Archive for February, 2011

Weekly Reflection, 2/22

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned this week was about the women’s reform movement, and how as a result of the economic and social change in America at the turn of the 20th century, many women entered public life as workers and reformers to improve conditions at work and home.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
I learned how women won new opportunities in labor and education that are enjoyed today.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?

I’d like to learn more about women reform leaders like Susan B. Anthony and the different tactics they used to push for reform.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:

What kind of new job opportunities available to women prompted many to complete high school?

 

Advertisements

Four Americans held on hijacked yacht killed by Somali “pirates”

On Tuesday, February 22, four American hostages hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman have been killed, U.S. defense officials say. The yacht, owned and sailed by Scott and Jean Adam of California, and accompanied by couple Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, was hijacked while the two couples were sailing though Somalia’s pirate infested seas.

Scott and Jean Adam first set sail on the 58-foot Quest in 2002.

According to the US military, four Navy warships – including an aircraft carrier – had been carefully shadowing the hijacked yacht, called the Quest, for days, hoping to prevent the pirates from disembarking with the hostages. They were in the process of negotiating with the pirates, when Navy Seals rushed to the yacht in assult craft after hearing gunshots fired from the boat. It has been said by military officials that the Navy Seals killed two pirates while trying to take control of the ship. “As they responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors,” Gen James Mattis of US Central Command Commander stated.It is still unclear why the pirates killed the hostages, however Maritime analysts suppose either accidentally during a firefight, or possibly out of revenge for the Somali pirates killed by American forces during a similar hostage situation in 2009. We do know, however, that Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, allowing piracy to flourish off its coast. The New York Times reassures that the U.S. Navy captured a total of 13 pirates; killed two, and found the remains of two already dead on the boat.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12541297

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/world/africa/23pirates.html?pagewanted=1&ref=us

Analyzing Political Cartoons of the late 19th Century ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

A political cartoon is an illustration which is designed to convey a social or political message, using images which will be familiar to all of the people in a society. A political cartoon often expresses caricatures of events that are happening in the current political field. The cartoons can also be directed at political leaders, such as the president. During the 19th century, political cartoons were commonly used to express the widespread negative opinions of immigrants, as well as other events that took place in the late 1800’s, such as the issue of control over railroads.

1. “The Modern Colossus of Railroads”– This political cartoon was illustrated by Joseph Keppler in 1879, which features the railroad “giants”, William Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, and Cyrus W. Fields.Vanderbilt, a wealthy railroad tycoon, was viewed as a tyrannous man of excessive corporate power, which is clearly shown in this cartoon. The reigns held by the railroad magnates attach not only to the trains, but also to the tracks and the railroad station, which conveys their power and control over railroad operations. The three powerful leaders formed a railroad trust out of their Union Pacific, New York Central, and Lake Shore & Dependence lines. However, with the interstate Commerce Act in 1887, the government began to weaken the magnates’ grip over the nation’s transportation system.

http://socyberty.com/history/dbq-document-summary-american-industrialism/

2. “What a Funny Little Government”– This cartoon was illustrated by Horace Taylor in 1899, which shows John D. Rockefeller holding the White House and Treasury Department in his palm. It is a commentary on the power of the Standard Oil empire, which controlled 90 percent of the refining business in the late 19th century. Rockefeller reaped huge profits by paying his employees extremely low wages and driving his competitors out of business by selling his oil at a lower price than it cost to produce it. As soon as he controlled the market, he hiked prices far above the original levels. Alarmed by his tactics, Rockefeller, as well as many other industrialists, became known as robber barons. The smoke in the background of the image is coming from the capital of the United States, which is portrayed as becoming an oil refinery, demonstrating the power that many big businesses held over government.

http://www.mrrena.com/2003/social1.shtml

3. “The Tammany Tiger Loose”– Political machines were organized groups that controlled the activities of a political party in a city, and also offered services to voters and businesses in exhange for political or financial support. The Tammany Hall machine controlled New York City’s politics during the 19th century, and was dominated by a man named William M. Tweed, also known as Boss Tweed. However, political machines began to decline in importance after 1900. Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, helped arous public outrage against Tammany Hall’s illegal use of policitcal influence for personal gain, or graft, and the Tweed Ring was finally broken in 1871. Tweed was indicted on 120 counts of fraud and extortion and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/USRA_Pol_Machines.htm

Research Reflection:

I enjoyed researching these popular political cartoons  because they played an important part in telling the history of the 19th century. I learned how to analyze cartoons by identifying the symbols, characters and its significance in history, which isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Weekly Reflection, 2/15

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned this week was how the growth and consolidation of railroads benefited the nation but also led to corruption that required government regulation.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
I learned that many of the strategies used today in industry and in the labor movement, such as consolidation and the strike, have their origins in the late 19th century.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?

I’d like to learn more about how the wave of immigration during the late 19th and early 20th centuries helped make the United States the diverse society it is today.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:

What were the long term causes and effects of the big business booms in 1880-1914?

U.S. anti-drug agents shot in Mexico attack; one dead

On Tuesday, February 15, a U.S. law enforcement agent was shot dead and a second wounded  in a roadside attack in Mexico city. The two agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were fired upon while traveling on the highway between Monterrey and the Mexican capital, where Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the agents were “shot in the line of duty.”  One of the agents was badly wounded and later died from his injuries, and the second remains in stable condition and is expected to recover. It is not yet clear wether or not the shooting was drug-related, however, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is currently working with Mexican authorities to investigate the killing. As stated in the Washington Post, “more than 34,000 people have died in drug violence in the past four years as Mexico wages a U.S.-backed fight against criminal organizations, which have grown rich and powerful on proceeds from drug sales to the United States.” Although high levels of violence among competeting drug lords are common in Mexico and continue to increase, U.S. officials are rarely targeted. As stated in the BBC article, many politicians in the Southern United States are calling for more to be done in the effort to stop drug smugglers and human traffickers from entering the U.S.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/15/AR2011021506693.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12476900

Western Literature ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

After gold was discovered in California, Americans came to veiw the West as a region of unlimited possibility. Those who weren’t fortunate enough to journey there enjoyed reading about the West in tales by writers such as Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Novels became extremely popular in the late 19th century. Since much of the West was Spanish-dominated for years, Western literature included legends and songs of Hispanic heroes and villians. It also included the haunting words of Native Americans whose lands were taken and cultures threatened as white settlers moved West.

1. One of the most popular American humorists of the 19th century, Samuel Clemens, or better known as Mark Twain, wrote many tales of frontier life.In the 1850s, Samuel worked as a riverboat pilot and later briefly served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Shortly after gold was discovered, he traveled West and found work as a miner and a reporter. He first began to publish his work under the name “Mark Twain” and established himself as a sketch-writer and humorist. “Mark Twain” was a reference to his riverboat days, a term that was often used to determine the depth of the water when at sea. One of his most popular writings was a short story called “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County”, which has also been called “The Notorious Frog of Calaveras County” as well. The story takes place in a gold-mining camp in Calaveras County, California, shortly after the Gold Rush of 1849. In Twain’s story, a man named Simon Wheeler tells stories about another man named Jim Smiley, to Twain in a local bar.The short and humorous story focuses on Mark Twain and his meeting with the talkative old storyteller Simon Wheeler. However, in the end, it is revealed that his friend’s story is merely a practical joke designed to waste his time. Although “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” was admired for its humor and as an example of a tall tale, it also became known for its sarcastic portrait of the American East. Twain’s great sense of humor greatly contributed to his sucess, and was among one of the most popular writers of his time.

http://www.novelexplorer.com/category/the-celebrated-jumping-frog-of-calaveras-county/

2. Another notable writer inspired by the mining camps was John Rollin Ridge. His fictional romance novel called The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Mruieta, the Celebrated California Bandit,  published in 1854, expressed the violent relations that took place in the ethnically diverse frontier. The tale was written a year after Joaquin’s death. John Ridge was part Cherokee Indian who fled to California after killing a man in Arkansas. Borrowing from newspaper reports of the gold camps, he created a romantic story of lust and revenge starring the recently dead bandit, Joaquin Murrieta, as the victim of a twisted society. His novel quickly became one of the most popular dramas of the Gold Rush era.

http://www.enotes.com/american-history-literature-cc/california-gold-rush

3. Not all Western literature was fictional. In fact, a great amount of the true imaginative wealth of the gold rush was told through diares, letters, journals, memoirs, government documents, and personal narratives. These writings often addressed the hardships faced during the Gold Rush, such as the harsh demands of everyday life in the West and the unfavorable conditions of the mining camps. Some of the best narratives were Louise Clappe’s The Shirley Letters, which were published in 1854. These were a series of letters written by Clappe from two camps in the hills of the Feather River to her sister back at home in Massachusetts. The living conditions mentioned in the letters startled many people back at home in the East.

http://www.enotes.com/american-history-literature-cc/california-gold-rush

Research Reflection:

I really enjoyed learning about different aspects of Western Literature during the Gold Rush era. I chose to research this because I am quite the writer myself and I’ve always been interested in how different historic events have paved the way for modern literature. I learned that the people who weren’t given the fortunate opportunity to explore the West in hopes of striking it rich and building a sucessful future depended on literature, both fictional and non-fictional, to stay connected to those that were.


Weekly Reflection 2/8

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned from my studies this week was the gold rush and how many Americans came to view the West as a region of unlimited possibility.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
I learned that as settlers brought different cultures to different regions, continued contact led to the blending of cultures, similar to the effects of diversity that exists in our country today from immigration to America.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?

I’d like to learn more about the literature of the West and how it encouraged more and more settlers to see the incredible territory for themselves.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:

How did the settlers on the Great Plains transform the land despite great hardships?