Friday, May 1, 2015

Power from the People, or the President?

In school, everyone learns about America's dark past- slavery- and how we were able to change for the better as a country to abolish this practice. We learn about the Civil War, where the north fought the south for the abolishment of slavery and eventually won. But does anyone ever tell us who started this movement? What kinds of people were the driving force behind the abolition of slavery? This past week in honors history 10 we explored the answer to these questions.

One way we learned about those who contributed to the abolition of slavery was through reading primary documents. Then, we put them into this chart (Lincoln!) to show what power came from above, what power came from below, and what Lincoln wanted to do.

As president of the United States, Lincoln was a big part of getting slavery abolished. Although he claimed to "intend no modification of [his] oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free" in his reply to an Open letter from Horace Greeley, his actions and decisions during the war enabled an end to slavery. By declaring the emancipation proclamation, stating it only right and constitutional for slaves who fought in the war to become free after it was over, Lincoln freed thousands of former slaves. Although Lincoln, a person with a LOT of power, appears to be the reason slavery was abolished, the actions of slaves themselves were also a huge contributing factor. In primary source y, slaves are described to have pushed their way through white people preparing through war in an effort to force themselves into the issue and into the war. Slaves helped fight for their freedom just as much as those in power did.

                                      Check out this video to learn more about the civil war.

When it all boils down, I think that slavery was abolished because of actions taken by those out of power just as much as those in power. Yes, Lincoln is well known for his actions, but that is because he had a lot of power at the time. Lower people and slaves were also a driving force in that they helped influence Lincoln and his decisions. This whole situation of force behind a change coming from below and being broadcast and taken further by those people who are "above" still happens today. Recently there has been HUGE coverage for a story surrounding Bruce Jenner, former Olympic athlete and reality TV star, and his coming out as Transgender. Other Trans people have been pushing for acceptance and equal treatment for years, but now that Bruce Jenner is talking about it, it's finally starting to become a reality. Just like Lincoln was a voice for slaves, Bruce Jenner is a voice for the Trans community and it's supporters.