A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tearing down of confederate statues. While my ideas on the issues have changed a bit, what is happening now I find completely unacceptable and disrespectful. Apparently, activists are now raiding cemeteries and defacing statues on graves of confederate soldiers. I find this appalling, disrespectful to the families of these soldiers and the soldiers themselves. I don’t think that this is acceptable in any fashion, but a thought occurred to me that stumped me. At what point does a grave stop being a grave or historical landmark and begin to be acceptable for archaeologists the like to explore? What makes it okay to remove grave goods and put them into museums? I don’t think that violence is the answer by any means, and I do think that what the activists are doing now is going too far, but they aren’t doing any more or less than humans have been doing for centuries.
Do you ever wonder what the world would be like today if those who once researched, made a mark, or became someone famous in America were still alive? Reading on Alexis de Tocqueville, I really started thinking on this. Throughout the reading it talks about the Education system in depth. “Americans are taught from birth that they must overcome life’s woes and impediments on their own. Social authority makes them mistrustful and anxious, and they rely upon its power only when they cannot do without it. This first becomes apparent in the schools, where children play by their own rules and punish infractions they define themselves. One encounters the same spirit in all aspects of social life. An obstruction blocks a public road, interrupting the flow of traffic. The neighbors immediately set up a deliberative body. Out of this improvised assembly comes an executive power that will remedy the ill before it occurs to anyone to appeal to an authority…” (p. 215) I used this piece from the book because I truly believe that if Alexis de Tocqueville was still alive that he would strongly agree that the primary school system still seems to be ran like this. To me its a shame but its interesting to see things from someone’s perspective from then.
In this reading I was very interested in how Alexis de Tocqueville saw the character of the American people. It seemed that he liked that people acted as individuals but saw that as a little bit of an issue when it came to trying to reconcile excellence and consent within the government. Overall he seemed to admire people of America even though they did embrace slavery and mistreated Native Americans.
While Tocqueville published his magnum opus Democracy in America nearly 182 years ago the unique cultural and political characteristics of Americans remain even to this day. When the United States was founded it was considered a radical experiment in democracy compared to the old monarchies of Europe. Now the US is considered by other first world countries to be somewhat behind politically as the US clings to old traditions and ways of governance. Is this a bad thing it is difficult to say.
I have been working at Colorado Health Mental Institute-Pueblo for about two months now. In orientation I was told the history of the institution and how back in 1879 when it opened it was an insane asylum. This made me interested in the history of insane asylums. Why did we have them. Where did they first originated from.
The first asylum that came to be was in Pennsylvania in 1756. The Quaker colony started to notice that the poor population was growing and there was no help for them. They decided to make workhouses but then those started to be to expensive that Pennsylvania decided to build almshouses so the poor can have better treatment that was not as expensive. This institution was called Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.
In 1769 several mentally ill people were wondering around the community of Williamsburg, Virginia that would cause havoc. They were unfit for the almshouse that Virginia had to build a separate institution which would be the first “lunatic” asylum which today is known as the Eastern State Hospital.
In the 1800’s there was a big demand for insane asylums. Almost every state had one by 1820. But then again there was not much research about mental illness. To the point that masturbation was considered an illness. Anyone can report anyone to have a mental illness. It got to the point that women who were menstruating was an illness and so was being lazy. Doctors experimented and tortured patients to try to free from there illnesses.
In 1820-1863 Josiah Quincy and John Yates started to visit and investigate these insane asylums and would report the neglect and abuse that the asylums would inflict there patients.
The only thing that I found interesting is that we still have a few of the same problems with mental institutions that we did back in the 1800’s. There is still under staffing. There is still a problem (not as bad) but mentally insane patients still go to jail instead of getting the treatment that they need. But then again it goes hand in hand with the under staffing.
Lately we’ve been discussing education and how important it was to people when it was first being established. I found an article that was describing education in the beginning stages and was a little surprised. In the article I read, they were explaining how they actually had children help teach the lessons. They didn’t always have enough teachers so they would pick a group of children that they deemed as more responsible and had higher exam scores to help instruct. They would pull them aside, go over the lesson with them, and then have them teach this lesson to the other children. I don’t think this lasted for too long since the parents of the children teaching thought that they were losing out on a proper education. I definitely think the education system has come a long way since the 1840’s.
I was really excited to find this article: “Want To Eat Like A Colonist? Ask This Virginia Chef”. I am a huge foodie, so it was awesome to find out what kinds of things colonists ate. Apparently bread and stew were the primary staples of a colonist’s diet. More interesting than what the colonists ate, though, it the fact that a period style bakery does exist in Virginia. Having been to Williamsburg on a field trip as a child, I’m pretty bummed out that I missed out on that experience. I can now, however, sit back happily at home with a beer and know that the colonists and I shared something in common. I really recommend reading this article to all my classmates, because it was so cool! I know one thing is for sure… if I were a colonist, I’d starve! The equipment they had to work with sounds miserable to operate, and I’m pretty hard-pressed to make that long journey between my freezer and microwave as is.
One human who accomplished so much. Frederick Douglas was such an inspiration to so many I’m sure. Someone who was born into slavery and was able to escape to become a world renewed anti-slavery activist is just amazing. Someone who supported the thought that no one human should be “owned” makes me so passionate on the person he is. The fact that he had no shame in being a well educated black man in the time he lived just thrills me. He probably faced so much hatred throughout his life because many people thought that Blacks didn’t deserve to have an education but he truly made something of himself. From being an editor for an an influential black newspaper, to becoming an inspirational and motivated speaker. This man truly did give a completely different image for African Americans back in the day. He was the start to change I believe.
Though History books tell us that Christopher Columbus was the first to discover America, do you think its possible that he was just the first to inform people about it? I have always thought about this in the past when learning about Christopher Columbus. I truly believe that he couldn’t have been the first person to cross over onto the land but that he was the first to realize it was something different than areas that have already been discovered. With such a large Country I think that several people had crossed over into the United States but weren’t aware that it was anything different.
This weeks reading focused primarily on the the emergence of the new american government with the constitution as its primary document. Then and now interpreting the constitution and arguing about what should and shouldn’t be done is pretty much an american pastime. What struck me as interesting as the same concerns these early american writers had about tyranny and the interpretation of the documents Americans today still share these concerns. The goalposts have shifted and new issues have entered the forefront but the debates remain relatively the same. What is the proper role of the state? Has our government grown monstrously beyond what the founders intended or is our current system outdated?