Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Logic of Secession - by S. S.

The lecture The Logic of Secession by Dr. Ed Ayers explains the many different facets of the south’s perspective on secession and slavery. He makes one point very clear, secession was not instantaneous and inspired by strong emotions, but rather was a logical, thought out process, that had to do with many issues one of them being slavery. However, there were many other divides between the north and south including politics, the economic divide, and even a division upon the interpretation of the Bible. All of these issues eventually led to secession and ultimately the Civil War. The speaker's purpose was to create a dialogue per se. History is written by the winners, and as the outcome of the Civil War would tell you. The south lost. It is too common that students and historians alike do not hear both sides of the story. Dr. Ayers was attempting to show the side of the south that scholars so rarely see in history textbooks today as he unveiled the true thoughtfulness behind every action and reaction that the south made. The listeners most definitely heard from the southerner's point of view, but Dr. Ed Ayers left out the northerners voices as they are often heard. Everyone knows what the north did. Most recently reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas I came to realize many parallels to the lecture. Many of the movements that were mentioned in the lecture were happening alongside Fredericks story. For example, the Underground Railroad, the Mason Dixon line, and even the southern economic boom was included. The reading helped me understand the lecture because I could put a life to it, rather than simply listen to an older gentleman speak of the southern perspective, I had read about someone who lived it.

Questions from class:
What role did South Carolina play in the secession of the southern states?
South Carolina was the main instigator in the secession of the southern states and territories. When they left the senate was made to be out of balance, this convinced a lot of southern states to also secede so that they may have an equal voice in the governmental process.

What happened when the Virginian delegates came to Lincoln with a so called “solution”?
The Virginians were grotesquely optimistic in their ability to bring together the rest of the southern states. Being the home of so many Founding Fathers this task would obviously come naturally to all Virginians. They came to Lincoln simply asking for time, so that they could convince the entirety of the south to return to order. Lincoln, for obvious reasons, declined their offer.

Questions we are left with:
Though the speaker said that secession was not all about slavery, a lot if not all of the issues Dr. Ayers spoke about was tied to slavery in some way, could this have been all about slavery? 

Why was the balance of the Senate so important to the South?

When the South realized their thriving economic stability, why didn’t they simply refuse to give the North much needed resources until they caved to their demands?

Could the Civil War have been avoided?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Part Two - by M. F.

Frederick Douglass, in the last two chapters of his autobiography, details the final years of being a slave. Douglass recalls the time where he was a slave under Covey, which he believes to be his hardest time as slave. Covey is described to be the worst master Douglass has been enslaved by, as Covey overworks slaves, punishes unjustly, and uses religion as a means to justify the practice of slavery. Covey often whipped Douglass for Douglass's supposed awkwardness. In the short time he was enslaved by Covey, Douglass's spirit was broken, and he no longer had a desire to learn. He felt dehumanized and, contemplated either killing himself or Mr. Covey, but ultimately decided against it with fear and hope in his mind. It was not until Douglass decided to fight back, where he began to feel like a man again. A scuffle between the two saw Douglass triumphant, and he explains that as the turning point in his time with Mr. Covey. The defeated Covey no longer touched Douglass for the rest of the year, and Douglass began to regain spirit and the resolve to escape slavery. As Douglass's year with Covey comes to a close, Douglass begins to describe the holiday traditions of slaves. He explains that slaveholders make their slaves drunk during the holidays as a means of keeping them enslaved, making the believe that the free life is unappealing. After his time with Covey ends, Douglass is sent to work for a slaveholder named William Freeland, who is described as the fairest and best slaveholder Douglass has worked under. Though Douglass appreciates the fairness of Mr. Freeland's treatment, he would much rather be a free man, and devises a plan to escape with other slaves. The plan is eventually compromised, which ended in Douglass's and the other slaves' arrest. The arrest ends in Douglass being sent back to Hugh Auld in Baltimore. Douglass is apprenticed to a shipbuilder, which ends in Douglass being beat up by four other white apprentices. He is then put to work for Auld's shipyard, where he needs to turn in all his wages to Thomas Auld. Bothered by the fact that he must turn in all his wages, Douglass complains to Auld who in turn allows him to seek his own work, with the condition that Douglass must pay Auld three dollars each week. At one point, Douglass misses his pay to Auld, which causes the freedom Douglass was given to be taken away. As Douglass is working for Auld, he resolves to escape, though he does not detail the means he used to escape. When he finally escapes to New York, he grows anxious to the fact that he does not know the city or the people.
Douglass's accounts of his time and life as a slave serves the purpose of informing readers of the daily hardships that a slave will face throughout their lifetime. The purpose at the time Douglass wrote this was to expose the dehumanization of blacks in America. First hand accounts of being a slave were rare at the time Douglass wrote this book as African Americans very rarely possessed the ability to read and write. This book revealed the truth of what most, if not all, slaves will go through in their life, with the hope that this may add fuel to the abolitionist movement. His autobiography was also an optimistic memoir that can be used as a tool to motivate other African Americans to rebel the system of slavery. The accounts of his hardships and eventual triumph may inspire other enslaved people who may get their hands on the book to not give into their oppressors, and to seek their freedom. Today, the autobiography can be used as a reminder of what our country once was, and what a large portion of our population had to struggle through in order to gain their own independence.
In class, we read an article by an expert on Frederick Douglass that answered various questions surrounding Douglass. Through this reading, we are reminded of Douglass's support of womans suffrage after gainig his freedom, as well as his support for the 15th amendment. The reading also detailed Douglass's supposed fued with William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown, his disapproval of the election of Lincoln as president as well as his eventual support, and the faith Douglass holds to his own writing. He believed his writing, such as the book we read for class, was important for the abolitionist movement. Through this fact, we can see that Douglass wrote his autobiography in hopes that it would further the movement.
In class, we discussed various aspects of slavery that were detailed in the book. One question brought up by the teacher was what we thought Douglass was most frustrated with. We believed that Douglass felt the most frustration with slaveholders who were "false Christians". Those slaveholders who used religion and the bible to justify their own actions were the worst in Douglass's eyes. We also explored how his autobiography can be used as an "optimistic memoir". We said that since Douglass was able to create a life for his own through the plentiful hardships of slavery, it can be viewed optimisitcally by other slaves who are ready to give up. It can be used as inspiration for slaves to seek out a better life.
The only thing that I am left wondering following the reading and discussion of the book is how was Frederick Douglass able to escape?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Doglass - Narrative of a Life by N. R.

Frederick Douglas a former slave and a passionate abolitionist narrates his astounding life story. Douglas talks about the physical abuse, deprivation and tragedy in his early years which helped him to grow into someone who spoke for his people. In chapter 1 he talks about being born as a slave , he had no accurate knowledge of his age. He, including many other slaves in Talbot county Maryland were not allowed to even make enquiries. His father was a white man which resulted to him having a lighter complexion compared to other slaves. Douglas is very sure that the father was his master Anthony. Furthermore, he also talks about how slave women was physically and psychologically abused, and the children they bore on the process were also enslaved and sold to other slaveholders. He witnessed his aunt get beaten up by his master, until warm blood trickled down her wounds. This bloody transaction was his impression of slavery.  In Chapter 2 the writer talks about the plantation house of his second master Colonel Lloyd. Slaves of high misdemeanor, becoming unmanageable or attempting to escape was brought immediately, severely whipped and taken to Baltimore to other slave traders. This was a threat and a warning to other slaves who would try to do the same.
 He describes overseer as another danger. The overseers are ruthless. The success of the overseer’s career was considered upon how severely he could punish slaves on the field. They were drunkards, swore profanely, cutting, raving, cursing the slaves in the most frightful manner. The hostility also included killing them. Chapter 3 describes an incident in which Douglas uses his master colonel Lloyd as an example of being honest slave was a potential threat. He would randomly ask his slaves about their master, and if the slave spoke the truth about the mistreatment, he will be severely punished. In Chapter 5 he expresses the joy he felt after his old master Colonel Lloyd decided to let him go to work for Hugh Auld brother of his son in law. He gives a vivid description of his journey to a bigger city Baltimore. Chapter 6 was about how he learnt to read. And he also described Sophia Auld (mistress who taught him alphabets and how to spell words) as angelic figure. When her husband found out, she had to stop immediately because it was unlawful to teach a slave how to read, that inspired and determined Douglas to learn. The following chapters tells us he took reading lessons from the white children in the neighborhood and learned to read from his master’s school book. The reading talks about his struggle to get freedom. He also mentions that a lot of white people saw a lot of potential in him and suggested that he should move to the north. And he cleverly tackled the situation without being tricked. The book was written on Fredericks Douglas’s perspective, so his voice was being heard.
Throughout our class discussion we did a very interesting activity. We had to pick 4 quotes from the 9 chapters.  And we had to stick the quotes under following categories (violence, family, resistance, work and control). This activity has enhanced our learning as through group discussion different people gave different examples of how the situations were back in the days of slavery. We can picture the situations more clearly. It reflects upon how white men felt threatened by literacy of the slaves. They are petrified by the fact that slaves are capable of rebelling against their masters and teach other slaves to read and write. We also discussed in class the dehumanization of enslaved people because the masters were ignorant not to record birthdates. As a slave Frederick was treated differently. Moreover words, talking and writing became his craft. We also concluded that slavery is not monoethnic.
Although this class answered most of my question, I would still like to know the perspective of Sophia Auld and the children who taught Douglas to read. Sophia was described as a kind woman in the beginning, I would like to know what were her other reasons to change her attitude towards Douglas. And I also keep wondering how Frederick Douglas managed to learn thing from children without getting told on by their parents.

Douglass - Narrative of a Life - by C. K.

For last nights reading, the class was assigned the first nine chapters of the autobiography, Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass. In these first few chapters, Douglass outlines the horrors of the life of an American slave. Slaves were malnourished, poorly clothed, and beaten. Some Masters, or plantation owners, would allow their slaves only one bushel of corn meal per week, so slaves had to ration themselves, or find a different place to acquire the proper amount of food. Other owners gave the proper amounts of food, and took good care of their slave, but either way, slaves took pride in the wealth and status of the man that they worked under no matter how terrible their actual situation was. Also, slaves were given new clothes every year, which meant that they wore the same piece of clothing for an entire year until it was completely falling apart. The children were not given pants, shoes, or a blanket, so they had to wait out the nights in the freezing weather until they were twenty-one, and old enough to receive such a luxury. Douglass gives a first hand account of the severity of the cold when he explains that one night he slept with his head in a potato sack, and the next morning, his feet were so cold that they cracked. These injuries were deep and wide enough to fit a pen in. Additionally, slaves were beaten for the slightest offence. On many occasions, slaves were beaten for talking poorly of their master, the amount of food they received, or for complaining in general. Also, slaves who worked for the Master taking care of his horses were beaten if the horses were not taken care of the exact way that a Master required. If the horse was fed too early, or too late: whip. If the horse was too dirty, or brushed too hard: strike. If the horse was too tired, or too excited: lash. Women were beaten for no reason at all. Women would be stripped to the waist, strung up on a hook, and whipped so severely that their skin would break and blood would drench the floor. They would be left there until the Master was ready to come back and continue to beat them at the end of the day. Douglass’s main argument outlines that slavery was the slaves were not all self aware of the cruelty that they faced because they could not read the reasons why white men defended slavery so. Douglass became suicidal after he began to learn to read because he finally understood the severity of slavery, and just how important emancipation was. His evidence comes from first hand accounts, and from stories of other slaves that he encountered.

Douglass speaks in first person of his life and the lives of those around him. He wrote this autobiography to inform the white people of his time of the torment that slaves went through every day. When white people first found this book they did not believe that it was written by an African American man until Douglass stood on a stage and spoke of his life and his journey. We hear the voice of Douglass as a dominating, powerful force that would scare anyone into the path of abolition. We also hear the second person account of the beatings that Douglass witnessed, and the third person account that Douglass was told about. We are not missing many voices, because the voices of the Masters is also present, in these first few chapters, through their whippings and the torment that they caused. Also we have quotes from the slave Masters about how they felt about slaves under their control. We are missing the voices of abolitionists, and the fight for emancipation from more than just Douglass.
During our reading we were asked to mark four quotes that made us all feel something, or really hit us. In class, we wrote down those four quotes and placed them into five categories: violence, control, family, work, and existence. We would pick the group based off of what we thought the quote related to most. For example, I wrote a quote about how Mr. Gore, a plantation overseer, shot a slave for resisting punishment by standing in a creek and refusing to come out after three calls. The quote that stuck the most with me was how Douglass used a word thread and explained that Mr. Gore went “unwhipped and uncensured by the community” even though he committed one of the bloodiest murders of all that time. I placed this quote into the violence category, and to;d my peers that this quote meant the most to me because Mr. Gore did not abide by the slave laws that we have previously read in class. Those laws include that murder of a slave should be punished if it is not your slave. Mr. Gore was only an overseer, but explained why he shot the resistant slave, and was let off without a fine, or even a trial. This exercise brought light to how the class felt about the events that transpired throughout Douglass’s life. Most people were concerned about the control that Douglass, and all slaves endured from the white people that owned them. The exercise also helped us realize which parts of Douglass’s story were the more impactful to the class, as most people put a quote on the violence or family page.

There was one question asked of us by Professor Arrowsmith. This question was what we found the most profound about the book, what we liked about the book, and what we thought was special about the book. One student answered that Douglass did not have the worst life as a slave, he was not beaten as severely as others, he was sent away from some of the most harmful overseers, and he was taught to read. We thought that this may have been because he was a mixed race child, as his mother was raped by her Master. Professor Arrowsmith agreed that not all slavery was the same, some slaves were fortunate enough to live with a kind Master, and others were beaten and killed. We also enjoyed how eloquent Douglass was with his writing, as he only learned his letters and words from the poor children that he bribed with bread. We enjoyed how he trusted the small white boys because it was a mutual need. Douglass needed to learn to read, and the boys needed to eat. Some people had a new insight into the horrors of American slavery, and were surprised at the amount of unnecessary violence that befell the slave women. Some of us were puzzled that songs were only sung when slaves were at their most unhappy of times. Professor Arrowsmith told us the names of some popular slave songs, such as “Wade in the Water”, and “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” These two song in particular were just a couple that gave slaves instructions on how to escape their plantations. We were also reminded that slave song were where many genres of music originated such as blue, jazz, and rock and roll.

I was left wondering when Douglass will escape. Were any of the people that he called is siblings or aunts his actual blood relatives? Was his grandmother a mother of twelve because she was raped? Or did his grandmother have a husband. Did Douglass have a lasting impact on the child of his masters? Did Douglass teach the boys that he learned from about the horrors of slavery? Did any of those boys join him later in life in his push for abolition?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Women's Rights - Expectant at Seneca Falls by I. F.

In the video we watched for class we learned a lot about Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It talked about her struggles such as when she was just eleven years old her brother died suddenly. Elizabeth went to seek comfort from her father and he said to her “I wish you were a boy.” Another hardship she endured was going to the same school as a certain boy, always being smarter and better than he was academically, and in the end not being able to go to college like he did simply because she was a girl. Both of these events that occurred in her life inspired her to advocate women’s right and particularly women’s right to vote,
Among the many good things Stanton did and accomplished there is still a very racist, and prejudice side to her. Although she was an abolitionist and eventually married an anti slavery lecturer  it didn’t excuse her racist views she maintained throughout her life. She firmly believed that “educated white women were more fit to vote than emancipated black men”. She thought that because black men didn’t have a formal education they couldn’t be trusted with the power to vote and change things in the country. Stanton also thought that black women being emancipated was an even worse form of slavery because they’d be “slave” to an “ignorant” black man through marriage rather than an educated white man.
Martha Coffin Wright was another women we read about in the passage. She endured her own struggles that led her to advocate women’s rights as well. Wright noticed unfairness in unequal pay to men and women and thought it should be the same, even though her husband deemed it nonsense.
Martha Coffin Wright along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton both attended the meeting along with a few other women to discuss a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls. Based on the conversation these women had over tea Stanton made a rough draft of the Declaration of Sentiments which was signed at the convention by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men. After Seneca Falls women’s rights conventions continued being held.
Also said in the passage there was not a women’s rights convention during the Civil War because Wright thought with all the crisis no one would listen so instead her along with Anthony decided to create the “Women’s Loyal National League”. This organization was made to collect signatures on petitions stating to abolish slavery. They had four hundred thousand signatures in about a year and a half. Congress used this petition to pass the thirteenth amendment.

Women's Rights - Expectant at Seneca Falls by G. D.

This article talks about Martha Coffin Wright, the chief leader of women's rights convention, and president of National Women suffrage Association.
Martha Coffin (1806,1848) was born in Boston and raised in Quaker town , she was a part of the Historic Seneca Falls convention, along with Lucretia Mott ( sister), and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Martha Married Peter Pelhamin in 1824 and moved with him to Florida, because she didn't marry a Quaker she was kicked out from the town.
After Peter died in. 1826 , she married the lawyer David Wright in 1829, and was living in Aurora. In 1833 she visited her sister Lucretia , and got involved in organized Anti-slavery movement , where she met William Lioyd Garrison .
After moving to Auburn , she started realizing how women were undermined in this society, and the fact that married women can't by property, vote, and get paid half the amount the men get paid, pissed off Martha more and she got more involved working for women's rights. Seneca Falls convention in 1848 was women's freedom revolution , signed by sixty-eight women and thirty men , which declared that all men and women are equal. However Martha didn't give a speech in the convention, her contribution was through writing , and Douglass ;who was attending the convention , heard the article and wanted to republish it. Moreover, Martha spoke for the first time , at the third national convention in 1852 in Syracuse where she met Susan B Anthony , a close friend of Martha. Later on, Martha traveled to Cleveland with Lucreta in 1853 and served as the secretary of the fourth national convention,Next, she went back to Philadelphia and attended the founding American Anti-slavery society , and public debate on the authority of the bible, because leaders used the bible to attack women's rights, and defend slavery .
Martha was also the president of the National women suffrage association, with Anthony and Stanton , with opposition “American women suffrage Association” led by Stone and her husband Henry Blackwell.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton , born in a rich family. Her father was a successful lawyer thus, she got s sense of law from her father, she thought politics was the way to help with women's rights . Elizabeth was considered a radical , that used racial comments to get was she wanted . She was opposed because she talked about marriage and divorce , and wanted women to be able to vote before the black people could . She also talked about, and supported, Anti-slavery , and was part of the National Women's Rights Association.

The purpose of this article and the video is to show what some women went through in the past is the results of the rights that women have today . Moreover , it talks about the oppositions that tried to put a stop to these organizations. We didn't hear the point of view of black people , also, we didn't hear much about Lucretia's contribution to these conventions.
In class we talked about the Peculiar Responsibilities of American Women .
This article made me understand the reason why women didn't have the same equal rights as men did . Thus, because of subordination it was reasoned to have a superior (men) and inferior (women ) , and without it both genders will be degraded , meaning that there always should be so one to be in control of someone else . However, this doesn't mean that women should not have equal social and political rights , where women are who shape the men if the future . In conclusion from what I understood , is that women should have equal rights as men , but women duties should defer from men's duties. We also looked at pictures of women in long uncomfortable dresses , which show what women had to go through to maintain the social standard .
We talked about why Elizabeth , even though she hated slavery, she had some racial comments? We concluded that Elizabeth simply didn't want block people to have more right or to vote before white women can .
We talked about what Elizabeth was considered radical ? And that as because she talked about marriage and divorce, which contradicted with the principle of the bible, and that pissed some of the leaders and priests.
Why didn't David ( Martha's husband) didn't get involve in the women's rights convention or the (NWSA) ? Did Lucretia have more activities outside the women's convention ? Did the losses that Martha went through affected her life's work ?