Saturday, June 10, 2006

Lucas' week 1 web assignments

Web Assignment 1

. Both of these narrators open up with their family background or where they were originally from. The topic is slavery and how it affected them personally and those closest to them. Both show how their lives were after slavery was ended in the south; from voting rights to living and working conditions to troubles with the Ku Klux Klan. Emancipating the slaves did not ensure a life of ease for them; at least not in the cases of these men. (Wise, P. 2) “I don’t remember how we got the news of freedom. I don’t remember what the slaves expected to get. I don’t know what they got; if they got anything.
The end of the Civil War, Voting, and Ku Klux Klan issues are all brought up in these narratives. (Wise, P. 2) “They [Union Soldiers] didn’t set us free, they didn’t tell us anything about freedom. Not then.” These issues reflect “power and participation” and “visions and collisions.” Much of the south realized how much power the freedmen had from suffrage. The right to vote has always been the most powerful political tool for an individual that democracy has known.
It’s often easy to question the reliability of a source when time is a factor. Both men were either born right at or after the end of slavery; hence they had no first hand experience with it. This, however, is not grounds to throw out their testimonies as unreliable. When you hear things first hand from someone in your immediate family, particularly something as emotionally unsettling as slavery, it is not likely that one would forget or misplace the details of what was told. These accounts are most likely very reliable to what actually happened. Seeing how they were treated after the times of slavery in issues pertaining to voting, social relations, or even living conditions would likely give these narrators a good gauge of what being a slave was like. I was too young to remember much from the ‘80s, but I was not so far removed that I cannot relate to the events that transpired.
The format of these narratives is structured in a way to make the story seem as reliable as possible and give the reader some sense of validity. They both begin by giving some family background and heritage, which gives a frame of reference to the reader. Then the questions are formed in chronological order; from the end of the war on. This shows continuity in their stories. Basically these men were portrayed as intelligent, reliable sources through the format of these narratives.
I knew some of the prejudice that the Union Soldiers obviously had towards slaves, but I was not aware that they would take so little interest in emancipating the slaves. History often makes it seem as if this would have been the main goal of the union, but these personal accounts have us believe otherwise.

Web Assignment 2:

The painting is a beautiful piece of American artwork. It shows the untold beauty and the mystery of the west. Many believed it to be the "promised land" for Americans. There is a picture of a Native American in the lower left seal on the painting. Also a young man who has a bandana around his head; making him resemble a Native. The mood is set in terms of exuberance. These people have are triumphant about the land that lies before them. God has undoubtedly shown his providence through the beauty of the land and the perfect weather that they are in. On the side of the cliff there is a shading of a cross; as if God has been with them and helped them come this far.
Palmer’s illustration is slightly different from Leutze's. Hers is not in color; which automatically creates a more morose and melancholy mood. She also shows the train, which is contrary to the natural beauty and perfection of nature which is shown in the former piece. The most striking difference I see is that the path that lies ahead of the train is a foggy, unclear one. This represents an uncertainty about the west and if Americans should be pursuing it as they are. The Native Americans in this piece are shown to be peaceful and interested in the white immigration. They clearly are still a proud people.
The settler in this piece is shown in a somewhat negative light. The land around him is in no way picturesque because of the felled trees that clutter the ground. The trees show only a small part of land that was offered in the west. One obvious stereotype is that the pioneer is drinking. Perhaps not an alcoholic, but to depict this in a piece of art is meant to suggest something. The woman in the piece is tending to the house, typical for the time, while the man is out doing the more masculine job of cutting wood. He is even demonstrating this work to his young son. This is somewhat different from Leutze's piece in that the women in his are shown to be a part of the general effort. Everyone in that painting is working together to migrate west safely, while the northeastern artist shows the diversity in the gender roles.
This painting is meant to shed the current west in a negative light. It is a barren land full of savages and darkness. The men from the east are the light; sent by God's providence and guided by his angel. They bring with them industry and all of the "blessings of the east." The buffalo, Indians, and Bears are all being driven out because they are the things that are most immediately hindering westward expansion. You will notice the elk in the lower portion of the picture is staying, however, in the light. This shows how they wanted to keep the hunting and some of the wild in their "new west." It was how they envisioned the land should be.
These works are half and half on whether not migration west is an intrinsically good thing. Two show the beauty and potential of the west and what how the easterners can live in harmony with the land while the others depict the Americans to be an unwanted guest in the new land. Berkeley's poem reflects an inherently good thing that would be for the benefit of everyone while there are themes in these pictures that show some of the problems that will arise during the expansion.
I think each painting has its own truths to show about the era. Clearly it was a wonderful thing to discover and migrate to the beautiful land had to offer, but on the other hand this meant harming some of the natural beauties and infringing on the Indians. Since these paintings were so diverse, I can't really say that one would be any more influential than the other. People obviously had their own beliefs and the picture that was closest to their belief would be the one that influenced them the most.

Web Assignment 3:
I think the most important thing to notice in this source was the way news and information was spread in that era. Word of mouth was most likely the most prevalent form of news, other than those fortunate enough to get a newspaper, and any images would be delivered from these stereopticons.
These items were the precursor to our modern day television news. People could only imagine graphic images that were transpiring half a world apart.
It’s hard to assess what exact story he told. It was clearly in the Dakota area and meant to support any local troops. One could only hope that the pictures seen would portray the story in the correct way. It is very likely, though, that it was a portrayal of Americans being the heroes and the Filipinos being ignorant savages that were in desperate need of Western intervention. This would undoubtedly support the war effort in his own way, but some might argue if that was the correct way. The mere fact that he was talking about the troops suggests that he was supportive of it.

Web Assignment 4:
Part of the reason for America supporting the Cubans against Spain was the sinking of the USS Maine. The political stance of much of America was to “attack the attacker” and make Spain pay for this aggression (which some believe was not the Spanish at all). The Economic position of the US was that there was a new and strong industrial market for which it needed more consumers. The US sought out these consumers in other countries and took opportunities to obtain more land in order to facilitate this. The Social/Political ideologies, as shown in these articles, went hand in hand with the domestic and economic positions as well. Americans wanted to be humanitarians for the Cubans, feed their market via new land claims, and obtain vindication from Spain for the sinking of the naval vessel. Perhaps the greatest reason, however, was the desire to expand America’s power into the world market. (America As A Pacific Power, p. 1) "Nevertheless, it can not be denied that naturally the United States is the most important of all Pacific Ocean powers, and is in time destined to be in fact the greatest of Pacific Powers." The prevalent attitude of Americans was that, as a country, America was ordained to become one of, if not the, largest world power. They viewed places like the Philippines as an island that was useless for anything other than American benefits. While some of the reasons for helping the Cubans might have been just, the main was to get a naval base on the island. This was a period where America was, for lack of a better term, an empire and most were not willing to let things stand in the way of the nation becoming that.

It occurs to me that after the Civil War, America was basically a new nation. People were for the first time learning to deal with their differences and how to live with people that weren't exactly like them. Southerners and Northerners were forced to look past their past differences and move into the future. Finally united, the nation turned its gaze west towards the Pacific Ocean. After the west was won and our national industry was strong, we looked past our shores for new lands. The "people and the land" was a huge issue in this era, particularly with military issues. Blacks in the south faced oppression as did Natives in the west. After that Filipinos and Cubans had to deal with America on land. Politics was another huge issue. The nation was rarely united on any issue, and the democratic process was looked to as the mediator for the public good. Visions and collisions ties into both of these mainly in terms of America's land growth. The nation wanted a bigger land mass and more power but had to deal with social groups that had different ideas about things.


At 5:24 PM, Blogger H. McLure said...

Congrats on your first post, Lucas!

Your Blog Entry looks pretty good; of course, I will have more detailed comments for you later.

Just a couple of suggestions, however. You might want to edit your post for two things before I grade it:

1. Do a spellcheck
2. Make sure you read all 3 sources in Web Assignment #4 and respond to the complete question as asked.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger H. McLure said...

Nicely edited, Lucas!

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Abby Comment #2 said...

Comment #2
Lucas’ Web assignment #4 really helped me to understand the reasons for America going to war with Spain. I felt that it was very clear and easy to understand. I thought it was very understandable when he said, “the economic position on the US was that there was a new and strong industrial market for which it needed more consumers” (Lucas’ Blog). He went on to say that the US wanted to expand its market to new countries. I also thought, that he did a good job describing the way America felt about other countries, like the Philippians. For example, he says, “they viewed places like the Philippians as an island that was useless for anything other than American benefits” (Lucas’ Blog). I also thought the quote he used from “America as a Pacific Power” was very useful in emphasizing his point. Lucas, also, talked about the Social/Political ideologies of the time. He says, that America wanted to be humanitarians for the people of Cuba and I never really thought of it this way before. I always believed that US went to war with Cuba, against Spain, as revenge for the sinking of the USS Main, but never thought that they might have done it for the people of Cuba. Overall, I thought that this entry was very clear and gave the reader a variety of consistent information.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger H. McLure said...

A very good comment, Abby, but please check the spelling of "Philippines" and spellcheck your comments in the future!

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Tom Comment 2
Lucas's blog entry was very helpful to me in understanding how the paintings precieved the west. His description of each painting allows the reader to see how each one is different and how each painting portrays the west in a different way. When Lucas is writing about Palmer's painting he says, "The most striking difference I see is that the path that lies ahead of the train is a foggy, unclear one. This represents an uncertainty about the west and if Americans should be pursuing it as they are" (Lucas's Blog). Lucas has pointed out a part of this picture that I did not initially pick up on. He explains how this painting portrays the west in a negative light very thoroughly. Also, Lucas does a very good job of clarifying why the U.S. went to war with Spain. He explains all of the economic, domestic, and ideological reasons for the reasons behind the U.S.'s war efforts. All in all, I feel like Lucas's web blog is very informative and thorough.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Comment #2
(In Response to Lucas' Assignment #3)

The fact that before the turn of the 20th century, the mode in which news and information was spread was by word-of-mouth sheds light on the theme of Visions and Collisions. The radio, television, and telephone were not yet invented or used by mainstream America. The mode of information came way of word-of-mouth and print. This information, which could be easily fabricated to serve a purpose, all too frequently was used to rally support rather than inform publics. In short, the slanted information fueling American's visions of manifest destiny and empiralism.


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