Sunday, June 7, 2015

Power to the ((Super Rich and Successful Only)) People

Here is our weekly plan in full detail.
            With three short units left, the last day of school only four weeks away, and finals fast approaching, we (the students of Honors History 10) put our last few weeks to good use by not only learning and studying for our final exam, but by CREATING it. That’s right, the STUDENTS wrote the final exam. The plan is to give each unit a week. During that week, the entire class takes notes in a shared Google doc as we watched videos and analyzed primary and secondary sources together. At the end of the week, we use everything that we just learned to come up with 40 questions for the final exam. At the end of the three weeks, when classes end and finals start, the product of our efforts will be a 120 question exam, a LOT of notes, and three blog posts answering a student-crafted essential question for each unit.

Check out week 1: Did the captains of industry have a positive or negative impact on the public?

Rockefeller- the powerful, strangling squid.
During the late 1800s, America went through a period of uninterrupted industrial growth. It was during this time that captains of industry, wealthy people who lead certain business fields, emerged as people of power. Although they helped shape America to what it has become today, these “captains” left a negative impact on the public during their time. John Rockefeller, founder of the “Standard Oil Company,” was one of these captains who negatively impacted the public. In a political cartoon appearing in the September 7th, 1904 issue of “Puck,” artist Udo J. Keppler draws Rockefeller as a giant squid, strangling the U.S. capitol and other industries. Just like the malicious squid in Keppler’s drawing, Rockefeller was able to create a monopoly on natural fossil fuels and bribe politicians to get his way. This was bad for the general public because Rockefeller had power over everyone, so even decisions they voted on weren’t necessarily determined fairly.

“Forty-Millionaire Carnegie in his Great Double Role"
Similar to Rockefeller, Carnegie was a great businessman and captain of industry who poorly impacted the people of his time. In the July 9th, 1892 issue of The Saturday Globe, artist David P. Demares depicts Carnegie simultaneously giving away money and taking it away from his workers in his cartoon, “Forty-Millionaire Carnegie in his Great Double Role." Leading such a large business, Carnegie’s frequent wage cuts affected thousands of people.

                Captains of industry like Rockefeller and Carnegie thrived during the late 1800s, and used their excessive wealth and power to manipulate the government and take money away from innocent employees. But if it weren’t for them, American wouldn’t be what it’s like today. The excessive wealth that captains of industry held in their industries carries over to help our industries thrive today. As a country, wealth is still distributed very unevenly, but we are able to see that letting bribery influence political decisions can be disastrous.  

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