Tuesday, November 28, 2006

America's Unfinished Revolution

The reconstruction of the south was the period during and after the Civil War where several different groups in the government tried to solve the economic, political, and social problems that arose as a result of the Civil War. It was atime of disorder and chaos. Southern whites rejected all forms of equality and blacks wanted nothing but full freedom and land of their own. This led to frequent and inevitable riots. Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877 and was one of the most controversial periods in the nation's history. People still debate its successes and failures.

What do you think? Was reconstruction a success or a failure?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"One Gallant Rush" - The 54th Massachusetts Regiment

The characters from the Movie "Glory" which depicts the the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, demonstrate many qualities of leadership.

Robert Gould Shaw (Mathew Broderick), Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and Private Trip (Denzel Washington) all demontrate leadership qualities in many different ways.

Discuss some events, actions or character traits where these characters showed leaderhsip.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lincoln Speaks Against Blacks

I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people...

And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together
there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

-Abraham Lincoln, 1858

According to Howard Zinn, Abraham Lincoln didn't act against slavery until he was desperate to win the Civil War. Throughout his entire career, Lincoln was a man of good timing and would only pursue certain courses should sufficient support be present. In other words, Lincoln rarely went out on a limb and was doing what a good politician would do... pleasing his people.
So, was Lincoln truly an abolitionsist, or was he simply reacting to his public? What about the other presidents and there views on the equality of blacks? Read pages 188-210 and use excerpts from the book to support your argument.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A New Look at the Civil War

Howard Zinn beleives that a very important aspect of the Civil War that is often times left out of the history books is the conflict between rich and poor.

Fact: the Civil War killed about 600,000 american lives. (an equivalent of about 3 million of today's population). Most of those that died were poor.

The rich could avoid the draft by paying $300, the poor couldn't afford this and were the ones who died in battle.

In the south, only a small minority of people owned slaves, and those that didn't were convinced to think that their lives depended on slavery. For this, the poor men fought for the Confederacy too, while the rich slave owners grew cotton and made profit.

Overall Lincoln demanded unity amongst his army and his society. This unity was merely a front. Working people were attacked by soldiers if they dared to strike against oppressive employers. And those daring to criticize Lincoln's policies would be put in jail without trial. 30,000 prisoners received this fate. Yes, 30,000!!

To give you an idea of how many people that is... In 2006, the Atlanta Braves averaged 31,869/game. (ESPN.com)

To support Zinn, I've done some research and found a link to a rare recollection of 'Bread Rebellions'. The poor southerner was so affected by war they were forced to revolt just to feed themselves. Atlanta, Macon, Columbus, Savannah and Midgeville were all towns in Georgia who were affected. The middle and upper class citizens were 'unaware' that the poor were starving, which emphasizes the split between rich and poor.

Your Assignment:

Read the "Bread Rebellions" in the PDF document below and comment on the division of class that is discussed.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Your thoughts on the Causes of the Civil War.

Hello class, and welcome to our new class forum. Periodically I will be giving you a discussion question and I will expect everyone to comment on the topic.

I may also give you several links so that you can do some web research to delve deeper into some of the topics we'll be discussing in class.

The purpose of the blog is to encourage you to use your critical thinking skills in addressing various questions as related to United States History. You may either contribute your own original thought or respond to someone else's posting. The only rule is that your responses must be at least one quality paragraph. Quality paragraphs should be 4-5 good, complete sentences that obviously have good thoughts included. Remember, this is a graded assignment.

In order to accurately grade your response, please post your comment with your name. (don't use your last name please)

The first discussion question is:

What do you think was the major cause of the Civil War? I know we've discussed several, try to pick one and tell me about it, even if your thesis has more than one. Use the comment link below to comment.