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Post Info TOPIC: Assignment #15: The People Speak

Assignment #15: The People Speak

The People Speak
American Voices, by Howard Zinn

To celebrate the millionth copy sold of Howard Zinn's great People's History of the United States, Zinn drew on the words of Americans -- some famous, some little known -- across the range of American history. These words were read by a remarkable cast at an event held at the
92nd Street YMHA in New York City that included James Earl Jones, Alice Walker, Jeff Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Myla Pitt, Harris Yulin, and Andre Gregory.

Here in their own words, and interwoven with commentary by Zinn, are Columbus on the Arawaks; Plough Jogger, a farmer and participant in Shays' Rebellion; Harriet Hanson, a Lowell mill worker; Frederick Douglass; Mark Twain; Mother Jones; Emma Goldman; Helen Keller; Eugene V. Debs; Langston Hughes; Genova Johnson Dollinger on a sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan; an interrogation from a 1953 HUAC hearing; Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper and member of the Freedom Democratic Party; Malcolm X; and James Lawrence Harrington, a Gulf War resister, among others.

Each of the links below is a audio file that, when clicked on, will open your default audio player on your computer (usually RealAudio or Windows Media Player).  Listen to the clips to hear a dramatic reading of these real primary sources.  In many cases, Zinn introduces each clip at the end of the preceding file, so for instance, he should provide background information on the Malcolm X speech at the end of the Fannie Lou Hamer file.  Have fun with the recordings.  Try to imagine yourself hearing or reading these words in the era in which they were spoken.  Finally, answer the three questions below (under 'Assignment') for each of the 10 primary source audio files you choose.  Expand on your answers. 

P.S.  Don't wait until the last minute!  Do one or two a day.  Have fun with family and friends and I wish you the best of holidays & vacations!

Disc 1
1)      Introduction (Zinn)
2)      Peoples History Excerpt (Zinn)
3)      Columbus (Yulin)
4)      Las Casas (Gregory)
5)      Shays Rebellion (Zinn)
6)      Lowell Mill Girl (Tomei)
7)      Indian Removal (Glover)
8)      Womens Declaration of Rights (Pitt)
9)      Frederick Douglass (Jones)
10)    John Brown (Yulin)
11)    Frederick Douglass on John Brown (Jones)
12)    Henry Turner (Glover)
13)    Mark Twain (Vonnegut)
14)    IWW & Lawrence Strike (Zinn)
15)    Mother Jones (Woodard)
16)    Goldman (Walker)
17)    Helen Keller (Tomei)
18)    Eugene Debs (Vonnegut)

Disc 2
1)      Introduction (Zinn)
2)      Harlem Renaissance (Walker)
3)      Sit Down Strike at Flint (Yulin)
4)      Catch-22 (Vonnegut)
5)      HUAC Investigation (Yulin, Gregory)
6)      Fannie Lou Hamer (Woodard)
7)      Malcolm X (Jones)
8)      Vietnam (Glover)
9)      Womens Movement (Walker)
10)    Cesar Chavez (Tomei)
11)    Gulf War Resister (Zinn)
12)    Poverty in Our Time (Woodard)
13)    Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (Pitt)

Assignment: Choose any 10 of the primary source readings (not including the introductions and excerpt) and historically analyze them by answering in detail the following questions for each reading:

What is the historic context? [write a paragraph or two providing a brief background & explain the situation] 
2)  What is the message? [write a paragraph or two explaining the individual's position & meaning] 3)  What is your position? [support or oppose the passage using both reasoning and evidence].

-- Edited by mre at 02:35, 2007-12-20



1. Lowell Mill Girl
     This primary source document about a Lowell mill girl was read by Marisa Tomei. She described an incident where the strikers were taking the mills by storm. Harriet Hanson decided to side with the strikers for obvious reasons. {they were fighting to keep the wages the same} The mill workers listened to speeches about the strike while one woman spoke bravely of resisting the wages being cut.



Calisa wrote:

1. Lowell Mill Girl
     This primary source document about a Lowell mill girl was read by Marisa Tomei. She described an incident where the strikers were taking the mills by storm. Harriet Hanson decided to side with the strikers for obvious reasons. {they were fighting to keep the wages the same} The mill workers listened to speeches about the strike while one woman spoke bravely of resisting the wages being cut. She was the first woman to speak up.
    The workers in the higher rooms walked out of the mill. So many of them had left that they had to close down the mill. After all their talk, the girls in Harriet's room didn't want to leave first. Sensing that after it all, they might not leave, Harriet stated that she was leaving with or without the rest of them and stormed out. A long line of mill girls followed her.
    Harriet followed her heart and became the leader. Of all the people talking about the strike, she went out and became a part of it. It's one thing to say you're going to strike and walk out it sounds all nice. But Harriet will be respected and admired for life because she did something, she led her group out to join the strike.
    If I was a Lowell mill girl at this time, there is a good chance that I would also lead the girls out of the mill. They were all trying so hard so that their wages wouldn'tbe cut anymore. Refusing to do work via walkout was a great way to get the attention of the factory owners.



2. Shays Rebellion
    Jeff Zinn, the son of our opinionated writer, Howard Zinn, read this primary source about a supporter of Shays Rebellion. Plough Jogger has been working all his life and all he's gotten in return is more taxes. The little money he makes he has to use to support himself and his family. He has had to make sacrifices to get enough money to pay these taxes. Plough even had to sell his cattle and not even for what they were worth.
    Plough is suffering along with people like him have for their whole lives. Those few people is power are getting all the benifits that the lower classes work for. If everything that's been worked for is going to the people in power, then what's left for the farmers and the poorer people? He believes that those who worked for those benifits should rebel against the authority figures that are trying to take it away. Basically the large population of farmers need to get what they deserve from those lawyers, collectors and sheriffs.
    Plough is just trying to get himself and his fellow farmers what they deserve. He believes they should fight for what is rightfully theirs. Daniel Shays is trying to rally these farmers such as Plough, and put an end to people having everything when they worked for nothing. Plough and others have been working their butts off all their lives only to put more money in the rich people's pockets. It's Not Fair!
    I completely agree with Plough Jogger on the fact that it's not fari working so hard and getting punished more for it. The farmers outnumber the sheriffs, collectors and lawyers, the people who are the authority and they should completely fight for what's theirs. Personally thou, i would refuse to do work and try to strike a deal, similar to other solutions to issues in this time period, but that's just me. 





Lowell Mill GirlContext: Harriet Hanson, a Lowell Mill Girl is describing one of the first strikes of Mill Girls. It takes place during 1836.Message: The wages of the Mill workers were to be cut down. Her message was that she had the courage to lead the lower floor of Mill girls out, and that they had the right to resists all of the attempts at cutting down their wages.Opinion: I agree with the Mill girls. They were right to resist all of the attempts, and hadnt done anything to deserve them.


Emma GoldmanContext: Emma Goldman was one of the most powerful voices in America for feminism. She lectured all over the country and was arrested many times. This speech took place in 1916, and she is talking to a courtroom, after she had been charged with speaking about Birth Control.Message: Her message is that what had she done wrong, she had just wanted to prevent the births of unwanted children. The country had already had 30 million underfed people, she just wanted to educate people so they could prevent births of children who would end up with no food or home. Opinion: My opinion is that she should have been able to talk about birth control if she wanted to. She wasnt hurting anybody, just educating them.


Mark TwainContext: After the US victory of the Spanish-American war of 1898, and the bloody conquest of the Philippines, Theodore Roosevelt wanted to congratulate the commanding general. Roosevelt, who had loved warfare, was congratulating a man who had ordered the deaths of 600 people on a single island. This excerpt is Mark Twains response to the president.Message: Mark Twain doesnt agree with the presidents views on war. Many times in his excerpt, he mentions women and children, and how they too were massacred with the 600 people. At the end of the reading, Twain states that he is an anti-imperialist, and doesnt believe the US should do this to any other countries.


IWW & Lawrence StrikeContext: IWW stands for Industrial Workers of the World. It was an organized labor unit to organize the workers of all races and of both genders. When female immigrants went on strike in 1912, police responded with violence. A poet who was arrested on murder charges, Arturo Giovanitti, is the man talking in this excerpt.Message: Giovanitti is saying, during his trial, that the only industrial strike questions being brought up are the methods and tactics of the workers, not the ethical parts. He compares the workers to slaves, and states, there shall be no more slaves. He just wants equal rights for immigrants and people who were born free in America.Opinion: Giovanitti should have equal rights as the Americans, as should the female immigrants who come to America.


Plough JoggerContext: Plough Jogger was one of the participants in Shays Rebellion. He participated in the rebellion in 1787, and was a man who mutinied against George Washington. He was a former war veteran who had been given a small amount of land, but could not afford it because the taxes were so high.Message: Jogger is saying that he worked so hard, and even fought in the war, but was mad that he couldnt afford the small piece of land that he had been given. For example, he states, Ive labored hard all my days and fared hard. Opinion: My opinion on Plough Jogger is that he was a poor veteran, who had helped his country out in the war, but had not even received fair treatment after the war was over. I think he shouldve had smaller taxes to pay, so he could have afforded his land.


Helen KellerContext: Helen Keller was an extraordinary woman who was deaf and blind. In this passage, she speaks in Carnegie Hall, on the nights of the countrys entrance into WWI. Also, during Kellers lifetime, she had to deal with charges that she was incompetent to judge issues because of the disabilities she had.Message: Keller is actually saying that by entering the war, we are entering into a great deal of trouble. She also feels that we had nothing to do with the cause of the war so we shouldnt get ourselves involved in it. She states, We are not preparing to defend our country-we have no enemies foolhardy enough to attempt to invade the United States. Opinion: I feel Keller is right. Since the US wasnt attacked or involved with the start of the war, we shouldnt have gotten involved with it, risked our freedom, and risk the lives of so many men.


Eugene DebsContext: Debs was a labor leader and a socialist. He was the leader of the socialist party, and ran for president three times. He spoke against WWI, and was jailed for violating the Espionage Act. This speech is given during his trial and the Supreme Court in the fall of 1918; he is speaking to the court.Message: Debs message is that he opposes a social order in which a man who does absolutely nothing (ex. A man who had inherited a prosperous factory corporation and fortune) can make millions of dollars, whereas million of factory workers work every single day of their lives and barely make enough money to survive.Opinion: I feel Debs is right. Why should people who do absolutely nothing for work be allowed to make millions, while the workers who work for them receive less than nothing? Its not fair to the factory workers.


Indian RemovalContext: Andrew Jackson signed an order in 1830 to remove (by force) Five Civilized Tribes from their territory. They were driven to Mississippi by the Trail of Tears and 16,000 had died. In this excerpt, the Cherokees and Seminoles had resisted and were speaking to the government of the US.Message: The Cherokees state their right to remain on the land, and that there are treaties that say that can do so. They dont want to leave, and believe everyone came for the same Mother and Father and that they are brothers, and should be treated that way.The Seminoles say they wont go. Their message is that if they tear their hearts from their homes, our heartstrings will snap.Opinion: The Cherokees and the Seminoles had substantial treaties and should have been allowed to stay on their land. I dont believe it was morally right to take them from their land.


Frederick DouglassContext: Frederick Douglass, a former slave, was a leader of the antislavery movement. During this speech, in 1852, he was speaking to celebrate the Fourth of July.Message: Since slavery had not yet been abolished, Douglass is asking why he was invited to speak on the Fourth of July to celebrate the whites freedoms when he hadnt been allowed to enjoy them since he was Black. He is saying that it is quite ironic how he, a former slave, had been asked to speak on freedom and independence.Opinion: I agree with Douglass, and feel it is ironic how he was asked to speak about independence.


Mother JonesContext: In 1914, after a thousand miners, with their wives and children, had been attacked by machine-gun fire, and 11 children and 2 women died, Mother Jones had come to Colorado to support the miners. Mother Jones was an 82 year old organizer for the mine workers. They gathered in the Opera House in Trinidad, and she spoke for them.Message: Mother Jones message is that since the mining wouldnt be worth anything without the workers, she tells them they should go on strike if they go on strike that they will be able to ask for the justice they deserve.Opinion: I agree with Mother Jones. I think that if the workers went on strike for long enough they would receive justice.



3. Womens Declaration of Rights

    Myla Pitt read this interesting document about the Womens Declaration of Rights. Interesting in the way that she adopted womens rights to the long-withstanding Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was the list of rights of the new colonies and it accounted for everyone in the new country. But it conveniently excluded two major groups, African Americans and women. Now African Americans eventually were included with some provisions and limited rights, but what about women? Isnt it our turn.

    This document proves that it is womankinds time to get the rights we deserve. If everyone is created equal, then women too were given at birth the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And it is apparent that any government that refuses these equal rights, well, the people have the right to fight back. The right to rebel and request a new government that supports those equal rights. Men for years have purposely refused to give women the rights they deserve to have.

    The Womens Declaration of Rights is a statement being made by women who are awaiting a change. Women have lived centuries under mans control and now that the world is changing, why not adjust to women. All these years, men have wanted women to be dependent of them and live lives unequaled to their own. Women make up half of this countrys population yet for all this time we have been denied the rights of a United States citizen.

    I completely support women {being one myself} finally getting the rights they deserve. Women have been suffering at the hands of men for too long and its time for them to take a stand. The Declaration of Independence was the list of rights that would hold the colonies together but they left out a major component; women. This Womens Declaration of Rights is to show men that women arent here just for show, and can live and prosper independently. My only complaint is that no one thought of doing this sooner!  4. Mark Twain    Kurt Vonnegut read this primary source stating Mark Twains feelings about the goings-on. This document is a sarcastic account of what happened when we invaded the Philippines. General Leonard Wood reported to President Theodore Roosevelt that savage morrows were in the Philippines. 600 men, women, and children went into an extinct volcano crater to get away from the United States army. How dare these morrows be upset because weve been trying to take their freedom for eight years?     General Wood sent soldiers to spy 2200 ft above sea level in the crater to see how many people they were dealing with. Then General ordered a kill or capture attack of the morrows in the crater and even went along to watch. The United States army went in with 600 and ended up with 15 dead and 32 wounded while the Philippians started with 600 and lost 600. Said to be the greatest accomplishment of Christian soldiers, this victory was praised by President Roosevelt. The Treaty of Paris was supposed to free the people of the Philippines but instead it showed that our whole goal was to subjugate them.     Mark Twain is opposed to the United States conquering any other country because its embarrassing how they treat those that they capture. Mark is speaking sarcastically because its outrageous what lengths the United States will go to prove their superiority. Our army under General Wood didnt eliminate a Philippine army of 600; they eliminated 600 combined men, women and their children who did nothing to anyone. Its sad that our army didnt even leave a baby to cry for its dead parents. We were trying to take away their freedom in the first place.    Mark Twain doesnt think its morally right what we did in the Philippines and neither do I. We promised to do the responsible thing and free them but that wasnt our plan at all. Why does the United States want to take over other countries and force their unknowing people to be our slaves or worse? President Roosevelt was a fool for congratulating such a heinous act of cruelty to the people of the Philippines. I mean wasnt the original order that was given by General Wood to kill or capture the morrows.  5. Columbus

    Harris Yulin read this log document belonging to Christopher Columbus. Columbus log illustrates how the Europeans took advantage of the Arawak Indians and were planning to enslave them. Since the Arawaks had no prior knowledge of European items, they traded away everything they owned. The Arawaks gave up balls of cotton, parrots, bamboo spears and other things for useless beads and hawks bills. Columbus knew that they were peace-loving Indians who didnt have the appropriate weapons to fight and used that to devise a plan to capture and enslave them.

    Columbus went to a foreign and admired how the natives were built but he could only think of how he could use them. Columbus mentally abused the Arawaks when he let them believe they were getting an even trade. And worst of all, Columbus believes he was fair in all of this cruelty. He was thinking out full plans to enslave these Indians and force them to do what ever he wanted.  Columbus attacked these Arawaks knowing that they simple weapons that couldnt compare with the advances of European weapons.    I think that Columbus is 100% wrong in invading the Arawaks lives and messing them up. These peace-loving Arawaks offered everything they owned to these European strangers only to be taken advantage of and harmed. I dont see what thrill Columbus got out of manipulating an unknowing peoples. Its cruel and morally wrong to capture and enslave people for purely selfish reasons, especially if their peaceful people.  6. Mother Jones

    Alfre Woodard brilliantly read this tale about Mother Jones ordeal with the miners. Mother Jones is at a convention trying to get the miners to stand up for their rights as miners. Mother Jones was speaking with the coal miners and that night was taken from her house and brought to the courthouse. The judge reminded her of his injunction stating that she couldnt even look at the miners. Mother Jones bravely spoke to the judge and said that as long as God gave her the sight to see, she would look wherever she wanted. Mother Jones wants the miners to stand up for themselves because they are the biggest part of the population and they are responsible for the states wealth.

    Mother Jones is a big supporter of the coal miners and is trying to get them to fight for the rights that they should have. She knows that the miners pay the governor and he doesnt pay them. She believes that its the governor duty to protect the miners. She wants the miners to have their rights and if not they welcome the fight. Even if no one else will keep fighting, Mother Jones will be there to fight for the miners.

    I think Mother Jones is an honorable woman for standing up for the miners. They do deserve the rights and attention that has thus far been denied to them. Miners are being killed every day and there is no response and its not fair. If miners are that important to the state, they should get recognition for what they do. Miners need to be treated as equal as anybody in any other occupation. If I could I would defend a group of workers as well as Mother Jones did.

 7. Fannie Lou Hamer

    Alfre Woodard once again brilliantly reads a tale, this time about Fannie Lou Hamer, a female sharecropper and member of the Freedom Democratic Party. Fannie Lou is talking to a chairman and the credential committee about her attempts to register to vote in Mississippi. Fannie Lou along with several others went to the courthouse to register to become 1st class citizens. When she returned to the plantation owner he told her that she had to go withdraw her registration or leave. She refused and left that same night.

    About a year later she and around 9 others went to a voter registration workshop. On the way home, traveling by bus, they were stopped by highway patrol. By the time he noticed Fannie Lou, the chief of police had arrived. Both the chief of police and the highway patrol ordered two black prisoners to beat her. The common races were enough to save her right? Nope, the 1st one brutally beat her until he was exhausted then the 2nd one took over.

    Fannie Lou is telling this story because people need to be aware that things like this are happening. She believes that she was just trying to become a respectable citizen and was robbed of that chance. She is not trying to change herself to fit in she is being herself and trying to be accepted. As a black woman, it is not easy to be taken as a serious human being and member of this country. Women have been given the right to vote but the white men still couldnt see a black woman voting on issues in this country.

    Fannie Lou is an honorable woman who deserves to be treated better. Fannie Lous story doesnt take place that far in the past and it scares me that my father and his family were traveling in the south while this was happening. I feel lucky that I have all the rights and privileges that I do as a woman in the 21st century. {Happy New Year by the way} I have to commend her for not backing down from her mission to register to vote, and so should you. Thank you Fannie Lou and other women like you for fighting for the rights that us women now have.

 8. Womens Movement

    This document, read by Alice Walker, is about the Womens Movement specifically black women. The author describes the adversity that black women have gone through since they were taken from Africa. Some of these hardships were being raped and impregnated and having their children stolen and forced to become slaves. To the white people, all black women are are maids and sexual objects. Black women were forced to care for and look after their masters kids while their own were sold and whipped.

    Us black women are forgotten in all aspects of entertainment and not planned for in fashion. And when we are shown, we are perceived as being too big and too black to accomplish anything. For years white men have been trying to make us feel inferior and ashamed of ourselves. The author and myself also wonder who is going to protect, fight for, and most of all love the black woman. Is there anyone who can and will portray the black woman positively?

    The author is illustrating what black women have had to go through all these years at the hands of the white men. We know the white man is raping her but she is also being raped in all other areas of her life. The men shes around, society, they are all taking and taking what they want from her and giving nothing back. The black woman has been abused and taken advantage of for too long and its time they took a stand. The author knows that the black woman has to protect the black woman.

    As I black woman I feel strongly about this issue and I agree with the author. Im happy that now a days black women are accepted and portrayed as some of the most beautiful people in the world. Black women did take a stand and now they are some of the most powerful, most respected people around. Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, and Hallie Berry are among the many beautiful, influential women in America. {My mom is too but shes not as well known} I hope I can represent strong black women kind as well as these women have done before me.

 9. Caesar Chavez

    Marisa Tomei took on the duty of reading this primary source document from Cesar Chavez and his opinions about the suffering farm workers. Chavez began by telling a short story about someone named Johnny Rodrigues who died at the age of 5 after a 2-year battle with cancer. His parents are farm workers and all farm workers are exposed to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. A woman, Alea who worked in the table grapes in California, had to work until she was 8 months pregnant with Johnny, probably where he got the cancer. Farm workers in California have been suffering hardship and exploitation for too long.

    These farm workers in California are exposed to tuberculosis, pneumonia and respitory injunction while migrant children are getting malnutrition. The poor farm workers life expectancy is 20 years below the United States normal life expectancy. And when these farmers try to fight back, they are brutalized sometimes to death. The Union is not protecting the farm workers so its up to us men and women of this world who together are suffering and hoping for a better world. The world revolves around economics and profit so the people providing it should be protected.

    Chavez feels strongly about this issue and for good reason. There are more children like Johnny whose lives were taken away too soon and the world needs to know. Chavez realizes that its not far that these poor people are working so hard to provide for us and we cant even give them livable, living conditions. When Chavez says, how do you measure a life, he brings up the point about how some lives are poisoned and cut short for no good reason. Chavez doesnt think its right that the workers are exposed to such horrible toxins and chemicals.

    I too cant see why the workers have to work in these conditions while they are exposed to these damaging agricultural chemicals. By not fixing these work areas, the farm owners are not only putting their workers lives in danger but like Johnny, their childrens lives. Whats even worse is that when the farm workers try to stand up and defend themselves, they get hurt and ignored. Chavez asks if we feel the pain and suffering of the farm workers and their families. I dont think I can truly understand without witnessing 1st hand but I do feel for them.

 10. Malcolm X

    Actor James Earl Jones proudly reads this primary source document about Malcolm X. Malcolm X believed that you should treat everybody how you would like to be treated. Yes that is the respect that we have all been taught since kindergarten. He also believes that the black men are being controlled to do only what the white men say.  Black men are forced to defend this country in a white mans war but here in our own country, they arent allowed to stop whats happening to their own people.

    Malcolm X notices everything that is going on around him and the United States. He doesnt like the fact that our black men have to defend this white-based country but cant defend their families and communities. The white men are raping our little black girls and our black churches are being burned to the ground and the white men want to keep it that way. He is prompting us blacks to fight back against our white oppressors. Whats funny that Malcolm X was rallying violence while at the same time Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching the complete opposite way.

    Malcolm X is a great role model especially for blacks who are proud of the freedom and rights we now have because of people like him. Personally it scares me a little that black men fighting in Vietnam, like my dad, were not allowed to defend people like me here in America. I think he was on the right track trying to get our black men to defend their rights, including the one where they can protect their own families. I cant even believe that even 30 years ago, white men were still taking advantage of black people. Im glad I live in a time where that doesnt happen anymore.


Note: the Anonymous posting was me, and no offense to anyone in the my position paragraphs.




Ashley Baldo


  1. Columbus

At the time that this sound bite was written by the people who had come to explore the new world, they felt that the Native Americans were Indians and inferior in knowledge and race to the Europeans.  Columbus had set out to find an easier way to get to India, an ocean route that would take less time than the overland route that many took.  He instead discovered a land that was unknown to many and he eventually went back to exploit the natural resources and the people to the brink of extinction.

Columbus writes that they do not have things that Europeans would at that point take for granted.  He also states that they would make good servants because they could be subjugated into servitude with only a few men, for they had no weapons to match those that the Europeans held.  He also states that they are strong and sound in body, which would also allude to the fact that they would make good slaves to those who wished to have them.

At the time that this was written there would have been no evidence to support that the Indians were relatively intelligent in the minds of the Europeans.  At this point you could not have disputed Columbuss findings or his theories about the Natives that he had encountered.  Today, however, we know that contrary to his beliefs the Natives were intelligent and the basic principle that enslaving, exploiting, or exterminating any race for your own means is fundamentally wrong.  It is just to bad that they were not aware of their effects on the world at the time that they exterminated millions of Natives of Hispaniola.

  1. Shays Rebellion

After the Revolutionary War had ended many of the people who had been soldiers in the army returned home to their farms in the countryside.  To pay off the cost of the war the country had increased taxes on land held.  Many of the soldiers returning found that the cost of the taxes were too high to continue growing and living on their farms.  So many lands were taken from the hands of the veterans of the war that won the independence from Britain.

Daniel Shays and other farmers staged a rebellion to stop the taking of their lands.  In this clip he describes the injustices served to him by the country he fought to defend.  He tells how he has lost everything, how he has had to sell most of what he owns.  The rebellion was put down and there was no violence.  However, this brought to light the differences between the classes in the newly born country.  The upper class began to fear the lower class because of the influence they could hold if mob rule became the standard.

If I had been a veteran at that time returning home only to find that the country I just fought for is ruining my life with high taxes, it would have made me furious as well.  I would have rebelled to retain my way of life.  Because our numbers are larger than those of the upper class, we know we would have more influence.  The lower class was becoming more powerful.


3. Lowell Mill Girl

            In the years of 1834 and 1836 the girls that worked in the Lowell mills in Massachusetts went on strike to protest their wages.  Their wages were being cut by those that owned the companies and they were being forced to work harder than ever so they united together and walked out in a strike.  So many left that the mill had to be immediately shut down.

            The woman that is speaking in this particular piece is angered by the injustices that have befallen her in her line of work.  She cannot stand that they are being forced to work harder for less money.  So when the women in her section were unsure if they should walk out she screamed that she would and all the others followed her.

            Of course I would agree with what is said in this piece.  These things are illegal in todays time and they should have been illegal then too.  You cannot work longer and be paid less, that is not how it works, how are you supposed to support your family that way.


4. Womens Declaration of Independence

            After the fifteenth amendment was passed, allowing African American men to vote in America, women were outraged.  They were not granted the suffrage they wanted; they were still not seen as equals.  So they began a movement for womens rights and suffrage.

            The woman is speaking of how a government can be overthrown or changed if the people being governed by it do not agree with it.  She speaks of how men AND women were created equal by God.  It is at its basics the Declaration of Independence except the inclusion of women as equal and the inclusion of the abuses that were seen by women in the country.

            I, as a woman, of course agree with this womans speech.  Women were created equal with men, not lesser than.  We should be given the same rights afforded to them without a second thought.  We should be thought as equal without a second thought.


5. Frederick Douglas

In 1852 Frederick Douglas was asked to speak at the fourth of July.  He was an ex-slave who had become educated.  He had written books about his life as a slave, and had fled to Europe because of them.  He returned after awhile of course, and he was still active in the cause of abolition.

He tells of how the anniversary of the fourth of July is not a celebration to be celebrated by him.  He tells that the liberty and freedoms enjoyed by the white man are not enjoyed by the black man.  He says that this day is the day at which slaves feel the worst because they do not share in the freedoms of the white man.  He then asks the crowd if he had been asked there as a joke.  For he does not feel that July 4th should be celebrated by him.  He then jabs vehemently at the United States and their abuses toward slaves.

I see where he is coming from at this time.  How could he celebrate a holiday that celebrates the liberation of the white men from other oppressive white men, when slaves had suffered for so long under the strain of not being able to be free.  He should not have been asked to speak there, because he is right and he had every right to speak that way at that time.


6. John Brown

            Before slaves were granted their freedom there was one white man that stood above the rest on the cause of abolition.  His name was John Brown and he staged a raid on an arsenal at Harpers Ferry with both white and black men intended to arm slaves of the surrounding area and allow them the ability to fight for their freedom.  They were stopped and many were killed.  John Brown himself was tried and sentenced to be hanged.

            John Brown is speaking to the court when he is being sentenced to death.  He says that if he had acted in such a way to save the rich or the powerful he would not be being punished in this way, instead he would be being praised.  He said that he was doing as the bible told him he should and that if that be a cause for punishment by the law, then he would submit to his punishment, which he did before long.

            I believe that what John Brown is saying about the people in the courts is true.  The law is not fair to the cause in which he decided to invest himself.  If he had invested into the causes of the rich and the powerful then he would have been praised not vilified as he was.  I however do not agree with his thought that he was doing the bibles work.  God does not tell us to harm or hurt or to use violence against fellow men white or black.  


7. Frederick Douglas on John Brown

            22 years after the death of John Brown Frederick Douglas was asked to speak at a college in Harpers Ferry.  I must remind you that before I spoke on Douglas.  He was an abolitionist and ex-slave.  He even wrote a book on his life as a slave.

            In this speech Douglas is speaking about John Brown, what he did, and the impact it had on the United States.  He is saying that the first battle was not at FortSumter, but it was really at Harpers Ferry.  He believes John Brown was the person who started the war for freedom.  He was the catalyst for the war for liberty.

            In a way I believe what Douglas is saying about Brown.  He did get the northerners and southerners to split on ideas concerning slavery and abolitionism.  He was not necessarily right in doing so and in doing so with violence against his fellow man especially.  But his ends might have closely ended up justifying his means.


8. Henry Turner

            Henry Turner was an elected official for the state of Georgia.  After reconstruction had gone on for some time the north made deals with the south.  So they started to withdraw their power from the south, and in doing so got rid of their officials so that southern officials might take power.  Henry Turner was one official that lost power through these deals.  This is a speech to his colleagues before he left office.

            Turner is saying in his speech that he is basically appalled at the fact that he is now being charged to leave because of the color of his skin.  He tells those in the legislature that they are cowards of a white race to fear a black man.  He says that all his people are asking for are their rights as a people.  They are not asking for compensation for the past, just the rights they should have been given long ago as a common people.

            He is right to say these things.  Why should he be thrown from office just because of the color of his skin?  He is a man and a man that has rights to opinion and rights to hold office.  He is right to say that the white man fears or is a coward in front of black men.  But they deserve their rights as a people and should have been granted them long ago.


9. Mark Twain

            When Theodore Roosevelt was in office there was some conflict with the Philippines.  Roosevelt justified the fighting as acts to civilize the natives of the Philippines.  Then when a general massacred some six hundred natives of those islands on a beach, Roosevelt congratulated him.  Mark Twain speaks about this incident in his words.

            In this long piece by Mark Twain he is speaking about the incident of the massacre of the natives.  He is saying that there were six hundred men, women, and children on that island hidden in a crater, and they killed every single one of them.  He does not believe that they were fighting to redeem the Philippines.  He believed that the USA was fighting to subjugate those that lived there.  He did not believe that was the right course of action against them.

            I believe to some extent what Twain is saying here.  However, if the natives were indeed hostile as the USA had more than likely believed there should be some bloodshed, as Im sure Twain would have believed in as well.  But there was no instance in which there should have been the absolute slaughter of every man, woman, and child on the island.


10. IWW & Lawrence Strike

            The Industrial Workers of the World was a labor organization that included all workers of all ethnicities, which was radical at the time of its establishment.  When immigrant women who worked in the mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts and were met with police violence and intimidation Arturo Juvenety(sp?) spoke about it.

            He is speaking about how the factories work at that time.  He is saying that the people who work in the factories are hardly more than slaves to the men he works for and to the man he rents his house from, sometimes the same man.  A person cannot be half free and half slave, he says.  He also says that a person should not have to strike to get $0.50 more a week to help support their families so that their children wont go hungry.  He wishes he lived in a world where there was liberty and no reason to strike.

            He is right to believe that there should be no reason to strike.  Companies should see that they need raises because of inflation or just more money to care for families.  A person should not have to be a slave to the man either the one he works for or the one that owns his house.







Dan S.


1.)    Mark Twain

What Mark twain is commenting on and criticizing is the Philippine-American War and more specifically the Moro Crater Massacre.  The war went on officially from 1899 to 1902 but military occupation and activity in the Philippines until 1913.  This took place right after the defeat of Spain by the U.S. in the Spanish-American war which resulted in the Treaty of Paris where the U.S. bought the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  However, the people in the Philippines had already been fighting for their independence from Spain and had just declared themselves independent in 1898 and had considered the Americans allies.  This changed when the U.S. bought the Philippines and now treated them more as a place for colonization instead of an independent state.  Despite the name given to it, it was never officially a war per se because no formal declaration of war was ever issued but instead was called an insurrection to make it appear more as a rebellion.  President Mckinley stated that this war was necessary to Christianize and civilize the Philippinoes, who happened to be Muslim. 

            In this primary source Mark Twain talks about the imperialism, the U.S., and the Philippine-American war.  He mainly talks about the Moro Crater Massacre in which 600 Muslim Moro villagers were killed in their village located in the dormant crater of Bud Dajo.  He describes the situation of the battle and that the Moros were hostile against us because instead of helping them in their newfound liberty we were trying to subjugate them.  When we attacked them we only lost 15 men and another 32 wounded counting minor injuries while all of them died even the babies.  Twain mockingly calls this the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States. and also mocks the President when saying that he was the only one to make a public remark on the matter in which Theodore Roosevelt congratulated Major General Wood on a job well done and upholding the honor of the American Flag.  He believes that it should be the U.S.s pleasure and duty to make those people free and let them deal with themselves in what way they wish.  Instead we go there to conquer and in his own words says I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land. And hence his is an anti-imperialist.

            My own personal position is that we were wrong to go in and subjugate them despite buying the land that they lived on.  Instead, at the very least, we should peacefully have made them a part of the U.S. and having them follow our laws but allow them to set up their own localized government and govern themselves for the most part.  It was completely unnecessary to kill all those people just to control them when it could have been done in a more honorable and reasonable manner. I myself in this situation would have been for imperialism but would have pursued a compromise between the two parties instead.


2.)    Gulf War Resister

The Gulf War or the Persian Gulf War was a war between Iraq and a force of 35 different nations led by the U.S. and authorized by the U.N.  The purpose was to liberate Kuwait from Iraq control and this lasted from august 1990 to February 1991.  This conflict developed from the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 -1988 in which the U.S. and other countries aided Iraq in defeating Iran mainly to prevent Iran from spreading its Islamic Revolution to other Arab nations.  After this Iraq was in debt and unrest developed from the fact that Kuwait was digging into Iraqi oil wells and retaliated by taking over Kuwait and their oil wells resulting in the Persian Gulf War.  From this came the war.

This primary source is of James Lawrence Herringtons letter of resignation from the military in protest to the war.  In his letter he states that he opposes any and all war due to his beliefs.  Also, due to his beliefs, whatever they might be, he cannot fight or participate in this war since the reason behind it does not agree with his ideas.  He believes that he cannot be silent and participate in this war but to speak up, oppose it, and to work towards abolishing all wars.  He wants a radical revolution to change what hurts us and other nations around the world, the fact that we are a thing-oriented society and must be changed to a person-oriented community where we love and respect all people.

First of all, I agree with his goals in achieving peace and a world where everyone loves and respects each other.  I also believe in his actions where he resigns from the military to protest a war he doesnt believe in.  However, despite his goals being ideal and admirable I disagree on the basis that they are unrealistic.  I myself believe from my faith that there will never be true peace worldwide until after the end of this world because until the end of this world there will always be evil with us in this world.  I also believe in fighting wars but those I truly believe myself are just and necessary.


3.)    Frederick Douglass

In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Toms Cabin, the Civil War was approaching, and Franklin Pierce was elected president.  

In this primary source Frederick Douglass makes his Fourth of July speech where he addresses the audience on the situation of slavery and independence.  He calls his request to speak a mockery of him because he was black and still the country had not abolished slavery therefore he was not completely free.  So only whites could rejoice this day for their independence while blacks could not rightfully so.  He also speaks of the great hypocrisy of the U.S. for they proclaim they are a nation of the free and equal while they continue slavery blatantly.  He sees this act as very shocking and almost inhuman and atrocious.

In my opinion I agree with him in his position.  He makes a strong argument and message and James Earle Jones voice agrees with it.  Though I feel his message is a bit radical in a sense he basically has every right to be and to complain on the situation of the nation at that time.


4.)    John Brown

John Brown is most famously known for the Raid on Harpers Ferry, in which he and a couple of men raided an armory and planned to arm the slaves with weapons to free them but his plan failed, and for being an extreme radical against racism.

In this short primary source John Brown addresses the court during his trial.  He states that if he did what he did on behalf of the rich or great men of this country, the people of the court would have seen and thought it honorable but since he did it on behalf of the blacks and poor they condemn him.  He also says that if he has to lay down his life for that of upholding justice or that of his familys then so be it.

In my opinion I support his basic ideals but being a radical of anything really, can bring things too far.  He has a great sense of justice but his zealousness carries it to extremes that are unnecessary and would do more harm than good if successful.


5.)    Frederick Douglass on John Brown

After the Civil War Frederick Douglass was asked to speak at a college in Virginia in 1881.  During this time the Oriental Telephone Company was formed by Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, the infamous Billy the Kid is gallivanting around, the U.S. Tennis association is founded, the American Red Cross is also established and by Clara Burton, The Sioux Chief Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. in the Indian Wars, and The Thumb Fire aka the Great Thumb Fire aka the Great Forest Fire of 1881 burned over a million  acres in less than a day and is reportedly he first natural disaster served by the American Red Cross.

This primary source is of a short part of Frederick Douglasss speech at a college on John Brown.  He attributes the beginning of the Civil War to John Brown basically saying that only a man like he could do such a great thing.

I think that Frederick Douglass might be praising him a bit too much, or at least more than I would.  I think a great and better change came about from the Civil War but if he had started something that was peacefully with the same effect and a lot less bloodshed he would be praised a thousand-fold more than is by Frederick Douglass now in this primary source.


6.)    Henry Turner

Henry McNeal Turner was born free in Newberry Courthouse, South Carolina in 1834 and taught himself how to read and write.  By 1853 he earned his preachers license and eventually became the bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  After the Civil War he moved to Georgia where he was involved with the Radical Republicans and helped found its party there in the state.  There he worked to over turn some certain Supreme Court decisions.

This primary source is of Turners address to his colleagues before he was kicked out of office as Radical Reconstruction ended.  He talks to them as an equal and demands, not begs, for his rights as a man given to him by the constitution and its amendments.  He describes some of the injustices done to him and his people but asks for no more than his and blacks rights and for people to actually give it to them.

I agree with what he says in his little speech.  Since the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteed him equal rights by the government, he should be given them without fault no matter what people think.

7.) Shays Rebellion

            Shays rebellion was a rebellion of farmers in western Massachusetts who were mostly veterans of the Revolutionary war crushed by the debts and taxes put on them after receiving free land under their terms of service.  They set out to stop the courts from proceeding and taxing them until they had nothing and then auctioning off their land.

            In this primary source Plough jogger, a participant in Shays Rebellion, spoke out against the injustices against him and other farmers.  He says that he has worked hard and fair but has been abused through taxes and people cheating him.  He has been forced to keep paying people but complains that no one will pay him and all the farmers goods are going to the Great Men. He believes that it must be put to a stop and that courts will not continue until the situation changes for the better and the grievances of the people are heard and dealt with.

            In my opinion he has a right to complain and stop the courts who are seemingly conducting unjust business in taking advantage of farmers and making money off of them.


8.)    Malcolm X

In the year 1863 Malcolm X addressed a meeting in Detroit about Civil Rights and the method of getting and upholding them for black people versus Martin Luther King Jr.s method.  Also during this time are other important events to set the context and are as follows.  A black student, Harvey Gantt, enters a Universoty in S.C. which is the last state to hold out against racial integration, The CIAs Domestic Operation Division is created, AlcatrazIsland is closed, the Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright rules that the poor must have lawyers, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his I Have a Dream speech, and J.F.K. is assassinated.     

In this primary source Malcolm X delivers his speech to an audience in Detroit.  His message is that of violence because he has seen what other methods have been used and their effectiveness.  He believes that Black Americans should be able to use violence to protect their own just as the U.S. drafts black men to fight in defense of it.  This is because if violence is wrong here in the U.S. then it is wrong abroad and is but the same everywhere. So if it is right for the U.S. to draft black men to defend her in violence then he believes it is right for black men to defend their families with violence as it is the same.

In my opinion he speaks the truth.  The blacks just as us have the same right to defend themselves as they do with civil rights.  I would believe it to be wrong for them not to defend themselves if whites were killing them and their families but asked them to defend them.  I mean would you really want to defend someone who was treating you as less than they and actually hurting you?  I know I wouldnt.

9.)    HUAC Investigation

The House of Un-American Activities Committee which lasted from 1938 to 1975 was an investigative committee of the House of Representatives which investigated any un-American activities mainly anything related to communism.  After World War II and the start of the Cold War the committee pressed its investigation to root out any communist influence in the U.S. government or its media.  In one of its most infamous stunts it interrogated and found many actors, screenwriters, and others of the same sort guilty of being or influenced by communists, most famously the Hollywood Ten.

Lionel Jay Stander, in this primary source, engages the HUAC investigation.  The message that is presented here is that the committee actually did more harm than good and was unreasonable, even contradictory.  They reportedly cost a lot of people, mainly actors and their sort, their livelihoods, so in fact they themselves ironically while looking for subversive activities and groups were one themselves.  Stander accuses them of trying to undermine the U.S. and of being sort of a hate group due to their targeting specific people.  During the interrogation as shown in the primary source reading, they made themselves look foolish and contradictory.

In my opinion of the hearing, I think it was funny and revealing at the same time.  It showed just how trivial the committee was, wasting their and other peoples time and going further and probably destroying someone who was innocents life.

10.)            Cesar Chavez

Chavez was a Mexican farmer and Civil Rights activist who founded the National Farm Workers Association aka United Farm Workers.  He lived from 1927-1993 and gave a speech in 1989 to give attention to the plight of farm workers.  In the 1980s he led a protest against using toxic pesticides on grapes.  Also happening during this time were the Revolutions of 1989 sweeping the Eastern Bloc which stopped the spread of communism as a basis of government practically worldwide, George Bush Senior becomes President, Nintendo begins selling the Game Boy in Japan, and the Berlin Wall is torn down.

In this primary source Cesar Chavez addresses the problems and sufferings of farmers, more specifically migrant workers, and the fact that no one will help them.  They are constantly exposed to harmful pesticides and in one case a five year old boy died from cancer because of them.  He asks for the people of the nation to feel their suffering and help them because it is hard for the farmers alone to do it themselves.  When they organize and try to make a change they are met with brutality, coercion, and death for most people look at the price and not the value of things.

I feel that this speech speaks truth and I agree with him on his stance.  I believe that the farmers should be protected from pesticides and actually listened to when they ask for help because I think they know a bit more about farming than other people who only conduct business.






What is the historical context?

This excerpt explains how Columbus conquered the new world. Most people see him as a hero who found the new world not India. Columbus took over the island and made the native people become his personal servants. Many of the native people were murdered because they couldnt find gold; this is what Columbus wanted the most. The natives were taken advantage of. Columbus and his followers felt as if they were superior the natives who walked around the earth half naked and wooden weapons. Columbus on the other hand is better than them because he wears fancy clothes and has weapons made of steel.

What is the message? The message is to educate people of the truth hidden behind the lies. Columbus wasnt the nicest person. With fifty men his intention was to subjugate all the natives to make them servants and have them do as he pleased. I think Zinn is just trying to let people know that this man was as great as everyone makes him out to be. Maybe you should think twice before you celebrate Columbus Day.What is your position?

I think that Columbus did kill innocent natives. Maybe that wasnt his intention. To wipe out most of the Arawak nation for a few pieces of gold is ridiculous.


La Casas


What is the Historical context?

This excerpt explains the aftermath of the conquests by various Europeans in the Indies. Before the conquest the islands were prosperous. The natives lived the way that suited their lifestyle and beliefs. By the time the Europeans were done invading for gold, and spices they were only 200 native people left. The conquistadors were acting like savages rather than the natives who they were calling savage like.

What is the message?

The message is to show people exactly how these conquests impacted history; practically wiping out a nation of people is crazy. They werent nice people trying to spread Christianity they were mean and they would do anything to get gold. Kill; enslave rip apart culture, families, and the normal routine of the tribe. They didnt care their drive to get gold was unstoppable.

What is your position?

I think that the conquistadors took the gold conquest a little too far. There was no need to murder for gold. There should have been another way. It makes me mad to think that so many people died for money.


Lowell Mill Girl   What is the historical Context?This excerpt talks about the hardships that girls had to go through working at the mills. Most girls that worked started at age 12. Most of them were dead by age 25. These girls worked in horrible conditions for long hours. Girls worked very hard and got paid very little. Eventually in the Lowell mills the girls got fed up after another wage cut. They ended up turning out or striking. What is the message?

The message is if you truly believe that something is unfair then change it. We all are equal. Dont be cheated out of something that you deserve.

What is your position?

I am a chicken. I dont know if I would have stood up like the Lowell mill girls, I would like to believe that I would have. I really dont know It depends on the situation I suppose.


Indian Removal  What is the Historical Context?

In 1830 The Indian removal act was signed by President Andrew Jackson. This allowed the government to remove natives in the south, in order to gain control of their land. Of course there was some resistance. What would you do if someone told approached you and told you had to leave your home because the president said so, because all he wanted was your land?

What is the message?

Do not trust anyone. These people had the right to stay and live happily on their property. It is stated on the constitution. I would not trust anyone because it seems that the government has a way to get around their own rules and regulations. The system is corrupted.

What is your position?

I would have made the government kill me, rather than leave my property. Id rather die with my property than move thousands of miles on foot to god knows what.


Womens Declaration of rights  What is the Historical Context?

Somehow, Somewhere, Someone thought that men where superior to woman. Apparently this mentality carried on and it took people protesting to change it. All men and women are created equal. Women are citizens just like men therefore should receive the same rights and privileges as men.

What is the message?Dont take advantage of your rights. People spent their lives fighting so you could have them.Imagine life without them. What is your position?

I agree with the narrator men and women should be treated equally. Both men and women are human therefore one should not be thought of as better than the other.


Frederick Douglass


What is the Historical Context?

Frederick Douglass was an American slave who became free. He was asked to make a speech about Independence Day. He instead said How can a country promote independence if it has slavery inside itself? How can people celebrate the Fourth of July or Independence Day rather where there are still people enslaved? What is the fourth of July to a slave? This day is not a day of celebrating but a day of mourning for one day the slave shall be free.

What is the message?

How can a country be so hypocritical? The United States says one thing yet does another. What sense does this make?

What is your position?

I think that Frederick Douglass was right! How can you live in a country and celebrate its holidays when most of the people are not free.

  Malcolm X What is the historical Context?

Even after slavery ended the African Americans were oppressed. Segregation, Jim Crow Laws, KKK, and black codes are just some of the tactics that were used. The government employed any method in its power to keep the blacks inferior. Most blacks got the worst of jobs; usually they had to something to do with manual labor even if they were educated. Malcolm X and many others are fed up with this unequal way of living. Malcolm X decided to use violence as a method to get his point across.

What is the message?

If it werent for people for Malcolm who stood up and made a difference, where would we be today?

What is your position? I think that Malcolm was right that the system at that time was wrong. I think that violence wasnt the only way to get the point across though. I think that Dr. Martin Luther Kings method of non-violence actually worked better.  Womens Movement


What is the historical context?This passage talks about how the African American woman is degraded, from the time the came to America. As slaves they were often raped. Families were split up and babies were taken away from their mothers. When slavery ended, it states that black women became loud mouths who have large behinds and dwell in ghettos and when they cry rape no one listens. The passage also says that the definition of beauty is not black; the lead roles on Broadway or in movies are not given to black woman. Is it simply because they are not the definition of pretty?What is the message?   The message is to basically portray the hardships that the African American women faced. Life was not easy. Being a woman was hard and being black on top of that was even more difficult.    What is your position? I think those black women are just as pretty as anyone else. Isnt beauty inner, it isnt always about how someone looks on the outside. I also believe that if someone is trying out for a part the most qualified person should get it. Whoever can portray the role the best. The world is stuck on appearances and I dont think it should be this way. For example many people know everything about Brittany Spears and whats going on in Hollywood, but they dont know who their own senator is. I think the way we live as Americans is a little messed up. There is more attention on the dumb stuff rather than the things that actually matter. Caesar Chavez  What is the historical context?This story basically talks about the hardships that farmers have to face on a daily basis and how no one will represent them. In order for them to get help. All farm workers are exposed to pesticides and other chemicals. These chemicals are harmful. The narrator talks about a five year old boy Johnny who died from a two year battle of cancer. His mother was a farmer who was exposed to these chemicals while she was pregnant. Tuberculosis, pneumonia, respiratory injunction, and malnutrition are all problems that were common among farmers. The average farmer died twenty years before the United States average. Apparently something is wrong. What is the message?The people dwelling on earth cant survive unless they eat the crops that the farmers grow. If the farmers are that important in the cycle of life they should at least be protected. What is your position?I agree with Chavez if there were no farmers, what would we eat? Would it taste good? Would it be safe to eat? I think that if the farmers are helping the economy and the average person they should at least get some kind of benefits, or protection against the pesticides and the harmful chemicals. Shays Rebellion What is the historical context? Shays rebellion was basically an uprising of farmers in western Massachusetts. Most of the people involved with the rebellion were farmers who were veterans of the American Revolution. They were upset with the heavy debts they had because of all the taxes put on them after receiving free land under their terms of service. They wanted to stop the courts from taxing because they usual ended up with nothing in debtors prison and their land was auctioned off. What is the message?People who fought to make this country should not be thrown in prison over taxes. After all they did risk their life to make this country free.What is your position?I think they should get a reduced wage or if they are having trouble coming up with the cash they should get a break. 



I printed out all of my other ones the other day but I tried to print this one again tonight and my printer died, so I'll give you the rest of them in class tomorrow :)

John Brown 
John Brown was one of the most noted white abolitionists, not because he was famous or had a lot of money but because he was a radical extremist. He believed that if violence gave the best result then violence was necessary. This was especially apparent when he led a raid on an armory at Harpers Ferry Virginia. He and his small group of followers were caught and tried. John Brown himself was sentenced to death by hanging. 


This passage was told from John Browns perspective while he was on trial for his raid at Harpers Ferry. He was explaining his perspective to the judge. Brown even mentioned that because he was fighting for the freedom of slaves he was being treated differently than if he was advocating on behalf of a rich white man.  


I agreed with some of what John Brown said. I think that his mention of being treated differently, for advocating for slaves is true. It seems feasible that if he had been advocating for a white or rich man he would be treated better because that was who ran the judicial system as well as every other facet of government. However I dont agree with some of his ideas about violence.



Historical Quotes (from Zinn)

By: Christopher Amaral


1) What is the historic context? [write a paragraph or two providing a brief background & explain the situation]

Columbus is describing his first encounter with the natives on the Island of Hispaniola. He describes the natives as hospitable and generous, and willingly traded everything they owned for the Spanish beads and hawks bells. Columbus writes that they have no arms and have no knowledge of them, as one they took it (a sword) by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. At the end of the quote he says that he could with 50 men subjugate them and make (them into) fine servants, largely due to their lack of modern weapons (firearms and iron weapons) and their generous nature; both of which were massively exploited by the Spanish conquerors.

2) What is the message? [write a paragraph or two explaining the individual's position & meaning]

In this quote Columbus plans to subjugate the natives on the island and exploit them due to their lack of knowledge of European culture and technology. One of his motives in exploring the new world may have been to spread the Christian faith to the heavens however his primary objective was profit and subjugation and slavery of the Indian population helped him achieve those goals.

3) What is your position? [support or oppose the passage using both reasoning and evidence].

Coming to the new world from another world it seemed, would be very frightening ordeal and fear and suspicion may have cemented a horrific image of the natives in their heads. However, once the natives revealed to the newcomers their real nature (which was extremely hospitable and generous), the Spanish had almost no reason to conduct their mission in that manner so I have to disagree with Columbus view.

Lowell Mill Girl:

1) What is the historic context?

After the management of one of the Lowell mills decided to cut wages, the girls working there were outraged and a strike or turnout was planned. The workers from several of the mills marched to the grove on chapel hill, and listened and gave fiery speeches. The speaker says that this was the first time a women had spoken in public in Lowell , and the event caused surprise and consternation among our (the mill workers) audience.

When her factory was to strike she says that after the girls in the upper room left, the girls in her room were unsure of what to do asking, Would you? Or shall we turn out. The girl describing this scene says that she grew impatient and walked out. The other girls followed suite.

2) What is the message?

After the management of the mill decided to cut workers wages many of the girls working in the factories decided to strike. The author describing these events sided immediately and vehemently with the strikers. When it came time to turn out, the girls in the upper room left first. The girls in the authors room however were very unsure whether they should strike or not. The author getting impatient finally said I dont care what you do I am going to turn out, whether anyone else does or not! and she did. The other girls in the room them followed her out to strike.

3) What is your position?

I am siding completely with the strikers because for one, untamed business puts too much power in the hands of the corporate executives. For example in the Gilded Age huge corporations, monopolies, and corporate trusts controlled by either a single man or a board of trustees led to widespread corruption in government. Many of these men used bribery and extortion to stuff the ballot box for their friends in Washington.

Secondly, the untamed power of the corporation, and their ability to control hours, wages, ect can lead many into a state of almost wage slavery. During the late 19th century many people were forced into a social class all their own called the working poor who were people who usually worked in monotonous low paying jobs (mining, factories, ect.), could barely make ends meet, and were in many cases bonded to the company for survival.

Fannie Lou Hamer:

1) What is the historic context?

In this excerpt Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer describes her ordeal in just trying to register to vote. Hamer and 18 others went down to the county courthouse at Indianola, Mississippi and were forced to withdraw their registrations because they (were) not ready for that in Mississippi. On June 9, 1963 her and nine others on a continental trailway bus were stopped by a state trooper and the chief of police. After recognizing her one of them ordered her on the ground and had two black prisoners beat her with a black jack. One beat her until he was exhausted, the other beat her until she couldnt move her fingers or even stand up.

2) What is the message?

In her speech, Ms. Hamer speaks about not just her struggle with civil equality, but the general struggle of black Americans at this time, by using her story as an example. She shows that not only the law stood in the way of civil rights, but the general prejudice towards her race (especially in the south). She calls for not only the legislature to act on this issue but on the entire black community throughout the south as she and those ten others on that bus did in Indianola, Mississippi.

3) What is your position?

I support Fannie Lou Hamers activist and undying spirit in defending her rights. Even after being abused, harassed, and even beaten for her ideas I think Ms. Hamer should be commended.

Womens Declaration of Rights:

1) What is the historic context?

The womens Declaration of Rights was largely due to the work of the women who planned the Seneca Falls convention (and others) to make a statement against the oppressive paternal government which denied them certain unalienable rights including the right to vote.

2) What is the message?

The author is trying to use the original wording of the Declaration of Independence to convey the idea that although it is seen as a symbol of freedom, it leaves many (like women and Blacks) oppressed and snuffed out through certain laws (i.e. restricting suffrage to only certain citizens). She also uses the line in the declaration When a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same object as evidence and support of womens right to petition for a redress of grievances.

3) What is your position?

In this situation I must support the womens activist spirit in addressing an injustice and fighting whole heartedly to annul those transgressions.

Gulf War Resister:

1) What is the historic context?

In 1991 the U.S. invaded Iraq to stop its military offensive into Kuwait. In the early weeks of the war there were many people protesting against the war (as has happened in every U.S. fought war except WWII) like the writer of this speech who says he is a conscientious objector.

2) What is the message?

This person is a conscientious objector and says that he is opposed to any and all wars and says that the powers of my faith dictates that I must diligently and completely to stop war. Although he resists all warfare, he says that he does not believe that the absence of participation in war, can justify as a peace., but believes that war is just a symptom of this nations problem of having a thing oriented society and wishes to create a person oriented community.

3) What is your position?

Although a war is a horrible and terrible event in any time or place, and its impact hits many people often in a negative way, I dont believe that all war should be resisted or objected to. War for a just cause, which justifies its purpose and its means should be carried out. For example, to resist all war is to resist defensively fought wars which if not fought would most likely cause more hardship, disaster, and casualties. Wars of Independence and Revolution could also be justified, freeing people from strong and oppressive governments which would cause more hardship and misery than a peaceful and bloodless existence.

HUAC Investigation:

1) What is the historic context?

The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was formed in 1938 and was dissolved in 1975. In 1947 the committee created a Hollywood black list which singled out certain people (actors, directors, and screen writers) as being pro-communist. After conviction on contempt of Congress charges for refusal to answer some questions posed by committee members, the "Hollywood Ten" were blacklisted by the industry. and later over 300 directors, radio commentators, actors and particularly screenwriters were boycotted and shunned by the studios.

2) What is the message?

During the hearing Lionel Stander accuses the committee of violating the constitution and in participating in subversive acts by depriving actors of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, without due process of law. He calls the committee a group of fanatics who are on a communist witch hunt and are unjustly blacklisting them and forcing them to cooperate with the committee threatening them with prison time when all they did was exercise the fifth amendment.

3) What is your position?

I support Mr. Standers view on this issue and although the communist hunt was in defense of national security, the means by which the investigations were conducted were not justified by the committee because there was no real evidence of any communist plot.

Mark Twain:

1) What is the historic context?

After the Short war the U.S. fought with Spain in which many former colonies were ceded to the U.S. including the Philippines, the U.S. was fighting another war of conquest in the Philippines which lasted three years and cost thousands of lives.

2) What is the message?

Mark Twain who was completely against the war in the Philippines, describes U.S. attack on a band of 600 native Filipinos including women and children. The attack which wiped out every last one of them leaving not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother., yet was treated as one of the greatest battles of the war and the men and officers engaged in that attack were congratulated by the president for their deed. He finishes by saying that we are there to conquer, not to redeem.

3) What is your position?

Since the war which gave America the territory of the Philippines (Spanish-American war) was largely fought for imperial purposes I cannot say that America should have fought to gain the Philippines in an unjustified war. Also, the order to kill all 600 of the natives (which goes against many rules of warfare, not to mention reasons of morality) was not necessary since they were beat so easily and absolutely, what threat could they have posed to U.S. troops? For these reasons I support Mark Twains opinion of stopping the war in the Philippines and Imperialism on the islands.


1) What is the historic context?

The social and political upheaval during the 60s sparked many social changes, including possibly the two biggest issues: Civil rights and the way in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, one of the greatest civil rights leaders of the 60s decided to speak out against the war in Vietnam against a large black majority who thought that protesting Vietnam would hurt their own cause.

2) What is the message?

Dr. King speaks out against the violence and destruction happening in Vietnam. He also speaks about the suffering happening in the U.S. with smashed hopes at home, and dealt death and corruption in Vietnam. and states the motto of the Southern Christian leadership conference to must save the soul of America. He calls as a citizen of the world a new radical World Revolution and wants to avert war at all costs as this way of settling differences is not just.

3) What is your position?

Many of the rights Americans have today especially for minority America, were gained during the chaotic and turbulent 60s. During the 60s the many oppressions and injustices that were being fought included the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, gender equality, the sexual revolution, and the right for 18 year olds to vote. Largely due to the unwarranted war in Vietnam, and the progress brought about in this time I support his idea of a new world revolution and continue to progress in the field of humanity.

Families for Peaceful Tomorrows:

1) What is the historic context?

On September 11, 2001 the largest and most detrimental attack on U.S. soil was executed when two planes hit the twin towers in NY, another hit the pentagon in Washington, and another one failed to reach its destination and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. This attack killed over 3,000 people (including those on the plane) and sparked a frenzy that would last for months (arguably years). The friends and family of the victims were left with nothing of their loved ones, as they were incinerated by the explosion.

2) What is the message?

In this audio statement a woman speaks about losing her husband in the Pentagon on 911. One womans response to this tragedy, was not one of war and violent retribution, but one calling to break the cycle of violence and lead a world wide dialogue of freedom.

3) What is your position?

I support this womans idea to lead the world wide dialogue of freedom for the simple fact of seeing, as it happens what this war has done to American families, society, economy, and the spirit of America itself.



Tried printing it so the quotes would show but my printer is still busted.
P.S.(I hate Technology)

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