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

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 -- Jenn, Stefan, Paxi, Meghan

Mind-control of slavery/importance of withholding information from slaves -- Luke, Phoebe, Tracy, Chandler, Christina

Master/Mistress-slave relationship/Sexuality of slavery -- Zoe, Giselle, Gwen, Laura, Sifiso

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.

Begin your post by reminding the class of what your topic is.

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.