American History I Short Papers
American History I Short Papers
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Date Created: 04/02/16
Tasfia Kamal 10.09.2015 Professor Friedman History of US I Short Paper #1 The Declaration of Independence (July 1776), Common Sense (January 1776) and Treatise of Government (1689) are renowned articles respectively written by Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and John Locke. The Declaration of Independence was written when all the American colonies decided to come together and fight for independence against Great Britain. Thomas Pain wrote Common Sense because he noticed the issues and contradictions related to England’s constitution and realized that American would be better off without them. Treatise of Government is a philosophical piece which states the reason behind having a government. All these historical pieces were written for different reasons and occasions; however, they all seems to convey the same sort of message about the government and the people. This paper will focus on how these historical documents relate to each other and to what extent. The authors of Common Sense and Treaties of Government both agrees that being in a society is people’s one of the basic needs and they need an indifferent judge to govern them. John Locke defines state of nature in his philosophical piece that all humans are free, equal and able to govern themselves. Everyone wants to enjoy the highest level of freedom and enjoy it. To convey this message, Locke state in his article that, “… that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with other, who are already united, or have a mind to unite” (Locke, 4). But in this case, the enjoyment is uncertain, unsafe, and very unsecure (Locke, 4). Hence, they reach out to have an indifferent judgement that will govern everyone in the society, yet, will ensure as much the rights and freedoms of the state of nature (Locke, 4). The author states, “… in the state of nature there wants a known and indifferent judge, with authority to determine all differences according to the established law” (Locke, 4). Thomas pain delivers the same message through Common Sense saying, “… that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same… this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government…” (Paine, 3). Both authors of Common Sense and Treaties of Government agreed that it is in human nature to live together and support each other to succeed and prosper. However, it is also necessary to have an authority to govern them to make sure no one’s rights are being violated and everyone is enjoying their freedom as much as possible. As previously stated, Locke outlined the reasons behind having a government and the duties of it in his article which helps Thomas Jefferson to point out that the British Parliament’s failure in governing which opens plethora of reasons to fight for independence. After mentioning the downfalls of state of nature and the necessity of the an indifferent government, John Locke states the duties of what a government should fulfil in order to have the peace, safety and public good of the people in chapter IX of his philosophical piece (Locke, 5). On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson listed how the prince has proved himself as incompetent of fulfilling any of those duties, resulting in destruction of peace, safety and public good of the people. After listing those issues, Jefferson stated, “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people” (Jefferson, 2). Both author had a different way of approaching and writing about a government duties. Locke wrote about them to explain what a government should do, and Jefferson used that primary source to explain why the prince is not capable of running a government which is why they should work together and fight for independence. Hence, numerous historians believes that the Declaration of Independence was majorly influenced from the Treaties of Government. Both of these article might not have the same tone, but they both consists of the same idea of how a government should be functioning. The Declaration of Independence and Common Sense both shares the same information and message towards the Americans which is that Americans are better off without England; hence, they should fight for independence. Thomas Paine starts of his article with talking about society and government. Later he moves on to explaining constitutional flaws in British constitution and why no one should be following that. Paine states that, “the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in whish part the fault lies, some will say in one and some in another, and every political physicians will advise a different thing” (Paine, 22). Later he explains the flaws of the King which gives the readers a broader view of why they need to get independence from the British government. After accounting all these political reasons, Paine also answers a critic that states that America flourished more after getting help from the England. He disagrees and states, “… America would have flourish as much, and probably much more, had no European power had anything to do with her” (Paine, 34). Here, he clearly tells his readers that Americans do not need Great Britain which inspires them more towards American Revolution and fight for their independence. The Declaration of Independence states the same, and motivated all American citizens to fight for their rights. Hence, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine delivers the same information towards the American citizens to have the same political appeal towards the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, and Treaties of Government, all of these three are very significant historical documents that helped the American political leaders to shape American government. They all motivated Americans towards American revolution and fight for their independence. Tasfia Kamal 11/18/2015 Professor Friedman US History I Paper #2 George FitzHugh is a vocal slavery advocate who publicly stated and written books trying to justify why the southern black people should stay enslaved. He was a law clerk in Washington DC and wrote several books about slavery. One of the most famous books were “Cannibals All! Or, Slaves without Masters” in which he wrote about how slavery culture is the normal culture and the culture without slavery would go through several economic and social issues. He uses several points such as, economic issue, religion, social bond to justify slavery in his book. He mainly tries to get attention of the abolitionist and other social workers to prove them why slavery in an integral part of the community and why they should never get rid of it. As FitzHugh is highly educated, he presents his book in a very presentable manner and closely focuses on his argument. On the other hand, Fredrick Douglass is a former slave and abolitionist who was born in Maryland. Without any professional teachers or parents’ help, he learned how to read and write. He tried to run away to be free twice before he finally succeeded. After he was free, he wrote his first autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, an American Slave” where he included his personal stories to explain the brutality of slavery. These two books contradict each other’s thesis and main argument since they both have been written from two completely opposite perspective; one of a slaveholders and the other one is of a former slave. George FitzHugh states in his book that the slaves are incapable of working hard which is why they need their masters’ guidance; whereas Frederick Douglass describes how hard working 1 his mother, his family, his friends and himself are regardless the help of their masters. FtizHugh starts his article by stating current economic crisis and how slavery to human masters is a better option than slavery to capital to keep up the economic growth. To prove this statement, he analyzes how slaves tend to be lazy and not motivated enough to work. He states, “…the negro has neither energy nor enterprise, and, even in our sparser population, finds, with his improvident habits, that his liberty is a curse to himself, and a greater curse to the society around him” (FitzHugh, 1). According to FitzHugh, because of being incapable of working hard, the slaves are not only a danger to themselves but also to the community. To prevent such economic downfall in the society, slavery should be kept and justified. In the narrative of Frederick Douglass, the author states how his mother was such a hard working human being. He describes how she used to work all day for her master and come to him at night so that she can spend some quality time with her son. The author also describes how he decided to learn how to read and write on his own as soon as he realized that learning to read and write can lead him to his independence. To explain how determined he was about learning to read he states, “Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read” (Douglass, 34). FitzHugh tried to prove that the slaved needed their help and white people were doing them a favor. However, Douglass tries to prove through his narrative that they are capable of anything and everything if they put their mind to it just like everyone other people or race. FitzHugh explains that southern black should stay enslaved because it is part of the Christian morality and people that do not agree with this statement are atheists; on the other hand, Douglass claims that southern people use religion as an excuse to keep people as slaves to torture 2 them. FitzHugh explains in his article multiple times that how slavery is part of Christian culture just as families and societies are part of it. He states, “Christian morality is neither difficult nor unnatural where dependent, family, and slave relations exist, and Christian morality was preached and only intended for such” (FitzHugh, 7). Later, he also says, “Christian morality is the natural morality in slave society, and slave society is the only natural society” (FitzHugh, 7). He tells his readers that it is very normal for everyone to have the slave culture and it is an integral part of the religion. Those who does not believe the same statement also do not believe in God. On the contrary, Douglass disagrees with that and tells his readers that people tend to use religion as an excuse to get away with horrible deed of slavery. In the narrative, he states, “I have said my master found religious sanction for his cruelty” (Douglass, 55). Later he also mentions, “… in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture ‘he that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes’” (Douglass, 55). Here, Douglass explains that people use religion and bible as a weapon to protect themselves from accusation and justify their heinous actions. He also mentions that the more religious the master is the more dangerous and mean he was towards his slaves. Hence, FitzHugh uses religion to justify why slavery is okay, and Douglass counter challenges his opinion by saying people only use religion as a weapon so that they can continue doing injustice towards black people. FitzHugh claims that all the southern black slaves are happy and satisfied with their masters; but Douglass claims the opposite by saying that no one gets enough food, clothing or even rest from their masters and not just that, they all get brutally abused, sometimes even killed and not one person raises voice against that or ask for justice. FitzHugh says in this article that 3 every master and his slaves share a special bond; a bond what makes their relationship so special that nothing else can beat that. According to him, a master feeds a slave properly, gives them food, and protect them from any harm possible. He states, as wife and children, brothers and sisters, dogs, horses, birds, and flowers belong to the family, so do slaves; hence, the head of the house is in charge of taking care of them (FitzHugh, 3). To justify slavery, he later states, “good treatment and proper discipline renders the slave happier, healthier, more valuable, grateful and contented” (FitzHugh, 7). Douglass describes a complete opposite story in his narrative and explains how everyone’s life is miserable because their masters don’t provide enough food, clothes, shelter and top of everything, makes them do crazy amount of work. The masters also beat them up for smallest mistakes possible and cause massive injuries. On the first chapter, Douglass describes how he or any of his slave friends knew when their birthday was, but all the white kids know about their birthdays. That is when he realize there was little to no value of his existence to his master (Douglass, 1). There are also several scenarios mentioned on the narrative where masters beat the slaves and killed them because of a very minor issue. To emphasize the power of a white person over a black slave, the author mentions, “A single word from the white men was enough against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties to sunder forever the dearest friends, kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings” (Douglass, 46). Not a single master mentioned in the narrative a kind hearted except his one mistress who also eventually gave in to the cruelty of slavery (Douglass, 37). Neither was his master was able to protect him when he was almost about to get killed by Mr. Covey. According to Douglass, his masters were never able satisfy him with anything that FitzHugh promised in his article. With his personal stories, 4 Douglass counter challenges FitzHugh’s statement that those masters keep their slaves happy and create a special bong between them. Both books are very informative and gives any reader a broad idea about the social, cultural and economic condition of the United States around that time. FitzHugh and Douglass’s point of view on slavery is completely different from each other which why is why reading both of them helps a person to see where those two are coming from. It helps the readers to understand the two different aspects of slavery. FitzHugh’s book was intellectually written; however, Douglass’s book was written with hope and inspiration that shows the readers that anything is possible only if one wish so. Because they both provide an enormous amount of information, reading both books is important in order to understand slavery in depth. 5 Work Cited: FitzHugh, George. Cannibals All! Or, Slaves Without Master. 1857. Douglass, Fredrick. Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave. 1845. 6 Tasfia Kamal 12.10.2015 Professor Friedman History of US I Short Paper #3 Extreme division between the North and South in 1850’s led to having a Civil War in United States. The economy of south was based on mainly cotton gin; which is why they were dependent on having on slaves to work in the fields. Southerners started importing slaves from other countries as it was a vital part of the economy. North, on the other hand, was an industrialize base economy; which had little or no need of having slaves. Other than needing slaves for the economy, southerners also believed that there was nothing morally wrong with having slaves as it was a part of their religion. Northerners believed that having slaves is morally and constitutionally wrong. By having slaves, people are violating their rights and questioning moral sentiments. As a result, all these moral, societal, and economic differences started an issue between the South and North and not being able to agree to a compromise made the war inevitable and irrepressible. Adding to that, it was not only inevitable to have a war, it was also necessary in order to establish moral values and constitutional laws. The south claimed that slavery was justified through religion whereas the north believed that the slavery was morally and constitutionally wrong. Majority of the southern politicians supported slavery and believed that the society without slavery was abnormal, not the other way around. George FitzHugh is one of them who wrote that slavery is part of the normal society in his article “Cannibals All! Or, Slaves Without Master”. Northern politician tried to prove how the United States constitution guarantees everyone’s liberty and talks about equality but slavery 1 takes it away from the African Americans. Hence, southerners only wanted to have free white people and have black slaves to work for them. In “speech to the Georgia Legislature”, Robert Toombs explain his audience that all these southern politicians were hypocrites who were constantly breaking constitutional rules and long as their scared oaths (Toombs, 6). Toombs also counter challenges people who claims that slavery is necessary for their economy and future expansion. He states, “Those who tell you … you can never colonize another territory without the African slave trade, are both deaf and blind to the history of the last sixty years” (Toombs, 5). He says that the southerners were just using that as an excuse is order to justify slavery and keep slavery alive in the society. But because of that, the number of slaves were increasing day by day. In 1790, they had less than eight hundred thousand slaves, and they increased by four million in a very short amount of time. Slavery was spreading every day and the northerners needed to stop it immediately. As the southerners were not willing to cooperate and both sides failed to come to a compromise, the civil war was inevitable and necessary to happen in order to stop expansion of slavery to the new states that haven’t been decided as either “free state” or “slave state”. One of the other reasons why Civil War was inevitable was because of the fugitive law enacted through all the southern and northern states to gain more slaves in United States. The main purpose of the fugitive law was to capture any slave that could have ran away from the slave state to a free state to be free. The southerners were catching all the slaves that ran away from different northern states. All those fugitive slaves were waived from ay constitutional rights including trial rights. Hence, African Americans were taken into as slaves without any proof and paperwork. People were taken away from their families unfairly and unjustly. After a point, it 2 was very clear that southerners were using the fugitive law as a way to gain more slaves and expand slavery unconstitutionally. The author of “Fire eaters, fugitives and crimes” wrote in this book that, “in the eyes of many northerners this meant that the federal government had not only gone into the business of manhunting itself but also required every freeborn American to become a man hunter on occasion” (131). This also brings up the question about how much power should those slave states have over the federal power and how it was influencing to violate the constitution. The author also mentions how “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” played a vital part in encouraging people in putting slavery to a stop. Uncle Tom’s cabin is a story about Tom who is a slave trader who sells slaves in order to get rid of his debt. This novel showed both southerners and northerners a picture of what was happening in reality and how extreme the situation was. The author mentions, “History cannot evaluate with precision the influence of a novel upon public opinion, but the northern attitude toward slavery as never quite the same after Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Men who had remained unmoved by real fugitives wept for Tom under the lash and cheered for Eliza with the bloodhounds on her track” (140). This made the northerners furious about slavery and they decided something needed to be done immediately. As the southerners were not willing to negotiate, the civil war seemed impossible to stop from happening. As the statesmen could not come to a compromise and both parties were extremely passionate about the causes they were working for, the south decided to secede from the Union in order to follow their own rules and state laws and continue to have slavetrade. This aroused enormous questions throughout the country and questioned the constitution. Even though succession is unconstitutional, seven states seceded and formed a new nation. At that point, it 3 was evident that the statesmen had terrible communication among each other and they failed to come to a middle ground each time they tried. As both parties could not come to a conclusion, having a war seemed a better idea in terms of how to resolve the entire issue. Thomas N. Bonner in his “Civil War Historians and the “Needless War” Doctrine” explains that, the war could have been avoided, if the statesmen could come to a middle ground and choose a better option than fighting and killing own nation’s man to resolve the issue. He stated, “… the war might have been averted altogether by patient understanding and skilled statesmanship in both sides” (Bonner, 197). He also mentions, “Because secession and war were permitted to come… we are not entitled to lay the flattering unction to our souls that the civil war was an inevitable conflict” (Bonner, 195). According to Bonner, several historians expressed that the civil war could have been stopped only if the statesmen were successful while coming to a compromise. As they clearly were not successful, this led the southerners have seceded from the Union and bombarding Union Soldiers as Fort Sumter. After this incident, it was under no one’s control to stop the fight between two regions. As talking and compromising did not work, the civil war became a necessity for the states to help them make a decision. All these articles explained above focuses on the reasons behind the Civil War. The authors explained how each of those reasons came to play in this issue and how it influenced the people. A lot of those actions could have taken differently and maybe that would have stopped the Civil War from happening. However, as the people from northern states and some from southern states constantly keep seeing the constitution being violated, they knew they had to come to a decision. 4 Work Cited: FitzHugh, George. Cannibals All! Or, Slaves Without Master. 1857. Bonner, Thomas. Civil War Historians and the “Needless War” Doctrine. Toombs, Robert, Speech to the Georgia legislature, November 13, 1860. Fire- eaters, fugitive, and Finality 5
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