Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slavery and Freedom by S. A.

Liberty and Freedom built on the backs of slaves is a contradiction in itself but without would there even be an America to debate the logistics of slave labor. It may not have been a pure race fueled decision to keep and utilize slave labor. What to do with a large ethnically indifferent slave labors harboring resentment for their masters, simply letting them lose would't end well for all the land owners. With a record of murderous rebellion simply setting them free would not only cripple the southern colonies it would prevent the birth of America. The founding fathers didn't see it as owning slaves as a contradiction but as to what to do with them that wouldn't damage everything they had worked for. They were looking for the best course of action for the colonies when it came to the matter of slaves.

A perspective I had not taken into account was the socioeconomic aspect of the institution of slavery. Not so much as the south was dependent on slave labor but as to what should be done with tremendous slave work force that were quite resentful of their white masters. Uneducated unskilled what contribution could they offer the society in which they were brought to? At the time it was believed that whites and blacks couldn't live with one and other. Some proposed that they should all be sent back but a grand mass deportation of the size would impractical as it hurt their economy and hinder the progression of the colonies expanding to the west. This is all from the perspective on the fathers but the only perspective not discussed was that of the slaves. If they were to be educated and understand their importance of their roll in laying the foundation for the the 13 colonies which soon to be recognized as America. It would be interesting to see them debate the complications involved with their slavery and treatment and how they were the back bone of the southern economy and its prosperity. It never came to that as the slaves were seen by the white land owners as heathens who had given up their basic human rights so they can live the way they did. Their children being born and raised Christians but never receiving education so it prevented them from learning their human rights or the right to freedom.

    Mrs Arrowsmith manages to make the reading more lively and more understandable. Classmates asking questions on subjects in the reading I may have not paid much attention to details I should take sometime to look into. Such as Bacon Rebellion and how it instilled fear into the white land owners. Not realizing the impact these events had on the colonies like the Haitian Rebellion not only did the slaves escape the grip the french overseers had on them they had managed to fight off the local government and Napoleon Bonaparte himself decorated military general. This made it ever prevalent that this could easily happen in the colonies at it did in Haiti.

I would like to learn more about the privateers and groups such as Cimarrons. Privateers seem interesting like Francis Bacon and his battles against the Spanish for the gold England had sent him to steal. The bands of Cimarrons attacking the Spanish in some sort of guerrilla warfare to free their people and living in the wilderness in small communities. The port life like in Havana having ships attacked and the constant fear of attack of petty pirates or privateers. The lost colonies in which their are no trace of were Indians and English men with liberty side by side as equals it seemed they would have succeeded if they had no attacked the natives and simply ran or get killed off by the natives. Another idea is if the founding fathers could see America now it's current condition would approve or disapprove.

Slavery and Freedom by M. R.

Edmund Sears Morgan was an American historian an eminent authority on early American history. He was Emeritus Professor of History at Yale University, where he taught from 1955 to 1986. He specialized in American colonial history with some attention to English history.  He covered many topics one being slavery. In Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox, he mentions how we as American owe a debt of gratitude to those who have insisted that slavery was not an exception. In this article Edmund mentions that two such contradictory developments were taking place simultaneously over a long period of our history, from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, is the central paradox of American history.  Virginia was one of the colonies that succeeded due to slavery labor.  Jefferson believed that the citizens of a republic must be freed from the control of other men and that they could be free only if they were economically free by virtue of owning land on which to support themselves. However, Jefferson contradicted himself because he wasn’t free himself. He was a slaveholder of hundred plus slaves. He believed that every man should be free, Jefferson was conflicted he knew that letting go of the slaves was a good thing but since he needed laborers to work he couldn’t let go. Men like Jefferson, John Locke and Andrew Fletcher had one thing is common that they were all champions of liberty and was also champions of slavery. They believed that poor people were thieves and threatened the property of honest men. Some of these poor people became slaves to anyone that would feed them.  During the period before 1660’s slaves were free, they had almost the same equal rights. Some of these slaves bought their freedom and in some cases the masters would give them land, cattle, and houses. Northampton is the only county that has the records that exist, by 1668 at least ten slaves were freed in every household.

The purpose and view of the author is that America was built by contradiction by our founding fathers and slavery played a major part of America’s growth economically

In class we discussed about the all the men that believed in liberty, however they also believed strongly in slavery. We talked about the education for slaves which was none. They were not allowed to attend school.   We also talked about the tabacco fields and how slavery was used to work in that filed. Talking and sharing this article in class help me understand this article better, this was a difficult read for me. The class understood why the American Paradox happened.

Questions still remain: Do we still live in an American contradiction?  When did our founding fathers stop this contradiction?

Slavery and Freedom by J. S.

The focus of the paper, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox”, was to show that some of the founding fathers were not as hypocritical as they seem. He used first used Thomas Jefferson as an example by showing his distrust towards debtors and non-landowners. He distrusted debtors, despite being one himself, due to their inability to be truly “free”. He thought that being in debt gave the debtor control and therefore a debtor could not be free. He also distrusted those who lived in the city and did not own land. He feared that if they were to lose their job they would have nothing to fall back on, and could only rely on charity. The author also pointed out how they couldn’t only worry about slaves in the early times. In the early days before slavery was as popular, indentured servitude was popular due to the promise of being gifted land after your work period of over.  This in turn backfired when the tobacco buyers wouldn’t buy small amounts of barrels, leading the previously indentured servants to rebel in Bacon’s Rebellion.  This led to an increased rate of slavery since the slaves had a much harder time rebelling and could be punished more harshly.

The point of view for this paper was not of someone from today, but was attempting to be a point of view like how those living during the time would have had. You can first see this with how he talks about how Thomas Jefferson was not as racist as we would assume today. The next time we can see the point of view is when they talk about the fear of rebellions of servants and slaves alike, and how this evolved into a large fear of the slaves by many owners. This point of view is also shown when talking about Sir William Berkeley and his immense fear of rebellion due to his history regarding the English civil wars.

Our discussions in class touched on a lot of topics and questions coming from the reading, and surprisingly, outside it as well. We talked a lot about where the fear of slaves and servants came from and how it came to be. We also talked about how relationships(both consensual and unconsensual) were somewhat common between slaves and their masters, most prominently, we talked about Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings, with whom he is believed to have had 6 children. We also talked about how the rebellions of slaves in Haiti fueled the fear of owners in the colonies.

We are left wondering whether the author is correct in his assumptions that masters lived in fear of their slaves. Another possible question could be whether the founding fathers were truly hypocritical and hiding it or whether they were just fearful and trying to do the best for their people. Another question I personally have is if the slave owners were fearful or if a large part in the fear was to gain stricter laws and make sure their slaves stayed complacent and in line so the farms would stay in operation.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Slavery and the Making of America by D.C.

 In this very important topic of slavery; Dr. James Horton a history professor , historian and president of an organization of American Historians, discusses slavery as complex, misunderstood and significant. The approach Horton communicated to his audience was the excellent use of logos , ethos and pathos. For me that is i felt due to his expertise and over all profession gave the audience credibility that he was very educated on the topic of slavery and all he discussed was from his own research and study through all his career. I also did relate to a very successful man like Horton during his argument when he said when he was in school he was not really aware of slavery and its over all history. He believed slavery started in the year 1840, but reality slavery has been existent as the dawn of man. He stated the misunderstandings on taking place in a southern institution when it was really a nationwide most of its existence. The significance and logical approach when Horton said " Slavery has believed to be somehow marginal; in a  political , economic and social life ". As difficult and upsetting the discussion of slavery is there is more to it that i really never opened my mind to even want to know; because the discussion of slavery brings anger and sadness for me, however Horton also gave me a new approach on how i view slavery. I still feel very emotional but i also now understand why it happened the way it did. 
 The purpose and point of view from Horton is his discussion i can say was not to develop controversy. It was to educate more about slavery to his audience in the sense of giving the audience information beyond the standard on what is told in history books. He discussed misconceptions on where it took place the vast majority of the time. How african labor saved the 13 colonies from dying out. He spoke about the contradiction between the great words in our Declaration of Independence that preached  over all freedom but yet our founding fathers owning slaves of their own. Horton says " Slavery is a central understanding on what America was about" with this being said i interpreted this as a necessary evil that had to occur at that time.
     In class we all discussed and also viewed in a map on how slaves were brought to Latin America. That to me was very shocking, and it connected to what Horton discussed on how only six percent of slaves were brought to America and all were brought to Caribbean's or Latin America the vast majority. We also discussed in connection to Hortons discussion in the growth of rice by slaves in which plantation owners were clueless in but yet took advantage for their growth as well as cotton , tobacco and cane. There was a great questions among my classmates. If slaves did obtain they key in the growth of for example rice why did they not use that for their advantage? it is very reasonable i actually agreed to that , but it did make since the answer to the question is, slaves were not told to farm rice; they actually started the growth because they felt in that specific place they were was a great area to grow rice and took it upon themselves to do so.We discussed the way slaves were not able to rebel and how now statistically there are ways in the discovery on how many adults and kids were in the slave ships. And for me the thought of kids also involved in this is quite sickening.
 The great question we discussed was the about our founding fathers and its contradiction with advocating freedom while owning slaves. We spoke about how Thomas Jefferson believed slavery maintained order and prevented chaos.While having this subject discussed in class i felt the topic of slavery is very difficult and sensitive to speak about especially that now a days we are experiencing slight similarity with our president now and the topic of immigration.It makes me think now more than ever the history sadly does repeat itself. And how it will effect our political , economic and social life. This is why Hortons discussion gave me such reasoning , even though i am still upset with it all that will not ever change. 
My questions now remain; Why is there no discussion on how slavery impacted in Latin America? What will happen now in the future? , Did we not learn from our mistakes? and Will there now be a new "America`s Great Contradiction"?

Slavery and the Making of America by M.M.

The speaker in this video lecture is Dr. James O. Horton, a man who dedicated his life to social and African American history. He currently holds the title of “Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University and Historian Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.” During Dr. Horton’s speech in this well thought out and organized video he showcases three different misconceptions the average person believes about American slavery. The first misconception he shares with us is that most people believe that slavery in America started during mid 1800's while in fact it started as early as the mid 1600's. The second misconception is that slavery was primarily in the south when in reality slavery in the south did not fully develop until the early 1800's. The third and final misconception Dr. Horton addresses is that most people believe that slavery was a marginal time period disregarding the political, economical, and social impact it had in our society. Once Dr. Horton states these three misconceptions, he proceeds to explain through different factual arguments why the average person believes these misconceptions.
As Dr. Horton continues with the lecture explaining the different complexities of slavery in America, one is able to appreciate the purpose behind his words and what his point of view is as well. What Dr. Horton is attempting to do is to convey the basis of understanding of African slavery in America in order to educate the average American. This would provide them the ability to reject the already mentioned slavery misconceptions as they fill their minds with irrefutable facts from Colonial America all the way to the Revolutionary War. During the entire lecture we are able to observe that Dr. Horton’s point of view is always that of a well educated and knowledgeable historian whose intentions are to shine light on the misinformed. Since his lecture is fair and impartial, it is fair to say that at no point would one feel as if there were any voices missing with important facts which might have been left out.
After watching Dr. Horton’s video lecture, the US History 101 class at the College of the Canyons held a group discussion in which multiple key points were shared. Some of these key points included the complexity of the slave trade starting in the early 1500's, the immense economical advancements slavery contributed to Pre-Civil War America, and the paradoxical idea that some of our Founding Fathers who fought for a country based on freedom were also slave owners. After a very informative discussion, the class was able to summarize the knowledge gathered from Dr. Horton. It would not be an overstatement to say that the entire class understands the slave trade timeline and which nations participated in it, which African region became a superpower as it profited from trading their enemies into slavery,  the economical, political, and social impact slavery had in America from the mid 1600's to the late 1800's, the points of view some of our Founding Fathers had regarding freedom, and lastly, an introduction on what led to the separation of ideas and beliefs between the north and the south and what ultimately led to the American Civil War.
In conclusion having been given the opportunity to examine Dr. Horton’s video/lecture was an educational growing experience for the entire class, many questions were answered yet some still remain. How can some of our forefathers believe in freedom when they did not believe racial equality? Would the United States still be what it is now if we would have never had African slaves come and save the Colonies from dieing off? Lastly, would our country be the superpower it is now if African slaves wouldn’t have boost up and stimulated the economy in order to lay the foundation for what we now know as the United States of America?