Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Andrew Jackson: For the People or For Himself?

Walk down the street in November and you'll see lawn after lawn full of signs supporting different presidential candidates. Drive along Main St. and you'll see protestors shouting for the candidate they want to win. When the election comes to a close, only one president can win, leaving half of the people unhappy and resentful and the rest overjoyed that their vote won. Just like there is lots of controversy over whether a president is "good for the county" or the "right pick", there is lots of that same controversy with 19th century president Andrew Jackson. Jackson's reputation as the "people's president" is being questioned, so in Honors History 10 we explored this topic to form our own opinions on whether or not this title is deserved. After watching Crash Course and Ted-Ed videos to understand the context and the arguments, we split into groups to analyze 3 different aspects of Jackson's presidency- the Spoils System, the Bank war, and the policy of Indian removal. By analyzing primary sources and using them to create skits and videos, each group shared what they had learned with the class. Collectively, we decided that although Jackson may have been for the American people, he certainly was not for everyone in the sense that he favored his supporters and was brutal towards the native Americans. 

To learn more about the Spoils System, check out the Common Craft that my group made!
 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our 10th Grade Class is More Democratic Than 19th Century America

While Mrs.Gallagher was away on a conference for the week, our Honors History 10 class stayed in touch and used each other as resources to learn about the Rise of Democracy in 19th century America. In the spirit of a true democracy, we held a class meeting the day before Mrs.Gallagher left. Here, we all added our input to decide how we would learn the curriculum while our teacher was away. The verdict came to analyzing primary sources and constructing a poster that would answer the essential question: How should we define democracy? How democratic was the US in the early 1800s? Mrs. Gallagher set up an entire-class Google doc where we put our lesson outline and goals for each class. At the end of every day, 5 or 6 students wrote in detail about our progress and Mrs. Gallagher responded with questions and suggestions to help us along. With clear communication between teacher and students, and the help of technology that allowed us to overcome our distance barrier, our class analyzed 5 primary sources and formulated our ideas to create posters about the Rise of Democracy.

Here is my group's digital poster using Glogster!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Is the US On Track for A Revolution?


In class we recently studied an issue that still plagues our country today—race based inequality. In the United States, a variety of races are represented and by law are considered “equals”. This means that a black man should have the same opportunity as a Chinese American girl at making it into college, and a Mexican American boy should be looked at the same as a white girl before making an impression. Sadly, this is not always the case, and neither was it in 18th century Latin America. In class we studied the importance of recognizing human value regardless of race by focusing in on the Latin American Revolutions. We analyzed documents to find that in Latin America, each race was given a name, for example the whites born in Europe were called peninsulares, and that the more European blood you had, the more power you could obtain. The blunder in this social system was that more than half of the population was of native American or African descent, meaning that they could easily gang up to remove the white people in power. By breaking off into groups to study Mexico, Gran Columbia, and Brazil, we learned that the driving force behind most Latin American revolutions was the unequal opportunities given to each race.

In class we constructed this chart to represent the percentages of
each race living in 18th century Latin America.
After each group analyzed the revolutions in either Mexico, Gran Columbia, or Brazil, we all came together to discuss how they were alike and how they differed. It seemed like prior to their revolutions, each country was dealing with racial inequality which resulted in the lower classes, typically Native Americans or Africans, revolting against the whites who had power. Each country also happened to have been colonized by European countries, which is probably why Europeans were given the most rights, but this distribution of power proved to fail. Although all three revolutions were caused by the same underlying issue, the Brazilian revolution seemed to stick out. The evolutions in Gran Columbia and Mexico both involved brutality and violence, whereas that of Brazil was rather peaceful. Perhaps this could be related to the fact that these first two were colonies of Spain, and Brazil a colony of Portugal. Regardless of their differences, all three of these Latin American revolutions were fueled by the unfair powers asserted reading to race.

 
Here is a timeline that we made in class of the Mexican Revolution

Just like race played a key factor in the power and opportunities of the 18th century people of Latin America, it still plays a role in the opportunities and treatment of American citizens today. Although we have laws declaring all humans to be born equal, racial prejudices often blind Americans into stereotyping and placing false accusations. One well know case of this is that of Michael Brown—a Missouri teen shot dead in August for little more than his being black. Although some argue Brown attacked the police officer who was forced to shoot him, many witnesses say the officer simply shot him for walking down the street. In a country where all people are considered equal, race shouldn’t hinder a person’s social standing, opportunities, or ability to walk down the street without being shot (!!). the unequal treatment of different races is still an important issue to consider today because just like it lead to problems 200 years ago, it leads to even more today.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freedom; the Driving Force Behind Everything


From grade school, everyone learns the story of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr.—growing up he faced racial discrimination, and as an adult he fought to put an end to it. Similar to MLK, 18th century liberator of slaves, Toussaint Louverture, faced unfair treatment as a child and grew up to fight against it as an adult. Louverture spent his childhood as a slave on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola where he lived under French rule in Saint Domingue. Soon after Louverture’s owner set him free, word got to Saint Domingue about the French Revolution, a movement that liberated thousands of French slaves. Yet regardless of the fact that Saint Domingue belonged to France, its slaves remained bound. Angered by white refusal to end slavery in Saint Domingue, Louverture emerged as a leader in the movement to free its slaves. In his efforts to liberate the slaves of Saint Domingue, Louverture sided with and against French forces, depending on whether or not they followed in suite with this cause. Toussaint Louverture should be remembered primarily as a liberator of slaves who, in this pursuit, also took position as ruler of Saint Domingue and military commander. (Background Essay)

 

Toussaint Louverture should be remembered chiefly for his role as a freer of slaves. In the Timeline of Abolition in Saint Domingue, it is depicted that Louverture first joins the revolution in 1791, when he leads troops to fight against France for the abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue. In 1794, when the revolutionary government in France abolishes slavery in all of its colonies, it says that Louverture stops his revolt against French colonial troops. This proves that everything Louverture did was in the pursuit of liberating slaves. When France supports this cause, he sides with them. When France refuses to free Saint Domingue slaves, he fights against their colonial troops. After the slaves of Saint Domingue have been freed, Louverture writes a letter to the French Directory to ensure that this freedom prevails. In this 1797 letter he states “We have known how to confront danger to our liberty, and we will know how to confront death to preserve it.” What Louverture is saying, is that he and the people of his island will go to any measure they have to in order to preserve freedom for all. Louverture should be remembered primarily for his role as liberator of slaves because that cause is what motivated him to do everything he did, and freedom for all slaves is the cause he would die for. (Documents A and B)

 

Although he took this position in an effort to liberate slaves, Toussaint Louverture should also be remembered as ruler of Saint Domingue. As ruler of Saint Domingue, Louverture states in “The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801” that “Servitude is therein forever abolished.” Louverture used his power as a ruler to ensure that slaves remain liberated. A few months later, Louverture describes the harsh rules for the people of Saint Domingue and the consequences that will be enforced upon breaking them in the “Proclamation, 25 November”. Some of these rules include that children must be employed as soon as they can walk and that anyone who commits seditious libel will be brought before a military court and punished as suitable. In writing that even young children must work, Louverture diminishes the need for extra slave help, and by making seditious libel punishable, he ensures that everyone will do as he says. Toussaint Louverture should be commemorated for his role as ruler of Saint Domingue in that he used it to help protect the freedom of the slaves he had fought to free. (Documents C and D)

 

Just as Toussaint Louverture should be remembered for his role as Ruler of Saint Domingue, he should also be recognized as a military leader in the pursuit of maintaining the freedom of slaves. In Madison Smart’s 2007 biography of Louverture she discusses his response to a revolt against his military whom he had had support and enforce the use of plantations. Louverture responds by having the leader of the revolt, his own nephew, executed. Although this is a rather malicious move, it supports the idea that as a military leader he worked to maintain the liberation of slaves. Louverture knew that in order to prevent slavery from becoming necessary again, people would have to work hard on plantations so that enough profits could be made without the necessity of slave workers. By shutting down a revolt against this action and by using his own military to enforce that plantation work be carried out, Louverture worked to keep the people of Saint Domingue free from slavery. Louverture is also portrayed as a military leader trying to maintain the abolition of slavery in William Wells Brown’s “A Description of Toussaint Louverture” from The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863). When Louverture realizes that the French are coming to the port city of Samana to enslave his people, he orders his generals to abandon the towns and head for the mountains. This is yet another example of Louverture using his military leadership in an effort to keep his people free from the wraths of slavery. Louverture should be commemorated and remembered for his role as a Military Commander who acted according to his pursuit of freedom for all. (Documents E and F)

 

Although Louverture was tricked into a negotiation meeting where he was taken prisoner and sent to France where he died in 1803, he was still very influential in leading Saint Domingue to become free of slavery and eventually break away from France to become Haiti in 1804. Toussaint Louverture should be remembered mostly for his role as a liberator of slaves who also ruled Saint Domingue and was a military commander in his efforts to ensure that the abolition of slavery.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With One Revolution Comes Another

Between 1830 and 1848, Europe exploded with outbursts of revolution all over the continent. With the French Revolution having drawn to a close a mere 30 years before, countries all over Europe were buzzing with the idea of revolt and reform. Years later, historians look back at this inspired frenzy of revolt and deem many of the revolutions as utter failures. In Mrs.Gallaghers honors history 10 class we decided to form our own opinions on how successful each outcome was. After constructing our own scale of failure and success, we split into groups to tackle 5 different 19th century European revolutions and formulate our own opinions on them. In our groups, we read secondary documents and viewed primary sources about our assigned revolution. We then used the knowledge we had acquired to make our own tests on each revolution using the app #SurveyMonkey, and put these tests into action on our peers!

We  #educreations to make this failure/ success chart that would be
tool in measuring the results of each revolution.


Our Survey Monkey--a few
slip-ups here and there, but
most students seemed to
have a grasp on the information
we were quizzing them on!
Our Survey Monkey-- lots of
successful results!
The revolution that my group focused on was that of 1848 in France. French middle class liberals wanted moderate political reforms, and the poor working class wanted social and economic change that would allow them to acquire jobs and provide for themselves. The revolution split into two more or less segments, the first being in February, and the second in June. During this first segment, the government catered to the people’s demands and created more jobs under Louis Felipe. During the so called “June Days”, Louis Felipe abdicated and workshops shut down, leaving the lower class angry and poor. Again people fought hard for the reforms and jobs that they wanted, creating barricades to protect themselves that playwright Victor Hugo describes to be made up of everything from chairs to roofs. Soon Napoleon III takes over and reinstates the political institutions that had “raised France to the height of prosperity and grandeur” 50 years earlier, making it almost as if no revolution had ever occurred. As the end of the day, our group came to the conclusion that the 1848 French revolution was somewhere at the halfway point between success and failure—nothing had gotten worse because of it, but no changes, like increased jobs, ad remained permanent.   
Don't forget to check out and take our survey monkey by clicking here!!


After each group’s source analysis and survey monkey was done, we took turns reading documents on each revolution and then taking each other’s quizzes. In general the results of each revolution seemed to be pretty neutral, taking in mind that the Decembrist revolt of 1825 was an exception as it was a complete and utter failure. For example, the French revolution of 1830 was successful in the sense that townspeople got absolutist king, Charles X, to abdicate. But new ruler, Louis Felipe favored the bourgeoisie and used policies that favored the middle class, leaving the lower class still unable to vote. Another example is Hungary’s 1848 revolution. Hungarian nationalists demanded an independent government from Austria, an end to serfdom, and a constitution giving citizens basic rights. After a short period where all of these requests were met, Austrian troops regained control and took away all reforms that had been made—it was as if no revolution had ever happened. After learning about the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848, I think that for the most part they were neither prosperous nor failures. Most of these revolutions didn’t result in any formal change, but they did get people thinking about change which would spark future revolutions to come.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Congress of Vienna: How to Not Lose Power AGAIN

Every ruler throughout time has had to find a way to maintain their power so they can continue to make an impact. Whether it be by force, acting as a strict monarch as Machiavelli describes in "The Prince", or by acting as a leader that the people like and want to support. In class, we recently studied the Congress of Vienna, a 19th century meeting between the leaders of every great European country. At this meeting, the main topic of discussion was how they would get back their power that had been previously taken from Napoleon Bonaparte, and how they would protect it from threatening forces. In class we analyzed readings and used padlet to collaborate on what decisions and precautions we thought these European leaders should take in order to maintain their power. Towards the end of class, Mrs. Gallagher revealed the decisions that were really made at the Congress of Vienna.

Check put our use of padlet to learn share our ideas/ opinions about the Congress of Vienna:


At the Congress of Vienna, the reactions of major European powers after defeating the threat of Napoleon formulated into a few concepts, one of them being the prinicipal of legitimacy. This principle stated that people formerly in power would gain back their rights to rule. Klemens Von Metternich, the Austrian monarch who threatened to impose war on Napoleon if he did not give up his conquest, issues the principal of legitimacy because he wants distribution of power to go back to the way it was before Napoleon. Like other European rulers, he establishes his rightful power to rule over his country. By 1815, the Congress of Vienna finished their meetings. As a result, Napoleon was viewed as the enemy, and former European rulers regained their power without threat.

Although the Congress of Vienna may have been extravagant and long winded, it was important because the powerful people at it made choices that helped them get rid of Napoleon and protect their own power as rulers. With Napoleon on the downfall, leaders at the Congress of Vienna reacted by establishing principles such as that of legitimacy. They felt desperate to protect their power because it had been taken from them for so long, so some of their decisions were a little extreme. One way that these leaders could have reacted that would have resulted better for their people would be by passing laws that they all agreed upon, so that the people wouldn't feel completely dominated by these "legitimate rulers", and would feel like they had a say. I believe that those in power should be willing to sacrifice some of it in order to help their people and do what's best for the general population. Overall the Congress of Vienna resulted in former rulers regaining their power, and Napoleon losing his, but perhaps these rulers could have gained their power back in a way that better took into consideration the opinions of their people.

To learn more about the congress of Vienna, be sure to check out this interactive map!
http://www.the-map-as-history.com/demos/tome01/index.php 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Class Throwdown: 19th Century Ideology

Ideology is the "ideas and manners of thinking characteristic of a group, social class, or individual." In honors history 10, we studied what that lengthy definition really means, and learned about the three major ideologies of the 19th century--conservatism, nationalism, and liberalism. By first brainstorming the modern definitions of these words, we got an idea of what we would be learning about. But as you may guess, these definitions have evolved since 200 years ago. In the spirit of a competitive political debate, the class split into groups to make 1 minute presentations on each 19th century definition of one of these ideologies. Next class we would go head to head and compete to see who had crafted the most creative and informational presentation!


My group chose to tackle liberalism-- the revolutionary ideology seeking a government based on merit as opposed to social standing. By making a common craft video, we were able to include this definition along with a few examples of liberalism in action. From watching our video, it can be gathered that liberalism wiped out the old social order of absolute monarchy for a period of time. When Napoleon ruled France and conquered countries like Prussia and Austria, he acted as a liberalist. Napoleon provided education to lower class parties who had never had access in the past, as well as overthrew the French directory. By getting rid of previous power figures and providing education to everyone, Napoleon worked to make France more of a meritocracy, aligning himself with liberal ideals. During his peak, Napoleon acted as a liberalist, but in a few years, conservatists would take over in an attempt to restore Europe’s previous social order. To learn more about liberalism, check out our common craft below!
 
video


In class we watched other students’ videos and skits to collect the definitions of conservatism and nationalism. Through funny chatterpix featuring talking M&Ms acting out nationalism, we learned that this is the ideology associated with a country’s natural unity. Nationalism is what lead established nations like Britain to push for expansion as a whole, and dispersed countries like Germany to seek unity and a native ruler. Next we learned that conservatists value tradition and monarchy from an animated video of Edmund Burke, the “father of conservatism”. In Burke’s book, “Reflections on Revolutions in France”, he reacts the same way most european elites do to the French Revolution, arguing against reform and a new social order. By the end of class I felt like watching and making our quick videos had given me an understanding of all three european 19th century ideologies. All that was left was deciding who had the best presentation!
 



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why Your Grandmother Isn't Really A Luddite


Luddites destroying machines in a textile mill, 1812.

These days, the term “Luddite” is used to refer to a parent who still uses a walkman, or an aunt who doesn’t know the difference between an IPod and a desktop computer. But “Luddite” isn’t just a catchy term for those members of our society who aren’t prone to technology; Luddites were a group of 20th century artisans against the misuse of technology during the Industrial Revolution. When new machines were invented and cotton mills sprung up everywhere, artisans lost their customers and thousands of people were forced to take up the poor quality of life that comes with working at a mill. Luddites tried to stop the negative impact that new factories were causing by attacking and destroying them. Following their mythical leader, “Ludd”, they bashed new machines until they were damaged beyond repair. With their destructive behavior and violent threats, Luddites affected the lives of every class of people. Below is a mock letter written from a skilled weaver during the Industrial Revolution that shows how he may have felt about the Luddites:


Dear Cousin,
You’ll never believe the sites I have witnessed or the experiences I have been a part of over the last few years. Ugly factories have gone up all throughout my once beautiful country of England. Our cities have become overpopulated with mill workers, and colored brown by the pollution they make in their work. Worse even, I have lost significant business with the rise of textile factories that produce a thousand cloths in the time it takes me to weave one by hand. But I’m not the only one taking the hit from technological advances. Other artisans have trouble finding customers, and mill employees work long, tiring hours for hardly any pay. It seems the whole of England is suffering from the new factories that have taken over—all except the greedy mill owners who pocket all the money we lose in this corrupt system!

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who wants to put a stop to misused technology. An intimidating group called the Luddites has been wrecking machines at nearby factories, and it is rumored that they have more up their sleeves. I don’t want to start trouble, but I don’t like the direction our country is headed. In support of the Luddites cause, I plan to join them on their next attack. Getting rid of England’s factory system will benefit us all!

Sincerely,
Kevin

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Napoleon: Tyrant, Hero, or Both?



Born over 200 years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte it still thought of a one of Europe’s most influential leaders today. As a French monarch, he lead a military dictatorship that conquered more than 12 important cities and countries, including Moscow and Berlin—major European cities. Although remembered as a tyrant, Napoleon made a positive impact on Europe’s social, economic, and political systems.

A map of the land conquered by Napoleon and the countries in alliance with him.
During his reign of power, Napoleon completely changed the social structure of Europe. One of the major ways he did this was by establishing a meritocracy in which people were given jobs based on skill rather than status. This, in a sense, limited the importance of titles or wealth, because roles in society were no longer determined by these factors. Napoleon also abolished serfdom and nobility, pleasing the poor but making nobility angry, like Madame de Stael.  In her opinion, Napoleon treated dignity, virtue, and religion as “the eternal enemies of the continent.” A less well-off citizen likely would have spoken of Napoleon differently, praising him for giving everyone rights to education and equalizing the social classes. By his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon had made Europe’s social order easier to climb and less harsh towards the poor.

Just like Europe’s social structure was impacted by Napoleon, so was its economic systems. During his reign, Napoleon established the bank of France and balanced its budget for the first time.  He also controlled prices and encouraged industry throughout Europe by building roads and canals that made trade easier. Although Italy took a hit when stole their money, for the most part Europe benefited economically from Napoleon because he got industry going.

Perhaps even greater than napoleon’s impact on Europe’s social and economic systems, was the difference he made politically. Napoleon was eager to conquer as much territory as possible, and as stated by 37 year old Ida M. Tarbell in France’s McClure's Magazine, “the whole tendency of his civil and military system was to concentrate power in a single pair of hands.” In an effort to accomplish this, Napoleon forced men to fight under his control. He ended up extremely successful, and military members like Marshal Michel Ney worshiped him as their rightful “sovereign” because they benefited from his military success. Although church and nobility suffered reduced power by being forced to follow the Napoleonic code, average men were finally given a chance at success and recognition by fighting for Napoleon.

Up until he was defeated from his position as French emperor in 1815, Napoleon worked to improve Europe’s social structure, economy, and political system. He equalized social classes, enabled industry growth, and raised the status of a working soldier by acting as a successful military leader.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chocunism- The Study of Marx and Smith By Eating Chocolate


Early on a Monday morning, 25 sleepy teenagers walked into Honors History 10 and immediately perked up at the smell of Hershey chocolate.  Our eyes all widened as Mrs. Gallagher dropped 8 chocolate kisses on the first student’s desk and announced that we would get to eat our share at the end of the class. But when she proceeded to give only 2 kisses to the rest of us, cries rang out. “Why does Brian get more?” shouted one student. “Yeah, that’s no fair!” backed up the rest of the class. It was here that Mrs. Gallagher jumped in and explained that we would be acting out Karl Marx’s Theory of Communism by using chocolate as “money”, and playing games of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to mimic trade and commerce.

Karl Marx and Adam Smith were both philosophers in the late 1700s who saw the sharp divide between Great Britain’s rich and poor. Each came up with a different theory on how the poor could improve their wealth and general living. By progressing from capitalism, to socialism, to communism, our class reenacted Karl Marx's ideal theory of communism. Marx saw that when a country practices capitalism, giving citizens the right to private ownership of industry and competition, major class struggle develops. Most people end up dirt poor, like the “chocolate-less”, and only a few people end up fifthly rich. According to Marx’s theory, eventually the lower classes of a country will revolt and adopt the policy of socialism. In socialism, a country’s government will collect and redistribute goods to everyone equally, just like Ms. Gallagher eventually did in class. This creates a classless society where the majority doesn’t want to risk their chances of becoming poor again, and so the country eventually becomes communist. At this point, Marx says that government is no longer necessary because the classless society will willingly share everything in order to maintain equality. But Marx wasn't the only philosopher with a theory to help the poor. A few years before him, Adam Smith came up with the "Invisible Hand". This theory said that if citizens of a country are left alone to trade and compete, they will operate based on their own self-interest, causing fair businesses to succeed and the rest to fail. Business owners will realize that it is necessary to pay their employees higher wages so that they can afford to become customers in turn. Although this will take a LONG time and cause suffering along the way, the theory states that eventually the economy will grow on its own so that there is no sharp divide between rich and poor. Both Marx and Smith saw the harsh difference between the few rich people in Europe during the late 1700s, and the thousands of poor, hungry, poverty stricken people. Each philosopher devised a theory that he believed would best help the poor to eventually emerge from poverty.
 
For more on Marx and his Theory of Communism, check out BIO's video on YouTube!
 
 
For a brief overview of Smith's "Invisible Hand", watch this video clip by ouLearn on YouTube!
 
After reenacting Marx’s theory and learning about Smith’s, I feel torn when asked to choose which one best solves the problem of widespread poverty. Both theories sound good on paper, but neither has ever been known to work or occur in their pure form, so it’s hard to say if either will ever be successful. Marx’s theory results in communism, which has been practiced in countries like China and Russia. Although all classes are equal, the people who inhabit these countries are said to live very dreary and unhopeful lives because everyone is “the same”. Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory also has its downfalls. Although the end result sounds more ideal than communism, it takes a very long period of struggle for his theory to be complete. Both Marx’s and Smith’s ideas aren’t perfect, and I feel like a better alternative is to combine the two. The invisible hand will take too long to work itself out, but its result is ideal. Perhaps some of Marx’s ideas, like a government to give guidance and support to the general population, could be incorporated to speed up the process. Marx and Smith both had good ideas for helping lower classes rise out of poverty, and by combining and tweaking them, they could work in reality.  

 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Farmers, to Mill Girls, to Activists

 

This past week in Honors History 10 we’ve brought our study of the Industrial Revolution back home, as we discussed the Lowell Mills, just a 20 minute drive away. Just like in England, these mills featured new machines and an up and coming textile industry, but that wasn't all that was revolutionary about them. For the first time ever, women began working outside of their homes, leaving their family’s farms, and making a salary. During the industrial revolution, thousands of young American girls were sent to the Lowell mills to earn money for their families, and make their own living.

When the Lowell mills took off in the 1800s, young girls were the perfect employees for two reasons. Number 1: women and girls were considered less valuable than men, so their labor would be cheaper. And number 2: women were used to taking orders from men, so they would do what they were told. The only problem, was convincing the girls to come and work.


To encourage girls to leave their family farms and work in Lowell, mill owners had to make the mills sound very enticing. In the video “Daughters of Free Men”, a man comes to Lucy Hall’s house and describes the mills as a great opportunity in an effort to recruit her. Hall ends up moving to Lowell and working there after he tells her how the mills are more of an “academy” than a workplace.
Young girl leaves farm to work in Lowell.
Family is sad to see her go, but she is hopeful for a better life.


Like Hall, many other girls moved to Lowell after hearing about things like its “paternal system”, and effort to maintain morality. But most of the girls were let down when they arrived. No boarding house keeper could comfort them when their wages got cut, and  as for morals, they all disappeared when the workers held loud, unladylike protests against their unfair treatment.

Although girls suffered tough living conditions, and had to give up living with their families at a young age, their work at the mills has gotten us women where we are today. For those original mill workers, there was little benefit to their employment. But that first taste of independence that girls got by working in the mills away from their families, and finally being able to earn their own pay, is what would later motivate many of them to later become womens rights activists. Yes pay was low, living was uncomfortable, and women were treated poorly as workers in the Lowell mills. But, if it weren't for the Lowell mills, we could still be living in a world with even more male dominance in the workforce.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cotton Mills in the Classroom


A few days ago my Honors History 10 class had the pleasure of taking a trip to England, all while sitting in our classroom. What we did was have a live video chat with Jamie, a museum curator at Manchester, England’s Museum of Science and Industry. Since our class is studying the industrial revolution, Jamie focused on machinery invented and used in textile and cotton mills during that era. But before we got to have this talk, we had to get prepared. For the few days leading up to our discussion, we spent our class time searching around on the MOSI textiles gallery site, learning vocab that is used in the textile industry (ie. slubbing: to twist wool in preparation for spinning), and coming up with questions for our chat.
 
Jamie showing us some machinery!

When Jamie just popped up onto our class smart board, it was so cool. We could see all the machinery he pointed out, and ask him all kinds of questions- it was just like he was right there in the room with us. First we got a run down of the evolution of textile making. It all started with the handloom, a machine people used in their homes to create cloth. We got to see one up close from the 1830s! Next came the water loom, and later the steam powered loom. With these inventions, cloth making shifted from in-home work to factory work that took over England's economy. When a question about working and living conditions arose, Jamie laughed at the  thought, exclaiming, “Health and safety didn’t exist in the factory system!” He then proceeded to give us detailed description of the brutal and unhealthy factory conditions, where arthritis and scoliosis were minor ailments compared to the limbs that women and kids lost in machinery.
 
An old drawing of factory workers that Jamie showed the class.

When the class signed out of our chat with Jamie, I felt like I had just visited a real museum where I’d gotten to view the looms up close, and ask all the questions I wanted. It seemed that whatever question we had, Jamie had the answer and was ready to tell it to us. I only wish that we had actually been in the museum with him so I could get a closer, more detailed look at the machines. But, hey, for $1000 and a plane ride less, our video chat worked pretty well. I hope that we get to do more of these chats throughout the year with all kinds of experts around the world, because it was great to learn from someone who specializes in our current curriculum… and hear the British accent!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Industrial Revolution: A Blessing or A Curse?


This past week Honors History 10 turned a section of RMHS into a museum, as we built exhibits featuring different aspects of the Industrial Revolution, and displayed them down the hallway. Each group of 5 took on a topic relating to the Industrial Revolution, so my group dove into learning about the pollution created by factories and machinery. We began with 6 sources, and analyzed them to find the author, their motivation to create the source, date, and location. From this we were able to draw main points, which made it easier later when we had to write blurbs about each source. When we were done, our exhibit consisted of a poster connecting a map of 19th century England, a depiction of a Victorian slum, a drawing of run-down Manchester, observations on the dirty River Thymes, and differing views about the Industrial Revolution. The main argument of our poster was that although the Industrial Revolution was beneficial in the sense that new inventions and innovations took place, it also caused a massive amount of pollution which brought down the quality of living for inhabitants to England. We titled our exhibit “Pollution of the Revolution” not only because it’s a clever rhyme, but because it follows how the Industrial Revolution caused so much pollution, and how that pollution affected everyone.
A close up from my group's exhibit, Pollution of the Revolution.
 
   When museum goers stop in at our exhibit, the major point that they should take away is that although the Industrial Revolution was the source of many technological advances, it also caused excess pollution that made every day English life filthy, unsanitary, and depressing.
 

Other exhibits and aspects of the Industrial Revolution:



Group A:Spinning A City

During the Industrial Revolution the spinning jenny and British handloom were invented, which increased the amount of wool that could be made. Textile mills became popular and offered lots of jobs in London, so people moved there and the population rapidly grew.
 
 
 
 
 


Group B: Steam Powered Transportation:
Now We're Getting Somewhere

With the invention of the steam engine, power boats and trains came along and provided more efficient transportation. Although a select few disliked the steam engine because it disrupted nature, a large percent of the population liked it because it connected people.



 
Group D: Condemning the Innocent
 


Children and women worked in mines, in factories, and as bobbin girls. They had to work overtime, barefoot, and did strenuous labor, all in order to support their families.
The amount of slaves in the US skyrocketed after the start of the Industrial Revolution. This is because as more textile mills were built, the number of slaves had to increase to meet the demands of the cotton industry.