Thursday, December 11, 2014

Andrew Jackson: The Good, the Bad, and The In Between

Lately in history class we have been working on determining the true legacy of Andrew Jackson and answering the essential question, whether or not his long - standing reputation as the “people’s president” is deserved. We observed three major effects Jackson had on America to determine our conclusion, including the Indian Removal Act, the Spoils System, and the Bank War. The Indian Removal Act was essentially the banishment of five different Native American tribes from their homes. They were forced to walk a “Trail of Tears”,resulting in the deaths of over 2,000 of the about 16,500 banished Cherokee. This act only served as additional evidence to the fact that whites and Native Americans could not peacefully live together. The answer to the essential question based on this document is that Jackson was really only the white people’s president, and was inconsiderate of other races. A spoil system is a political action in which a newly elected leader removes people from their current government positions and gives the positions to supporters as a reward for their loyalty. Jackson was the first to instate this system and ended up removing 919 people from their jobs and giving them to others. One person he gave a very important job to was Samuel Swartwout, who eventually accumulates $1.2 million in money stolen from the government. This situation clearly exemplifies the flaws in Jackson’s spoil system. According to this document, the answer to the essential question is no, because Jackson displayed too much favoritism. The Bank War was essentially a collapse in the banking system in America. Jackson fought against the fact that stock was held mostly by either foreigners or very rich people. He vetoed a request by congress to reauthorize the bank, and in his statement he classified all rich people as predators to the average person. We were put into groups and made projects explaining an assigned topic, the Indian War, Spoil System, or Bank War. Our group had the Spoil System.
This is our group's project:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Democracy Rises Out of the Ashes

     All throughout this week in history class, we have been diligently studying and analyzing the rise of democracy in America in the 1800s. We have been working in groups on projects demonstrating our comprehension of early democracy by answering the essential question: How should we define democracy? How democratic was the U.S. in the early 1800s? My group chose to create a common craft video to answer the question.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Latin American Revolutions

As we progress forward in history to the Revolutions of Latin America in the early 1800s, we ask ourselves the question, why is it essential to acknowledge human value regardless of race, and how are the events in the Latin American Revolutions evidence to this social imperative? Considering the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and countless other examples of racial discrimination prevalent in today’s world, this question in incredibly important to think about and try to answer. To help ourselves answer this question, our history class was split up into three groups, one for each part of Latin America. The groups included Gran Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. Each group made a timeline of revolutions that happened in their country and presented them to the class, and everyone was assigned the task of making a list of commonalities and a list of differences between the three countries’ revolutions.
My group's timeline for Gran Columbia.
There were several commonalities between all of the different revolutions happening in Gran Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. Primarily, every single revolt was rejecting European rule, promoting a more liberal way of living, perhaps influenced by the recent success of the Haitian Revolution. Another commonality between all three revolutions is that they were all successful at one point, however it was not guaranteed that it would stay that way for some. The final similarity in between the three revolutions is that the first rulers to take power after each revolution did not stay in power for long, proving the true difficulty of rebuilding and reforming an empire based on racial equality. The differences between the revolutions were not numerous, but they were very important factors within each revolution. The Brazilian revolution featured much less bloodshed than the other revolutions, making it the most peaceful revolution. The revolution in Gran Colombia resulted in the creation of several new countries, forever altering the course of history in Latin America. These revolutions are evidence of the fact that it is essential to acknowledge human value regardless of race. The revolution in Mexico was ultimately seeking racial equality. The Colombian revolution was started by a man who was extremely displeased with racial discrimination ,and was able to recruit people of many different races into one army with the intention of fighting the Spanish. Pedro I, the emperor of Brazil, only allowed whites born in Europe, or peninsulares, to become members of his cabinet, sparking the revolt in Brazil.  

While these examples of social discrimination are quite outdated, racism still resides in the heart of society, as if a deadly tumor. One of the best examples of this is the recent situation in Ferguson, Missouri, which can be explained here. This situation is proof that racism is still as relevant as ever in society, and it is always best to keep a very open mind in these situations, eliminating the risk of racism influencing peoples’ biased opinions.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Should We Remember Toussaint Louverture?

Despite being the enslaver and murderer of thousands of innocent people, Napolean Bonaparte was inarguably one of the most unsurpassed leaders in history, and his leadership was almost identical to that of Toussaint Louverture. They both excelled at fighting for their people, leading armies, and ruling their own provinces. Toussaint Louverture was born as a slave in the 1740s. He was eventually granted freedom by his owner, and proceeded to rent a small coffee farm and eventually possessed a number of his own slaves. When the word of the French Revolution began to spread in Saint Domingue, Louverture was moved by the notions of "Liberte" and "Egalite" (meaning "liberty" and "equality") and emerged as a leader of the ideas of anti-slavery. By 1793, Louverture was the leader of an army of 4,000 rebelling slaves against the French military forces present on the island. When slavery was abolished by the French revolutionary government, Louverture immediately pledged allegiance to France and was given the position of commander of the army in Saint Domingue. An unforeseen turn of events then occurred. Napoleon had risen to power in France, and the rumor was that he planned to reinstate slavery once again in Saint Domingue. When France eventually launched an assault of 21,000 French soldiers, Toussaint was defeated and taken to France to die in prison. At this point, Napoleon removed his army from the island, accepting defeat. As Toussaint Louverture was dying of pneumonia in prison, Saint Domingue was celebrating victory and the abolition of slavery. Although throughout his life Louverture was an extremely effective military commander and ruler of Saint Domingue, his role as a liberator of slaves overpowers these two other roles in a multitude of ways.
Louverture's role as a liberator of slaves was his most prominent and important quality. This is evident through his undying loyalty to his campaign of liberating slaves. In 1794, Toussaint abruptly stopped his revolt against any French troops in Saint Domingue because  “The revolutionary government in France … abolishes slavery in France and all its colonies” (Doc. A).  Louverture clearly demonstrated his loyalty to the abolition of slavery through his active and consistent ways of taking sides. He simply chose to be on whichever side that was going against slavery. Louverture also  displayed his prominence as a liberator of slaves through a letter to the French Directory in 1797. Within the letter, Louverture asks the question “Could men who have once enjoyed the benefits of liberty look on calmly while it is taken from them!” (Doc. B). After having become accustomed to the abolition of slavery for three years, the French are ready to reinstall it in France and her colonies, including Saint Domingue because of Napoleon’s sudden takeover. This action goes against everything Toussaint Louverture has fought for in his time as a military commander, and he is prepared to switch sides at once for the abolition of slavery. He states that “We have known how to confront danger to our own liberty, and we will know how to confront death to preserve it.” (Doc. B), clearly showing his readiness to fight and essentially do anything to preserve the liberty of his people. Toussaint Louverture’s legacy as a liberator of slaves is finally displayed through the Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801. By the time that Toussaint finally had political control of Saint Domingue, he made it his first priority to completely abolish slavery on the island. Article three of the constitution states that “There cannot exist slaves in this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born, live and die free and french.” (Doc. C) This article outrightly describes Toussaint Louverture’s role as a liberator of slaves through the laws that he imposes upon Saint Domingue, and while his roles as a ruler of Saint Domingue and military leader were very important, Louverture should be most prominently remembered as a liberator of slaves.
Louverture's role as a military commander was very important in the eventual liberty he brought to the slaves on Saint Domingue. This is evident through his ability to make extremely burdensome military decisions for the ultimate benefit of the slaves described in Smartt Bell’s Toussaint Louverture: A Biography. “Toussaint ordered Moyse’s arrest and had him confined in the fort of Port de Paix …. Brought before a firing squad, Moyse himself gave the order to fire.” (Doc. E) Hyacinthe Moyse, being Toussaint Louverture’s nephew, must have been very morally difficult to execute for Louverture, thus proving his ability to make difficult decisions. Toussaint Louverture’s military genius was also present through his defending his people against those who sought to enslave them. “”[T]he fleet landed in Samana, where Toussaint, with an experienced wing of the army, was ready to meet them. On seeing the ships enter the harbor, the heroic chief said, ‘Here come the enslavers of our race. All France is coming to St. Domingo, to try again to put the fetters upon our limbs; but not France, with all her troops of the Rhine, the Alps, the Nile, the Tiber, nor all europe to help her, can extinguish the soul of Africa. That soul, when once the soul of a man, and no longer that of a slave, can overthrow the pyramids and the Alps themselves, sooner than again be crushed down into slavery’” (Doc. F) In fighting for the freedom of slaves, Toussaint Louverture is using the army to aid in his conquest of liberating slaves.
Louverture's power over Saint Domingue played a very important role in the liberation of slaves. He used his political power as a resource in the freeing of many slaves. After Toussaint successfully liberated the slaves in Saint Domingue, he used his power as the ruler of Saint Domingue to employ former slaves. This shows that Toussaint is not only interested in liberating slaves, but wants to help them to find a place in society. Article 15 of The Saint Domingue Constitution states that “Each plantation … shall represent the quiet haven of an active and constant family, of which the owner of the land … shall be the father.” (Doc. C) This implies an unprecedented way of operating plantations on Saint Domingue, in which plantation owners were thinking in the best interest of their former slaves, showing Louverture’s true interests for former slaves. However, when many former slaves intended to break the laws set down by the Constitution, Louverture felt the need to impose these laws much more strictly. While Toussaint did think in the best interest of the slaves and former slaves, his sympathy for them did not extend as far as to let them freely break laws. He states in a Proclamation that “Any individual … tending to incite sedition [actions against the authority of the nation] shall be brought before a court martial [military court] and be punished in conformity with the law.” (Doc. D) This shows that Toussaint’s role as the leader of saint Domingue helped him greatly in the liberation of many slaves.
Although Louverture was an extremely effective military commander and ruler of Saint Domingue, his role as a liberator of slaves has overpowered these other qualities profoundly. His role as a military leader helped him achieve his goal freeing the slaves of Saint Domingue, and likewise for his role as the ruler of Saint Domingue.

Document A: Created from various sources.
Document B: Toussaint Louverture, “Letter to the French Directory, November 1797.”
Document C: The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801. Signed by Toussaint Louverture in July 1801.   
Document D: Toussaint Louverture, “Proclamation, 25 November 1801.”
Document E: Madison Smartt Bell, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, 2007.

Document F: William Wells Brown, “A Description of Toussaint Louverture,” from The Black Man, Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, 2nd edition, 1863. Engraving of Toussaint Louverture, 1802.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Congress of Vienna

Last week in history class, we delved into the Congress of Vienna and explored the motives of different 

powers in Europe at the time of the Congress of Vienna. The Essential Question asked "What should people 

in power do when their power is threatened?". To figure this out, we created timelines of the Congress of 

Vienna and learned the history of what actually happened.

One of the things monarchs had to apply in order to maintain their power is to maintain a balance of power 

between the powers of Europe. Klemens Von Metternich, the king of Austria at the time, applied this 

concept in order to eliminate threat to his power in creating a "Holy Alliance" between the monarchies of 

Austria, Russia, Prussia and France. This impacted the Congress of Vienna by creating a more unified and 

centralized unit of power within Europe.

I think that the Congress of Vienna made the correct decision in maintaining a balance of power. This 

ultimately led to the formation of the Holy Alliance, making Europe a more centralized and unified place, 

which can have little to no potentially harmful effects. The powers that had to give up some power in this 

process should have done so willingly if their interests were in favor of the greater good rather than their own


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Revolts of 1830 and 1848

This is a map of revolts and repressions of revolts in
Europe during 1840 and 1848.
As my history class progresses into the subject of
Atlantic Revolutions, we have begun to learn about the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. The essential question was “Were the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 really a failure as historians have concluded?” Last week, we were given a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, a liberal French political thinker and historian, “We are sleeping on a volcano. Do you not see that the Earth trembles anew? A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon.” We then analyzed a map of revolutions and repressions of revolutions in Europe during 1830 and 1848 and were directed to validate Tocqueville’s statement. What the class concluded was that because of the many revolutions and few repressions, the “volcano” as Tocqueville called it, is considered the Liberalists and Nationalists preparing to revolt against the Conservative system of government. The “wind” is the ideas of Liberalism and Nationalism spreading throughout the society, convincing people to revolt for a better society. The “storm” is viewed as the inevitable revolution itself. We then got into groups and were assigned an event that happened during the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. My group was assigned the Frankfurt Assembly which took place in 1848.
            The Frankfurt Assembly took place in Germany from 1848-1849. Its goals were to create national unity under one central government, to make liberal reforms such as a constitutional monarchy, and to determine whether or not to become a union with Austria. Within the Assembly, there were many different ideas of how the government should be run. Therefore, there was no main opponent of the Frankfurt Assembly. The outcome of the Frankfurt Assembly was that the rebels went against the conservatives, resulting in many deaths and people fleeing to the United States. Prussia's Frederick William IV and his fellow progressed to use the Prussian military to shut down the Assembly, and crushed any revolts in their early stages, resulting in the failure of this revolution. Within a few primary sources analyzed about the Frankfurt Assembly, it was discovered that the main topics covered in these sources concerned the ideas of goals, opponents, and the outcome of the Assembly. Johann Gustav Droysen’s Speech to the Frankfurt Assembly was classified into the goals category Here, Droysen gives a speech to the Assembly about what the goals should be for Germany’s successful future. According to Droysen, “We need a powerful ruling house.” This powerful ruling house was not there at all when Droysen said this, and the government was on the brink of collapse. The Frankfurt Assembly by Karl Marx describes the failure of the Assembly and its being brought down by Frederick William IV. He says, “The resolution passed the day before yesterday has destroyed the Frankfurt Parliament.” He claims that the Parliament is guilty of treason, and should be brought to court. He then goes on to convince the lower and middle classes to rise against this unjust system and refuse to conform to this way of government. My group, based off of these facts, then created a Survey Monkey to quiz other students' knowledge of the Frankfurt Assembly.

Here is a screenshot of results gotten from one
of the questions on my group's survey.

            Other revolts in 1830 and 1849 include the Decembrist Revolt, the French Revolution of 1830, and another French Revolution in 1848. The Decembrist Revolt in Russia was caused by a lack of care and sympathy in relations from high ranking military officials to their soldiers and subjects. The lower classes were tired of being treated poorly and revolted, only to get utterly crushed by the military. In this situation, the revolt was a complete failure. Within the French Revolutions of 1830, the concept of absolutism was brought back into play by Charles X, who restricted voting rights, suspended the legislature, and restricted the press. The revolts that resulted were forceful and they eventually gained control of Paris, driving Charles X out of power, and setting up a constitutional monarchy, choosing Louis Philippe as king. I would consider this revolt a major success. Within the French Revolts of 1848, the French society grew discontent with Louis Philippe’s role as king because of the recession of society. In the first stages of this revolt, the rebels had most of the control over France. However, towards the end of this rebellion, the government regained its footing and crushed the revolt swiftly. This should ultimately be considered a failure. Because of the ratio of victories to failures, I consider the historians correct in saying that the revolts in 1830 and 1848 were failures.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Ideologies of the 19th Century

Last and This week in history, the class worked on "One Minute Projects" in which we had to describe one ideology of the 19th century. The essential question we had to answer was "What were the major political ideologies of the 19th century and how did they influence social and political action?". My group did our project on the ideology of conservatism.

Here is the video we did to represent conservatism: [link here]. Our presentation helps define conservatism pretty simply, giving a basic definition to it, and providing a few examples of what conservatism means. Conservatism influenced social and political action in the 19th century by maintaining a classic, structured government system which was time tested and secure. Conservatists argued against innovation, using the French Revolution as an example of how innovation can lead only to bloodshed and violence.

Conservatism was not the only ideology in the 19th century. Two other famous ideologies were Liberalism and Nationalism. Liberalism was the ideology that stated that the job of the government was to mainain individual liberty. Liberalism was against tradition and, viewed it as a way of blocking one from freedom. Liberals believed in God-given natural rights and laws that men should obey. Liberals promoted constitutional monarchy more so than absolutism. They wanted to replace the aristocracy with a meritocracy, having the middle class have a say in government affairs. Nationalism is the idea that said that a nation was a natural, organic entity whose people were bound together by shared language, custom, and history. According to nationalists, every nation has its own specific borders, culture, and destiny to fulfill. Nationalism was ultimately allinged with liberalism in the early nineteenth century. Both shared a more positive outlook than conservatism, which would ultimately help them progress into the future. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Napoleon's Reign Over Europe and the Americas

Last week in history, the class learned about Napoleon, the greatest and most controversial military leader of his time. The essential question was “What was Napoleon's impact on the social, economic and political systems of Europe?”, and I intend to answer just that within this post.
    Napoleon at the time of his reign had most of Europe and the Americas under his control. He had conquered places from Portugal to Moscow, and many more places. Because he controlled so much of Europe at that point, he had almost full access to the Americas as well as a result of his Control of places such as Spain. The people of his time had very different opinions of Napoleon, and our class explored two people’s opinions of him: a French woman named Madame de Stael, and a military commander named Marshal Michel Ney. We also read an article entitled The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Histories for a more modern perspective on Napoleon. Madame de Stael was very much against Napoleon’s rule, accusing him of having “contempt for all the intellectual riches of human nature”, using “force and cunning” to get his way, and many more negative things. Ney, however, views Napoleon’s reign as a “legitimate dynasty”, calling him a “sovereign”, implying a greater and friendlier status than de Stael implied. Ney concludes with calling Napoleon’s army an “immortal legion”, showing off his true faith in him. The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Histories provides a series of more controversial and mixed perspectives of Napoleon, stemming from many different authors.
    After reading this article and analyzing the sources, it can be concluded that Napoleon helped France yet hindered the world politically because of his unfair and unstoppable reign over countries that didn’t want to be ruled by him. Napoleon helped the world economically, providing a more unified and easy way of trading because many different countries were part of Napoleon’s kingdom. Socially, I believe Napoleon’s rule was a hybrid between good and bad because while the poor benefited from Napoleon’s new system, others did not like the fact that they were unwillingly under Napoleon’s control.

This is the amount of land that Napoleon controlled during his reign:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Equal Candy For All!

Last week in history class, we did an activity demonstrating the ideas of Karl Marx and Adam Smith of how society should be set up. In the first round of the activity, most people were given three pieces of candy, but some were given eight. We were then forced to compete in games of rock, paper, scissors with other students for the candy. If and when a student lost all of their candy, they had to sit down and not participate any more. Eventually, only a few people were left, and they had a very large amount of candy. The next round of the activity was comprised of the teacher giving everyone an equal amount of candy, and the teacher was in full control of who got what money, essentially making everyone equal. In the last round of the activity, the teacher gave everyone three pieces of candy, and allowed people to refrain from competing if they wanted. The teacher then pulled out of the activity completely and let us rule ourselves. I did not like this activity because it made me feel preyed upon by my classmates. Once I got a large amount of candy, I didn't want to play anymore because of the risk that I might lose it, and the fact that I had a lot of candy made people want to compete against me even more.

Both Marx and Smith wanted to help the oppressed poor, but they had very different approaches. Marx's idea (Marxism) comprised of the evolution of three ideas; Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. In England during the Industrial Revolution, only a few people were put in the position to be rich, while everyone else was poor. the idea of people having to compete with others for money, and only a few were successful. This would ultimately result in the revolt of poorly paid employees, known as a workers' revolt. This idea is known as Capitalism. Within Socialism, the government owned every industry, and the ultimate goal of Socialism was to create economic equality, and create a classless society. In Communism, people were able to rule themselves and there was no government needed. The goal of a classless society was ultimately achieved in Communism. Adam Smith’s idea, called “The Invisible Hand”, stated that the government should not interfere with the buying and selling of products among citizens of the state. He suggested that if the government were to let money-seeking traders compete with one another, markets would be guided with positive feedback from selling as if by an invisible hand, which is where the name derives from. Free commerce would help the deeply afflicted poor in society because they would not need to buy what they are going to sell before putting it on the shelves; this means that they only benefit from commerce.

I think that Smith’s approach is better than Marx’s because it benefits the poor more so than any of Marx’s theories. Having the classless society demonstrated in Communism would not help in the evolution of that society. With everyone being the same, there is no room for improvement. However, within Smith’s theory, there is more flexibility for the evolution of society, and that is what will best help propel us into the future.

Here is a video about Adam Smith and his motivation for helping the poor:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Reasons Why You Should Get Your Limbs Ripped Off By Outdated Machines

     Last week, our history class explored the ways in which women were motivated to work in the Lowell Mills during the Industrial Revolution. This was a very dangerous job because of the many risks involved with working machines. These risks included getting body parts stuck in machines, limb amputation, and in one case, complete severance of the upper and lower body. Things that motivated women to work in these dreadful places included money, getting a start on the working life, and hopes for a better and wealthier future.

     The Industrialization of society proved to be a very negative thing for many people, mainly farmers and entrepreneurs of that sort. The evolution to mass production of food put many farmers out of business, and forced them into poverty. In a desperate struggle for money, many parents were willing to put their children through awful conditions for money. This may sound greedy, but for the most part, children were willing to go through this in order to gain money.

     While the societal norm in the eighteen-hundreds was that men were to do physical labor and were the only ones that belonged in the business world. However as the idea of women's rights became to develop, more and more women came to take part in business. Because of this, many young girls wanted a taste of the business world. They therefore joined up with the only business opportunity available to them: working in the mills. In doing this, the "mill girls", as they were called, hoped for a better and wealthier future, whether they were single or married.

     Within the Industrial Revolution, the idea of gender equality started to arise in society because of women's motivation to get ahead in life. Because of their need of money, women were willing to work in terrible conditions for a limited amount of time for a reward of being ahead later in life.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

MOSI Google Hangout!

     Last week, our history class was lucky enough to talk to historians at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, England over a Google Hangout! Before we did this, we prepared for the Google Hangout in several ways by investigating the MOSI website and learning about some of the machines we expected to see, watching a video sent to us from the person showing us around the museum that introduced to us some more machines used during the Industrial Revolution, and drafting questions that we could potentially ask during the live chat.

     After the live chat, I learned that the textile process was a much harder and dangerous job than I had anticipated. There are so many things that could go wrong in simply using a machine that could result in amputation, death, or, in one case, being cut in half at the waist. One of the most frequent health issues was inhaling dust and fibers from the various machines in the factory and therefore have health issues in the future. I also learned about the ways the industrialization of textile production impacted families. A lot of the time, families did not know what they were sending their children to do when they sent them to factories. The factories were portrayed in a much more humane and "home away from home" type of way than they really were. When families did eventually know what the factories were like, they avoided them at all costs. However, when poverty got the better of many families, they were desperate enough to send their children to work kin the factories for the money.

     Overall, I gained a much better insight into factory working during the Industrial Revolution when talking to an outside expert because I was shown what each machine actually looked like and how they worked. My only negative thought on this experience is for the lag during the live chat. I would definitely be interested in doing this again!

Here is a screenshot of a video my teacher put together of the live chat (I didn't have any good pictures to put up). If you can't see what's on the SMART board, it is a piece of art depicting a room in a factory during the Industrial Revolution.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Museum Curator

            This week in history class, we did an activity entitled “museum curator” in which several groups of students created posters concerning different aspects of the Industrial Revolution and put them on display for other students to learn and take notes from.

            The process of analyzing sources for the creation of our poster was not necessarily a difficult task, but it took time to analyze each source and take notes on them, and the analysis is a very important part of curating because one must know basic information on their subject before having to create a project on it. My group’s exhibit was about transportation during the Industrial Revolution, and our sources included a canal map of Great Britain in 1800, a picture of what it looks like cutting a railroad line, an excerpt from a man’s journal explaining his first experience on a steam boat, contrasting quotes on the coming of the railroad debate, a diagram showing how a steam engine would work in the 1800s, and a timeline of innovations in transportation during the Industrial Revolution. We titled our exhibit “All Aboard”. We titled it this to connect the many new innovations made during the Industrial Revolution and our subject, transportation. In coming to our exhibit, we hoped visitors would learn about the many inventions in transportation made during the Industrial 

            I learned many things when visiting other exhibits during this activity. The other subjects I learned about included child labor, living conditions in England during the Industrial Revolution, tools used during the Industrial Revolution, and cotton production. For child labor, I learned that children were torn from their families to work in factories, with terrible conditions. This is appallingly unjust and cruel towards the child workers, and does not set them up for a successful life. The living conditions in England during the Industrial Revolution were just as appalling as the child labor. During this time, rivers in London were nothing but a shallow, brown liquid. Tools used during the Industrial Revolution included many innovative items from the time. This included inventions
 such as the Almond Loom and the Spinning Jenny. Cotton production was an enormous innovation in the Industrial Revolution, and was one of the main sources of income. It was imported and exported to many places and was required almost everywhere.
          The Industrial Revolution was a very important time period in our history, and must not go 

unnoticed. Many of these innovations assisted in the moving forward in our history.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why You Never Trust the Elusive Tree Octopus!

            Last week in History class, we were taught how to use online resources appropriately. This included how to tell a genuine website from a fake one, and how to properly use a search engine. There are many details to consider when doing research, and to get the best results one must take them all into consideration.  

            In order to improve upon our search engine-using skills, the class was assigned to complete an activity called A Google a Day, which can be found here: A Google a Day is a challenge that Google puts out on a daily basis in which one is given a question and they must answer it by using Google search. An example of a question is “The Indian river basin that includes approximately 25% of the country's area is bound by what mountain range to the south?” The process of discovering the answer was both fun and frustrating at times. The fun part was finally being rewarded with a correct answer, but the frustrating part is not being given instant gratification with the answer, and having to actually work for it. During this process, I learned a lot more about how to effectively search Google, such as using the “-word” tool. For example, if you wanted to research Homer’s The Iliad, but not want anything from The Simpsons coming up in the search results, you would search “Homer – Simpsons” to eliminate any Simpsons – related search results. Going along with the theme of unwanted search results, there are several things one must look for in a website to see whether or not it is genuine; accuracy, authenticity, and reliability. To know if something is accurate, one should always compare its information with the information of something that is known to be genuine, perhaps a college website. In order to make sure that a website is authentic, make sure that its information is cited and not plagiarized. It is always a good idea to make sure that someone actually took the time and effort to create something. It shows that they care about their topic and also know what they’re talking about. To know if something is reliable or not, a good indicator is the ending of the website URL. If the URL finishes with “.gov” of “.edu”, the website is more than likely reliable. If not, it is a good idea to be cautious about what may lay in store. The information could be completely inaccurate. One such website is for “The Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus”, which can be found here: This website is clearly not genuine just from looking at the title, and it includes many other flaws which make one think that it is fake. For example, the websites cover photo is clearly a photo shopped octopus in a tree.

            After learning about the many details that go into using a search engine and finding out whether or not a website is genuine, I feel much better about finding genuine information, and I hope you have found this enlightening as well.
The so-called "Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus"

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Industrialization: Revolutionary or Not?

Last week in History class, we explored the various ways in which people, technology, resources, and transportation helped fuel the Industrial Revolution. The essential question, or question the class will be trying to answer within the unit, is “What was ‘revolutionary’ about industrialization?” This post will focus on how technology and resources were revolutionary in their own individual ways.  
Primarily, technology helped fuel the Industrial Revolution because a new way to use and produce electricity was discovered by using steam and coal. Electricity has clearly been revolutionary within the past two centuries and has helped revolutionize the way people accomplish tasks, especially today. Technology also helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by decreasing manual labor, meaning that tasks were accomplished much faster and with much greater ease. For example, it became much easier to print a book using a printing press than it was handwriting it from beginning to end. Technology not only decreased manual labor, but also helped create new jobs, including coal mining, working in cotton mills, and doing canal work. Technology was an innovative way to advance industrialization, and without it, the world would be a much different place.
 Access to more resources initially made industrialization revolutionary by increasing coal production. Coal was a very important resource in the harnessing of electricity, and therefore shaping the world’s industrial future. The Industrial Revolution also brought about the concept of mass production, which helped produce a larger amount of basic necessities to a larger number of people.  Having better access to more resources also helped in the creation of medicines, which in turn helped increase the life expectancy of the time by a stunning margin. Having access to more resources such as agricultural products helped farmers create more effective farming techniques, which in turn helped to distribute much larger amounts of food in a much smaller amount of time. Access to more resources helped the Industrial Revolution progress very effectively, and without these resources, the world would be in a much worse condition than it is currently in.
The Industrial Revolution was a ground-breaking era of modernization. Technology helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by utilizing electricity, decreasing manual labor, and creating new jobs.  The Industrial Revolution was innovate in the area of resources by having increased coal, mass production, medicines, and farming techniques.
This is a video we watched in class on the Industrial Revolution:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Will Play That Double A No Matter How Bad It Sounds!

            Hello! My name is Thomas Gray, a sophomore in high school, and this is my Honors History 10 blog. This blog is by no means an official source for a reliable account on history, but I will do my best to provide accurate accounts and unique opinions on what I will be learning. It is an absolute necessity that all of the information posted on this blog is one hundred percent accurate. This means that I must be taught very effectively, and there are several things that can help a teacher to do this.

Primarily, and most importantly, the teacher must be very knowledgeable about their subject and any subjects related to it. For example, a physics teacher should know a lot about math, and an English teacher should know a lot about history because those two subjects intertwine in many ways. This way it is easier to make connections and therefore know more about the topic. Teachers can also break down some formal boundaries in order to understand their students better and to get a feel for their learning style. This doesn’t mean getting together outside of school with students, but it could mean treating students like family, making us want to come to school. Another thing that makes a teacher great is diversity; have diverse classroom activities that won’t let the students’ minds wander away from history. Create a stimulating environment that will let students potentially have fun, but be learning at the same time. Next, great teachers utilize all the tools available to them in order to teach effectively. Why should we use a heavy, outdated textbook when we have a world of knowledge known as the internet just inside our pockets? One last thing that can make a teacher great is open mindedness. If a student has an abstract idea or opinion, don’t just brush it off and continue the lesson. Allow them to express their opinion, and respond in an appropriate manner. I have experienced this quality (and most of the other qualities I mentioned) in a few of my previous teachers. However, there are still two qualities that teachers have had in my past that have benefitted me. One of these two qualities is amiability. It is important to be friendly as a teacher because you need to make your students want to come to your class and learn, not resent it. Being easy to relate to is also important because students will view you as more than just a teacher and they will be more comfortable around you. That being said, good qualities aren’t going to boost grades (although they will definitely help). Something that can be done to support me and my grades this year is being specific with directions and maintaining a structured class because I do best in that type of environment.

            One of many reasons as to why I am excited for this school year is because of a YouTube video in which John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars, describes many ways in which kids should be excited to go back to school, and not dread it. This video got me thinking in a completely different way, and made me excited to learn how to improve our world.  One thing Green said in that video has stuck with me ever since. He said that students everywhere have a duty to use our education to do great things. I completely agree with this statement, and want to help develop a world that will thrive. However, this can only be accomplished if I set goals for myself. One of these goals is to get nothing below an eighty percent on everything assigned for school. This will be incredibly difficult for me, but with enough hard work and studying I’ll be able to do it. A musical goal for this year is to be able to play a double A above the staff on the trumpet. This will require many hours of practice and range extension exercises, but I know I can do it. Thinking into my future, I would ideally be a professional trumpet player or music composer/arranger, but very hard work is required right now so that I can get to one of these positions later in life. I have a feeling that this will be a good school year, and want to get as much out of it as possible. I am prepared to work as hard as possible to make this year my best one yet.

The ninth note in the picture below is what I want to be able to play by the end of the year:
above Treble Staff note images
"Above Treble Staff Notes"
 Website URL: 
Watch John Green's video about returning to school: