Sunday, February 19, 2017

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?