Journal Postings

Group C

01/17/02 (The Missing Peace)

 

Rachel Mack

http://webby.cc.denison.edu/~waite/liberia/history/acs.htm Also on the ACS.

I thought that this chapter was an interesting one.  One aspect of the chapter that interested me was how some of the slave owners and also antislavery personas viewed slavery.  A quote from the book by Thomas Jefferson described slavery as having a “wolf by the ears; and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go…” I guess, as me being a contemporary reader, I just don’t understand how slavery could have even existed. Because the idea of having one human own another just does not seem to be morally right.  Another issue that struck me was the Quakers and their stances on slavery.  They were the group most noted for antislavery, but the way they progressed was not something I would have thought from an antislavery group.  They were involved in the shipping of slaves, but after their Yearly Meeting they banned the “importation of Negroes” in 1727, but said nothing of ownership.  Forty-six years later they were told to treat their slaves with tenderness and not until 1780 did the Meeting abolish slavery.

Another interesting aspect was that of seeing the two groups, besides Quakers, involved in nonviolent principles.  The Garrisonian group amazed me because of their extreme stances in believing in only the “divine government.”  I was also led to wonder if they got away with not paying their taxes because they didn’t want to be involved in earthly government.  I would just like to know the actions taken against them not paying taxes, if any arose.  The Tappanites seemed to me to be a mix of the Quakers and the Garrisonians.  They took the stance of government and churches (Quakers), but adopted the idea of the social roles of women (Garrisonians).  Another aspect is they could choose when the appropriate time was to use “justified violence.”

http://webby.cc.denison.edu/~waite/liberia/history/acs.htm

I picked this site because I wanted to see if there was anything more to this American Colonization Society besides shipping slaves back to Africa.  I found out that the society raised the money by selling membership into the group.  In 1819, the received $100,000 from Congress and sent the first ship over with 3 whites and 88 emigrants.  All whites and 22 blacks died within three weeks from yellow fever.  Within the upcoming years 2,638 African-Americans migrated over and they eventually formed the independent state of Liberia and had a profound effect on Liberia’s history.

 

Amanda Mills

www.amhersthistory.org/ahm_aa/ahm_aa16.htm Anti-slavery history--Amherst, MA

The anti-slavery movement is something that we look back on an and think about how naive the slave owners were. These people who justified slavery as some thing that "America was based on" and needed in order to become successful can be laughed at in this present day. Didn't they see how much negativity was produced? The violence alone was horrible. Every knew how bad it was morally and so forth. The only reason that it kept going was because people didn't want to pay for labor or treat slaves as equals. Dark skin was inbedded in thier minds as inferior. What if tribes had invaded europe and captured them and forced them into labor? Then the Africans would have been more powerful. The people that were ready to accept the fact that what they were doing to the africans were wrong took a stand. They saw how fugitives and other free slaves took a stand and they were ready to take one with them. The white anti-slavery people knew the black ones needed help. They gave the freed slaved a "leg up" by being white supported. The anti-slavery movement is a awesome struggle that will always be remenbered due to its vast elements. We will never know evertything that was done to protest slavery but every little bit moved the slaves closer to freedom. As a bi-racial woman in this present age, I am happy to know that not only did black people help free the slaves, but white ones as well.

Link: www.amhersthistory.org/ahm_aa/ahm_aa16.htm

 

Magdalena Perz

http://docsouth.unc.edu/fitzhughcan/menu.html George Fitzhugh’s defense of slavery

First of all, I must admit that I found that piece of reading very interesting. There are many reasons why it caught my attention. Undoubtedly, the whole issue of slavery has been stirring people's imagination and emotions for centuries. Besides, it is really good for me to see it from the perspective of an American author, who was probably brought up in a society which at a certain point in history allowed slavery. Interestingly enough, I noticed that people tend to discuss the problem of slavery, first and foremost, in relation to the States, although it wasn't the only country with such a policy. I guess that it is the paradox of the most democratic state which allowed enslaving people that makes people concentrate on the States. The dream of a free country which cherishes such values as equality and independence constitutes a striking contrast to towards its policy towards Black people. Even Quakers, which were regarded as the most pacifistic group, were involved in slave trading.

What shocked me apart from such national and ethnical hypocrisy was the extent of propaganda. In spite of the fact that I have some grasp of American history, only owing to this text, I realized how people were made to believe that slavery wasn't unjust. Obviously, literature and newspapers were always powerful media of brainwashing. However, when it comes to the States, religious leaders and politicians were also among those who tried to convince people of the moral propriety of slavery.

Anyway, I find the text very informative, because it analyzes the different measures people took in order to change the unfair system. Actually, it is really surprising that the most radical groups such as the Garrisonians didn't turn out to be the most successful. Besides, not only was it difficult to put an end to slavery, but also to restore the social and economic order afterwards. I think that, although many people blame the Americans for keeping slavery legal for such a long time, they don't take into consideration the fact that a faster abolition process wouldn't bring satisfactory results. Even after the Civil War the ex- slaves faced suffering and segregation. Moreover, many steps, which we regard as worth having been taken, were rejected by the slaves themselves. It's not surprising if we take into account the totally different time, spacial and ethnical circumstances in which we live. But still, even if I try to imagine living in the States in the 19th century, there are many issues concerning antislavery movement which I don't understand.

First of all, it's paradoxical that the critics consider the narratives written by runaway slaves to have influence on other Black people and persuade them to rebel. How could the slaves get hold of and understand the texts if the majority of them was illiterate? Another idea I disagree with is the general trend towards moral reform. Actually, slave owners tried to improve the morals of "their possessions". I think that, instead, they should have tried to change their own way of thinking and behavior.

Finally, in my opinion, the text makes you aware of the degree to which the Civil War is often idealized. The focus is usually on the courageous male heroes, stong women left at home, dramatic seperations of families and fighting against friends. The end is usually regarded as more or less happy ending, because slavery was finally abolished. However, few people realize that for the Afro-Americans it was only the beginning of their long way to freedom.

I wanted to look into George Fitzhugh's writing and ideology. That's why I chose: http://docsouth.unc.edu/fitzhughcan/menu.html

It shows other sites where you can find something out about the logic behind the opinions that slavery was just.

Jennifer Peterson

http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/garrison.html (Only blank for me.)
http://www.kersur.net/~bancroft/town.html On Hopedale, Mass.

There were many things in this reading that caused me to raise my eyebrows and really think about what these people were saying and proposing that we do or think. Some of them I agreed with others I had very strong feelings against and yet others that I could not understand where they thought that their ideas would have any applicable use in the real world. To say the least I have many things underlined and many scribbles in the margins already.

The first question that they give us to answer is one that I have been asking myself since middle school or before. How could people do this to other people? How could they justify this kind of abuse? Now that I have lived a few more years and have seen just a glimpse of what people can do to other people I now see that people justify their actions after they do them and not think about what they do before they do them. WWJD comes close to that. I always wondered if the people that wore those bracelets were really asking themselves that question or just going through the motions. Many of the people in the south were just going through the motions with the skewed justifications of their forefathers. Another thing that I have learned is that is impossible to change someone else's mind. Forcing someone to do something will only cause opposition. "For everything there is an equation and opposite reaction." I think that is one of Newton's laws that is applicable is more that one situation.
When they were talking about colonization it sounded like what was and is going on in Bosnia and in other places in Eastern Europe. From what I know of what is going on I understand that the races what to separate themselves and move the races into other areas so that the fighting might stop. This might be the solution that they chose but it would not be the one that I would choose for myself. To put this into context for myself I thought about how if the Native-Americans would decide to take back the United States and did it, what would the Native Americans do with us? Would they let us stay on their lands? Or would they tell us to go back to where ever we came from? It seems silly to me that our political leaders even thought about this. But they did it!! It would be like sending me back to Germany when I have never even been there and don't consider it my home!

Just a small comment: On page 83 they say that "Whites were acting with a great deal of presumptions" That might be one of the biggest understatements I have heard in a long time. On page 92 they quote William Lloyd Garrison when he says, "master-passion in the bosom of the slaveholder is not the love gain, but the possession of absolute power, unlimited sovereignty." Then they go on to say, "Garrison's interpretation explained the intractability of northern racism as well as southern slavery." This wording changes Garrison's opinion into fact. I don't believe that slavery in the south can be boiled done to that small of terms that slavery was fought for because of man's egotism and stubbornness.
I could go on about other things but I will wait for class.

Websites
http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/garrison.html
http://www.kersur.net/~bancroft/town.html

Lori Pongtana

www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1521.html On the American Colonization Society

Antislavery movements such as the Underground Railroad and the Emancipation Proclamation were some of the major reasons, I was taught, that helped to fight against slavery during the 1800s.  I never realized though that the actions of the American Colonization Society were taking place during times of slavery.

Apparently the beliefs of the Society were to assist free blacks to return to their heritage and culture in Africa.  In other words, they wanted to get rid of blacks.  At first, it would seem that their idea has some substance to it but after reading more about the Society, I learned more details about it.  The founder, Reverend Robert Finley explained the society's actions were a way to send Africans back to their homeland, along with Christianity.  This explanation makes it appear that Finley believed the Society's reasoning was justified and those were the only reasons for sending them back.  For Finley, he at the time admitted black people were an unwelcomed group in "white culture".  How could he say that blacks were, "unfavorable to our industry and morals" but yet announce that they would have the opportunity to spread Christianity?  If the morals of Africans were somehow lower than those of whites, were the standards and beliefs of Christianity somehow less for blacks also?  Finley made an attempt to do away with slavery but it was an obvious attempt to do away with black culture altogether.

I think the Society's reasons for sending black people back was a feeble way to justify that deep down, they had racist attitudes.  Obviously Finley and his supporters seemed to sponsor a nonviolent way of quietly washing blacks out of American society but blacks felt that even though their descendants were from Africa, they were Americans and did not want to leave.  I would never have thought about the fact that freed blacks had pride in being citizens of the United States.  It makes sense that they enjoyed to ability to live where they were.  The Society's power seemed to be overwhelming though.  I never realized that approximately 15,000 blacks went back and formed the present-day Liberia.  It is uncomprehensible to think that people could justify colonization as charitible.

website: www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1521.html

 

Nicole Radde

 

Darin Riffle

www.innercity.org/holt/slavechron.html A Chronology of American Slavery

The reading reminded me of the fact that our nation is not perfect.  For a nation to keep a race pretty much captive for as long as they did is not right.  I realize that none could really speak up at those times on the issue at hand, but if you can look at it as being right then you are just wrong.  I was aware of the struggle due to the fact that I have had readings on this topic in other classes but when I read something like this over and over again it just reminds me that a nation can be so cruel, we thought we were a perfect nation even back then and I just have to laugh at that. You have to look at some of the people that led the struggle to freedom for the blacks.  These people were courageous, they were determined individuals, they would rather die trying than die in the fields as slaves.  Without those black leaders, the people that wanted to really be free this nation may not be what it is today.  We may not know names like Martin Luther King Jr., or Jesse Jackson, not even Tito.  Those individuals can thank people like Harriet Tubman or even the little known ones like Steven Meyer or John Jones.  Every African American should know this struggle and know the people who made it happen, and I am sure they do.  Because of these people I can look at a Black man or Women and call them my equal, they now have every oppurtunity that I have...or at least they should but that is another story.

Here is a sight related to the reading: 

www.innercity.org/holt/slavechron.html

 

Steven Roach

 

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