Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nobody's Perfect

This week in history, we have been learning about Buffalo soldiers and Native Americans during the time after the Civil War. We have been teaching ourselves and watching videos and analyzing documents that Mrs. Gallagher has provided for us. From these videos and documents, we found important information took notes about Buffalo soldiers and Native Americans in a class Google doc. At the end of the unit, we created an essential question as a class.

A member of the Sioux tribe.
This unit, our essential question was: During westward expansion, did the impact of federal policy towards buffalo soldiers and native americans match the intent? We have been trying to decide whether or not the policies created by the U.S. Government had the effect that they intended them to have. The Dawes Act resulted in the way the U.S. Government intended it to. The Dawes Act was issued by the U.S. Government and gave the heads of Native American households U.S. citizenship and land if the Native American family would become farmers and give up their Native American culture. It could be argued that the intent of this document was both good and bad. The U.S. government was giving Native Americans land and citizenship, which gave the Native Americans many rights and privledges. But at the same time, the United States government was forcing the Native Americans to give up their culture and traditions to be a citizen, and many didn’t want to be citizens. If Native Americans chose not to be citizens, they were forced onto reservations by the U.S. government. The intent of the Dawes Act matched the result. In 1877, the Nez Perce tribe refused to move onto reservations and tried to march north to settle in Canada, where they would be free of the U.S. government. The U.S. government tried to stop the fleeing Nez Perce many times and engaged in many battles that ended in many Nez Perce dying. The U.S. government’s intentions were to keep the Nez Perce from escaping to Canada and to force them onto reservations. Their intent matched their impact. The Native Americans were forced onto reservations or killed. Lastly, The Battle of Little Bighorn was started by the refusal of many Native American leaders to accept the treaty of Laramie, which forced Native Americans to give up their culture and traditions and live on reservations. As a result of this refusal, the U.S. army engaged the Native Americans who refused to live on the reservation in battle in order to try and force them onto reservations. The U.S. government’s goal of the Battle of Little Bighorn was to force Native Americans to give up their culture and traditions to live on reservations. The Cheyenne and Sioux tribes ended up defeating the U.S. The intent of the U.S. government, to force the Native Americans onto reservations, didn’t match the impact, which ended in the defeat of the U.S. army. Generally, the U.S. government’s intent matched their impact, and generally, the intent of the U.S. government wasn’t very nice.

In my opinion, the United States government didn’t have a very nice intent or impact on the lives of Native Americans. Native Americans were forced, by the U.S. government, to change their way of life, their culture and their homes. They were either forced to be farmers,  live in stationary homes, own land and become U.S. citizens, or they were forced to move to reservations and give up their nomadic way of life. The U.S. government wasn't very nice to the Native Americans.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ahoy Captain!

This week in History 10, our class has been teaching ourselves about Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller and their industrial impacts on America. After using resources provided by Mrs. Gallagher, we took notes as a class and created an essential question together. Our essential question states: Did the captains of industry have a positive or negative impact on the public? The first thing we did was watch a series of videos as a class. Each group was assigned a different topic to take notes about. Then we analyzed sources about John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Lastly, we analyzed more documents about Rockefeller and Carnegie and their impact on the public. As a class, we took notes in a shared Google doc.
Rockefeller and Carnegie were two captains of industry that had both good and bad impacts on the public. A captain of industry is a leader in a specific field of business. John Rockefeller amassed the wealth that he needed to start a big business by supporting the Union army during the Civil War. He founded Standard Oil in 1870.  In order to become a wealthy businessman, Rockefeller bought or put rival companies out of business, bribed politicians, and was seen by the public eye to have been motivated by greed. But his contributions to the public greatly outweighed any negative effect on the public. John Rockefeller donated millions of dollars to support education.  A Vision of Rockefeller says, “In 1903 he [Rockefeller] created the General Education Board at an ultimate cost of $129 million to promote education in the United States “without distinction of sex, race, or creed.””He also gave away lots of money to charities. By supporting many different charities, he helped to get rid of yellow fever. Rockefeller also believed that he deserved to make money so that he could give it back to the community. Andrew Carnegie was an American immigrant that started from the bottom. He was a bobbin boy in a textile mill, and a telegraph operator. He was one of the first operators in the country to take messages by sound, and was soon promoted to a Superintendent position. Soon after, Carnegie became a steel manufacturer and was able to produce higher quality steel at a lower price than his American competitors. The public was greatly upset when they found out about Carnegie’s plans to destroy the Iron and Steelmakers Union. But even though he greatly upset the public, he made a positive impact on society. He was able to figure out a way to produce high quality steel but keep prices down at the same time. He also believed that he had a moral obligation to give some of his wealth to help benefit the public. Just like Rockefeller, he helped encourage education. Some of Carnegie’s money was given to build schools, libraries, and to buy organs for churches. Carnegie’s advancement in the production of steel and his monetary contributions to the community is evidence that Carnegie had a mostly positive impact on the public.
Although Rockefeller and Carnegie weren't particularly liked by the public, I believe that they did some good things for their communities.  Personally, I wasn't a big fan of the structure of our lesson this week. I really had a hard time understanding the importance of the material that we were  learning this week without the guidance of our teacher.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Don't Be Silent! Do Something!

Our display of information about the documents that we analyzed in class.
Before April Vacation, our class has been learning about the civil war and the role that slavery played in it. We had multiple essential questions this unit: Who 'gave' freedom to enslaved Americans? Did freedom come from above or below? To what extent were Abraham Lincoln's actions influenced the actions of enslaved Americans? In order to find out if freedom came from ‘above or below’, we analyzed many documents. These documents included speeches given by Abraham Lincoln, letters, and engravings. We also watched a video by Ken Burns and answered questions. Lastly, we created a way to display our analyzed information from the different documents that we analyzed. We decided whether or not freedom came from above or below in each separate document. We used our new whiteboards to show this information.
When Abraham Lincoln officially makes slavery part of the civil war in his Second Inaugural Address, he paves the path for what is known as ‘freedom from above’. ‘Freedom from above’ can be understood by thinking of a social pyramid in which the upper class is at the top of the pyramid and the lower class is at the bottom of the pyramid. During the civil war, slaves were at the bottom of the pyramid. With the concept of ‘freedom from above’, the upper classes are making changes to give the lower class freedom. In the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln is granting slaves in the Confederacy freedom. Since this freedom came from Abraham Lincoln and not from the slaves themselves, this is ‘freedom from above’. Lincoln says, “all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”. But this freedom is not a complete freedom for all slaves in America. The slaves in the border states, the states that allow slavery but side with the Union, are not freed in the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation is an example of partial freedom from above. Abraham Lincoln was a major source of ‘freedom from above’ for slaves in America.
In addition to focusing on ‘slavery from above’, we also explored ‘slavery from below’. Instead of relying on others to make them free (like in ‘slavery from above’), slaves created their own opportunities for freedom. In a letter from Union General Ambrose E. Burnside to Union Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Burnside explains that after taking his army south, they came across a deserted city that fugitive slaves are now populating. He explains that there is no way to stop the slaves from moving into and looting the city. In this instance, the slaves are creating their own freedom. They are forcing the Union to react to their actions. By creating their own freedom, the slaves have ‘freedom from below’. Slaves also created their own freedom by leaving the Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s plantation and walking to the bayou that Union soldiers are occupying. They do this in order to escape slavery. Jefferson’s slaves made their own freedom. This is considered ‘freedom from below”.
I believe that ‘freedom from below’ was more effective than ‘freedom from above’ during the civil war. I believe this because of the results of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation compared to the results of the slaves creating their own freedom in the south, such as Jefferson’s slaves running away, and the other slaves who ran away to occupy the empty city.  When Lincoln declared that all slaves in the Confederate states were free, there was no immediate effect. But when slaves declared themselves free, such as in the case of Jefferson’s runaway slaves, the slaves were instantly freed. It is easier to get results when people aren’t completely dependent on others.
Recently, there have been a lot of debates over the role of law enforcement in the United States. During this past week, there have been protests and riots in Baltimore, Maryland. The death of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old African American man, who died in police custody, is the cause of the protests and riots. The goal of these protests and riots is to call attention to the unfair treatment of African Americans by police officers, and other law enforcement, and to the abuse of power by some law enforcement. The Baltimore protests and riots could be viewed as ‘freedom from below’. Ordinary citizens who do not agree with the abuse of power by some people in law enforcement are creating a change, instead of the government creating the change. Whether or not they are acting justly by destroying property and hurting people is questionable, but the people are fighting for change, and the country is beginning to pay attention.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Running Around RMHS

This week we have been doing a scavenger hunt! Our history scavenger hunt was a clever way to gather information about 20 different civil war battles. Each person was assigned a battle to research. We needed to find the date and location of the battle, and the victor and theater that the battle was fought in. Then we found information that helped to explain the main reasons as to why the battle had the specific outcome that it had. We created a google doc with all of this information. Then we created a QR code and a bitly link so that people could easily get onto our google doc in order to gather information about our battle. After everyone placed their battle sheets around the school, we started to walk around, scan the signs, and put information about the battles into our notes. After the scavenger hunt, we analyzed and made conclusions based off of the information that we gathered and posted our conclusions on our class padlet.
We had two essential questions this unit. The first said: Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, Naval? The Union was the ultimate victor in the western theater. They dominated in the Siege of Vicksburg and during the Battle of Shiloh when the Confederacy ran out of supplies. The Union also dominated in the Naval theater because they had more ships and were able to put ships on the Mississippi river, such as in the Battle of Fort Henry when Union ships obliterated Confederate defenses. The ships on the Mississippi helped them to dominate in the western theater too. Lastly, the Confederacy dominated in the eastern theater during the beginning of the war due to the Union’s lack of leadership. During the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, the Union was slow to position themselves for the battle, and the Confederacy was able to rush in and defeat them. This disaster could have been easily avoided if the Union had a general who ordered the Union to move quickly. The Union dominated in the eastern theater during the end of the war when the Confederacy began to run out of supplies and moral. The Union also dominated because of their new leadership. During Sherman’s March to Sea, the Union was able to try a new military tactic which confused the Confederate army, gaining the Union another victory.

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The Battle of Shiloh
The second essential question that we focused on this unit stated: What are some commonalities you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles? One of the biggest commonalities I can identify in the battles of the Civil War is the fact that the Confederacy had a lack of supplies, which includes the number of men fighting in their troops. The Confederacy was outnumbered during the Battle of Shiloh and the Surrender of Fort Donelson. During the Siege of Vicksburg, the Confederacy had to surrender because they ran out of supplies. They also ran out of ammunition during the Battle of Hampton Roads.  I also noticed that many battles were won based on military strategy, not just pure strength of troops. The Battle of Gettysburg was won because of the Union’s solid defense positions, and during Sherman’s March to Sea, the Union won because of their military tactic to divide up their troops in order to confuse the Confederacy. Supplies and good military strategies were an important part of battle during the Civil War.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Dividing Line

Recently in History, we have been learning about the Election of 1860. We have particularly been focusing on the people’s reaction to the Election and its results. Our essential question for this unit says: How were the results of the Election of 1860 representative of the deep divisions over slavery? First, we watched a Crash Course video about the Election of 1860 and we took note of specific events or topics that were mentioned, such as the Fugitive Slave Law, Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, and others. Then we learned about each of the Presidential candidates and their positions on slavery. Then we began making our video. We first looked at pictures that addressed important issues that led to the civil war. We used 5 images from the website called Civil War in Art. We recorded how each of these images helped to tell the story of the succession of many Southern States and of the Election of 1860. Then we found three more images that also helped to explain the Election of 1860 and what happened after it. To actually create our video, we wrote a script and put all of the  images into an app called Educreations. Then we recorded our script to explain our pictures.

Our Video:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Technology Overload =

To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of the Union and Confederacy, I created an infogram to organize the information. Infogram is an online tool that is used to create infographics. I concluded that the North (or the Union) had an advantage in the civil war because of the resources that they possessed. The first graph I added to my infogram shows the population of the North vs. the population of the South. It shows that the North has a much bigger population than the South. The larger population is an advantage to the North because they have more people to serve in the military as well as enough people to keep everything running at home during the war. I also added a chart which showed three comparisons between the North and South. The first compared the number of industrial workers in each part of the country. It shows that the North had more industrial workers than the South. The second comparison showed the value of manufactured goods in the North and South. The North’s manufactured goods were much more valuable than the South’s. By knowing that the North had more industrial workers and that their manufactured goods were of more value than in the South, one can infer that the North had more factories and that because of these factories, they had an advantage. They could make more goods to supply their troops. The North also had more railroad track mileage than the South. This allowed the North to be able to transport food, supplies and people easier and faster than the South.

In addition to the charts, I also included some important statistics. While the North had the most advantages before the civil war, the South did have a few advantages of their own. The South housed the majority of the military colleges in the United States. Therefore, most military generals, having gone to these schools, supported the South. The South also grew all of the United States’s cotton. The North needed this cotton to make textiles in their factories, so the South had an advantage with cotton. But the North also grew more corn than the South. Lastly, I included the statistic that stated that 2.5 million slaves worked directly in agriculture. I included this statistic because I found it interesting and shocking.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Elephants are Pretty Big

During the early 19th century, slavery was a very controversial topic. Southern states supported and allowed slavery and the spread of slavery, while Northern states discouraged and prohibited slavery and its spread. In 1820, when Maine wanted to be a free state, Missouri was created to balance the 11 slave states with 11 free states so that slavery and antislavery views were equally represented in the senate. The Missouri Compromise was created so that all new territory north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes latitude would be free in the future, with the exception of Missouri. Many people had differing views about slavery and it was a big deal. But many people tended to ignore this uncomfortable topic.The debate over slavery was the ‘elephant in the room’ for American politics during the early 19th century.

To learn about slavery and about how many people during the early 19th century avoided the topic, we analyzed different events and created a timeline. This timeline shows the different events we learned about from the early 19th century, and the causes or results of these events. Events located above the centerline supported the antislavery views of the North while the events located below the centerline supported the South’s proslavery views.

The Kansas- Nebraska Territory
As the United States acquired more land in central and western North America, new territories were created. The Kansas and Nebraska territories were created in Central North America. Soon, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed stating that the Kansas and Nebraska territories would be created without any mention of slavery. It was decided that when the people in these areas applied for statehood, the people would vote to determine whether the new state would be a slave state or a free state. This new act nullified the Missouri Compromise. In this instance, slavery was ‘the elephant in the room’ because the government never made a final solution to the problem of free vs. slave states. They only made temporary changes and kept putting off the problem of slavery. As a result of the Kansas- Nebraska act, people with proslavery and antislavery views rushed to settle in these new territories in hopes that the new state would be a free or a slave state, depending on their views. The Kansas- Nebraska act benefited both proslavery and antislavery views. In 1856, the Kansas territory was referred to as ‘Bleeding Kansas’. Proslavery settlers and antislavery settlers each set up different capitals in the Kansas territory. Each group believed that theirs was the legitimate capital, and the two opposing sides didn’t acknowledge the other capital. Topeka, Kansas was the antislavery capital and Lecompton, Kansas was the proslavery capital. In the back of their minds, these settlers knew about the two contradicting capitals, but by refusing to publicly acknowledge this problem once again made slavery ‘the elephant in the room’.
In Senator Charles Sumner’s speech “The Crime Against Kansas,” Sumner attacked Southerners for forcing slavery on the Kansas territory. In this speech, Sumner also made bold insults against Andrew Butler, the senator of South Carolina. As a result of these insults and for his antislavery views, Andrew Butler’s nephew, Preston Brooks, beat Sumner with his cane. This is referred to as ‘the Caning of Charles Sumner’. There were many onlookers to Sumner’s caning, but none intervened to stop this. Brooks wasn’t punished either. The failure of the onlookers to do anything about Brooks beating Sumner proves that the topic of slavery was ‘the elephant in the room’ in American politics. People knew what had happened, but no one acknowledged it publically.

In the Lincoln- Douglas debates on the 1850s, majority rule and minority rights were two of the most important topics. Abraham Lincoln and Senator Douglas had differing opinions about this. Douglas believed that the majority should be able to rule as they wish while Lincoln believed that the majority should not have the power to deny the minority their rights. By talking about majority rule and minority rights, Lincoln and Douglas were referring to whether or not the people should be able to decide if the new territories would be considered free or slave states. They spoke about this controversial topic without really directly mentioning slavery. Once again, slavery is ‘the elephant in the room’ in American politics.

During the 1800s, the debate about slavery vs. antislavery was constantly looming over those living in the United States. But within the government, decisions about slavery, especially about slavery’s boundaries, was constantly changing. The decisions made by the government were temporary and never really addressed slavery completely. The decisions never solved the problems. People during this time didn’t publically acknowledge the problem that existed between those who supported slavery and those who didn’t. Everyone knew about this problem, but it wasn’t discussed or solved. Slavery was the ‘elephant in the room’ for Americans during the 1800s.

This is the key to the timeline, it explains the events on the timeline above.