Friday, June 19, 2015

The Dark BACKground of the FRONTier

This week long lesson was about the darker side of American history. The westward expansion and gold rush drove the native american people further out and resulted in the death of a longstanding, unique culture. The persecution of natives and discrimination against the black americans were carried out by the government. Our essential question focused on the motive behind these acts. “Were federal policies towards Native Americans and buffalo soldiers intentionally discriminatory or well intentioned?”

The buffalo soldiers were a group of black soldiers named after the strength of the bountiful buffalo of the western plains. After the civil war many black men did not really have anywhere to go and could not find jobs. However, since men of color were now allowed to join the military they joined up in the western expansion. Many people did not want to be told what to do by african americans and the soldiers were bonded through the discrimination they were all subjected to.

    The Buffalo Soldiers were used in the Indian war and for removing the rebellious natives off their land. They used total war to decimate the communities and were often brutal in battle. The natives had already been forced to move West but with the gold rush, white people moving across the country encountered the tribes and trespassed on their land, creating hostility between the two cultures. To solve this the American government sent soldiers to force the natives off their land, breaking up the longstanding communities and taking everything away from them. Obviously, they resisted the removal. They were promised new land to live on and schools were made for the children to be educated.

The schools were made to "civilize" the natives. Above the door there was a sign that said "Kill the Indian. Save the Man." They believed they were helping a savage people when in reality they only succeeded in wiping out a culture that was different from their own.

Survival of the Richest

This week begins the last month of our sophomore year of school. Once it hits June everything starts winding down, teachers are only briefly touching on the last few units to cram them in and the students are mentally preparing for summer. It's a weird time that has a strange balance between busy and laid-back. Our history class has just entered the final sluggish rush of education in true last month of school fashion. For our next few units we, the students, are sort of instructing our own lessons, a new focus each week. This first one, Carnegie and Rockefeller. We had a weekly plan to follow as we went, starting day one with going through the information and taking notes in a class google doc. Each group was given a focus Key People, Main Ideas, Important Events, and Essential Terms to take notes on as we watched videos and read documents as a class.

With this information we met the next day to create our very own Essential Question. After circling up and brainstorming together, with some suggested edits, we came up with the question "Essential Question: How did the actions of monopolistic leaders, such as Rockefeller and Carnegie, affect the common worker?" Monopolistic referred to the leaders of large economic monopolies, single corporations which completely dominated their industrial fields. We used the information from Rockefeller and Carnegie's biographies to understand who they were and what actions they had taken. The Homestead Strike video gave more information on the common workers and how they were impacted.

Rockefeller was widely disliked by the media, they believed he was motivated by greed and had power over a huge number of other companies, and in politics. He would lower and raise prices to buy out competitors to create his enormous monopoly and become one of the richest men in America. As the head of the corporation, Rockefeller was in charge of the treatment and pay of all his workers.
Carnegie was another powerful leader of a monopoly. However, he was not born with money he worked his way up through excelling at different jobs to get to where he got. He also messed with prices to buy out competitors.

Workers were often unhappy with pay or treatment and would organize strikes to protest their companies. Frequently the workers were replaced with "strike breakers" who were hired to make the strike ineffective. Or the company would just shut down until they agreed to work again. As Carnegie was not born rich and had to work like his own employees it was strange for him to mistreat workers when he used to be them. His own biggest strike, the Homestead Strike happened when he left someone else in charge and the police were needed to quell the violence. Both Carnegie and Rockefeller were known philanthropists, they donated large sums of money to build libraries and support the public.

Self-made success now she rose with Rockafellas