Race and Poverty Mid-term Review!
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Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire (1833-1836
“The Course of Empire is drawn from the history of the past....of how nations have risen from the savage state to that of power and glory and then fallen and become extinct.” -Louis Noble, Cole biographer, 1853
Eurocentrism in history
Europeans considered indigenous peoples as barbarous savages without history. This translated throughout the American continents Without written languages, permanent communities, or Christianity, Europeans felt Indians to be prehistoric.
The “Noble Savage”
Benign and romantic Rationality, vigor, and moral consideration for the human/nonhuman balance Indian societies existed harmoniously with nature
The “Ignoble Savage”
Menacing, malignant, and rapacious Savage, bloodthirsty, cannibalistic, and inhuman Uncivilized beings that required Christian indoctrination and European lifestyles to become “civilized.
The Maya were master builders Rather than creating one great urban center, they built hundreds of varying size They constructed religious, governmental, and residential centers over a massive distance...some 500 miles of present-day southeast Mexico and parts of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras
Popular view: Aztec culture represents the ultimate in human cruelty and bloodthirstiness Academic view: the Aztec were austere priests who humbly carried out their hard pact with the supernatural In popular and academic circles, the dilemma is how to reconcile the high civilization of the Aztec with their relative primitiveness
The Aztec capital sat on an oval island connected to the mainland by three causeways that converged at the center There were numerous canals, thronged with canoes and bordered by footpaths An aqueduct system brought in fresh water from the mountain springs of Chapultepec Sanitation was solved by keeping boats tied at strategic points, their contents sold to fertilize the fields
Theodore de Bry, Landing on Hispaniola (1594)
Benjamin West, William Penn's Treaty with the Indians (1771)
oseph Webber, The Sandwich Islands, 1784
- Conditions of the Journey: Equiano
- Few written records from slaves exist Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) represents a rare glimpse into slaves' obscurity He ventured from Benin to Jamaica to Virginia and then to England, where he was placed in the custody of a kind family In England, Equiano received an education and was baptized as a Christian After working as a longshoreman in New World ports, he bought his freedom in 1766
Amerindian v. African slavery
- 1. Institutional: Amerindians had a traditional structure (social hierarchy) and usually were not directly enslaved; they worked for “wage incentives” and “discriminatory taxation.” 2. Biological: Diseases (mainly smallpox) wiped out many Indian societies along American coasts 3. Racial: Iberians held Amerindians in higher esteem than Africans. Indians were the dominant cultural group and impervious to the European norms of behavior. They were harder to remove and/or enslave.
- •Africans came from multiple linguistic groups and once in the New World, had only the European language in common. They were forced to adapt to European ways. Indians did not : 1. believe in agricultural labor or in European notions of property and uniformity 2. Hold up well against European diseases • Spain and Portugal already had experience with African slaves; Portugal colonized West Africa and dominated the sea-route to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope. • The main reason for the shift to African labor: cheaper and easier to control
The origins of tobacco cultivation
and slavery in colonial Virginia
- Settlers at Roanoke and Jamestown were too genteel (or lazy) for hard labor. They might have starved had it not been for a fortuitous discovery. A craze swept through Europe in the 1600s for smoking the dried leaves of the Native American tobacco plant, which conquistadors brought back from the West Indies
- 1614: John Rolfe (who later married Pocahontas) proved the sandy soils of the Chesapeake produced a sweeter variety of tobacco than the West Indies. Within a few years, tobacco was immensely profitable and transformed Virginia society. It was so profitable that the governor of VA, to prevent starvation, ordered anyone who planted tobacco to plant at least 10 acres of grains
The Haitian Revolutionary era,
- August 1791: slaves revolted across the northern plain. This was the “Night of Fire.” By Sept., the uprising was 10,000 strong, divided into 3 armies, with 700 to 800 on horseback, and was well-armed. Through September the slaves attacked and destroyed hundreds of sugar and coffee plantations and brutally murdered whites
- April 1792: as war loomed between the French National Assembly and European monarchies, the Assembly granted enfranchisement to all free blacks and free people of color. This was to minimize violence and return the island to profitability. April 1794: through the 2nd French Constitution, slavery was abolished in all French Caribbean colonies.
- 1795: all slaves were given full political rights. This was due to the fact that both the Spanish and the British tried capturing the island. By granting freedom to slaves, the French hoped to solidify their control over St. Domingue The French prevailed and by 1796, had regained control. The leader in the French Victory over the other European powers was Gen. L’Ouverture, who was named commander of St. Domingue
Once a slave, he was granted freedom in the 1770s and established his own coffee plantation, worked by slave labor. He controlled the north General Andre Rigaud set up his own government in the south. 1799: a civil war broke out and L’Ouverture wrested victory. He later marched into Santo Domingo (now the DR) and met little resistance there. 1801: he had control of the entire island. His victory was challenged when Napoleon seized power that same year
Labor abuse in colonial Latin America
(hacienda, encomienda, and quinto)
Haciendas: large agricultural plantations overseen by hacendados Encomienda: from the Spanish for “entrusted,” these were massive plots of land rewarded to those loyal to the crown; after defeating the Aztec, Cortes received the largest in history (several thousand acres) Quinto: a form of forced tribute whereby 1/5 of all proceeds and profits went directly to the Spanish crown
- the “George Washington” of Latin America
- Practitioner of nativism; “we're all Americanos!” Originated his independence struggle in Venezuela Ultimately successful in toppling Spanish royalists and minimizing peninsulares' rule
- Led an independence movement dominated by criollos; indigenous peoples played minimal roles. Faced considerable odds in recruiting lower classes into his ranks; many were wary of what occurred in Haiti. Bolívar was part of the Caracas Elite; he drew a rhetorical line in blood. This line separated people between native and foreign birthplace. Eventually, this strategy was employed throughout South America.
Father Miguel Hidalgo, a renegade clergyman, depicted the Criollo-Peninsular conflict as one in terms of Americans versus Europeans.
Hidalgo’s counterpart from the south, Father Jose Maria Morelos, was a mestizo and more able leader. His army was well-organized and his main revolutionary goals clear: end slavery, the caste system, and the encomienda system. After Morelos was captured and killed in 1815, roving bandits continued to gnaw away at Spanish rule. Both Hidalgo and Morelos represented rebellion from the bottom up.
Industrial capitalism (coined in the 1830s): the technological and industrial changes in the relationship between people and their work.
Samuel Slater (left) in 1789 set up the first textile mill in the U.S. at Webster, MA
“Death of the artisan-craftsman”
Men, women, and children were caught up in the industrial order Factories absorbed thousands of unskilled people into machinery operation. The absorption changed the nature of work; the old apprentice-journeyman-master relationship was shattered. The factory downgraded workers to anonymity. Workers fell into a new corporate system that neither knew or cared what became of them.
The rise of railroads
After 1830, railroads linked US and European cities. Railroads required firewood for locomotive engines and iron for construction. They spewed noise, smoke, ash, and occasionally exploded. The farther out lines ran, the more natural resources could be extracted and marketed for profit. The railroad fired American and European imaginations as nothing else
Karl Marx’s notion of “class
Marx: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed….carried on an uninterrupted….fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”
Herbert Spencer’s “social Darwinism”
Darwin’s theory influenced Europe’s middle classes; writers applied this theory to human affairs. Herbert Spencer, the English philosopher, saw the human race as driven forward to ever-greater specialization and progress by an economic struggle: the “survival of the fittest.” According to Spencer and other “social Darwinists,” the poor were the ill-fated weak and the prosperous the chosen strong.
Thomas Jefferson’s “yeoman paradise”
and his “strategy” for gaining Indian lands
1785: “cultivators of the Earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds.” The right amount of land would ensure virtue Too much land would create a nation of tyrants Too little would create a nation of paupers Landholders should be spread apart to ensure independence
Science, medicine, and racialization
While Jefferson regarded the Indians as culturally inferior, others considered them biologically inferior. 1775: surveyor and artist Bernard Romans stated “God created an original man and woman in this part of the globe of different species from any in the other parts…..and Indians are a people not only rude and uncultivated but incapable of civilization.” 1834: Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan Territory remarked “the Indians north of Mexico had not improved in two centuries of contact…..there must be an inherent difficulty arising from their institutions, character, and conditions. They must be a distinct variety of the human race
The Jackson Administration and debates
over Indian Removal
He felt the only way to secure the “soft underbelly” of the nation along the Gulf Coast was to remove the Indians.
During the 1840s and after, Americans moved west in droves, seeking a better chance and more space “If hell lay to the west,” claimed one pioneer, “Americans would cross heaven to get there.” By 1860, some 4.3 million people had settled in the trans-Mississippi West
James K. Polk
When James Polk (right) won the presidency in 1844, Manifest Destiny reached new heights A protégé of Andrew Jackson, Polk distrusted British intensions and campaigned on the platform of aggressive expansion He made it clear that he intended to get California…and TX and OR, too!
The U.S.-Mexico War, 1846-1848
Two days after Polk took office, MX broke off relations with the US to protest annexation Polk ordered US troops to Corpus Christi Hope for peace died in 1846 when John Slidell decided no settlement could be negotiated with MX May 9, 1846: Mexicans attacked US soldiers north of the Rio Grande...in what the US considered its sovereign soil
Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo
Santa Anna resigned a month after the capital fell to the US Formal treaty negotiations began in Jan.1848 When the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed on Feb.2, 1848, Mexico relinquished all claims to Texas above the Rio Grande and ceded CA and NM to US control. In return, the US paid MX $15 million
Manifest Destiny in Central America
- Many of the U.S. Congressional debates in the 1840s and 1850s centered on the fate of slavery in the expanding nation Prior to the 1840s, Britain dominated Central American affairs After growing U.S. interest in Asian markets, the annexation of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and the discovery of gold in CA, the Central American power balance shifted American adventurers and entrepreneurs arrived to profit from overland travel on the isthmus
- U.S. adventurers found that the British controlled several strategic areas on the Atlantic Coast These included Nicaragua's Miskito Coast, British Honduras, and an interest in New Granada's (Colombia's) Panama province To counter the British, U.S. officials played to Latin American fears 1846: U.S. minister to Colombia Benjamin Bidlack signs a treaty giving the US trade rights across Panama This allowed for construction of a railroad across Panama (48 miles) in the 1850s (at left)
The “shelling of Greytown”
Hollis had barely sailed off before the William Walker (left) appeared Walker had been a lawyer, then a journalist in New Orleans By 1855, he'd already failed to use a small, private army to spread “democracy” in parts of Baja California, Mexico Nicaraguan political factions asked him for help to fight their opponents With Vanderbilt's help, Walker answered the call.....
Slavery and expansion into the west
In less than 50 years, slavery extended more than halfway across the continent In the southerners' consciousness, disallowing slavery in the West was a threat to their economic vitality Above all, it infringed on their inalienable rights of PROPERTY
Wilmot Proviso, 1846
Aug.1846: PA congressman David Wilmot attached to an appropriations bill an amendment banning slavery from Guadalupe Hidalgo The “Wilmot Proviso” was to preserve western lands for white settlement “I plead the cause and rights of the free white man.” The amendment ultimately went down in defeat
- 1854: Stephen Douglas proposed what became the “Kansas-Nebraska Act.” What began as a railroad bill transformed into slavery bill... Douglas needed southern support to carry his point; he injected the notion of popular sovereignty into the bill. He hoped that popular sovereignty would hush the slavery issue and open the Northwest In the end, he replaced the line of the MO Compromise with popular sovereignty, which enabled the states to decide slavery for themselves. The KS-NE Act ignited a territorial civil war within Kansas between anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions
- Free-state settlers repudiated the pro-slavery KS govt. They elected a governor and legislature of their own, thereby giving KS two competing governments. Abolitionist John Brown led an attack on pro-slavery settlers Pottawatomie Creek. Brown was a religious zealot who believed it was his personal mission to cleanse the nation of the sins of slavery. For Brown, the wrath of God (and not morals or politics) was the solution to the slavery issue
John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry
- rown planned to seize the weapons in the arsenal and distribute them to slaves Oct.16, 1859: Brown and 18 followers seized the armory They even took Col. Lewis Washington (a relative of George) hostage; Brown then sat back and waited for the slaves to rise up.... The slaves did not rise, but the military did; Marines were sent in from D.C. and the following morning, they surrounded the arsenal
- When Brown refused to surrender, Marines charged in with bayonets The rebellion ended in less than 2 days The raid was “absurd,” said Lincoln. “It was not a slave insurrection; it was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves in which the slaves refused to participate.” At first, Brown was condemned by Northerners. But after his trial and execution, people sympathized with his cause Baltimore Sun: “the South cannot live under a government, the majority of whose subjects regard Brown as a martyr and a Christian hero, rather than a murderer and a robber.” It was not Brown's failed raid at Harper's Ferry that led to Southern secession...it was the election of Abraham Lincoln
New York City Draft Riots, July 1863(causes)
New York’s “Copperheads”
- The nation’s first draft…
- The first federal conscription in the country’s history triggered the worst riots in American history Beginning in Manhattan in July 1863, they spread to Westchester, Long Island, Staten Island, Jersey City, and Newark Resistance to the draft erupted in VT, PA, OH, IN, IA, and MN
- March 1863: due to falling enlistments, the conscription act was passed to take effect in July Northerners could be “grafted into the army” Unlike Confederate draft laws, this one gave no occupational exemptions With the $300 buyout, which many families such as the Rockefellers and Schermerhorns could pay, some felt that Lincoln’s War was now a “rich man’s war.”
New York’s “Copperheads”
New York had strong commercial ties to the South As such, it was a hotbed of Confederate support The Democratic Copperheads (named after the poisonous snake) demanded lenient treatment of Confederates and the preservation of whites-only government
The Freedmen’s Bureau
March 1865: Congress established this to “provide such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel as might be needed to relieve destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children.” White prejudice increasingly blocked efforts of the Freedmen's Bureau Beyond temporary relief, no aspect of Reconstruction ever incorporated much more than Constitutional protection Rights on paper, not in reality
Andrew Johnson v. The Radical
Most had been anti-slavery for decades Now, they knew the black vote was crucial to maintain control of Congress; Johnson wanted a “NO” on the issue of black suffrage They also needed to prevent the election of Democrats who could restore the old southern class They asserted the Republican Party, the party of Union and freedom, could guarantee the fruits of victory and that extending the vote to blacks would promote their welfare Going against Johnson, they argued that the Southern states HAD left the Union
Post-Civil War amendments (13th,
14th, and 15th)
- Forbade any state from “abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens and from depriving any person due process and equal protection” under the laws of the Constitution The amendment sparked race riots in Memphis and New Orleans Sumner cried “witness Memphis, witness New Orleans. Who can doubt that the president is the author of these tragedies?”
- Reconstruction could proceed without Johnson's obstructions June 1868: Congress agreed that 7 southern states (except TX, VA, and MS) met conditions for re-admittance to the Union Mostly, these states refused to ratify the new USC amendments; by 1870, they had all ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments 13th (abolished slavery); 14th (equal citizenship and due process); and 15th (the right to vote – for men) Grant won the election of 1868
Attempts to fight Congressional Reconstruction grew violent The prototype was the Ku Klux Klan, organized in 1866 in Pulaski, TN. The KKK intimidated blacks and white Republicans. Klansmen rode about the countryside, hiding behind masks and robes, issuing threats, and occasionally wreaking violence and destruction In GA, AL, and SC, the KKK was particularly active
The demise of Reconstruction (causes)
Democrats wrested away GOP control of Congress in the 1874 midterms. The 1876 election was between Rutherford B. Hayes (R-OH) and Samuel Tilden (D-NY) Hayes was “a third-rate non-entity, whose only recommendation is that he is obnoxious to no one.” Tilden concerned himself with fighting the corrupt Tammany Ring in NYC and the Canal Ring in Albany. The election of 1876 generated no burning issues; both candidates favored relaxing Federal authority in the South and restoring white conservative rule
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