Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Andrew Jackson: For the People Or Not?


For this unit, we learned about Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States. The essential question for this unit was: is Andrew Jackson's long-standing reputation as “the people’s president” deserved?  Why or why not? Together as a class we watched two videos on the the background of Andrew Jackson, one from Ted- ED and one from Crash Course. We briefly learned background about him such as he was a great military general before he was president, but he was a gambler and a drunk. But more importantly we learned about how though he had many contributions as president, good and bad, his three main contributions were the Bank War, the Spoils System, and the Indian Removal, and there are many different opinions on whether or not he contributed positively or negatively. We started to see how different people can have different opinions on whether or not Jackson was a good, people's president, and we started to think about the essential question. The essential question is also not only something that is important when analyzing Jackson's career, but it is a question we should ask about all leaders. We should keep in mind that our leaders and presidents should be representing the people and their rights. If they are not, they are not a good leader and something must be done. Once we learned some background on Jackson, we split up into 6 groups, with two groups per contribution. Each group had to make a project about either the Bank War, the Spoils System, or the Indian Removal using primary and secondary sources about their topic. My group researched the Indian Removal and we made a Google presentation for our project, as shown below.


As president, Jackson was very concerned with the white man's needs, and at that time a big necessity was land. The native Americans were living on the land as well as Jackson's people, and he thought that he knew what was best for them. He said that Indians and whites cannot live together without fighting, and many Indians are getting killed off. He thought it would be better for them to move west where they could live peacefully and he initially wanted them to voluntarily leave the colonies. However, the Indians refused to move because they felt that they had just as much right to stay there as the whites had, and Jackson resorted to law and harsh treatment to force them out. He forced them to walk the Trail of Tears which moved them west but killed thousands in the process. So, in this case Jackson was only a people's president to the whites, and he had no consideration for the Indians. Jackson also was the first president to bring about the Spoils System. This was a system that valued loyalty over skill when appointing government officials. This was a very unfair system because he wasn’t putting the people with the greatest ability into the best positions, he was only putting people that supported him into the positions. He used the veto more than any other president, and Jackson didn’t care who was put into power as long as they supported him. In this way, he was not a people’s president because he was trying to help himself by hiring his supporters instead of helping the country by hiring the best government officials. Lastly, Jackson started the Bank War that caused a huge economic collapse. Jackson ran for president as a champion of the common man to try to relate to the common citizen, and his main goal was to protect the average man. Jackson believed that the big banks were gaining too much control and could easily take advantage of the average person. He didn’t want the rich people owning the banks to get too much power, and he encouraged smaller businesses. He risked his re-election to veto against the bank, however this ended up causing a terrible economic collapse. In this way, Jackson was a people’s president because he was fighting for the rights and protection of his people and especially of the common man. Jackson was a very controversial man, and it is hard to say for certain whether he was or was not truly a people's president.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Blueprint of America's Democracy

For this unit, we have been learning about the rise of democracy. The essential questions for the unit were: how should we define democracy? How democratic was the United States in the early 1800s? In separate groups, we were assigned to make a project about the rise of democracy that answered the essential questions using primary and secondary sources. We could decide whether we wanted to make a poster, Common Craft video, or a skit video, and my group decided to make a poster, as shown below. We defined democracy as a government controlled by the whole population through elected representatives. We answered the second question by saying that although democracy was the prominent government system that was being used in the 1800s, main aspects of it hadn’t been fully developed and corrected yet. For example, women and African Americans still weren’t allowed to vote, and the process of voting was not yet perfected; when people voted, the system relied on people’s honesty to tell the truth about whether or not they had voted anywhere else before. Also, as seen in the Dorr War, some states still hadn’t changed their laws about only letting the richest landowners vote, and people weren’t happy about it. However, these events were leading to a developed system of democracy for the United States like we have today. These events helped bring about the ideas of democracy and, they were a big step in the right direction for America, which is why we titled our poster “The Blueprint of America’s Democracy”.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Did Racism Impact The Latin American Revolutions and How Does It Still Impact Events Today?

During this unit, we have been learning about the Latin American Revolutions. We were introduced to this unit by making a pie chart of the populations of different races in Latin America, as shown below.

From this pie chart, we can start to see that the smallest race percentages were the races at the top of the social pyramid. The Peninsulares made up only 1% of the population, yet they were the people of highest power and social standing. The slaves and Indian people made up 11% and 50% of the population, yet they were on the bottom of the social pyramid and were forced to work for the Peninsulares. This gives us some insight into how this racial situation was bound to turn into a problem; there was a much bigger population of lower class, enslaved people who will want to revolt against the smaller, upper classes. The upper classes wouldn’t stand a chance against them because they only made up 1% of the population. We then split up into groups, and each group researched a country: either Mexico, Gran Colombia, or Brazil. Each group made a timeline for the revolution in their country, and then we shared our revolutions with the other groups. All of these activities then helped to give us insight into answering the essential question: why is it essential to acknowledge human value regardless of race and how are the events in the Latin American Revolutions evidence of this social imperative? It is important to remember how unfair this racial discrimination was so that we learn from it for the future, and it never happens again.

My group researched Brazil, and we came up with the timeline below:
After all the groups shared their timelines with each other, we had to find 2 commonalities and 2 differences between all three of the revolutions. One of the similarities of the Brazilian, Mexican, and Gran Colombian revolutions is that all of their goals were independence. They all wanted to split their ties from their European rulers. In Brazil, they fought for independence from Portuguese rule. In Mexico and Gran Colombia, they wanted independence from Spanish rule. They all wanted a form of government with more rights for the people, and they all successfully became independent. Another similarity between all of the countries was their first rulers after they became independent didn’t last long. In Gran Colombia, Bolívar helped gain independence for the country, and was appoined the leader. However, he had a hard time suppressing rebellions and he became ill, so he resigned. In Brazil, Pedro became Brazil’s  first emperor but he was disliked because he had inherited the Portuguese throne, and even though he abdicated it, people were still suspicious of him. They also disapproved of his new constitution that only gave rights to peninsulares, so he abdicated the Brazilian throne. Lastly in Mexico, Agustín de Iturbide became emperor, however republican leaders removed him from office to set up a Republic. One difference between the revolutions was that the Brazilian revolution wasn’t violent at all, while the Mexican and Colombian revolutions were excessively violent. Rather than opposing independence in Brazil, Pedro and his followers decided to lead it, making independence a peaceful movement. However, in Mexico and Colombia, the people had to fight for their independence. Another difference was that Gran Colombia split into several independent countries, while Mexico and Brazil stayed unified to form one independent country. Gran Colombia split into Venezuela and Ecuador, while Mexico and Brazil remained the same (although Mexico split up later). Race was a primary issue in all three of these revolutions. In Mexico, the revolution was launched by a priest who declared that there were three main goals for the revolution; to end Spanish rule in Mexico, to redistribute land, and to grant racial equality. This shows how race was a declared, main purpose of the revolution, so it was very important. People in Gran Colombia, and particularly Venezuela, were unhappy with the discrimination by the Peninsulares, so that was their reason for starting the revolution. All of the races who were not enslaved were extremely angry at the Peninsulares, and they were able to all come together to fight against a common enemy; the Peninsulares. In Brazil, after the revolution was over, Pedro promised to put in constitutional reforms, but he didn't grant the rights that the people wanted. Pedro only allowed people from Portugal, Peninsulares, to have highest power and most rights which is what the people fought against to gain independence, so the people were unhappy with Pedro and his discrimination in his constitutional reforms. All of these problems come back to the same issue of racism, and how unjust the harsh discrimination based on social standings and ethnicity was.

I think that racism still exists in the United States today. There are still stereotypes and judgements made about race everyday. One big example of this in the news today is the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. Very recently, the grand jury decided not to charge or bring the Police Officer Wilson to court. The story is that Officer Wilson pulled over to stop Michael and his friend, Dorian, who were walking in the middle of the road. They started arguing which quickly turned into a physical fight, and what Michael did next is in dispute. Some say he was holding his arms up surrendering while others say he was moving towards the officer to go fight him. Michael was unarmed, and many people are blaming this incident on racism. Many say that the white police officer shot Michael when he was unarmed because he was black. However, this can’t be proven or disproven, so the case was dismissed. Many people protested for the case to go to court for the racism. Whether this case was an incident of racism or not, the fact that this case has become so popular definitely shows how relevant race still is today. Even if the shooting wasn’t because of race, the fact that so many people got involved and made the racism into a big deal shows that America is still stuck on the idea of race and it is a commonly brought up topic. I think that people are extra cautious today about race to make sure it doesn’t turn into a big problem like it was throughout history, and they pay extra attention to how whites treat blacks because of historical problems. They have a good reason to be so cautious about this, however I think that by being so cautious, the problem of race will never go away because everyone is watching every move for racism. Many racism cases are debatable, just like Michael Brown’s case, but there is a timeline of facts and events that happened in this case from The New York Times (click here for the timeline). I think that our society needs to remember how unjust discrimination based on race was, and we can hopefully move on from racism by treating everyone simply as another equal human being with equal rights, regardless of race.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Should We Remember Toussaint Loverture?

Just like some of the greatest founders and leaders of our past such as Abraham Lincoln, Toussaint Louverture had the essential qualities of political skill and moral leadership that have helped shape our modern world. Abraham Lincoln made sure to fight for what he believed was right yet make good political and governmental calls, and Toussaint did the same. Toussaint grew up as a slave and saw the hardships and bad conditions that slaves experienced. He was eventually freed by his owner, but from then on he devoted his life to abolishing slavery. He knew what was right and was willing to fight for it. He showed great leadership when the slaves were in need of organization during the Haitian Revolution, and he was able to rise up to help the people. However, during his leadership, he had to make some tough calls to help keep the government stable, and he was able to make these decisions to keep Saint Domingue organized. His legacy, or all of his work and accomplishments that he completed in his career, was extremely important to the progress of Saint Domingue and abolishing slavery. It is important to remember influential people in history so that we can learn from their successes as well as their failures. We can also learn from their qualities that helped make them successful, and encourage these qualities in leaders to come. Although Toussaint Louverture was a great military commander and liberator of slaves, he should be remembered mainly for his important work as a ruler of Saint Domingue because he had to make wise decisions and showed great leadership.


As a ruler of Saint Domingue, Toussaint Louverture had a huge impact because he helped establish, constitutionalize, and stabilize the island. Toussaint officially became the ruler of Saint Domingue in 1801, however he had been fighting to establish the island since 1789. He was able to show the people that he was a leader with a strong desire for abolishing slavery, and he wouldn't give up until it happened. Once the slaves fought for their freedom and won, the people appointed Toussaint as ruler because of his work as a Chief General. He then and headed the commission that created Saint Domingue's Constitution in 1801. The constitution clearly stated that "there cannot exist slaves in this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished". (C) Slavery was officially abolished and all people were free and equal. However, Toussaint then had a problem; how was the island supposed to make money off of sugar without the hard labor that the slaves had performed? He had to make the decision to keep everyone on the same plantations doing the same work to keep up the economy. However, slaves were free now so, "each cultivator and each worker is a member of the family and is entitled to a share in the revenues". (C) This means that the white plantation owners couldn't treat the slaves cruelly because they were equal, and the slaves must be paid for their work. Former slaves didn't like this idea because they were doing the same work for the same owners, so they didn't feel like free men; they were still forced to work. They started refusing to do work and many ran away from the plantations since they were free and could do what they want. Toussaint was faced with another tough decision as a leader; how should he require work to keep up the prosperity of the island without making people feel like slaves and angering them? He knew that Saint Domingue needed the agricultural work that the former slaves provided, and had to make a decision based on what was best for the island. He enforced the agricultural work from the constitution more strictly in a Proclamation in 1801. Only 4 months had passed since the constitution, and already rebellion had started. Toussaint knew what was best for the island, and made strict laws against the rebellions. For example, he stated that “any manager or driver of a plantation upon which a foreign cultivator (field worker from another plantation) shall have taken refuge shall denounce him to the captain or commander of the section within 24 hours under penalty or one week in prison”. (D) He is saying that the owner of a plantation on which run-away workers from other plantations are hiding will be punished and put in jail as well as the worker. He was trying to convince workers that they still needed to work even though they were free, yet rebellion continued. In fact, Toussaint’s own nephew, Moyse, the commander of the Northern Department, was the leader of one of the major rebellions against Louverture. Moyse as well as many other former slaves believed that the plantations should be split up into any smaller plantations where each man can have their own land instead of only being owned by rich landowners. Moyse and his followers also thought that Toussaint was too friendly with the white landowners and his work requirements were too harsh. So, in October, 1801, Moyse and his men massacred whites all along the Northern Plain. (E) Toussaint was again faced with a tough judgement call, and he had to make the hard decision to squash the rebellion. He ordered Moyse to be arrested and killed with a firing squad for revolting instead of enforcing the law like he was supposed to. Also, many of Moyse’s men were ordered to commit suicide by shooting themselves. (E) He wanted to make this a symbol of defeating the revolution and a reminder to all workers to stay on the plantations and work. As a ruler, this was a wise decision to make because it squashed the rebellion and prevented any more revolts, which helped to stabilize the government and economic prosperity of Saint Domingue. Toussaint knew what had to be done as a ruler, and even if he had to make some harsh decisions, he did what he had to do for the overall well-being of Saint Domingue, which showed his leadership skills as a ruler as well as his knowledge of politics.


Toussaint was secondly important and legendary for his work as a liberator of slaves. Toussaint had a very strong moral leadership quality, and he used it to fuel his devotion to abolishing slavery. Toussaint grew up as a slave and knew that the harsh conditions and treatment of slavery were wrong. He wanted to do what was right and fight against slavery, and he was able to step up as a leader when the slaves were in need of one. Without Toussaint’s leadership and organization of the slave revolt, the slaves could never have been as successful and accomplished as much as they were able to in Saint Domingue. Toussaint quickly became well known as a great General, and eventually he became the Chief General of the slaves. Until 1794, Toussaint first fought against the French Government for the freedom of slaves. However, in 1794, Toussaint stopped fighting against the French and joined the French army. He did this because in 1794, Robespierre temporarily abolished slavery so that the slaves would help them fight off foreign enemies. However, Toussaint switched again to fighting against the French once the enemies were defeated and France reinstated slavery. (A) Although it may seem like Toussaint was constantly switching sides, he was actually being very consistent; he was always on the side of abolishing slavery. We can see Toussaint’s strong ideas in his letter to the French Directory when the Directory tried to reinstate slavery in 1797. He says, “Could men who have once enjoyed the benefits of liberty look on calmly while it is taken from them!… We have known how to confront danger to our liberty, and we will know how to confront death to preserve it”. (B) He is strongly opposing the Directory, and telling them that they can’t expect to let slaves have a taste of liberty and then rip it away from them without them fighting back. There is an implied threat in this letter which is that the slaves are ready to fight to their deaths to preserve their liberty, and they refuse to go back to the terrible times of slavery. Toussaint always kept in mind the ideas of the people and the morally right thing to do, and he was so confident in his morals that he was willing to fight to his death for them. Toussaint succeeded and was able to abolish slavery making Saint Domingue free because he followed his morals and was determined to liberate the slaves.


Another way we should remember Toussaint Louverture, though not as important as his work as a ruler, was his great military skill. Toussaint was a great military commander, and the slave revolt wouldn’t have been able to win so many battles if it wasn’t for Toussaint’s skill. Toussaint initially joined the slave revolt as a doctor, but soon commanded a small group of slave soldiers. (A) Within his small camp of soldiers, Toussaint was able to show his great skill as a commander by training his men in many different military tactics. He trained his men in both guerilla tactics and European shoulder to shoulder tactics so that his men were well prepared. (A) Guerilla tactics is a style of war that uses natural resources around you as a cover to hide yourself, and it usually consists of a quick attack and retreat that surprises the enemy. European shoulder to shoulder method was an open march where the soldiers stand in a line in the open to fight more traditionally. Toussaint became very well-known, and by his military genius, he was able to raise the reputation of the army, and drive the English and Spanish from the island. (F) He was able to win many battles and drive out many enemies from Saint Domingue, and he eventually gained control of it. He was able to make such a great commander because of his superior knowledge of the character of his race, his humanity, generosity, and courage which helped him gain the confidence and trust of all of his soldiers, and helped persuade many to join him. (F) Toussaint’s great training, tactics, and knowledge of his soldiers helped him conquer many enemies and take control of Saint Domingue, making him a great military commander.


Looking back on all of Toussaint’s accomplishments as a ruler of Saint Domingue, liberator of slaves, and military commander, it is clear just how much of an influential person Toussaint Louverture was. Without his hard-work, Saint Domingue wouldn’t have been as stable and prosperous, the slave revolt and ideas of abolishing slavery wouldn’t have been so organized and successful, and the revolt wouldn’t have been able to win as many battles and gain independence. This one man was able to step up in a time of need and lead the slave revolt to success. His leadership and moral and political knowledge shone through in everything he did, and he was extremely successful because of it. When remembering the success of the Haitian Revolution, it is important to remember how much Toussaint Louverture contributed to it through his devotion mainly as a ruler of Saint Domingue, and also as a liberator of slaves and military commander.


Sources:
A: Timeline of Abolition in Saint Domingue- created from various sources
B: Toussaint Louverture, “Letter to the French Directory, November 1797.”
C: The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801. Signed by Toussaint Louverture in July 1801.
D: Toussaint Louverture, “Proclamation, 25 November 1801.”
E: Madison Smartt Bell, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, 2007.
F:William Wells Brown, “A Description of Toussaint Louverture,” from The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, 2nd edition, 1863. Engraving of Toussaint Louverture, 1802.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How Do You Define A Successful or Unsuccessful Revolution?


In this unit, we learned about 5 major revolutions between 1830 and 1848. Our essential question for this unit was: were the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 really failures as many historians have concluded? In class, we first looked at the quote: “We are sleeping on a volcano. Do you not see that the Earth trembles anew? A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon” by Alexis de Tocqueville. We also looked at the quote: “When France sneezes, Europe catches a cold” by Metternich. Both of these quotes have to do with the revolutions in Europe. The governments were trying to repress revolutions, but they were all about to happen like a volcano erupting. Also, France was the first place to revolt, and the revolutionary ideas spread to all of Europe like a cold. Then, we made a scale to measure the success of failure of a revolution, so we wrote what we thought a successful revolution would look like and what an unsuccessful revolution would look like. With this scale in mind, we then moved on to learning about the revolutions. We were split into groups and each group was assigned a revolution to become experts on. We analyzed the country, date, goals, opponent, outcome, and reasons for success or failure of our revolution using a background essay and a few primary sources. We also had to analyze each primary source on our revolution to determine whether it was showing the goals, opponent, or outcome of the revolution. Once we had done all of this and had become experts on our revolution, we created a survey about it using SurveyMonkey. My groups surveys can be found in two parts: click here for Part 1 or here for Part 2. Lastly, the whole class took everybody’s surveys to learn about all of the revolutions. By doing all of this, we came to determine whether we thought that the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 were successes or failures overall.


Our group was assigned to the French Revolution of 1830, and this revolution was a partial failure. The French people were happy with their constitutional monarch, Louis XVIII, until he died in 1824. Louis had made compromises with the people and had abided by their constitution and their rights. However, when his brother, Charles X, took the throne after Louis’ death, he was not as considerate towards the people. He did not agree with the idea of constitutional monarchy; he believed in absolutism. He took away many of the people’s rights, and he “suspended the legislature, limited the right to vote, and restricted the press” (Background Essay). This caused big problems. The biggest mistake was limiting the freedom of the press. There were many newspapers and journalists in that time, and they were enraged by this restriction. Charles X’s new law stated that “No work of less than twenty printed sheets can appear without the authorization of our Minister-Secretary of State of the Interior at Paris” (Source 1), meaning that all newspapers must be checked before being printed to make sure there isn’t anything being said that goes against the king. However, Paris Journalists did not agree with these rules, and they protested. They believed that, “The Government has violated legality, we are absolved from obedience. We shall attempt to publish our papers without asking for the authorization” (Source 2). They believe that the government is violating their rights, and because of this, they no longer have to listen to the government. Radical liberals and angry workers and journalists attacked Paris. Charles X was forced to flee and the rebels took over Paris. Radical liberals wanted a Republic, but more moderate liberals compromised on a constitutional monarchy. The Chamber of Deputies decided that Charles’ cousin, Louis Philippe, should be the king because he had supported the revolutions of 1789, and seemed to be more constitutional. Louis agreed to the constitution, and he became known as the “citizen king” because he ruled through the people. “The Duke of Orleans is a citizen king...He awaits our will….It is from the French people that he will hold the crown” (Source 3). However, even though Louis promised this at first, over time his main priority was the bourgeoisie, or the upper class, and they thrived under him. Poorer workers did not benefit from Louis, and they did not get many rights. “Under Louis Philippe, the upper bourgeoisie prospered. Louis extended suffrage, but only to France's wealthier citizens. The vast majority of the people still could not vote. The king's other policies also favored the middle class at the expense of the workers” (Background Essay). The workers were still not treated equally, and many rights were still not given. Overall, this was a partial failure because the liberals did not get the Republic they wanted, and the workers still did not get rights. However, this revolution was a step in the right direction because it brought about the ideas of gaining rights for the people with a constitution or a republic. The other students in our class seemed to learn and understand our revolution well because we had a few 100% unanimous answers, and if they weren't unanimous, they were very close, as shown below. Besides multiple choice questions, there were also short answer questions in which every student submitted a response, and they were all very similar.
 


Overall, I think all the revolutions were both a failure and a success. Looking at the facts, almost all the revolutions failed to gain what they initially fought for. Most of the revolutions were partial failures just like the 1830 revolution in France. The Decembrist Revolt was a failure because Constantine never succeeded the throne after Tsar Alexander’s death in 1825 like the revolutionaries wanted. Many people in Russia didn’t like Tsar Alexander because of his “failure to grant meaningful constitutional change. Some had plotted to assassinate the Tsar but his unexpected death and delay in announcing the arrangements for his succession allowed them the opportunity to attempt a coup” (Background Essay). The revolutionaries saw his unexpected death as an opportunity to seize control of Russia and put in a more constitutional monarch. Constantine, next to the throne, was believed to be more liberal than Alexander, and the people wanted him to be king, however he denied the crown. This angered the people, and they revolted against the new king-to-be, Tsar Nicholas, because he was more involved with the military and less involved with constitutional change. The result of these battles were many people from both sides, especially revolutionaries, were killed, and Nicholas remained in control. The revolutionaries lost and Russia rapidly declined, so it was a failure. Another failure was the Frankfurt Assembly. The people of German were fighting for both liberal and nationalist reforms; to try to gain rights and unite Germany. The Frankfurt Assembly met to debate whether to try to create a Republic, like middle-class workers wanted, or a constitutional monarchy. They finally offered the constitutional monarch of Prussia, Frederick William IV, the crown of German, but he denied because “because the Assembly has not the right, without the consent of the German governments, to bestow the crown which they tendered me” (Source 4); the lower people of German offered the crown to him, not the royalty. Fighting then broke out between radical middle-class workers and conservatives which killed many and caused many Germans to flee their country. Lastly, the French Revolution of 1848 was a partial failure. Revolutionaries fought two main battles; one in February and one in June. They made Louis Philippe abdicate the crown, and they took control of the government, establishing the Second Republic. However, it was very short lived before moderate liberals and socialists wanted reforms. The hungry, poor workers became angry with the upper and middle class workers, and they revolted against them. With all the confusion, a constitutional monarch, Louis Napoleon, was put in place, however he soon became more like an absolute monarch, and he mainly helped the bourgeoisie. "For the bourgeoisie, the early days of the Second Empire brought prosperity and contentment. In time, however, Napoleon III would embark on foreign adventures that would bring down his empire and end French leadership in Europe” (Background Essay). The revolutionaries failed to create a Republic and ended up in the same place that they started in with Napoleon. However, in the long run, these revolutions brought about amazing revolutionary ideas that inspired many. They also showed the government that they weren’t afraid to fight for their rights, and they forced the government to be more considerate for their people because they are capable of revolution.


Citations:
Source 1: The July Ordinances, July 25, 1830 By Charles X and His Ministers
Source 2: Protest of the Paris Journalists, July 26, 1830. In Laurisse and Rambaud, Histoire Genrale, 283.
Source 3: Theirs, Adolphe.2 "Orleanist Manifesto." July 30, 1830. In Laurisse and Rambaud, Histoire Genrale, 287-288.
Source 4: Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia: Proclamation of 1849
Background Essay and all primary sources for the French Revolution of 1830 can be found at: http://www.edline.net/files/_5YGkl_/40dea4b950785ead3745a49013852ec4/France_1830.pdf
Background Essay for the Decembrist Revolt can be found at:
Background Essay for the French Revolution of 1848 can be found at:
http://www.edline.net/files/_5YGnP_/07a640cbeaabc1233745a49013852ec4/France_1848.pdf

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Would You Make Decisions For A Whole Continent If You Were In The Congress of Vienna?


In class this week, we learned about the Congress of Vienna. After Napoleon was defeated and exiled in 1814, the country of Europe had to clean up the mess Napoleon had made. There were many problems that needed to be addressed, and Europe needed to decide what to do about all that Napoleon had controlled. There were three main problems that needed to be addressed: how should the map of Europe be redrawn, who is going to rule France, and how can future revolutions be prevented? The Congress of Vienna was a meeting of all the major countries in Europe- Russia, Prussia, England, France, and Austria- to try to decide what to do about these problems. They spent 10 months discussing these situations, as well as celebrating the defeat of Napoleon, and they signed the final act of the Congress of Vienna on June 8, 1815. In class, we watched a video with two actors acting as Metternich, a prince in Germany, and Napoleon, while they were debated a peace contract. The powerful personality of each of these people were apparent, and their political ideas clashed. Metternich was a conservative, so he wanted Europe to go back to the way it was before Napoleon's conquests while Napoleon wanted to keep conquering. After we watched and took notes on the video, we looked at how the Congress answered the three main questions from above, and we thought about how we would have answered these questions.



One main problem that the Congress of Vienna faced was how to redraw the map of Europe. After Napoleon's conquests, France had conquered a lot of land, and it had a lot of power. However, Europe’s other main powers, Russia, Prussia, England, and Austria, wanted just as much power and land as France, and they didn’t want one country to ever get too powerful over the others like Napoleonic France had. To fix this problem, they decided to focus on the principle of the balance of power. Russia, Prussia, England, France, and Austria were all given equal amounts of land and power so that no one country could ever gain too much land again. The map was redrawn so that they had equal land. Austria, Russia, and Prussia all gained land as "compensation" for the Napoleonic conquests. France was redrawn to almost the same amount of land as it had had before Napoleon’s conquests. The Congress of Vienna decided that it was Napoleon, not all of France, that was the enemy, so France was not punished much for Napoleon's conquests. They were given their original borders from before the conquests, and only had to give small areas of land as compensation to the other countries. However, when France was redrawn, it was drawn so that it was surrounded on all sides by buffer countries to prevent it from trying to make any more conquests. This whole system was created to try to balance or equalize the power. This reduced the threats to the countries’ power, because it prevented any one main power from becoming too powerful over the others, like Napoleon had. The map below shows the map of Europe before the Congress of Vienna in 1810, and after it in 1817. The French Empire is shown in purple, and it is very apparent how huge and powerful the French Empire was before the Congress of Vienna, and how it returned to its original size and gave back other countries' land after the Congress. This map also shows you what a big impact the Congress of Vienna had on Europe; they could redraw the map of the entire continent. They made hugely important decisions for the whole continent, and had the power to make these decisions for all the people in Europe.
The territorial changes in Europe from 1810- 1817


One suggestion I would make about how the Congress should have reacted is they should have included all the people’s opinions. The Congress of Vienna was a conservative group; they were all conservatives who wanted Europe to go back to the way it was before Napoleon. These conservatives made many very important decisions for the whole of Europe based on only their opinions from their ideology. They never considered the liberals’ and nationalists’ opinions. I think that they should have had equal representatives from all the ideologies; liberals, nationalists, and conservatives. This way, everyone in Europe would have been satisfied with the Congress, and there wouldn't have been so many revolutions after it. Another main problem that the Congress faced was that people were revolting against them and they tried to figure out how to prevent these revolutions. The liberals and nationalists were the people of Europe who were revolting because their opinions weren't being heard; all the decisions were being made by conservatives. If their opinions were considered and they were represented in the Congress, there would be no need for revolt. I think this would have been a better way to react that would have served more people, and it would have stopped the revolutions that worried the Congress.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Did Liberalism, Conservatism, and Nationalism Originally Mean What We Think They Mean Today?

 
 
          In class this week, we have been learning about three major political ideologies that are still present today: liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism. Our essential question for this unit was: what were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action? We wanted to figure out how these ideologies were defined in the 19th century, and how that differs from how they are defined today. Firstly, you might be unfamiliar with the term ideology like I was. An ideology is very similar to a theory; it is a system of ideas and ideals especially to help you form the basis of economic or political theory or policy. Once we had defined ideology, we individually defined liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism as we know them today. My definition of liberalism was wanting to please everyone's needs and help everyone, even if that means self-sacrifice. Conservatism today is belief in protecting the rights of each individual and free choice. Lastly, nationalism was pride in one's nation. However, as we came to see, these modern day definitions are different from what these words meant in the 19th century. So, in order to better learn about these ideologies, we were put into groups and were assigned to become experts on one of them. We read articles by Jeffrey Brautigam on the three ideologies back in the 19th century, and we highlighted key ideas. We then had to make a creative presentation that was only one minute long explaining the definition and key points about our ideology. Since there were only 3 ideologies and 6 groups, each ideology was assigned to two groups, and our goal was to try to make a better presentation than the other group that had the same ideology. Our presentation is shown below.

 
video
 
video
 
 
My group was assigned to make a project for liberalism. We made our project using the app ChatterPix. ChatterPix is an app that allows you to make pictures talk. You import your picture, draw a mouth on the picture, and then record what you want it to say. The app will make it look like the person in the picture was saying it. We used John Locke and Adam Smith, the forefathers of liberalism, in our ChatterPix, along with two 19th century men discussing this ideology. In our project, we described how liberalism is a system of government in which the government would have to listen to the middle class instead of only listening to the aristocracy. The ruler would have to be a constitutional monarch, meaning the ruler's power would be limited by the people's constitution. Liberals promoted the natural rights and liberty of each individual, and how these God-given rights cannot be taken away. The ruler would have to respect the middle class' rights instead of only respecting the aristocracy's rights. This political change also involved social impacts. Liberalism would most likely lead to revolution because the middle class will revolt. The middle class will require that the kings listen to them, but the kings will not give up their power so easily. When the kings deny the middle class power, the people will get together and start a revolution against the king and aristocracy. However, even with this system of government that promoted natural rights, it did not include women or the poor, so their rights were still not respected. This would make them very mad as well, and they would eventually get fed up with not being listened to as well.


From other group’s presentation, I learned how conservatism and nationalism were defined in the 19th century. I learned that conservatives wanted to preserve the aristocracy and monarchy like government was traditionally established. Unlike liberals, conservatives wanted to keep the social classes and monarchy in which the higher social classes rule. They believed that a revolution to try to reform the government was a bad idea because it will only lead to disaster. After the brutal French Revolution, the word revolution had a negative connotation, and conservatives believed that it could only lead to bloodshed and chaos. So, they wanted to keep the traditional system of government because they believed that it was "time-tested", meaning it was trustworthy because of how long it had been used. Monarchy was the only traditional solution to social and political problems, and conservatives wanted government to go back to the way it used to be. Nationalism is a system that strives for the unity of a nation. Often times, like in Germany, the nation was divided into provinces or smaller countries. The goal of nationalism was to try to unite these smaller provinces into one, big country that shared common culture, language, and history. Most often, this unity was especially used to fight and overthrow foreign rulers. This happened with France and Germany when all of Germany's provinces united to overthrow Napoleonic France. Napoleon was ruling over Germany at the time, and Napoleon had a negative social impact in the German provinces; they all disliked being under his control. All the German provinces, sharing the same culture, language, history, and hatred for their foreign ruler, united to form a nation that was strong enough to overthrow France.

Sources:
Brautigam, Jeffrey. “The Rise of New Ideologies in the Nineteenth Century for AP European History.” Education.com. March 4, 2011. http://www.education.com/study-help/article/rise-ideologies- nineteenth-century/ (Accessed October 21, 2013).
 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Napoleon Bonaparte: How Can One Person Be So Liked Yet So Hated?


In class this unit, we learned about Napoleon Bonaparte. We first watched a video on a very quick overview of “All You Need to know about Napoleon Bonaparte” as shown below.
 
The main point of this video was for us to see how much land Napoleon conquered. He conquered many places from all over Europe including Spain and Italy, and places outside of Europe like Egypt  and Moscow. However, we saw that some people thought he was a great leader and some people thought he was a bad leader. We asked the question: how was he someone to be both admired and protected from? To help answer this question, we took a look at two contradictory sources by Madame de Stael and Marshal Michel Ney. These two people had opposite opinions of Napoleon, Madame de Stael disliked him but Marshal Michel Ney supported him. We analyzed these primary sources and it helped us get a better understanding on the two perspectives of Napoleon. We then looked at a list of many of the accomplishments that Napoleon made and we determined which ones show Napoleon’s effect on the world and which show his effect on just France. Then, we decided whether his impacts were positive or negative. Lastly, we looked at a map of the European countries that Napoleon conquered, and what places those countries controlled because those places are indirectly under the rule of Napoleon. Napoleon ended up controlling more than ⅓ of Europe, and those places in Europe controlled huge portions of both America and South America, meaning Napoleon indirectly ruled them as well. The maps are shown below.
Map of how much land Napoleon controlled in France
Map of how land much certain European countries ruled that Napoleon indirectly controlled


            After analyzing the differing views of Madame de Stael and Marshal Michel Ney, it is apparent that Madame de Stael thinks that Napoleon was not a good leader and that he had a negative impact. She thinks that he was too greedy, and he was careless in his military actions. She said that his theory that "it is necessary to do something new every three months" was "encroaching daily upon France's liberty and Europe's independence". His want for more power and more land was too big, and his answer for most problems was war which was a negative political impact. Madame de Stael did not agree with his decisions. She also said that he had a "profound contempt for the intellectual riches" like virtue and dignity, so she saw him as a tyrant with no care for moral values which had a bad impact on the social system. However, Marshal Michel Ney supported Napoleon. He believed that Napoleon was the most superior leader in the world. He called Napoleon the "our august emperor" meaning he was the supreme and inspiring ruler. He agrees with Napoleon's military decisions and he encourages people "to join this immortal legion which the Emperor Napoleon conducts". He has so much respect for Napoleon and he admires him. He believes that his positive political decisions have made France one of the most powerful places in the world, and that they have secured the people's freedom. While other governments have tried to suppress the peoples' rights, Napoleon confirms them because "liberty triumphs in the end" which is a good social impact. Marshal Michel Ney believes that Napoleon had an overall positive and valuable impact. Another source that we looked at was called the "The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Historians", and it is a collection of different historians views on Napoleon. It illustrates both the positive and negative qualities of Napoleon and gives views from all perspectives. However, overall, even though some people might not like him because of "his obstinate adherence to a military solution of the difficulties which encompassed his Empire, of his indifference as a soldier to the evils of war, of his forgetfulness as soldier of his duties as a sovereign”, the sources remind you that along with his bad qualities, you must also "be equally frank in acknowledging his great qualities, -- his untiring industry, his devotion to the public service, his enlightened views of government and legislation, his humanity". Napoleon's good cannot be ignored because even though some of his decisions were wrong, he was an amazing military general and leader. Even some of his worst enemies and historians such as Owen Connelly that view him negatively all agree that he was one of “the greatest commanders of all time” (information from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/napoleon/c_genius.html). Napoleon was very intelligent and masterful, and historian P.C. Headley states that "Napoleon was great -- intellectually towering above the princes and monarchs of many generations....He had no rival in the tactics of war....His imagination was under the guidance of reason, whose intuitions were clear as morning light, and as rapid in their comprehensive action". He was a wise man who improved many aspects of the social, economic, and political systems in France, and his skill and leadership could not be ignored. While many sources show how helpful he was to improving and expanding France, some see him in a negative light, saying “Napoleon was so inconsistent in many of his actions, so untrustworthy in much that he said of himself, and so all-inclusive in his ambitious designs”. He would jump to conclusions of war, and many people saw him as being too quick and careless with his decisions. However, because of Napoleon’s great military skills, his devotion to France, and his intelligence, he will always be “worthy of his page in the records of history”.


In my group during this unit, we decided that Napoleon had mostly positive impacts on both the world and France. His political impacts included overthrowing the Directory and creating a meritocracy. Both of these were beneficial because the Directory was a tyrannical group of government that the French disliked because they were extremely dictating. Also, creating a meritocracy meant that the people of France could select the people in government and have some say in their country. Napoleon’s economic impacts were he restored economic prosperity, he stimulated trade across Europe, and he sold Louisiana. He encouraged industry and tried to help the market by controlling prices and establishing the Bank of France, which led to prosperity. He also encouraged more trade and commerce across Europe which created more access to more goods. Also, selling Louisiana greatly benefited the United States by expanding it which made for the American expansion. All of these impacts are positive, and so are his social impacts. He gave citizens more rights that they had never had before, such as rights to property and education. This increased the people’s opinion of him, and many citizens liked him. Also, the system of meritocracy made it so that people could be elected based on their skills and not on their social class, and Napoleon worked to not have huge differences between social classes. He took part in many public works programs, and all of these things positively impacted France and the world. For all of these positive things that he did, and because of how brilliant of a military general he is, I believe that overall, Napoleon greatly benefited Europe and had a positive impact.


Sources:
Thomas J. Vance“The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Historians”:  Napoleon in Review. Kalamazoo, Michigan. 1939. (including excerpts from many authors)
 
Madame de Stael. Ten Years of Exile. Saturday Review Press. 1972.
 
Joe H. Kirchberger. The French Revolution and Napoleon: An Eyewitness History. 1985.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Karl Marx vs Adam Smith- Who Has The Best Approach?

In class, we did a great, interactive activity to help us learn a few different forms of government. The purpose of the activity was to get us to understand what capitalism, socialism, and communism feel like in a much smaller scale. In this activity, each person in the class got chocolate kisses to represent the private ownership of industry in a society. At first, everybody in the class was given two Hersey's kisses, but me and one other student were given eight. Many of the other students complained and said it was not fair that we started out with more. I felt pretty good because I had an advantage, but I also thought that it was unfair to the rest of the class because I didn't do anything special to get them; it was unfair to them. We then played rock, paper, scissors and if you won, you got a candy from the other person and if you lost, you had to give them one. This represented the freedom of competition in a society. Many people complained about this game too because they said I had an unfair advantage because they ran out of kisses more quickly than I did. Everyone including me also complained about the fact that you had to keep playing because you couldn't save any of your kisses; you had to keep risking them. At the end of the game, there were "unequal economic classes" which were represented by the number of kisses people had left. Some people had none and were ‘poor’ and some people had a lot and were ‘rich’. The ‘poor’ people were mad because they had lost and were out of candy very quickly. However, I had 5 pieces of candy left that I had earned from playing, so I felt happy that I had earned the candy. This all represented capitalism. Then, our teacher collected everybody's candy and redistributed it, this time giving everyone two so that it was fair. The "poor" people were happy with this because they ended up gaining candy, but the "rich" people were unhappy because they ended up loosing their candy. They worked for the candy and didn't think it was fair to take it away. This represents socialism which is a system that aims for a classless society with economic equality. After socialism comes communism. Our teacher told us that we didn't have to play rock, paper, scissors if we didn't want to; we could keep our candy. The majority of the class wouldn't play because the chance of losing their candy was too high. This represents how people would agree to share their industry and not participate in competition because the chances of having a class division were too high. A classless society will be achieved in communism, and the teacher or government will no longer be needed to supervise. I really liked this activity because it was a great way to get us up and moving and thinking interactively about the topic. It got us interested and we will remember doing this activity. We also got to feel some of the emotions that people in a communist society felt on a much smaller scale. We wanted the candy and didn't like when we had to give it away. This was an activity that we will remember because it is unique, and it will help us better understand the concepts because we felt them.


 
Karl Marx and Adam Smith both had theories about what the government will become and how this will help the poor, however their theories were different. In Karl Marx's theory, he stated that the government would eventually evolve into communism in which it was inevitable that the poor, or the proletarians, would help themselves by overthrowing the rich, or the bourgeoisie. He tried to help his theory along and encourage the poor during his lifetime. He said that freedom of competition will result in unequal economic classes meaning that some people will be successful and become rich (bourgeoisie) and some will not and will become poor (proletarian). This will cause a class struggle meaning the proletarians will get angry about being poor and considered inferior to the bourgeoisie. They will get so angry that eventually they will revolt because they can't take the poverty any longer. Marx theorizes that the government will then evolve into socialism which aims for a classless society where everyone is given equal ownership of industry. The government will control the industry so there is no competition and it will bring economic equality. Lastly it will evolve to communism, where the majority of people in society will not participate in competition because they won't want to risk the class divisions (bourgeoisie and proletarians). The people will agree to share the property and industry, and there will no longer be a need for the government. Click here to watch a video about Karl Marx and his theories. However, Adam Smith had a different theory. He believed that the way to help the poor was to leave the people alone to buy and sell freely among themselves. The traders and the economic market will eventually work itself out because the traders will have to adjust their price based on their competitors, and they will have to sell new things that aren’t already being sold to attract customers. Eventually, all products needed by people will be sold, and they will be sold at a reasonable price. This system is called the Invisible Hand theory because the economy will work itself out as if it were being controlled by an invisible hand, as shown in the picture below. However, this system takes a long time to get started and the wait causes unemployment and it causes the economy to stall. This is why this system has never actually been tested; it takes too long to start it and businesses will fail before it can get a good start. Click here to watch an explanation of the Invisible Hand theory.
Smith's Invisible Hand theory- society will govern itself as if it were controlled by an invisible hand
Picture taken from the video by The Open University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulyVXa-u4wE&feature=youtu.be
 

          I think that the best kind of system is a happy medium between both capitalism and the Invisible Hand. The people should be in control of their money and how they trade, but the government should also be able to step in a little bit if the economy or unemployment gets too bad. The Invisible Hand theory is a good system, it just takes a while to get going. With a little assistance from the government to get started and keep it stable, I think this is a good system. I think that this is close to the economic system that we have now where the people are in control of their money, and if they work hard, they can earn more money. They decide what to do with their money, but the government helps the economy when it is needed. The Invisible Hand system plus some governmental help to get it started and help it when the economy is bad seems like a good system that is in the middle of both Marx’s theories and Smith’s theory.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Difference Between Great Britain and the U.S.: Who Had the Hardest Time During Hard Times?

The living and working conditions in Great Britain were a lot worse than the conditions in the US. In Great Britain, there was a high demand for land with the growing population, but there wasn't enough land to meet these demands. Families were getting kicked off of their farm land and were extremely poor. Families badly needed money to survive. This limited land “created a large population of young children who could be hired at cheap wages” (Background Essay). Since people were so poor, they needed money from the factories badly, so the factories didn’t have to try very hard to convince parents to send their children. The factories could pay cheap wages, and didn't have to spend money on good conditions because the families would send their kids no matter what the factories were like because they needed the money. The factories in Great Britain had extremely bad conditions. The punishments, accidents, food, and deformities were harsh and appalling. The overlookers in the factories were brutal and merciless. There was lots of brutal beatings that occurred in the factories. If the workers didn’t do their work right or if they didn’t do it fast enough, they were beaten. Sometimes, they were even beaten for no reason. Girls were more likely to be beaten than boys, and children were more likely to be beaten than adults. The machines they worked were also very dangerous. Many accidents occurred in the factories because the workers limbs would often get “caught in the machinery; in many instances the muscles, and the skin is stripped down to the bone” (interview with Dr. Ward by Lord Kenyon's House of Lords Committee on 25th March, 1819). Workers could easily get pulled into the machines and have their bodies and limbs mangled. As well as losing limbs from the machines, later in life workers’ bodies could be permanently damaged. Children’s bones are still soft when they are young, and from standing for such long hours in the factories, their bones would form unhealthy shapes. One example is they can become knock-kneed. “By long continued standing, the knees become so weak that they turn inwards, producing that deformity which is called ‘knock-knees’ and I have sometimes seen it so striking, that the individual has actually lost twelve inches of his height by it.” (interview with Sir Samuel Smith by Michael Sadler's House of Commons Committee on 16th July, 1832). Girls pelvises could also become turned inward or “distorted” which caused problems with childbirth, and the marrow in the workers’ bones would sometimes be worn down. Lastly, food was dirty and unhealthy. The most common food was oatcakes, and there was often pieces of cotton and dirt in the food. There was a very small quantity of food given, and the workers had to continue working while they ate their meals. There were no plates or silverware, and the food, along with the living and working conditions in Great Britain, were unsanitary.

 
Cripples from the factories in London, England
http://www2.maxwell.syr.edu/plegal/tips/t6prod/rodneywilliamswq1.html
           
            However, the US was in the opposite situation of Great Britain. The U.S. was “expanding westward which (kept) most parents and children working on farms together. It would take a very attractive system of wages, supervision, and working and living conditions to convince parents from around New England to send their children to new mill towns” (Background Essay). The U.S. was not in as much poverty as Great Britain because people had plenty of farmland to work on and grow food with because of the land expansion. They weren’t getting kicked off of their land or struggling to survive like Great Britain. It would take a lot for parents to send their children to the factories because they didn’t need the money as badly. Factories had to work hard to convince families to send their kids, so their factories had to have much better conditions and better wages so that they could get workers. The US invented a system to try to convince US families to send their daughters to mills to sew. This system was called the Lowell Experiment. The Lowell Experiment was devised to avoid the negative aspects associated with the mills and factories during industrialization that were happening in England. Lowell advertised that “they were a new kind of factory, free of the misery of England’s industrial cities” and they “suggested that young women could work in the mills for a few years and then move on to better lives, thus maintaining their independence” (Lowell- “The Factory in the Garden”). This experiment was a "paternal" system very similar to a family. There was a fatherly figure in the mills who set the rules and supervised the behavior of the girls. There was also a motherly figure who was the boardinghouse director and would regulate the girls' behavior outside of mill hours. There was a very homely and family based dynamic to the mills, and this made parents feel comfortable with sending their girls there. There were good conditions in the US factories; much better working spaces, wages, food, boarding houses, and sanitation than Great Britain. When Charles Dickens visited these factories, he said the girls were “all well dressed… They were healthy in appearance, many of them remarkably so, and had the manners of young women: not of degraded brutes of burden” (Document A). He also said that there was “much fresh air, cleanliness, and comfort. I solemnly declare I cannot recall… one young face that gave me a painful impression” (Document A). The factories were cleaner and nicer than Great Britain, and working wasn’t so brutal and miserable in the US. Although wage cuts eventually became a problem in the US, the workers protested, and the conditions were nowhere near as bad as in Great Britain. The sanitation, safety, and living and working conditions were worse in Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution than they were in the US.



Sources:
Background Essay: from the DBQ Packet including excerpts from: "Charles Dickens". Curriculum Materials, Tsongas Center for Lowell History. http://www.uml.edu/tsongas/Curriculum_Materials/Curriculum_Packets/Dickens_Guide.pdf
Document A: Charles Dickens, "General Appearance of Mill Workers," from American Notes, 1842. Excerpted from
http://www.uml.edu/tsongas/Curriculum_Materials/Curriculum_Packets/Dickens_Guide.pdf
All other sources found from class readings