Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Blog Post #4

The fourth chapter, “Reflation and Relief,” details President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s accession to the presidency and the role he played in regenerating a broken America. FDR has been portrayed as a progressive, ‘for the people’ president, with infrastructure named after him, such as the FDR free highway that passes through Harlem, providing access to an alternate route to a tolled road. 


The reading in this case has supported the portrayal as it mentions the economical growth of “ averaged rates of around 8 to 10 percent a year” (Rauchway 1) which can be a correlation towards FDRs efforts like The New Deal in which allowed for unemployment to dramatically fall from as Rauchway states it as “its unconscionable 1932 peak” (Rauchway 1) in which the Great Depression hit the economic struggle the hardest. The Emergency Banking Act was one of the initial steps toward economic recovery, and it worked as it allowed banks to close and provide accessible money. Unlike other politicians, he spoke to the people and explained his decision via radio, an accessible communicative resource, and made it a habit to it, as he created “”fireside chats” in which he explained how the banks worked, what he had done” (Rauchway 2), allowing people to not be startled but also to fully comprehend. This gesture reveals FDR’s true connection and caring for American citizens since he decided to be a communicative leader rather than merely dictate the order without complete knowledge to a common American.


Corollary, FDR authorized federal economic assistance to states through the passage of the Federal Emergency Relief Act, which authorized “grants, rather than loans, to the states to support relief.” ((Rauchway 6) which allowed for the “sum amounted to an extraordinary 5.9 percent of the American economy’s overall size that year.”(Rauchway 6)  FDR’s accomplishment in reviving the economy and enacting legislation to prevent another Depression can be viewed as a progressive contribution to American society. Due to FDR’s judgments and actions, as indicated in the reading, enable for the picture of a great president to be drawn as he aided the economy as well as the financial state of many afflicted citizens.

Blog Post #3 : James McPherson- The Revolution of 1860

The book The Revolution of 1860 by James McPherson provided insight into the road and adaptation of African Americans from slavery to a feeling of independence. He begins by introducing Dread Scott, a black man known for the infamous supreme court, and compares him to John Brown, who advocated for adopting “a “provisional constitution” for the republic of liberated slaves to be established(202) and resorted to violence to gain a voice, compared to Federick Douglass, who “had been a pacifist” (203) but resorted to “forcible resistance” (203) after the racist fugitive law was passed. With these analogies, the argument for the necessity of playing the same way as the other side—in this example, slavery supports violent actions—needs to be replied to in a rational manner rather than maintaining one-sided diplomacy.

This reminded me of Malcom X, an AfricanAmerican activist, and the distinction between his method and Martin Luther King’s peaceful one. Both were slain by the government, yet both contributed to the civil rights movement’s achievements. As a result, I pondered, “How is speech not more potent than violence?” McPherson concludes the reading by articulating the form in which Lincoln won the election via the unsuccessful democratic tactic of presenting three candidates “to deny Lincoln their electoral votes and throw the election into the House.” (232) As a result of the republicans’ seizing power, “antislavery men [concluded] that a revolution had taken place,” (233), which, as history has it, led to the civil war in which the union secured the freedom of the nation’s slaves.


Thavolia Glymph’s novel, Out of the House of Bondage, begins with the idea of being persuasive to demonstrate, where the plantation house was a political space, where enslaved and white women battled over the idea of labor and autonomy during slavery, and then over the interpretations of liberty and civic participation that had occurred after the Civil War, as demonstrated by chapter 1.

To commence, Thavolia Glymph remarked, “Of course, I was born into slavery, and I’m as old as I am. ” The manner I’ve gone through the hackles has given me much to say about slavery.” “I am a former slave who has a great deal to say about slavery.”   In these statements, it is shown that if a woman is conceived in a slave setting, she will become a slave, and that other captives may have said that they have been slaves for a long period of time when they are at a certain year in their lives. It is stated in Thavolia Glymph that “Juxtaposing the claims of this optimal outcome against the abuse to which Wilson, Robinson, and Benton testified brings to denser display the factual as well as linguistic animosity in the intertwined utilization of the descriptive words “delicate” and “slaveholding,” that even if you are born a slave, they will concert you as a class or race.  Using this statement as an example, it demonstrates how women were utilized to demonstrate hostility by using a negative image of them, whether as a delicate lady or as a slaveholder.

Additionally and conclusively, it argues that “the plantation home was precisely such a point of interaction for women whose access to power, privilege, and opportunity, let alone food, clothes, and citizenship, was grossly uneven.” This statement indicates that women were abused, that they would get less power, nutrition, and equality for themselves as a result of being regarded as worthless, and that people who exploited those women as slaveholders were despicable human beings.