Monday, June 15, 2015

Native Americans and Buffalo Soldiers

This past week in history class, we have been learning about the buffalo soldiers. Buffalo soldiers were African-American Union soldiers after the Civil War. Their responsibilities were to clear out Native Americans and their settlements in the western United States wherever the American government planned on creating settlements. The essential question we were looking to answer was whether federal policies towards Native Americans and buffalo soldiers were intentionally discriminatory or well intentioned.

The American government created several policies that took effect against Native Americans and buffalo soldiers. The Dawes Act of 1887 is one such example. The Dawes Act was "an act to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on the various reservations, and to extend the protection of the laws of the United States and the Territories over the Indians, and for other purposes". This federal act was not fair to Native Americans whatsoever. It severely decreased the Native Americans' rightfully earned land, and was an act of federal greed for land. According to Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor, There was no single Native American out of the approximated 250-300 thousand that was not affected by the government's policies concerning the ownership of previous Native American land. For this reason, these policies should be considered intentionally discriminatory towards Native Americans. The very fact that Buffalo Soldiers were sent away to the west, essentially a no-man's-land, proves the intentionally discriminatory actions the government had taken against Buffalo Soldiers.

The policies put out by the American government concerning Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans especially were intentionally discriminatory towards these people. There was no way that these policies could have been well-intentioned or looking to the benefit of America.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Frienemies of the United States

This week in history class, we have been studying the impact that monopolistic leaders such as Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller had on the United States. The essential question we are aiming to answer is how did the actions of monopolistic leaders, such as John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, affect the common worker? A monopoly is defined as when a single corporation controls the entirety of the manufacturing and distribution of a product in a certain region. In order to answer the essential question, we watched videos about Rockefeller and Carnegie. As we were watching, we divided into groups and each group took notes on a certain topic within the videos, such as key terms, main ideas, and key events.

Monopolistic leaders essentially had a love-hate relationship with America. As they were in control of the entirety of the manufacturing and distribution of a product, much of society viewed monopolistic leaders as greedy and driven by money. However, these ideas were not too out of place. The actions of monopolistic leaders had a generally negative effect on the common worker. Many monopolistic leaders treated their workers poorly. Andrew Carnegie himself put a stop to an iron and steel workers’ union utilizing the military, destroying Carnegie’s public reputation. He also used a nationwide financial depression to his advantage  to acquire land to connect the steel producing center to the northwest water routes. Rockefeller was believed to be motivated by greed. He raised and lowered his prices in order to buy out his competition, and was thought to be using illegal business tactics to gain his vast amount of money.

Monopolies prove to be not at all beneficial to the common worker in these cases. Perhaps they make things simpler for the consumer, however for the common worker, monopolies prove to be potentially dangerous and not very financially beneficial. The actions of monopolistic leaders had a generally negative effect on the common worker.