Russia’s Historical Influences

This timeline is a compiled list of events that have shaped Russia throughout the years, including the reign of influential rulers from ages past to the 21st century and the dark communist history of the USSR. In this timeline, you can discover how and why Russia is in the position it is in today and who was involved and when. A screenshot of the timeline on TimeToast is below, and you can find the timeline at this link: http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/mission-russias-historical-influences

NOTE: Events that were affiliated and/or influenced communism in Russia are marked as such in the title.

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The Ludlow Massacre: DBQ

The abusive relationship between employers and employees took away the rights of the people that the government is supposed to protect. However, the employers’ money and power led to the government siding with corporations many times in disputes, despite their obligation to the people.

According to Woody Gunthrie, folk singer and people’s historian, in his song “Ludlow Massacre,” government sided with corporations in labor disputes, such as when the Colorado militia was called to break the miner’s strike in Ludlow, Colorado. This militia actually killed some of the miners with fire: “Thirteen children died from your guns.” This shows that the government did not only not realize the people’s plea and fight for them, but they instead did the complete opposite and brought in violence with the militia to stop the strike preventing the businesses from profiting. Their actions were made to appease the corporations and not made to protect the peoples’ rights. When he mentions that the miners tried to get the President to do something, the line that follows says, “But the National Guard belonged to the governor / So he didn’t try very hard.” When the people tried to tell the President to do something about the militia, the militia actually was under the control of Colorado, and nothing was done. This was all done in the best interest of the corporations and business owners instead of the people. The government did this because they wanted the support of the corporations because of their money and power.

Godfrey Irwin, a young electrical engineer traveling through Colorado at the time of the massacre, gave a firsthand account of what he saw to a New York World reporter. In the article, Irwin said, “We saw the militiamen parley outside the tent city, and, a few minutes later, Tikas [the leader of the strikers] came out to meet them…Suddenly, an officer raised his rifle, gripping the barrel, and felled Tikas with the butt. Tikas fell face downward…Then they aimed their rifles and deliberately fired them into the unconscious man’s body…it was a murder and nothing less. Then the miners ran about in the tent colony and women and children scuttled for safety in the pits which afterward trapped them. We watched from our rock shelter while the militia dragged up their machine guns and poured a murderous fire into the arroyo from a height by Walter Tank Hill above the Ludlow depot. Then came the firing of the tents. I am positive that by no possible chance could they have been set ablaze accidentally. The militiamen were thick about the northwest corner of the colony where the fire started…” This is recounting the killing of the leader of the strikers and the fire that was started by the Colorado militia, killing even more of the miners. Like Gunthrie said, the government was siding with the corporations by bringing in militia to break up the strike and bring the miners back to work. As we see in this eyewitness account from someone who was completely uninvolved in the conflict, the militia opened fire on the miners and then set fire to the tents, killing many other miners. This allowed killing of miners by the government is an atrocity; they should be protecting people and not killing them for the interests of corporations.

In this situation, the government was not living up to the expectations of the Constitution: to protect the people and their rights. The horrible living conditions for the miners led them to strike against the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company owned by the Rockefellers. In order to stop the miners from striking, the Rockefellers got the government to use their military strength against the miners and even killing a few. The government, which didn’t listen to the people’s protest about their rights taken away, was, to say the least, not doing their job at all. They were more inclined to do what the corporations wanted because of their influence and money, which could pay for government officials’ campaigns. The actions of the government at this time were unconstitutional.

Jacob Riis: How the Other Half Lives

In 1870, Danish 21-year-old Jacob Riis migrates from his European home to the land of opportunity, the United States, with $40 in his pocket. He came seeking employment as a carpenter. He quickly ran through the small amount of money had, and he eventually ended up jobless on the streets of New York, sleeping in different urban locations and surviving any bit of food or water he could salvage. However, he found work once again, and he began to write articles for the New York Sun describing life for the poor in the slums. As vividly as he wrote, the articles didn’t really have the impact that Riis desired. He wanted to motivate people to make a difference for these people living in inhumane conditions. He became a police reporter, and he began to take pictures of the living conditions. It was too dark to produce a quality photograph. Luckily for him, flashbulb photography was introduced at that time, and this solved the problem of the lack of light in the areas, and Riis decided this was the way to reach his goal.

Riis published his photographs along with How the Other Half Lives in 1890. These photos, taken by surprise, captured the horrific living conditions in the lower Eastern side of New York City: filthy, exhausted people with grim expressions, terrible sanitary conditions, and the tight spaces in which these people lived. In this particular photograph, children are resting outside on a staircase. This showed the awful conditions even children lived in, which included the child labor scandals. These homeless children are suffering, tired and unclean. This photograph along with many others brought this problem right in front of the eyes of middle and upper class New Yorkers. They tried to justify the “inevitable” treatment of these people by taking away their humanity and treating them as inferiors, but that was almost impossible for them to do as they stare into the eyes of helpless people suffering immensely. After Riis published them, many more people were for improving the conditions in the city’s slums; even people like Theodore Roosevelt offered to do anything they could to help.

Jacob Riis’s work sparked a change in attitudes and policy towards the poor in the slums. His touching and intimate photographs were the icing on the cake that compelled many to change these conditions. Organizations sprung up for this issue, and new legislation was passed. The contaminated tenements the poor lived in were torn down and remolded, and the school systems were reformed. For so many years, Americans could justify their treatment of other humans, such as blacks or Indians, because they dehumanized them. These photographs made them realize that they are people, too, and that the suffering they were enduring was a wrong they had the power to right. People saw that they had a moral obligation to the plight of the poor. Most importantly, he proposed achievable solutions to these problems. Jacob Riis was an important social reformer who played a large role in the Progressive Era, too, thanks to Roosevelt’s support of his work. His work was legendary, and he pictures will always be remembered for the better treatment he brought to the poor.

Photo credit: http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/blog/view/581

The Crisis of Slavery in America: Timeline

In Government class, we have been studying the years of slavery in America and the time of the Civil War. Many of the events we have studied include the Dred Scott case, the Missouri Compromise, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg & Gettysburg Address, and there are many more significant events we have discussed. Using dipity.com, I created a timeline to display all 25 of these events. A snapshot of that timeline is below. There is a description and picture to accompany each event. You can find the timeline here: http://www.dipity.com/aowingsecs/The-Crisis-of-Slavery-in-America/Image

Alternative History: The Indian Removal Act Revisited

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This picture is a cartoon showing the Europeans kicking the Indians out of their land.

The Indian Removal Act was a policy in the 1830s with the goal of relocating five Native American tribes living on the east side of the Mississippi to the western territories across the river. Signed by President Andrew Jackson, it was rationalized by stereotyping the people of the tribes as uncivilized savages, despite their desire to acculturate. They were seen as obstacles to settlement progress of America, and their relocation was inevitable. Using trickery, bribery, and intimidation, the US government coaxed the Native American Indians into signing this act (for example: using a common member of the tribes without authority to agree to this act). As a result, the tribes marched for about two years on what is commonly known as the Trail of Tears. Conditions were extremely harsh, with many of the 70, 000 Indians dying from starvation and illness. This result was not inevitable; they were many of alternatives that presented a compromise that would satisfy both groups. However, the selfish European settlers had to justify their greed by degrading and mistreating the Indians terribly. If we could reverse the result of one of the most shameful acts in American history, it might go a little something like this.

Picture this: It is a beautiful spring day in May of 1830. The debates over the proposed Indian Removal Policy continue on in the legislative branch. Delegates go on and on about how the removal is inevitable, and we need to move America’s progress forward. However, the opponents to the act seem to really strike the hearts of those in the audience with their moving speeches. Chief John Ross, the 1/8th Cherokee Principal Chief in the bicameral government of the Cherokee, opened with this statement:

“Let us now for a moment, seriously reflect on the true causes which have universally produced the extinction of Indian tribes….their land having been swept from under their feet by the ingenuity of the whitemen, and being left destitute of a home, ignorant of the arts and sciences and possessing no experience in the employment of a laborious and industrious life…”

He made the other delegates feel as though they were in the Cherokee’s shoes. This wasn’t an inevitable march towards progress for them—it was the most recent shot fired that threatened damage on their people and their way of life. Ross, among others like Crockett and Evarts, tell the story of the Cherokee’s and how their life was being destroyed by European invasions on their land. It brought them increased fighting, foreign disease epidemics, and economic dislocation. They used evidence to persuade them not to see the Indians as barbarian savages, showing them the mansions, farms, and societies that the Indians had made on their own. They convinced the legislature of the desire of the Indians to acculturate. Their decisions were made after the session of debate. On May 26, 1830, with a majority vote from Congress, the Indian Removal Act failed and was not passed.

Instead, a new policy was put in place later that year: the Indian Equality Act. It alluded back to the fundamental ideas of our founding fathers: equal rights for all men.  Native Americans were offered citizenship, and if they took up the offer, they were treated just the same as any white citizen. No white man could go on his property. Indians could participate in government, and they could legally own property. Despite controversy, the Act forced non-Indians to respect the rights of the Indians and coexist peacefully, and it does not force an interracial way of life. President Jackson and the chiefs of each of the Five Tribes that would’ve been affected by the Indian Removal Act signed it and made it official.

There was much opposition to the resolution, including protest from President Jackson himself. Many people argued with the rationalization of the Indian’s removal: they were stopping American progress and their removal was inevitable. However, the supporters of the act fought back. They presented clear evidence, convincing many opponents to believe in the fair and equal treatment of the Native Americans. Eventually, even Andrew Jackson began to see from their point of view as well. We realized as a nation how this went against all that our nation was founded on. There would always be opponents to the act, but the supporters of equality for Indians won the struggle. Many Indians were very happy with this result, and they were eager to acculturate. Many became citizens as soon as possible. While they still faced some inevitable opposition and disrespect, they were able to coexist among Europeans. Many communities of Indians and Europeans did intermix, however. The Indians prospered, and the fruits of their labor benefitted our country. The two groups of people were able to live in the same country and the Indians eventually became common citizens.

However, this is not what happened. The Indians migrated in the Trail of Tears, and their culture gradually completely disappeared from our country. They were treated unfairly. Greedy Americans moved them out of the way because they wanted to make progress on their settlements, justifying their wrongdoing by calling it “inevitable.” It wasn’t inevitable; there were several alternatives. The solutions ranged from coexistence, as described above, to creating a separate state for the Native Americans within the country. However, that was all overlooked as our greedy desire won. It was one of the most shameful acts of American history.

George William, Goss. “The Debate over Indian Removal in the 1830’s.” Scholar Works. N.p., 1 June 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <scholarworks.umb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=masters_theses&seiredir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dopponents%2520of%2520indian%2520removal%2520act%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D5%26ved%3D0CDsQFjAE%26url%3Dh>.

Jefferson’s Inaugural Adress (1801) — Mind Map

In 1800, our country elected a Republican, Thomas Jefferson, president after having a history of Federalists in the executive office. Our country had a difficult time with tranquilly transferring power over to another party. Many foreign onlookers predicted a civil war. However, we came through and survived the conflict as a nation. Tensions were high as citizens awaited Jefferson’s Inaugural Address, expecting an attack on the Federalists. Jefferson did not do that; instead, he held out an olive branch to the opposing party, restoring unity, and reminded the people of the guiding principles of our government and what a role a beneficial government has. In our US government class, we made a mind map, outlining these main ideas, using evidence to support, explaining the meaning and significance, and connecting it to American democracy. My mind map can be found here: http://www.mindomo.com/view.htm?m=2707d62b98144a39bd633ae04d174521

The Tenth Amendment

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The Tenth Amendment deals with federalism: the Federal Government can only pass laws on what the Constitution gives them authority to do. Anything else is in the power of the states. With ideas from British political policy, it is an example of limited government. In the cartoon above, it shows an example of the powers that only states have: to determine the age you have to be to take a driver’s test and get a driver’s license.

The Ninth Amendment

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The Ninth Amendment states that the government is not able to violate rights of the citizens not specifically protected by the Constitution. This is the most vague amendment that is the hardest to interpret by the branches of government. The image above shows other rights not specifically protected by the Constitution that the people have and the government cannot take away.