to ownership.  The idea of destiny certainly has a religious connotation, but the American concept of manifest destiny went far beyond that.  Is there a common thread in these articles in terms of ownership?  How do the authors of the pro-manifest destiny pieces justify their right to expand westward?  Additionally, how do the critical pieces (i.e. British cartoons), argue against these principles? 

Finally, why was Mexico so crucial?  How does it connect to our conversations about slavery?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sectionalism was nothing new

In our class today, we looked at more immediate reasons contributing to the Civil War--particularly the crises in the 1850s.  For tonight, we go back a bit further, and examine events that show the divide between the North and South was already well underway in the early 19th century.

Choose one of the topics we read--either the Louisiana Purchase, the Hartford Convention, or Jackson's veto of the Maysville Road Bill.  Explain how this event demonstrates a sectional divide (a divide by region), and why.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What causes a crisis?

Historians usually refer to the period before the American Civil War as a crisis in some way.  The crises took many forms, however--sectional, social, and they even transcended directly into the polical arena (i.e. the caning of Charles Sumner).  After reading the introductory piece on the war's causes, what stands out to you the most as a cause of crisis?  Defend your position--as we all know, there were myriad causes to this war.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Garrison -- Pioneer or Safer Option?

This piece says quite a bit about Garrison's background as an original gradualist and colonizer, and his shift towards preaching for immediate abolition.  Why do you think Garrison was the "founder" of the American abolition movement if there were others before him (especially Quakers) who did not receive much of a spotlight?  What was it about Garrison's personality, background, and evening timing that put him into the limelight for the abolition movement?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Language of Abolition

Clearly, these are two drastically different articles.  One is written by a man who is about to die for his crimes.  Another is a legal document that provides a loophole to the fugitive slave law. 

Yes, unfortunately, most legal documents are written in this obscure and difficult style--but why is that?  Why is it so difficult to read them?

What strikes you about John Brown's speech?  Would you have said anything different if you were in his shoes?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Anti-Slavery Crusade

In class tomorrow, we will discuss the origins of the abolition movement, which actually date much farther back that William Lloyd Garrison.  It was Garrison, however, that often earns credit for being a pioneer in the abolitionist crusade.  It is even more curious that Garrison denounced slavery in 1831--the very same year as Nat Turner's insurrection.

Is it just a coincidence that one of the leaders of the abolition movement emerges at the same year that a revolution takes place, causing more southerners to staunchly defend slavery?  Consider how social movements, even today, often stir significant reactions from opposition groups (i.e. gun control, gay marriage, etc.).

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Controversy of Abolition

I know it is difficult for us to empathize with the mindset of slaveowners.  To us, abolition and emancipation make sense, because they are the morally justified.  The readings for tonight focus not only on justifying slavery, but on refuting the abolition movement and denouncing it as 'impossible.'

These readings are difficult to swallow, especially Thomas E. Dew's, but juxtapose them in the time they are written.  Remember that the Nat Turner revolt took place in 1831.  How does this shape the perspective that these authors take?  Who do you think is their intended audience?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Defending the 'Peculiar Institution'

We struggled in class the other day to address the idea that an individual could own slaves, and still profess to be Christian.  Slavery was often called a 'peculiar institution', meaning that it was difficult to defend slavery on a moral basis, but yet it still persisted as an economic necessity.

What are some of the arguments presented in the reading that defend slavery?  Which ones hold water?

Remember that we need to put ourselves in a 19th century mindset...instead of immediately dismissing all the arguments as moot, consider why they were presented and defended at the time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Resistance movements

After reading about the exposure of slavery and cohabitation in the cabins, discuss some of the different forms of resistance they exemplify.  Connect specific examples from the articles to at least two of the themes we have already discussed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slavery -- sifting through the grey areas

Slavery--Sifting through the grey areas

Every slave experience is different, and the institution of slavery is troubling enough that it seems unfair to generalize about it.  However, we will have to write about the conditions of slavery going forward, so we need to figure out some way to compartmentalize the experience.  

What are the conditions that shape the slave experience?  How does gender, location, and age play in?  What role does the master play in this process?

There is no right or wrong answer here, but what would be helpful would be examples from at least two of the readings to get a better sense of perspective.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Conditions of Enslavement and Resistance Movements

After reading both "A Slave Tells of His Sale at Auction" and "A Slave Girl Tells of her Life," briefly comment on how the theme assigned to you is exemplified in the readings.  You will have more time to discuss your theme at length in class.

Corporeality (of the flesh) of slavery/Value of the human being vs. value of the flesh -- Dean, Josiah, Zion, Tommy

Mind-control of slavery/importance of withholding information from slaves -- Andrew, Osaro, Nick, CJ

Master/Mistress-slave relationship/Sexuality of slavery -- Jake, Anni, Lauren

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cotton economy and slavery, conditions of enslavement, resistance movements

Post your brief (roughly one paragraph) comments here about how your topic could be considered both a preventer and an agitator of war.

Remind the class of what your topic is before you present your explanation.

Group A: Cotton Gin -- CJ, Lauren, Josiah
Group B: Haitian Revolution -- Tommy, Anni, Dean
Group C: William Lloyd Garrison/The Liberator -- Jake, Andrew
Group D: Frederick Douglass/The North Star -- Nick, Zion, Osaro

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day one - Ideologies of a Revolution and Nation Building

Prereading (i.e. write before you read!): Clarify in your post which document you are reading. Have you read this document before (be honest)? How long ago? What is the gist of the document from your memory?

 Postreading: What was the author's biggest complaint about his government? What makes you say so?

  Please post your response in the comment section below.