This is going to be extremely opinionated, so please beware. Never have I ever been so irritated that I had to put a book down and stop reading. The amount of loathing that I have for the state of Georgia is unreal. I would say that I can’t believe that the human race could conceive such bigotry and idiocy but that would be a lie. The treatment of the Native Americans in the early 1800’s defied common sense. I have no idea where the idea that Europeans were ‘civilized’ came from, but I have high suspicions that the attitude had something to do with the fact that Europe was compromised of primarily monarchies. Such self-important attitudes and feelings of superiority are to me, horrible, and probably American citizen’s way of trying to mirror the importance of monarchy after escaping it. Georgians acted like children: spoiled children. And they were never punished for it. Every sentence I read in this book I just go more and more insane. We criticize our government now, but look what it was doing in the 1800’s! The novel even mentions that THE MAJORITY of Americans did not support removal (even if their reasons were skewed). Why is it that the government can proceed with things that the people don’t want? How is that a democracy? It drives me crazy (then, and now!) that the majority is not represented at all within our government.
This period of american history was a sad and embarrassing chapter of the american experience. The forced relocation of thousands of Cherokee away from there homelands is a dark stain indeed on the american way of living. This shows that despite the auspices of the US being founded on freedom and democracy if you are not part of the majority you will not be treated fairly.
So since it was Columbus day yesterday, there are a lot of history articles floating around about Christopher Columbus. This one I found was explaining how the legend of Columbus “proving” the earth was round and not flat is just not true. Historians say that there was no way that around that time, people thought the earth was flat. It had been known for years that the earth was round. I just thought it was funny that even that far back in history, people still made up false legends that still come up in today’s current situations.
I know that in the first couple of classes we discussed Christopher Columbus but I waited to write my blog for this week knowing that today I would be one of the many to gather in front of the Rawlings Library, Many of us Italian Americans gathered before the Christopher Columbus statue this morning. We gathered to reflect on the hardships our ancestors endured. We gathered to honor our heritage, and to grow closer in community. We gathered to remember where we came from and to thank God for where we are now. We were greeted this morning with hateful slurs such as “Go back to Italy!” And “Your culture is poison!” But we will not stop gathering. Columbus Day is our day! Columbus Day is our day to celebrate our heritage and to celebrate that we are Americans! Today is the day we celebrate in thanksgiving that our home is here, in the United States. Our ancestors experienced hate when they came here. And if we’re going to start experiencing hate now, we’re going to fight it with love, peace, and hard work; just like our ancestors taught us! We are proud of who we are, and we are proud of where we came from. Hatred, ignorance, and bigotry will not suffocate our pride we have in our heritage, faith, and American patriotism. Happy Columbus Day my friends!
Several states have adopted ‘Indigenous People’s Day’ in place of Columbus Day in an attempt to celebrate Native American contributions over the violent atrocities of Columbus, according to the article I read. I think this is a great idea, as far as school needing to teach more about Native American peoples, but I don’t think that it has to overshadow Columbus Day. Why not both?
Yes, it is common knowledge that Columbus and his colonists committed atrocities against the Native Americans, but that IS our past. Of course it’s not something to celebrate, but it is our founding. Why can’t we recognize our violent past and pay homage to the native peoples at the same time? I don’t think that attempts to hide our vicious past and honor the victims does much except help us forget the things that we as a nation are ashamed of. It’s important to remember where we’ve come from, and how we’ve changed. On that note, I do believe that indigenous people should be a larger part of American history curriculum, just as I believe that Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day could be one in the same.
The transcontinental railroad was a big step in the industrial revolution. This railroad also known as the Pacific Railroad is what first connected the east United States to the west. Before the railroad was built, people had to travel either by wagon or even by boat to travel across the United States. The railroad provided a safe way for traveling. This also played a big role in expanding the US and allowing for settling in the West. It’s interesting to look back at history and see how something that we see as easy nowadays (traveling), first begin.
Recently there has been not quite a bit of controversy regarding the NFL and some players kneeling during the national anthem to show solidarity for unarmed black men who have been killed by police. Some say this is an insult to the country and the NFL should be boycotted. Others say they are simply exercising there free speech and that there job shouldn’t prevent them from being politically active. Personally I think its great these athletes are using there prestige and influence to get people talking about an issue that moderate Americans generally ignore. Frankly I also find the whole its disrespectful argument silly and trite this isn’t North Korea we don’t have to stand when the anthem plays.
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.