Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Slave Narrative Dialouge Jorunal Assignment

I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class. - Frederick Douglass

The institution of slavery in the Unitied States in spite of it's attachment to the ideals of democracy and liberty is perhaps one of the most perplexing, shameful and painfully enduring periods of US history. This week's blog asks that you examine analytical sources as well as first-hand accounts of the slave experience in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of life in the Antebellum south and the conditions that led to mass upheval, the US Civil War and, ultimately, the abolition of slavery.

1) Read Chapter 9 of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States at:

Post two comments and/or questions on the major themes presented in this chapter.

2) Actively read selections from two Slave Accounts from the archive on Spartacus online archive:
(Be sure that your choices are accounts of enslaved people living in the Unites States)

3) Select at least three compelling quotes to reflect on in your blog. You may free-response by saying what the quote reminds you of or makes you wonder, or draw out themes and parallels about the slave experience in the United States. Try to make allusion’s to Zinn’s key ideas in your reflections.

4) Finally, Explain why you believe so many enslaved individuals decided to write narratives of their experiences with slavery? What is the purpose and power of examining primary sources like these while studying the institution of slavery in the American south?

This post should be at least 400 words. Please respond to at least one other students’ post for this assignment.

Due Sunday, 12/30 by 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Gold Rush and Chinese Immigration

Actively read the following article on Chinese immigration in the 1850s. ( skipping the footnotes will save you time but not hinder your comprehension of the text.

Formulate (and post) a response to the following question:
Were US policies toward Chinese immigrants mainly reactionary or preemptive? In other words, were these policies more inspired by the governments need to promote social progress for America as a whole OR to meet the demands of citizens concerned about the negative impact Chinese immigration was having on US society?

Immigration in the news

Immigration in the news: As a nation comprised mainly of migrant cultures, what are are just expectations and regulations for immigration?

As a nod to the sectional politics affecting life in the urban centers of the north eastern and western US territories in the mid-19th century, this week's blog asks you to consider some ways in which modern-day immigration is affecting politics, culture and economics in the United States and, more specifically, New York City.
1) Read"Immigrants make up 40 percent of New York City's population"
and one of the following articles:

a) Topic: Immigrant workers rights
"Two cases reveal wretched conditions for immigrant laborers in New York City"

c) Topic: Rudy Guliani's immigration policies as mayor of NYC and his postion on immigration as presidential nominee
“Romney blasts Rudy's immigration stance as NYC mayor”

2) Summarize each article, identitfying the major issues and conflicts immigrant populations face in modern US society. Discuss the perspectives each author presents on these matters and how these articles relate to our current study of sectional crisis and immigration in the 19th century.

3)Answer the focus question: As a nation comprised mainly of migrant cultures, what are are just expectations and regulations for immigration?
Minimum 200 words, please respond to at least one other post.

Due Friday 12/14 by 7 a.m.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Classwork media study: Oregon Trail and The Gold Rush

Actively read one of the following articles with your group; taking independent copious notes on key events, figures, ideas and policies. Be prepared to discuss your article with members of other groups on the following issues:

1. Did mass media inform or reflect westward expansion to the Oregon Trail and the Gold Rush?

2. Did the experiences of those who migrated West meet their expectations?

3. How did westward expansion affect the lives of indigenous and immigrant groups?

Gold Rush Resources

Oregon Trail Resources:

Donner Party online resources:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Does the concept of manifest destiny still inform US foreign policy?

In the article "Manifest Destiny and Mission in the 21st Century" , author Paul A. Janson argues that "Manifest Destiny's purpose was to dominate North America at the expense of not only of Mexico but of the Native American population as well. Today, in the name of the "free market" we believe it is not only our right to destroy any enemy we choose, it is "our obligation." We are fighting after all for "freedom." But once again, who will be free is not clear." He likens the 19th Century US conflict over Texas in the US- Mexican War with modern day efforts to promote free trade and democracy through what he views as questionable means of diplomacy.

The question this article raised for me, while controversial, is an interesting discussion for us to entertain on our current unit on sectionalism, expansion and imperialism:

Is the promotion of an American agenda (free market capitalism and deomcratic governments) justified or are US actions in nations like Iraq and Afghanistans examples of a new wave of Manifest Destiny?


1)read the article cited in the introduction at:

2)Summarize the article and any new insight it reveals on the US - Mexican War.

3)Answer the focus question using evidence from this week's readings, discussions and your own knowledge of current events.

Please respond to at least one other post. 200 word minimum.

Due Sunday 12/9 by 7 p.m. (pluses will be awarded for responses posted by Friday 12/7 by 7:00 am.)