Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sacrifice in Terms of Unintentional VIolence

Our class still continues on drafting our exam as the school year is reaching its end. This weeks topic was focused on the Buffalo soldiers and Native Americans during the 1800s. 

         The good weather has returned and our history class continues our journey of drafting our exam. Our previous topic last week was on the impact of the captains of industry, Carnegie and Rockefeller. This week our class focused on the impact of federal policies of the U.S. Government and Buffalo soldiers on Native Americans. Again we went through the process of learning the needed information by watching videos on the federal policies and Native American on the American History ABC-CLIO databases.  By splitting up the note taking process evenly (main ideas, events, people, and key terms) my class created a shared Google Doc with all the accessible notes.  Our teacher also provided us with primary sources and a visual timeline, to gather more information. After two days of research and analysis, each of us had to decide whether the impact of the federal policies towards the Buffalo soldiers and Native Americans match the intent, during the westward expansion.

         The Buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers from the Union Army (yes everything always connects back to the Civil War) that continued on as permanent soldiers in the army. Their name comes from their appearance, with their hair resembling natives of Buffalo spirit, and their bravery that was similar to a wounded buffalo. They were the legacy of bravery, courage, and hard-work. They built forts, telegraph lines, roads, escorted stage coaches, and guarded the US Mail. They were well known for their association in the Indian Wars, and they fought several Native American tribes. Our class watched the following video for gaining knowledge on the Buffalo soldiers.

          There were several Native American tribes living on the Great Plains at the time. The main tribes consisted of the Apache, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and the Sioux. The Native Americans were proud of their cultural traditions and practiced them with great passion before the Westward Expansion. They carried forward their various rituals such as the Sun Dance (a 12 day festival devoted to the Great Spirit), Vision Quests, and Shaman ceremonies. It was said that a Native American child always had the best childhood, filled with interactive and adventurous games and activities. The tribes valued respect for elders, selflessness, bravery, and courage.

          Then came the Westward Expansion, and the President Andrew Jackson initiated the policy of Indian removal in the 1830s. This act was to clear the Indians off the land and make room for white settlers. Jackson almost bribed them by saying that they would gain their own piece of land if they moved, but if they stayed that had to Tribes such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Seminole were forced to move from the Great Plains to west of the Mississippi River. Approximately 100,000 Native Americans were forced to leave. The Native Americans did not agree with this plan and wished to stay in their homeland rather than move to unknown territory provided by Jackson.

In the 1840s, the California gold rush attracted several prospectors and settlers down to the south and trespass Native American land, causing hostility from the tribes that demanded protection from the US Army. These conflicts resulted in the start of the American Indian Wars on the Plains that spanned from 1861 to 1890. Several battles were fought, such as the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne village, fight at Bozeman Trail, and, an especially important one, the Battle of Little Bighorn. Several settlers moved into the Dakota region, due to the discovery of gold. The Sioux, a main tribe living in the region, were abused by these immigrants, and they fought back. The Congress approved the creation of six regiments of African-American troops. These regiments came together to form the Buffalo soldiers mentioned above. Out of the 138 campaigns, the Buffalo soldiers participated in 117 of them fighting the Native Americans.
Map showing division of land mentioned
 in Second Treaty of Fort Laramie


In 1868, the Second Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed, promising the Native Americans possession of the Dakota territory west of the Missouri River. Only a few tribes agree to this treaty, however miners persisted on their settlement after gold was discovered in the Dakota region in 1874. The US
government issued orders for all Native Americans to return to their designated reservations against the threat of being considered hostile. Several tribes of the Plain Indians either weren't aware or rejected the treaty, leading to confrontation at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

In 1887, the Dawes Act was carried out and it grants title land and US Citizenship to the head of each household to Native American families of the tribes that agreed to adopt a new lifestyle leaving behind their tradition and culture. An excerpt of the Act is as follows: "...whenever in his opinion any reservation or any part thereof of such Indians is advantageous for agricultural and grazing purposes, to cause said reservation, or any part thereof, to be surveyed, or resurveyed if necessary, and to allot the lands in said reservation in severalty to any Indian located thereon in quantities as follows..." The Act shows us how the government tried to strip away their dedication towards their culture and values by bribing (and almost forcing) them land in order to adopt an alien lifestyle.

          Such violence faced by the Native Americans regarding their own way of life did not match the intent of the federal policies. Thousands of innocent lives were sacrificed for the benefit of the US government, which is not correct. The tension between the Native Americans and US Army, mainly Buffalo soldiers, led to the final Wounded Knee Massacre, in which more than 150 Sioux are killed, and effectively ending Native American resistance to white culture. The American Indian Wars show us the large extent of sacrifices the Native tribes had to face along with the unnecessary violent path of the US government and US Army. From my analysis on this topic, I do not believe the impact of federal policies on both the Native Americans and Buffalo soldiers did not match its intent at all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Impacting Society as a Captain

Our class has finally ended the unit of America's Civil War, and now we are approaching the end of school and, sadly, finals as well. We focused on the major leaders in industry: Carnegie and Rockefeller. 

          Finals is coming around the block for my history class this year, and regardless of how technology-oriented the class, we are to prepare for an exam. It was decided that our exam be on the topic of famous captains of industry, such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. To be on the fairer side, our class gets to draft our own questions that will appear on the exam. Before writing the questions, a thorough research on the topic had to be done, and with the resources given by our teacher, we collaborated together to learn the information. We watched videos on the ABC Clio database on the age of industry and got an overview of the subject of industry. We then read biographies of the two men and analyzed primary and secondary images and documents. During this time, our class took notes on the essential terms, key people, important events, and the main idea on shared Google Doc. After compiling a good amount of background research, we each had to decide whether Rockefeller and Carnegie, being one of the most important men in the industry, had a positive or negative impact on the public society.

          John Rockefeller was known for his huge contribution in creating America's petroleum industry. He gained the wealth needed to raise such a business empire by supporting the Union Army during the Civil War. With his ambition and hard-work, he founded the Standard Oil company in Ohio to provide a more flexible organization in 1870. He created a monopoly by taking advantage of
Political Cartoon by Udo J. Keppler
depicting Rockefeller's Standard Oil Tank
Americas nature fossil fuels. He bought several companies under fair terms, but a he also utilized cutthroat attacks to eliminate others. He often bribed politicians, and many suspected Rockefeller to be an underhanded businessman. It was thought that all his actions were motivated from greedy intentions. In the political cartoon by Udo J. Keppler, Rockefeller's Standard Oil tank is shown as an octopus. With its tentacles wrapped around the White House, US Capitol, State House, and shipping, steel, and copper industries, the octopus depicts Rockefeller's so-called selfish motives.

Due to his success in the industry field, Rockefeller's bank balance peaked to 900 million dollars, making him the wealthiest man in America's history. In an interview with William Hoster, Rockefeller said the following: " Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience." From this wealthy balance, Rockefeller donated over 500 million dollars to charity and education. His efforts in supporting several charities helped eradicate yellow fever. Rockefeller was a believer in philanthropy and in two decades of philanthropic, he raised enough money to find the University of Chicago and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, more commonly known as the Rockefeller Institute. In 1903, he established the General Education Board by spending $129 million to further advocate and encourage education in America. 

Regardless of his reputation in the industrial field, he spread his wealth and promoted education in America. Therefore, From his actions throughout his life, I believe Rockefeller had a positive impact on public society. 

          A story of rags to riches can be found in the life of Andrew Carnegie, a leading figure in the US steel industry. Originally an immigrant from Ireland, he began at the bottom of the ladder as a bobbin boy in a textile mill, with a weekly salary of $1.20. Soon he became a messenger in a telegraph office and amazed many by being able to differentiate the wire sounds without using the instruments, becoming one of the first operators in the country to take message by "sound". As he was promoted through several positions, such as the superintendent of telegraph lines, he was given advice and loans from a close friend of his, Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and he began to invest in telegraph, oil, iron, bridge, and railroad companies. Soon his annual income jumped to an astounding $50,000. 

"Forty-Millionaire Carnegie in his Great Double Role,"
(July 1892) A cartoon depicting Carnegie's double role
 of being a philanthropist while destroying the steel and
 iron worker's union
Carnegie decided to retire and take up a scholarly life; he traveled extensively throughout Europe to expand his management and business skills. Carnegie decided to seek out a new path in steel manufacturing in the early 1870s. By teaming up with leaders of Great Britain's steel industry, particularly Sir Henry Bessemer, Carnegie was able to learn a process that allowed a higher quality of steel to be manufactured at a low cost. By introducing this method in America, US steel production surpassed that of Britain's in 30 years, and all thanks to Carnegie's efforts. However, his reputation was affected by the violent Homestead Strike, which revealed Carnegie's plans to take down the steel and iron workers' union. As shown in the cartoon on the left, Carnegie was seen as a dual figure in society. By 1900, the Carnegie Steel Company collected a total of $350 million, controlling the bulk of US steel production, and making Carnegie the second richest man in the world. In 1901, he sold his company to JP Morgan and dedicated the rest of his life to scholarship and philanthropist.

Similar to Rockefeller, Carnegie made donations to public that totaled to about $350 million. This money went to thousands of public libraries and churches, to promote higher education. One of his philanthropic donations funded large pensions and benefits to former workers of the Carnegie Company. He established several institutions and schools such as the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and the Carnegie Institute of Washington. He well known for aiding funding the schools that make up the Carnegie Mellon University, that advocated education for African-Americans at the time. He distributed several other funds towards educational and medical research purposes. He also supervised the construction of the three Temples of Peace in Costa Rica, Netherlands, and Washington DC. 

After analyzing Carnegie's actions, I believe his efforts in introducing the revolutionary steel manufacturing method changed America's stance in the steel industry. His several contributions to benefit and encourage education was a purely positive impact on society.