This video was a striking insight to the beginnings of social change in America. I was surprised by the few yet determined white Americans that were willing to dedicate their lives to abolishing slavery at this time. My favorite of the abolitionists was Angelina Grimké because she fearless enough to stand up to her wealthy and powerful white family and ran away when they would not listen to her. She took the risk of writing to William Lloyd Garrison and having her words published in The Liberator in support of abolition. Regardless of the cost to her or the embarrassment to her family, Grimké let her words be published and called attention to the horrors of slavery and the moral problem it caused for Christians. She believed in women’s rights as well as African American rights and was willing to fight to conquer both issues simultaneously. As a trailblazer of abolitionism and feminism, Angelina redefined the standards of women being able to speak publicly in front of both women and men. Additionally, she would speak about ending slavery in front of men which caused an uproar because this was unheard of at the time. When faced with people doubting her, including her future husband, Theodore Weld, she refused to step down and focus purely on the issue of slavery. She held firm in her belief that both social issues could be fought for at the same time. Her spirit and determination was incredible and allowed social change to be set in motion.
Although brief, I found this letter very interesting. It is intriguing to find that there are many comparisons and contrasts between the political rulers of today and those of the early United States. Specifically, Andrew Jackson was seen as abusing the power of the presidency and taking part in acts that were beyond the scope of his power. This is comparable to many of the recent leaders of the United States that have taken it upon themselves to promote unconstitutional acts. David Crockett tells of Jackson’s Indian removal as he explains that “the few is to transfer the many.” He is talking about the many Indians that are being removed from their rightful lands because it is more convenient for Andrew Jackson. He comments on the fact that with many being removed without their own consent, that the principles of Republicanism are not being upheld. It is interesting that even today, politicians struggle with removing non-citizens from the United States. Crockett also comments on the meanness of volunteer slaves. It seems that the undercutting of labor as a result of volunteer slaves has made life much more difficult for Americans. Crockett claims that he might leave the United States in the event that Martin Van Buren is elected. This holds a striking resemblance to the claims of many as a result of our most recent Presidential election.
We discussed in class today the household work that a woman was responsible for during the market revolution. The sheer amount of hours was baffling. Women might spend 12-13 hours a day working with clothes and food alone. Until the inventions like the sewing machine, women had to make thread in order to make fabric and finally sew clothes. Furthermore, the women had to do all of this for her whole family and do laundry also. Once the cotton gin, sewing machine, and other inventions that facilitated manufacturing, the Lowell Girls were able to start a textile mill. The first of its kind, the Lowell Girls hired the daughters of farmers to work in the factory making fabric to sell. This freed up time for housewives because they were able to sew their clothes without having to make thread and fabric first. In addition, the girls that were hired had additional income and newfound independence. This allowed women to get together in symposiums and talk as well as read and educate themselves. The Lowell Girls caused a liberation among women in time and awareness of their oppression. With new independence and knowledge, women would be able to start countering their oppressors and working towards equality.
I learned more about the Trail of Tears in the We Shall Remain video than I have in all of my history classes combined. This video gave insight into the causes of Indian removal and the Indian perspective. It was fascinating to take an (almost) inside look at the Indian efforts to assimilate for peace. After being told that they could exist side by side as a Americans with the British if they assimilated, the film showed how families such as that of John Ross and John Ridge dressed as Englishmen and even got an education. Regardless of their promises, the English still treated the Indians as savages even through their efforts to assimilate. Actions such as these created doubt among the Indians that the English would keep any of their promises. As the Cherokee were pushed out of their land by the treaty that Major Ridge and his son John Ridge were a part of, most decided to stay in their land and resist for justice. As John Ross led the resistance, the petition was made with signatures of nearly all of the Cherokee. Unfortunately, the petition was not viewed in time by Congress and we have to wonder how different the United States might be today, had the petition been successful.
The landmark case, Marbury v. Madison in 1803, is argued to be the most important court case in United States History. Federalist candidate John Adams was upset in the presidential election by Democratic-Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson. Amidst the chaos of the Federalists being defeated and a new political party taking over the executive branch, Adams began appointing many justices of peace. When Jefferson’s Secretary of State, John Madison, did not deliver the commissions, William Marbury tried to get the court to write a writ of mandamus to force him to do so. In this case, Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall, arguably the most influential judge in United States history, established the principal of judicial review. This process gives a court the right to declare laws unconstitutional if they go against what is dictated in the constitution. This is incredibly influential as a part of United States history, politics of the present day, and even politics of the future. This case is applies checks and balances to the government and equalizes the judicial branch with the powers of the executive and judicial branches. This protects the citizens of the United States against having too large and powerful of a national government. It is fascinating that even today, we can use the process of judicial review that was established in 1803 in order to stay true to the Constitution.
I found it fascinating that the timing of the American Revolution coincides with the French Revolution in such a profound way. The rebellion of the Americans against the British served as inspiration to other societies, such as the French. The French saw that the Americans were capable of revolution and that played a part is sparking the French to revolt as well. The French poor were charged with so many taxes that they did not have enough money left for food. They had so many rules to follow that they had no choice but to limit their food in order to make all of their payments.The state of the French society was so out of economic balance that the French poor had no choice but to rebel or starve. With the inspiration from the American Revolution, it was the obvious choice to start a Revolution as well. The commoners moved together for justice by proclaiming the founding of the National Assembly of France. Furthermore, on July 14th 1789, they stormed the Bastille. The French created the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen on August 26, 1789. The French demanded Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité. This Declaration caused people to question the extent of equality. Were women, blacks, and all religious groups equal? Is slavery justified?
Tecumseh was a man of the Shawnee Indian people that stood up against the encroaching Americans, fighting to protect Indian territory and to promote the Indian confederacy. Tecumseh refused to give up hope that the Indian culture would persist and keep their lands. With the movement ignited by the prophecies of his brother, Tecumseh united the Indian peoples against a common enemy: the Americans. In his meetings with the antagonist of his story, William Henry Harrison, Tecumseh claims that the Indian lands were unjustly taken from them and demands that they be returned. He threatens war at fault of the Americans if the lands are not returned and if the unjust acquisitions of Indian lands continue. Tecumseh outrageously claims to be able to speak on behalf of all of the Indian people. Harrison argues that the Indian people are not united due to their many different languages and claims that due to the fact that the Indians are not united that the lands were not unjustly taken. The unsuccessful compromise leads to inevitable war between them. Tecumseh and the Indians unite with the British forces in order to defend their lands from the Americans. The British betray them by retreating instead of standing with them to fight. Boldly, Tecumseh chooses to fight without the help of the British and loses his life on the battlefield, fighting to defend Indian land and culture. This loss marks the bitter future ahead for the Indians in their stand against the Americans.