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American History

The Gorilla and The Snub

For this paper I have chosen McPherson’s treatment of General George B. McClellan in regards to two specific incidents, both of which first appear in the same page and paragraph of his book Ordeal by Fire (McPherson J. M., 1982). They appear to be rather minor, at least at first, and I will have to justify discussing them. They deal with the general’s personal relationship with President Lincoln and that publicly seen relationship and that relationship as seen by historians. However, I would argue that the two seemingly minor matters I have selected are actually as important as any other point of history, as they touch upon the matter of what I will call “the assumption of accuracy” in historical texts. By this I mean the assumed accuracy of reported facts and conclusions drawn from those facts. Interpretation, being subjective, changes over time, and with the discovery of new facts and documentary sources, history books themselves become obsolete, requiring new editions dealing with well-known events and subjects. It seems the only saving grace for a history book’s relevance is how long its accuracy holds out along with its literary quality. McPherson’s book has survived in classrooms and probably will continue to do so as long as he is writing and teaching.

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American History

Edward Zwick’s “Glory”

Edward Zwick’s 1989 Civil War film Glory bears a title that follows explicitly from its underlying content. The film tells the story of the first Volunteer infantry unit to be made up entirely of African-Americans. Obviously, this has a clear ideological significance in the context of the Civil War: here, African-Americans explicitly stand up against the racist policies of the South, and thus by taking arms against the Confederates for the Union, a deeper philosophical current underlies this very decision: this is a decision to actively assert one’s humanity against an ideology that discounts this same humanity. In this sense the title “glory” precisely means the efforts to defend a certain dignified and ideal version of humanity, to defend an ethical position that is higher than the common discourses of hatred, discrimination and prejudice.

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American History

U.S. Political System Strength and Weakness

The greatest strength of the U.S. political system is the separation of church and state. I am still amazed at the wisdom of the founding fathers of the U.S. who understood that true freedom and rights for every citizen, especially those from minority groups, could only be ensured if the state endorses no particular religion. This may be the reason why U.S. particularly attracts talent from all around the world because religious prejudice is at quite lower levels as compared to many other developed and developing nations. European Jews particularly came to the U.S. during and after holocaust because they knew they will not face religious persecution here and if U.S. was like most other countries, we would never have Einstein, Andy Grove, and many others. In addition, this has also helped minimize ethnic and religious conflict in the country.

Categories
American History

Glory

Introduction

The 1989 film ‘Glory’ was based on the true event of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry battle against the Confederate troops set in the midst of the American Civil War. It has come to represent the suffering of war and the triumph of courage in the face of opposition, especially in the terms of its namesake, ‘Glory’.

Definition of Glory

In personal terms, the word glory is defined as honor earned by the notable achievement of a person or people. It is only given or received after a major struggle or major success, and is often observed by many. In the film, glory is gained by the individuals of the 54th regiment, by their persistence to win the war, despite the odds.

Particularly, the courage shown by Robert Gould Shaw, the captain of the regiment, and Private Trip, a former slave-turned-soldier are the symbols of glory at the height of the battle to capture Battery Wagner. Despite being outnumbered and encountering heavy losses, these two men fought until their final breath, and inspired their troops to do the same. Humanity has also taken a leaf out of such a lesson, not just in war, but also in life. The same struggle exists between the minority and the majority, whatever the situation may be; and the one who continues until the end achieves ultimate glory.

Qualities of Leadership

As aforementioned, the leadership exemplified by Captain Robert Gould Shaw is worthy of note, especially in regards to the quality of his leadership characteristics. There are three qualities of a good leader: trust, communication, and inspiration. Robert Gould Shaw is forced to prove his trustworthiness throughout the film, particularly to his General, Charles Garrison Harker. The General does not treat the African-American counterparts in the 54th regiment as equals with the Caucasians, which leads to Robert Gould Shaw’s confrontation with him to led the regiment lead the battle. This ultimately earns the trust of his fellow comrades. Communication between Robert Gould Shaw’s troops initially becomes heated when the African-Americans are integrated into the army. It is up to Robert Gould Shaw to make ends meet, and he does so by ensuring that both sides work together. Indeed, it is his courage and resistance to fear that inspire his comrades to continue the battle when he dies at the hands of the Confederates. In this last act to his troops, he ‘hands over the banner’, and lets the 54th regiment continue what he left behind.

Private Trip

As one of the main characters, Private Trip joins the 54th regiment, but is distrustful of Captain Robert Gould Shaw. In one of the scenes, Private Trip goes Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL), and is berated by Robert Gould Shaw and is ordered to be flogged in front of the troops as a lesson. However, Robert Gould Shaw reverses his decision after he sees Private Trip’s back riddled with scars from when he was beaten as a runaway slave. As an abolitionist, Robert Gould Shaw ultimately pleads on Private Trip’s case, and gets provisions for his African-American soldier, who have been overlooked in favor of their Caucasian counterparts. This act of assistance allows Private Trip and Captain Robert Gould Shaw to become comrades, gain the mutual respect of each other, and fight side by side until they die together.

Overall Theme and Conclusion

In summary, Glory depicts the war as a struggle between power and equality, with the most courageous receiving the crown of honor. By leading the 54th regiment to work together, fight together, and die together, they gain the respect of the Union and the country, and ultimately, gain the glory. It is for this reason that people of all backgrounds have embraced the concept of glory, and hold it in high honor.

Categories
American History

Civil War and the American Behavior

Civil war per se is characterized as the social uprising of the people due to the impending condition that is resulted from a particular situation that has been presented to the people. For instance, the manner by which particular rights of the people are being controlled or at some point are being limited may result to the irritation of the society. This situation would thus confer to a reaction that would cause them to unite and set plans that could provide them the chance to be heard and cause change on how they are being governed upon. In line with the history of the American people, several civil wars have been noted to have occurred through time. This is perhaps the reason why Lincoln was moved to say that if there were any particular elements that could define the American people’s general behavior, one of them would be that of the civil war.

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American History

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

During President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, he delivers one of the shortest and yet most powerful speeches in United States history. Fresh off the end of the Civil War, which killed countless Americans, as well as pitted brother against brother, literally in some senses, Lincoln’s powerful words serve a few main purposes: first, to reunite the nation with his relatable metaphor, second, to ensure the same problem never arises again, and third to ensure the continuity of the Union.

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American History

Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address

In Thomas Jefferson’s first Inaugural Address he spoke of his own ideas of an ideal government, placing a major emphasis on partisans to put aside their differences in an effort work for the greater good of the republic. Jefferson spoke of equality for all people, a wise and sensible government that was devoid of frivolous spending, peace and friendship amongst all the citizens as well as between the United States and foreign countries, as well as equality amongst different religions. Jefferson’s speech can best be captured by a quote from his address: “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”

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American History

The Progressives

Progressivism believes that by employing less political corruption, regulations, reform, social justice and control, brings equality for both men and women, regardless of race or cultural and social background.1  The Progressives were a group of Americans that began to form a movement of reform during the early twentieth century. The group of Americans were not a specific group of people, but many different types of individuals with different backgrounds, such as journalists, social workers, educators, and politicians.2   The lead to Progressivism was caused by the rise of businesses and the degraded treatment of the workers, such as factory workers. The workers began to receive low compensation along with long hours in unsanitary environments, while the businesses prospered. The businesses gained control and power by forming alliances with political parties. In addition, the Progressive movement became a movement to not only help with the protection and better treatment of the workers, but for slavery and women’s rights as well. The Progressives, therefore, had different levels of reform, such as local and labor reforms.1

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American History

Post WW1 time

The period after the First World War was the period of tremendous in American history.  This period marked an important and one of the most memorable stages in America. Despite the fact that country had acquired the opportunity to stand on its own and end reliance on Europe, America went through a number of difficulties that hindered development immediately after the First World War. The most common problem that the country witnessed during this transition was the emergence of the great depression in the economy. The country was also struggling to consolidate its political setting to ensure that it had the best leadership in the world (Bordo, & White, 2008).

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American History

The Inevitability Of Secession & Disunion

Since the days of the American Revolution when the colonies joined together to fight the domineering monarchy of King George III in order to create a new nation based on democratic ideals and principles as laid out in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there has existed a sort of dividing line between the North and the South. This line has nothing to do with geography; rather, it was a philosophical line that separated the Northerners from the Southerners in relation to politics, economics, and how a society should be organized and operated. In essence, this philosophical line of separation began to widen in the 1830’s and 1840’s and by 1861 had expanded into a clear line of demarcation between Americans in the South who supported an institution known as human slavery and those in the North who vigorously opposed it. Thus, the secession of states like South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi from the Federal Union was an inevitable occurrence and as most American historians point out, was directly responsible for the bloodiest and most violent domestic dispute in U.S. history–the Civil War or as those in the South often referred to it, the War Between the States.

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American History

The Trail of Tears by Chief Chipahawak

August 2,1831

Savannah, Georgia

Dear people,

It is I, Chief Chipahawak, leader of the Cherokee tribe in my town here in Savannah. I have been writing for a local newspaper for the past five years in peaceful collaboration with some of the white folk in Georgia who have not seemed to mind our presence, but the end seems to be approaching. I have witnessed much since I have come to Georgia- times of peace, times of unrest, times of unknown, this time however, I know in my heart that the white men do not want us Indians on their land any longer.

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American History

“Precedents Set By George Washington”

George Washington was the first president of the United States, and many of his actions were regarded as precedents by presidents that would follow him. Although he did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he believed the Constitution gave both him and Congress, his determination regarding foreign policy became preponderantly a Presidential concern for Washington (The White House, 2013).

Categories
American History

MLA Format

Several different formatting styles are used in academic writing, and the primary ones are the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Languages Association (MLA), Chicago, and Harvard.  These styles each have unique characteristics.  The relative ease of MLA renders it useful for acquainting students with basic style discipline, while Chicago, with its emphasis on footnotes, is typically preferred by historians (Bean  103).  APA may be said to occupy a middle ground between the strict formality of Chicago and the less rigorous demands of MLA, even as APA most mirrors MLA.  Just as each style has its own rules, so too does each evolve in terms of new editions in order to accommodate changes in sourcing and scholarship parameters.  However, and as will be seen in the following analysis of MLA, all styles exist to reinforce one academic discipline, that of properly acknowledging where information and/or ideas were retrieved by the writer.

Categories
History

Reconstruction – A Success or Failure

Throughout her life, America has undergone several political changes. Many leaders have ruled this nation, each of them having different plans and objectives about the future of America. Of importance to note is that, most policies of these leaders have ended unnoticed.  However, Reconstruction is a movement that had a grand impact on the Americans. This movement marked a time when America had many leaders with different goals and accomplishments. Though it happened, the results have been seen as both a failure and a success (Herron 2008).