Early Education

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.

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Colonists and Food

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.

 

http://www.history.com/news/want-to-eat-like-a-colonist-ask-this-virginia-chef

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Runaway Advertisement

A fugitive slavery advertisement is something that I never knew had existed.  I found it pretty shocking to learn that these advertisements were made.  Slavery on its own is awful enough, but these advertisements are similar, in my opinion, to what people now make for their lost pets… minus the abuse.  So these people were looked at as less than animals.  As we learn about slavery,  I am still amazed that this type of behavior toward another person was completely acceptable at one point in time.  It’s very interesting to see how society, for the most part, has positively evolved over time.

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Django

A recurring theme that I see in media about slavery (and rightfully so), is the separation of family and loved ones. Having read Frederick Douglass’s narrative, it was interesting to compare to the movie Django. Douglass mentions that slave families were separated basically at birth, probably to avoid attachments, but also tells how his mother would walk miles after performing hard labor just to lay down with him for a short while before he would fall asleep. The common theme that I keep seeing is love, and the bonds that tie people together. In Django, the main character (for whom the movie is named) is also looking for his loved one: his wife.

Django and his wife, both slaves, are heart-wrenchingly separated, something that seemed to happen far too often during this time. Frederick Douglass also mentioned that slaves who got into trouble were sent ‘South’. By the end of the movie, Django has reunited with his wife, though he was unable to run away with her discreetly like he’d hoped, and is instead thwarted by the perceptive plantation owner. To me, it was interesting to see a mainstream film mirror something like Frederick Douglass’s narrative in certain aspects, and it really solidified the atrocity of slavery, especially in separating families and loved ones.

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Confederate Statues

Until recently, I didn’t realize there was a motion to remove confederate statues at all. According to an article on usnews.com, protesters and local governments have been tearing them down. I feel that this is an over-reaction, or over-sensitivity, as I don’t believe in tearing down historical monuments of any kind without some kind of preservation efforts made first. I feel that these statues are not necessarily condoning what these ‘white men’ did so much as serving as reminders of the past. It’s not possible or ethical to try to remove figures from our past just because we don’t like what they did.

One thing I didn’t appreciate very much about this article was the blatant bias of the author, though it is an opinion piece, so I guess it’s not right to throw stones. Regrettably, I find myself on the side of Condoleezza Rice and Donald Trump: the statues should not be torn down. I do believe that monuments should be preserved, and I believe there should be consequences for protesters who vandalize public property. I believe that monuments and parks serve as reminders of our violent history, and are the cornerstone of our nation’s atonement. That being said, I wouldn’t mind more statues built to honor ‘non-white men’.

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/civil-wars/articles/2017-08-21/confederate-statues-honor-americas-racist-past-and-present

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Great Awakening

Out of this weeks readings,  I found the article by Lambert about The Great Awakening to be most interesting.  As I said in my introduction post, I’ve never been too interested in history, so The Great Awakening is something I have heard about but never really learned about so this was a good opportunity for me.  I found it interesting because I had no idea that religion was something that was “advertised” as much as George Whitefield had made it.  I also thought it was a little strange that so many people listened and agreed with what he was preaching when he traveled to the colonies.  He seemed to create quite the following.  I’m not a person that usually discusses religion or takes an interest to religion topics but I did find it interesting that this revival for these groups led them to being able to stand up for themselves when it came to their government.  I think it helped give them a sense of power and confidence that maybe they didn’t have before.

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Jamestown

One of the most fascinating things I’ve ever studied in any history class throughout my time in a classroom has been the Jamestown colony. My interest is most likely attributable to the time I spent in the Virginia school system, and the depth of material covered there. I believe that the Jamestown colony and colonization of North America were both extremely daring, but also a great tragedy. It is almost unfathomable to me that North America was an entirely different place only a few hundred years ago. 1493: Uncovering the New World was so beautifully written that I could imagine the vastly different landscape without worms, or sheep, or cattle. Despite my more thorough than is typical background on the Jamestown colony, I learned a lot by reading it, and the importance of the colony was reinforced in my mind.

One of the most interesting things that I learned was about John Smith. Like many children, I grew up watching Disney movies, and my image of John Smith was shaped around his image in the film Pocahontas. It was a shock, though amusing, to learn that there is a fair chance that John Smith may have exaggerated his exploits, which were both daring and numerous, all before the age of 26, according to the article. I was pleased to see that the Disney movie and historical texts both agree that John Smith was able to bridge the gap between colonists and the Native Americans.

I was also very interested to read about the tensions between the colonists and the Indians. I don’t remember learning about the specific details growing up, like the massacre the article describes toward the end. Indians who frequently spent time with colonists came over, ate a meal with them, and grabbed whatever they could find to murder the colonists. This is a darker side of history that I wish we did read about in text books growing up, because I feel it’s important to share the truth, and not the simplified or watered down version that is so often shared. Why is it that history texts are so often censored? Is the public afraid that children will repeat the same acts of violence once they’ve read about the horrendous acts committed in the world’s youth? I believe that neither history nor literature should be censored. While there are things that certainly should not make the reading lists of third-graders, the truth is not something that should be sheltered either.

 

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Introduction

I am an avid gamer – both video games and board games – and I love food. I couldn’t live without my pets, or hot coffee. I admit that history had never been my forte, but I still recognize its importance in the things that I love. Some of the best and most creative stories are those passed down through historians, and as a gamer I draw from history all the time when creating my own campaigns! I find easy inspiration in early history and myths and fables. Beyond practical uses, I am a firm believer that those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it. To me history is nothing more than the sum of our experiences, and the more you know, the wiser you are.

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Introduction

I’ll start with a little bit of information on myself.  I am an athletic training major and I plan to go to physical therapy school after I graduate.  I’ll be honest, history has not always been a strong point for me, so I’ll definitely be learning a lot in this class.  I do think history is important in many aspects, not just US History, but any type of history.  Everyone has a different career path and it’s important to know the history behind what we plan to do in the future.  It gives us a better understanding of why we do what we do, or even why we don’t do certain things.  US History tells us a lot about where we come from and how beliefs and traditions have changed over time.

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Introduction

I’m your instructor for this course, US History to 1877. In the course, we look at American history from the time before America existed through the government-stated end of Reconstruction. We’ll look at the people who participated in American history willingly and forcibly, as citizens and non-citizens, as immigrants and natives, as patriots and rebels, and we’ll look at the complicated mess that all those categories make.

My interest in history has blossomed over the past several decades. I majored in History and English Literature as an undergraduate, earned master’s degrees in Library and Information Science, History, and Science and Technology Studies, and am approaching completion for a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies. My research interests are in the comparative uses of libraries by undergraduate and graduate students, and in taxidermy in natural history museums.

But my interest in history lies in its usefulness. As we’re seeing today, history is really important to understanding the world around us. I’m writing this on August 21, 2017, having just looked at a solar eclipse. Two items there are important: First, August 21 is the anniversary of an uprising of enslaved people in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. Second, Nat Turner, leader of that rebellion, observed a solar eclipse in February of that year and interpreted it as a sign to start slaying his enemies with their own weapons.

Do I think that the eclipse is a sign for me to rebel against government entities that are holding me back? Absolutely not. But I also see the eclipse and all the history of eclipse-as-omen and understand that events like this can serve as reminders of what’s happened in the past and how history works.

People learn different information from the same event. The eclipse of May 1919 confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In the ancient Mediterranean world, eclipses were signs that a ruler would die. Some saw the eclipse of 1918 as marking the beginning of American dominance in the world, as it also coincided with the nearing end of World War I.

History works the same way. The same event, or the same kind of event, can be interpreted and reinterpreted to give prominence to different actors, explain different causes, or redefine certain terms. And it’s useful to recognize these diverging views of history as explanations for how we view the world—and especially the people in it—differently.

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