1. Names. Group C for next time. Note that I’ll get together groups and send addresses around for the next set of responses. I hope.
WORTH Center—any news there? Note that the first stage of the paper project is due next Tuesday, the 24th; first tutor journals are due then as well, or the next class period after your first visit.
About both projects, please look carefully at the instructions in the syllabus! Re the project, note that you need to do some research and describe what you hope to do as carefully as possible. Sources need to be documented using full MLA style. Here’s a brief guide to those matters.
2. In the News: Iraq agrees to weapons inspections. The U.S. says it’s just a trick. What do we think? http://www.nytimes.com/
3. For today, from J/H: the antislavery movement and the Civil War. For my money these are some of the most intriguing and challenging chapters in this book. That showed up in responses as well. I think that one or another response raised just about every key question that I hoped to discuss in this section, and so I think we’ll look at some of those, and ask those of you who responded to talk a bit about what you wrote to help frame those discussions.
Laura: on possibilities for peaceful solutions/ alternatives to war.
On Lincoln as less effective leader than he’s usually considered.
“I wonder what they will be saying 150 years from now about our war with Iraq.”
On media versions of war and how the enemy is always nameless and often faceless.
Krissy: war to end slavery, or to preserve the Union? What difference does it make?
Sam: On the results of the war, whether the outcome justified the costs.
“The actual question is again of the effectiveness of violence, or, the "Myth of Redemptive" violence as applied to the Civil War. Personally, I think there is a place for just war in defense of the innocent, however, I don't think our Civil War really met that criteria. As the article aptly points out, the emancipation in the South that resulted from the war may have ended the cruelest abuses, but the throbbing heart of inequality and discrimination still beat strong.”
Jen: “Then following up with that in the 5th chapter, I found myself getting confused as to where exactly I stand. They started to explain how profitable it was to have slaves. They even went as far as to say that slave agriculture was 35% more efficient than family farms in the North. I guess I can see how it would help to have people working for you instead of doing the work alone. In conclusion I would have to say though that I definitely don't see any reason to treat a slave harshly. If someone is doing something good for you, then why bring harm to them and maybe cause them to stop producing as you would want them to?”
Slavery was efficient . . . maybe it wasn’t so bad. (??)
Brice: the historical importance of the war, and the sword that his parents still have. Why does it still have such a hold on the American imagination? What about the differing Northern and Southern perspectives?
Jon: “The Civil War, on the other hand, i feel had the opportunity for a peaceful compromise. But after years of trying to resolve such serious and complicated issues, it is hard to deny that war still remained the only plausible solution. Yet, the question is if there was no civil war would we have been able to become the great union that we are now.”
Norma: “The authors are raising some good questions, but they are questions that cannot possibly be answered. History is full of disastrous battles, and misguided judgments toward people, events, and ideas. The key is that we as a nation and as educated individuals must realize that we have to understand that past, in order to preserve our future.”
What do you mean, exactly? What should we learn from “disastrous battles and misguided judgments?”
These “what if?” questions are unanswerable in one sense, but (I think) essential in another. History always turns out only one way, but it seems inevitable only after the fact. There are always choices. There are many possible wars that didn’t happen—the Cuban Missile Crisis, the whole forty-year stalemate of the Cold War.
From our perspective, it seems incredible that slavery was ever such a part of American life, doesn’t it? What did you learn from this chapter about how it came to be so? What factors were important in slavery lasting as long as it did?
Speculation: What facets of our life might come to look equally incredible to future generations, in terms of the injustices we tolerate?
Some detail on Quakers and slavery—their opposition, eventually serious and sustained, took a long time to develop, 79 ff.
Nonresistant antislavery groups: Quakers, Garrisonians (most radical re nonviolence and women’s roles), Tappanites.
What were the motives behind the colonization movement?
What were the roadblocks to gradual emancipation?
What was the reaction to the Nat Turner rebellion in Virginia and generally? Why do J/H call that response a “tragic failure of moral courage”? Any possible resemblance to current events?
What was “moral suasion” and how was the term used in relation to the abolitionist movement? (85-87)
What distinction did the communitarian leader of the Hopedale community, Adin Ballou, make between types of force? (89)
What were some examples of direct nonviolent action by antislavery forces? (91-93)
What legislation in 1850 was designed to placate both North and South? What were the results? (94-7)
What do J/H argue are the true “lessons” of the antislavery movement? (100-102)
(Note: some crucial ideas here. One, the fact that nonviolence did not “work” to free the slaves doesn’t prove that it could not have worked. Many nonviolent strategies were not tried at all, or only in minor ways. Two, the goals of abolitionists were too narrow: merely eliminating slavery, rather than addressing racism and injustice in broader terms. Three, the Civil War technically ended slavery but allowed racism and oppression to continue in altered forms.
What are the lessons of history? Do we assume that whatever happened was the only thing that could have happened? Surely not. If we want to avoid repeating the worst parts of history, what do we do? Examine the tactics and the strategies of those we wish would have succeeded, study both their successes and their failures, and figure out how to avoid their mistakes the next time?
The reading on the Civil War and the events prior to it was interesting. It’s strange to grow up in a largely pacifist community and go to a Mennonite high school and yet never learn about the possibilities of peace prior to war. I distinctly remember studying the Civil War in American history in high school, but I don’t ever remember hearing about the different ideas for a peaceful resolution before the war. I was also surprised to hear Abraham Lincoln painted in such a away as to look like a radical and largely an ineffectual leader. The book declared that if Lincoln were a really good leader he would have tried to strengthen ties with the moderate southern leaders instead of claiming that the union was in danger and he had to fight to keep it together. Lincoln is such a cultural icon in our day that we often forget that he may have made mistakes.
I often try to equate history with our current situation and I wonder what the Civil War has to teach us about the current situation with Iraq. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, but I wonder what we will be saying 150 years from now about the war with Iraq. I wonder if someone will be asking why George W. Bush did not try to strengthen ties with the U.N. rather than pulling away, or if Iraq will be an ally and we’ll think of Saddam Hussian like we think of Hitler. Or if the United States will even exist or if this could be the great ending. Perhaps that last scenario is a bit too apocalyptic. At any rate, I wish sometimes that the president would think about what effect this will have later, rather than being so near sighted.
Another interesting aspect of this chapter was at then end when it talked about the glorification of war several years after it. When I studied the Civil War in high school we watched two movies, Gettysburg and Glory. I was sick the day we watched Glory but I distinctly remember Gettysburg and how it really glorified the war, and later when my class visited Gettysburg I remember thinking, “is this really the place where all those people lost their lives.” It seemed so unreal. I think the media has the effect on war, it blurs the lines of fact and fiction so that we imagine that war is really like a movie, after the horrible battle scene all the people will get up, wash the fake blood off and go home to make another movie. But that’s not the way it works. And since we have not had war on United States soil since the Civil War, people don’t remember that it doesn’t work like it does in the movies. Also the movies, especially movies about current wars, often portray “the enemy” as a nameless, faceless force. I recently watched part of Black Hawk Down, only because it was on T.V. and my dad was watching it. And I noticed that the enemies face was always partially covered, and unlike the American soldiers no one knew the enemies story, the audience doesn’t get to know about the enemies family, or the loved ones they called or hugged good-bye that morning for the last time. It’s a very interesting thing about media that it has trouble showing both sides. I suppose I could write a whole paper on that, but for now I think this response is already too long. Here’s a website that describes the idea of Redemptive Violence and how it is replayed in our media today. http://www.medialit.org/Violence/articles/babylon.htm
Krissy Hoffman Issues- Response #2
September 17, 2002
When I think of the Civil War, I automatically think that it was fought in order to end slavery. At least that is what my past educators taught me. President Lincoln however, led the Union into war against the Confederacy in order to preserve the Union. I am not saying that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery; it was a very big issue at the time, and a big reason for the uncertainty between the North and the South. But it often seems that we are misled in the reasons certain events have occurred throughout the history of the United States. After reading about the Antislavery Movement and the Civil War, it has certainly made me think of how such violence and tragedy could have been prevented. There is no question; I think that the Civil War could have been prevented, in some way. The events that took place (or maybe I should say the events that did not take place) could have changed the outlook of many citizens (and slaves). It is often thought that war is the only way to solve a problem between nations or among nations, but other possible solutions that do not include violence, hardly ever seem to be “good ideas.” There were many ways that people resisted slavery, but it seemed that many people had such rigid attitudes that nothing could end it but war. One statement that really caught my attention was “for many…it simply was not an issue” (p. 78). In a way, I can understand this viewpoint. After all, many who grew up in this time period saw slavery as a norm, a way of life. I also think that it was difficult for those who resisted nonviolently to have their voices heard. It is difficult to convince others of a good way of dealing with issues if it is not something common or how a majority would agree. There seems to be a cycle in how substantial issues are dealt with. There are all of these different ways of handling a problem without violence, but it has its ways of leading to violence and war anyway. Take for instance World War II. We did not get involved until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Why did an attack on us ultimately lead to an attack on Japan? If someone hits you, should you hit him or her back? World War II was certainly a bigger issue than someone hitting you, but in a way, it is a similar concept. The web source I looked at deals with the Colonization form of resistance. I did not agree with the idea of sending African Americans to Liberia in order not to have “free blacks” in the U.S. This approach did not seem to be one of morality, because it discriminated against African Americans. It is as though African Americans are aloud to be in the U.S. only if they are slaves. This goes against the thought that all men and women are created equal. I do not think that the freed African Americans would have been a threat to the nation, as Rev. Robert Finley thought. Slaves also did not agree with this form of resistance because it did not allow them to stick together. I thought that was a good reason and also a very honorable judgment on their part.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p1521.html (American Colonization Society)
As I read these two chapters, I found myself proud of the way that Garrison insisted upon the separation from any instiutions that in any way upheld slavery. It takes a pretty strong person to do that, and have people follow them. I guess I've only seen the negative aspect of slavery and have grown up thinking that it was in-humane and wrong. Then following up with that in the 5th chapter, I found myself getting confused as to where exactly I stand. They started to explain how profitable it was to have slaves. They even went as far as to say that slave agriculture was 35% more efficient than family farms in the North. I guess I can see how it would help to have people working for you instead of doing the work alone. In conclusion I would have to say though that I definitely don't see any reason to treat a slave harshly. If someone is doing something good for you, then why bring harm to them and maybe cause them to stop producing as you would want them to?
I enjoyed reading chapter four on The Antislavery Movement because it had
some information I never knew about. Blacks had to go through so much to
fight slavery and there were so many whites that were for anti-slavery.
Elihu Embree and Benjamin Lundy published some of the earliest anit-slavery
newspapers in the South. I am glad slavery was abolished because I can't
even imagine what it would be like if it was still going on today. I just
never knew there were so many whites against slavery. I liked the American
Coonization Society too because they raised money to send slaves back to
Liberia as free men and women. It was good to read that the Blacks has a
lot of Whites working for them to abolish slavery too.
The next chapter was the civil war chapter. I liked this chapter because
I have some relatives who participated in the civil war. At my parents
house we have a sword, from the civil war, that my great great great great
grandfather owned. We also have his honorable discharge document and a
picture of some of the soldiers too. This chapter talked about how
important that war is today. People still reanact it and do documentaries
and movies about it all the time. It was a very important war and a lot of
people don't realize how crucial it was to the history of this country. I
liked when the talked about the advancement in technology. Shooting became
more accurate because the rifled musket barrel has a spiral grove that
caused the bullet to spin towards its target and create more accuracy. I
enjoyed reading this chapter because of its historical significance to my
family as well as to this country.
It is indeed a tough dilemma one is faced with the thought of changing our national history. Plenty of "what ifs" and consequences could still have been possible. Possibly, worse then what actually happened.
From what I have read and already know, I do not believe that it would have been possible for this country to avoid its racial divide known as slavery. This country is a mixed nation of all types of peoples, traditions and expectations. Slavery was simply an already accepted European tradition that still had influence from the first American settlers. I knew of anti-slavery movements, but after this chapter I now have a firmer knowledge of peoples' thoughts and opinions from different regions across the United States.
In the reading itself it declares slavery is indeed an evil that demeans both the owner and slave. This was evident when slavery began thousands of years ago. Anti-slavery movements were evident then as well. Like America's movement it too had rebellious leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Charles Sumner, and John Brown just to name a few. Yet, some mistook slavery as a good thing for the nation. I firmly disagree with Edmund Morgan's statement that slavery was created to obstain the "rabble" from interfering with American Freedom. If that is the case than our whole Constitution would be nothing if it wasn't for amendments. Some anti-abolishinists argued that blacks were better off as controlled slaves and that the Bible deems it alright. I say, if that was the case then there would be no need for a black man in this world because our livestock could do the jobs for us. Years ago, we were treating other humans as animals. I was surprised to read about all of the information on the anti-slavery movements in the south. In 1827, there were 106 anti-slavery societies in the south compared to 24 in the north. All black people could do was to persavere in their rights with strong stances that showed their moral behavior. I believe that any violent protest of slavery or decision to make war gets you no closer to what you really wanted in the first place. Eyebrows are raised, but it doesn't cause intrigue for reflections of values.
As for me, I cannot say what my view would have been during the 1800s concerning slavery. All i can say is that I am glad it was abolished after what i know now. A current example of a large cultural division is the US/Iraq relations. There truly is more to gain for both sides from a peaceful resolve rather than a violent one. Even if this current dilemma is not resolved groups of protesters will still survive such as the secret underground railroad during the anti-slavery movement.
The Civil War, on the otherhand, i feel had the opportunity for a peaceful compromise. But after years of trying to resolve such serious and complicated issues, it is hard to deny that war still remained the only plausible solution. Yet, the question is if there was no civil war would we have been able to become the great union that we are now. It is such a tough thing to believe that we could actually change history if given the choice. All reasonable people are for saving lives, stopping persecution, rebellion, and turmoil that holds our nation in grief, but we first have to believe that we do all that we can when we make decisions that affect us as a country and people. The trust and values we've given ourselves must endure above all else in order to prosper as a nation of truly free people.
Norma L. Flores, Missing Peace Response
16 September 2002
The ideas that Juhnke and Hunter present in the book are similar to the traditional ideals that many read in regards to the Anti-Slavery Movement and the Civil War. The what ifs are ever present throughout history books and the minds of we as a people as to could things have turned out differently and would they have. Given our past, the movements of anti-slavery in the mid-1800’s can only be viewed as stepping-stones that would take nearly a century before any type of “human rights” were indeed granted to the African American community. I do agree with some of the points made in MP, as far as the comment about trying to send African Americans back to Africa. How can it be, that a nation which claims, “send me your weak and weary,” would possibly believe that after we took these people against their will away from their homes, brought them to a foreign land, sold their wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, children, could possibly believe that the racial situation would be solved by sending them back. It seems preposterous. These were people who had been born and raised in America, not Africa. Sending them back now, is just as bad as when they were first brought over, against their will, under difficult circumstances, and to a country that they had never before clapped eyes on.
The section on the Civil War appears as a chapter of what ifs, highlighting those Americans that did try to make a difference in a country torn between slavery and the old way of life. I agree that the war was not fought purely for the sake of abolishing slavery, but that can be said about any war. Of course slavery played a large part in regards to the war, but there were other factors such as the unity of a young nation and what rights a state can and should posses. The South had a lot to loose, essentially they were being asked to completely revamp their way of life and assimilate with the Northern cities and towns. As far as the dramatization of war, I do not believe that believe that wars are only fought for the heroism and the courageous men that often times emerge from during parlous times. It’s not as if the government wages war for the vary sake of having something to do.
Also, the things that soldiers undergo during their time on the front are situations that we as civilians could never understand. The notions that these men are just “bloodless killers” looking for their next victim, cannot possibly justify every soldier. When we are faced with the question of shoot to kill or be killed, only then will we be able to honestly understand the mind of a frontline soldier. Until we face that time, I don’t believe that we are able to rightly justify or condemn those people.
Therefore, I cannot say that I can or will take everything in MP for face value. The authors are raising some good questions, but they are questions that cannot possibly be answered. History is full of disastrous battles, and misguided judgments toward people, events, and ideas. The key is that we as a nation and as educated individuals must realize that we have to understand that past, in order to preserve our future. At one time or another we too will be faced in someway with the question: do we stand up and speak out or stand down in silence. And only then when that time comes will we be able to understand the thoughts and actions of those generations that lived through such complex times.
<http://www.cwc.lsu.edu/civlink.htm> is a website for The United States
Civil War Center. It is a great website that provides articles about and
even dated from the civil war covering many different areas including
The Civil War era has always been a time of interest for me. I have
been to Gettysburg twice in my life in fact, once when I was younger and the
later time was just this past summer. The legacy of the town is, in right,
dedicated to the memory of honoring all those who died in battle, preserving
artifacts and buildings from the war, and educating people about anything
you can think of having to do with the war (*and note* they do a wonderful
job capitalizing on it as well).
Aside from the exploited side of Gettysburg, while there, we hired a
personal tour guide to drive our car and give us a personal tour of the
routes of the soldiers of both sides and the battlefields. It is hard for
me to describe the feeling that I felt (both times there) being in the aura
of that place. At a few points in the tour we were able to walk around
looking at monuments they have honoring every division fought in the war,
significant people, and even honoring the horses that died in battle! Some
areas are lined with cannons and of course others with hundreds and
thousands of memorials and burial sites. It was at the top of one of the
battlefields that really brought a huge wave of grief and sorrow over me as
I realized the enormity and complexity of this war. This war pitted brother
against brother. Nothing should warrant such a feat. As I stood there this
summer I stood there in sadness but never once thought of another way it
could have been..and I realize that now.
After reading these chapters a new way of thinking kind of swept over me.
In the society we are brought up in today we tend to just think of war as
the only alternative...the only way to solve problems. I think it was in
this class where I read that in regards to getting involved in the Vietnam
War, Nixon was not even given an alternative that did not include going into
war. More people today I think are more intune to finding alternatives but
it never dawned on me that people in the past were too! Why? Becuase prior
to my reading of this book...I've never read anything about people seeking
other ways of resolution! I was amazed by some of the stories especially of
the estimated percentage of non-firers in the war (80%)! The book reported
it was found that 90% of muskets were still loaded! That is unbelievable to
me becuase I guess I always assumed those who "fought" in the war really did
fight. With all the gory dramatizations we see pictured in movies...we never
see people standing on the battlefields not taking action or hear soldiers
encouraging their fellow soldiers not to shoot or kill anyone. It just
doesn't happen. I've really been enjoying this book as a lover of history
becuase it tells another story. It tells untold stories of unsung heroes, or
at least of pioneers in the pursuit of changing the bygone ways of thinking
In any case, I'm pretty sure I'm in group B.
As to the chapters I read, I actually found them somewhat interesting.
Though historical accounts can get dull from needles repetition, it served
in this case to witness to the abundant ways people were resisting slavery
before the war ever occurred. Though I question the abilities of "moral
elevation" as an effective method in this context, I don't believe war was
the end all answer to abolishing slavery either. Thanks to good upbrining,
I've always known that the Civil War was fought over secession and not
slavery, and whether or not the war itself was worth it or not I do not
know--I cannot see all ends. As the article points out, we could have
simply let them go in peace. From my own point of view, the states joined
the union with the understanding that they had a right to secede if they
deemed it necessary. I doubt the Constitution would ever have passed had
the states knew that the future union could not be undone except per force.
I suppose that is a very political perspective.
The actual question is again of the effectiveness of violence, or, the "Myth
of Redemptive" violence as applied to the Civil War. Personally, I think
there is a place for just war in defense of the innocent, however, I don't
think our Civil War really met that criteria. As the article aptly points
out, the emancipation in the South that resulted from the war may have ended
the cruelest abuses, but the throbbing heart of inequality and
discrimination still beat strong. To paraphrase, unless we all have
equality, then noone really has any real freedom--for what is given may well
be taken away if we do not value it and protect it with jealousy vigilance.
Clearly, the "freedom" after the war was not the utopia that slaves might
have imagined as they yearned for liberation on their plantations. Truly,
as the article explicitly states, the nonresistors should not have been
half-hearted with merely ending slavery, but all inequality-- the violence
in the soul that reduces men to mere brutes of any denominator. However,
after reading about followup attempts by rescues and the underground
railroad, I cannot say their efforts were anything but prodigious, but not
enough against the tide of evil of the times. Perhaps human nature would
have it that nothing short of a bloody war would end slavery, even though
such emancipation was merely an afterthought. God knows if this was the
only way. Perhaps the war did speed up the time table, but I cannot help
but think that its general ineffectiveness at solving inequalities, the
reaping of the bitterness in the South by Sherman, the incredible losses on
both sides, and fall into a slippery path of bigger and bigger central
government with less power to the states... I wonder if it all was worth it.
Certainly Lincoln might have handled it better. Ahh, but then again, I see
not all ends. One could be at this game of speculation from now until the
Lord comes. Overall, I enjoyed the unique perspective of the book in
showing all the different nonviolent ways that contributed to the end of