Blog post #2- Nikole Hannah Jones

Nikole Hannah Jones challenges the rooted idea that democracy in America is thanks solely to the founding fathers. Jones effectively illustrates the inhuman passage black people had to face coming to America during the Middle Passage, against their will. Thanks to the enslaved black people, America grew valuable and profitable crops like cotton and “transformed lands” which benefited greatly to the growth and expansion of America. From the profits America received from the labor of black people, they were able to be debt-free paving the way for capitalism to flourish. Jones argues that America’s success was not possible because the founding fathers were a good team but because they abused and forced black people into harsh labor and to fight their battles for them. 

Jones uses Crispus Attucks death to further her point that “America wasn’t a democracy, until Black people made it one”, explaining that his death allowed other people to enjoy freedoms and liberties that his own couldn’t, he was a martyr for America. It put the start of the American Revolution into a new perspective for me, the purpose of the revolution was to gain independence from Britain yet they were doing the same thing to people, holding their independence, freedom, and liberty hostage. The fact that one of the first people to die for America’s independence did not even have independence is unjust. 

This reading is exposing the reality that America is portraying a false narrative of the truth. There is still racism, prejudice, and discrimination in this country, trying to overlook the historical reality of the root of these issues is unscrupulous. Many Americans are ignorant of the full truth of the democracy of America, their patriotism and even nationalism are founded on the abuse of black people. This article makes me wonder what other important historical information is being watered down? 

Blog Post #2

   In the American Yawp textbook, chapter 11, “The Cotton Revolution” by Andrew Wegman, it talks about the history of the cotton revolution and how it came to be. This chapter stood out to me because I have heard about the cotton revolution before and knew its meaning, but I have never learned about its history and other important factors. The author first starts off by talking about Petit Gulf cotton, which was what kicked off this revolution. America has had cotton before this discovery of Petit Gulf, however it was never as good and as smooth when it slid through the cotton gin machine. Petit Gulf cotton was found in 1820 and it drastically changed the cotton market in America. At the same time as the discovery of this cotton, the federal government forced a migration on which all Eastern people had to relocate. After this removal act, farmers had the chance to purchase hundreds of acres in the Mississippi River for very little money. By the end of 1830, cotton had become the primary crop and was distributed throughout the region. In 1835, the main cotton growing states were South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Lousisana, and the American South became the world’s leading producer of cotton. Before cotton, the south’s main crop was tobacco, but as cotton started to rise, tobacco wasn’t as important anymore. However, tobacco wasn’t as good after all. It required a lot of movement, laborers, and massive fields, but all it did was treat the land poorly. On the other hand, cotton grew quickly and was very cheap, and that is exactly what led the South to slavery. By 1840, prices started rising and slavery had become so comon that writers began referring to the are as the Black Belt, based on the skin color of the enslaved laborers. Slavery was used for everything, and without it there would not be so much cotton. Cotton became the foundation of southern economy, and the thought of change, such as anti slavery, never crossed anyones mind. The cotton revolution was also a time of capitalism and competition. In chapter 11, it states “The more wealth one gained, the more land one needed to procure, which led to more enslaved laborers, and more mouths to feed.”Nobody wanted to give up slavery, but it was also hard to maintain. Slave owners had to buy enslaved people, and the wealthier they cotton based on the cotton production, the more they had to spend money on their enslaved laborers. Another negative factor to slavery, was that slave owners were afraid of rebellion. They had hundreds of enslaved people working for them, and were also afraid of a sudden attack, or escape. Therefore, the South strongly benefited from the cotton revolution, and many became wealthy, however slavery continued, and many had questions on what to do next if slavery ever ended.


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.

Blog Post #2- Gordon Wood

Historian Gordon Wood to the Editor of the New York Times Magazine


The letter that was sent by decorated historian Gordon Wood to the editor of the New York Times Magazine is an important letter that claims that the information in the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project on slavery is inaccurate. Gordon Wood begins by saying that if misinformation continues to be spread within this media outlet, then it will start to lose its credibility in the long run. (Wood, p.1) Wood’s main concern with the piece has to do with a claim that the 1619 Project had made. They stated: “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” Wood believed that this claim was preposterous and responded by saying that he didn’t know of any colonists who wanted independence to keep their slaves. (Wood, p.1) 

I knew that the British didn’t care about abolishing slavery in the United States, but I did learn that as much as the slaves helped the U.S. become what it became, colonists were still ready and willing to give up slavery. Wood also gives a direct example for this stating that John Adams, a key part of the Declaration of Independence hated slavery and owned no slaves, so why would he ever be so concerned about preserving slavery? (Wood, p.2)

Additionally this text adds to my knowledge of American history as I learned that not only were the colonists not trying to preserve the institution of slavery, but the North actually saw the Revolution as an opportunity to abolish it. In fact, the first anti-slave movements in history were supported by both white and black people and took place in the northern states directly after 1776. (Wood, p.2)

Lastly, the 1619 Project claims that there was a “rising movement” to abolish the Atlantic Slave Trade after 1776 but Wood firmly refutes it by stating that there was no evidence that this was the case or that the British government had any intention of doing so. (Wood, p.2) He then says that even if it was the case, Virginian planters would have welcomed the ending of the slave trade as they already had more slaves than necessary. (Wood, p.2) 

I had no idea that some states had so many slaves to the point where they didn’t need anymore, which made me think deeper about the true magnitude of slavery in the United States as they were so common that you didn’t have to be a particularly rich family to own one.

In conclusion, Gordon Wood brings up some great points that refute the inaccuracies of the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, showing that while slavery had a great impact America’s search for independence it was not the reason why they wanted to separate themselves from the British.


blog post 2 – Wood & Hanna-Jones

The American Revolution was a war between the United States Colonies and Great Britain, in hopes that the thirteen colonies would be able to declare independence from Great britain. In Hannah-Jones’ text, in the New York Times article, she discusses the ideas of democracy and how the American Revolution created suspicions of what was truly the source of declaring this independence. Ultimately, she claimed that the colonists longed for independence in order to preserve the act of enslavement. During this time, many London groups strived to end slavery and the colonists most likely feared that with the continuation of this rule under Great Britian, this would soon apply to the states as well. Hence, the reason why democracy in America could not be a democracy unless all people, including the Blacks, were involved, as seen in Hannah-Jones’ point of view.

However, Wood, the leading Historian of the American Revolution, corrects this claim in a letter by providing other important causes to this Revolution including the Stamp Act. These differences in ideas and beliefs as to what was truly the reason for independence from Great Britain brings me to think that there is never a sole reason for an entire group to act out on. In other words, many people may possess the same goal, but for many different reasons. In this case, the goal of the colonists was to gain independence. Whatever the reasons of each individual may have been, their goal remained the same. Thus, this may be a reason as to why Hannah-Jones and Wood had different claims. Whether or not one claim is the correct one, one reason cannot be applied to all people, same is applied for the colonists and their reasons for the American Revolution.

Blog Post #2

The New York Times is one of the most prestigious newsletters, websites, and information sources. Starting in August of 2019, the NYT has decided to start a long-form journalism project to circle America’s major events around the history of African Americans and their accommodations to the country. This project is called the 1619 project and the developer, Nikole Hannah-Jones, managed to connect every major event in American black history to the country’s development.

Hannah-Jones’s writes a lengthy entry on the most important events that shaped America today including the American Revolution, Civil War, slavery, and the World Wars. One occurrence that I found especially strange was the treatment of black soldiers after the wars. Black soldiers fought overseas for the country that didn’t even respect them, and came back home to worse conditions. Hannah-Jones infers that caucasians knew that when blacks went out to fight, they would want their full rights, the respect they were due, and to be treated as actual human beings. Therefore, they wanted to make them feel smaller when they were back home to show them that risking their lives for this country meant nothing. Black veterans were abused, spit on, talked down on, and killed for the smallest things. Isaac Woodard was an officer Jones mentioned for example. Woodard was a black soldier who was beaten to the point where he could no longer see because he got into an argument with a Greyhound driver over using the bathroom. He was an honorably discharged soldier who was returning home and came back blind not because of the battle field, but on his way back home in his own country. A small argument about wanting to use the bathroom left him without sight at the age of 26. By sharing Woodard’s story in the 1619 project, Hannah-Jones argued that no matter what black people do in or for this country, white residents would find a way to demean them and ignore their attributions.

Blog post#2:Thavolia Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage

In chapter 1 of Out of the House of Bondage, by Thavolia Glymph shows the idea of being persuasive to demonstrates and the plantation house was a political space, where enslaved women, white women battled over the idea of labor and autonomy during slavery and then over the definitions of freedom and citizenship that had happened after the Civil War.

Thavolia Glymph stated that “Course I’se born in slavery, ageable as I am. I am a old time slavery woman and the way I been through the hackles I got plenty to say about slavery.”(18) This quote illustrates if a woman is born in a slave environment, they will become slave and that other slaves might have said that their slaves for a long time when they are at a certain year in their life. Thavolia Glymph talks more about the how even if you’re born a slave they will concert you as a class or race, that it states that “Juxtaposing the claims of this ideal against the violence to which Wilson, Robinson, and Benton testified brings to fuller view the literal as well as grammatical antagonism in the conjoined usage of the adjectives “delicate” and “slaveholding.””(20) This quote illustrates that woman was used a negative idea of them either being as delicate woman or as a slaveholder that the violence idea was made to show antagonism.

Furthermore, it also states that “The plantation household was just such a site of contact between women whose access to power, privilege, and opportunity, much less food, clothing, and citizenship, was vastly unequal.” This quote means that woman was treated poorly that they will get less power, food, and equal rights for their own self that woman was like nothing to anyone that person that we’re using those women as slaveholders were horrible people.

blog post #2

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”Racism has been a big obstacle that faces people since old times until today and despite all the attempts to nullify it, but it’s a lasting problem that will never end until the end of humanity I believe. The reading is talking about the US before becoming democratic through black people. In August 1619, only 12 years after the English colonized Jamestown, Virginia, The inhabitants of Jamestown purchased 20 to 30 enslaved Africans who were stolen by the pirate from a Portuguese slave ship. They were the beginning of the american slavery. The reading states an important event which is the middle passage, which is the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. it contained 12.5 million africans and about 2 million of them didn’t make it through the tortuous voyage. Furthermore, before the worldwide slave trade was abolished, 400,000 enslaved Africans were sold into America. When they were slaves, they showed the colonists how to cultivate rice. They produced and harvested cotton, which was the most valuable product in the country at the time(50% of all American exports and 66% of the world’s supply). The reading alo talked about how they amassed great fortunes for white individuals everywhere and the slave trader from Rhode island who profits from the stolen labor of black people helped the nascent nation pay off its war debts and found some of the country’s most prominent universities. The text also states the declaration of independence and that some of white mens didn’t believe in its approval that says that all men are created equally. Enslaved persons were treated as property, which might be mortgaged, exchanged, bought, sold, used as collateral, given as a gift, and ruthlessly disposed of, and although Jefferson and his fellow white colonists recognized that black people were human beings, they devised a network of rules and practices that insured that enslaved people would never be viewed as such. But black men didn’t give up on their rights and they helped the country live up to its founding ideals to save everyone else’s rights, not only black people’s . For example, Crispus Attucks, a slave fugitive who died in the American Revolution.  Jefferson never tried to abolish the slavery but then he’s blaming England’s king for forcing the slavery. But then With independence, the founding fathers were no longer able to blame Britain for slavery, it became the nation’s sin.                                                                                                                         Gordon wood agrees with NIkole Hannah Jones on demonstrating the importance of lavery in the history of the country but he criticized Hannah-Joness’ essay by stating  that he spent his career studying the american revolution and cannot accept the view that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”

Seth Rockman’s Dredging and Drudgery

Throughout history, it can be seen how the lower class people are the ones who always fall victim to unemployment and poverty. It is no surprise that class inequality is still thriving to this day. The gap between the classes is tremendously big and not getting smaller any time soon. The paper written by Seth Rockman named “Dredging and Drudgery” where he talks about early Baltimore Maryland. In which he explores the Baltimore republic and class conditions. During that time people of Baltimore were struggling with employment which was very scarce. I personally would not be surprised if the scarcity of employment was due to capitalists as they are the ones during that time who had the most capital and favored autonomy. Rockman continues to talk about Baltimore’s manual labor which he said that hard laborers were dredging where people excavate sand to form a new establishment. In Baltimore’s case, new harbors were formed in which more ships came to Baltimore with rich resources.

“Many of the workers stood knee-deep in the water while shoveling debris in and out of the scows. The work was grueling, filthy, and unsuited to the virtuous habits of republican artisans. Without it, however, Baltimore’s commercial prosperity would have ceased.” 

( Rockman 76) 

One would think with this employment that the lower class will be doing well but no that is not the as it is no surprise that the capitalists are the ones who the benefiting the most from this all this overall manual labor. Baltimore also had slaves who were part of the hard labor force during that time as Rockman described it as the slaves trading on hard labor so they can get their families free. To working-class Baltimoreans, the reasons for poverty were obvious a lack of employment, increased costs for limited quantities of basic essentials. According to Rockman workers’ “adapted” survival tactics that are built on basic fundamental characteristics of the early republic’s capitalist culture which was to stop looking for enjoyment rather have the courage/willingness to work harder in order to improve the conditions of family members.

An interesting character to look for while reading Rockman’s paper is Owen Mullen who was a mudmechanist for more than 20 years. 

“Mullen had toiled on the mudmachine for upwards of twenty years. For Mullen and his co-workers, manual labor was not a life stage to be outgrown, but a career.” ( Rockman 99)

The majority of backbreaking labor fell on the lower class and slaves 1838 petitions which were about increasing minimum wage had mullen’s name affixed to it showing traits of economic change. We can look at time as a fight versus two groups ( Bourgeois vs Proleteriants ) which is very enduring as it can be seen throughout history but also in our modern society. Rockman’s Dredging and Drudgery was a very interesting reading that showed early Baltimore’s republic. Explored the labor forces and how social inequality had its roots in Baltimore.

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Although Christopher Columbus is often said to have “discovered” the New World in 1492, by this point in the semester it should be abundantly clear that his was a “discovery” only from the vantage point of Europeans, who were unaware of the existence of the American continents. Instead, Columbus and other European explorers encountered an incredibly diverse array of peoples comprised of hundreds of cultural and linguistic groups, from the advanced civilizations and vast cities of the Aztecs and Incas to the semi-nomadic hunting and agricultural societies of the Eastern Woodlands.

While Columbus’s voyage was undoubtedly an event of great world-historical significance, and deserves to be remembered for that reason, it should also be clear by now—as it was to European observers like Adam Smith more than 200 years ago—that Columbus’s voyage brought about “dreadful misfortunes” as well as “great benefits.” Not only did Columbus and his Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English successors massacre and enslave tens or hundreds of thousands of Native people (with Columbus himself personally taking part in atrocities), the so-called “Columbian Exchange” of smallpox and other diseases led to perhaps the greatest single episode of loss of life in human history—with some estimates putting the death toll at 80 million, or about 1/5th of the world’s population at the time, over decades. For these reasons, even other Europeans during the Age of Exploration referred to the initial conquest of Native regions by the Spanish as the “Black Legend,” an acknowledgment of the cruelty of early European colonizers as well as the great loss of life that attended the conquest of the Americas.

A painting said to depict Opechancanough, the Algonquian leader who successfully staved off English colonizers in Virginia until his capture and death at age 92.

Although Native peoples often resisted fiercely, sometimes successfully staving off incursions by European settlers for decades or longer, much of the history of the interaction between indigenous people and settlers in what became the United States follows a similar narrative of dispossession, displacement, and cultural erasure. From a population of perhaps 10-18 million at the time of Columbus’s voyage, today in the United States there are less than 3 million people who claim to be of full Native American ancestry, less than 1 per cent of the population. Not without reason, then, have many scholars and others characterized the policies of the United States government towards Native American peoples in this period of history as constituting genocide.

For all these reasons, some have proposed that it would be more appropriate to celebrate this holiday as “Indigenous People’s Day,” shifting the focus to the history of Native people and their descendants throughout the Americas (and for Italian-Americans who view the day as a celebration of their culture, why not dedicate a new holiday to Amerigo Vespucci, the Florentine navigator who is credited with establishing the fact that the Americas were separate continents, or any one of hundreds of notable Italian-Americans since then?) This year, President Biden became the first U.S. president to officially recognize Oct. 11th as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, breaking a longstanding tradition of celebrating European colonizers while ignoring our indigenous past. Time will tell if this marks the inauguration of a new era in our remembrance of U.S. history, or only the latest battle in the so-called “culture wars” that have overshadowed such national discussions of history, race, and identity since the 1990s.