Another bad school assignment (1 Viewer)

Grandadmiral

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GA probably has some better nuts and bolts arguments, but the Abolitionist movement had been going on for about a century before Emancipation - the moral argument for slavery was the africans, et al were lesser humans than whites so slavery was akin to keeping horses and cattle
but the more people heard black abolitionists speak, the harder it became to justify slavery on moral grounds
Slave revolts in the South and carribbean didn't help much (even though they were also used to buttress the 2nd amendment with race clauses)
The Abolitionist movement began to increase around the Revolution, if not before. Remember, Jefferson's original Declaration of Independence included harsh words on slavery and the slave trade. It was only removed after delegates from South Carolina and Georgia threatened to walk away.

Some states, like South Carolina, were so afraid of slave revolts that they voluntarily stopped the transatlantic slave trade only to restart it with the evolution of the cotton gin.
 

DaveXA

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The Abolitionist movement began to increase around the Revolution, if not before. Remember, Jefferson's original Declaration of Independence included harsh words on slavery and the slave trade. It was only removed after delegates from South Carolina and Georgia threatened to walk away.

Some states, like South Carolina, were so afraid of slave revolts that they voluntarily stopped the transatlantic slave trade only to restart it with the evolution of the cotton gin.

They should have let them walk away (maybe?). But, if that happens, I wonder what our country looks like today.
 

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I guess it all depends on the point of the lesson. If it’s got a strong point it’s trying to make that ties in with the lesson I suppose I can see
 

Sun Wukong

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They should have let them walk away (maybe?). But, if that happens, I wonder what our country looks like today.

They were too afraid of not having everyone on board with the Revolution to let them walk.

There were many who absolutely believed that once (or if) the goal of independence from Britain had been achieved, that the colonies/states would descend into infighting because pretty much the only thing they all had in common was wanting to win the war. Beyond that, the economies, cultures, values, and social structures of the states were so different that many believed there was no way it could work. And the issue of slavery was a key driver in all of that, as well.

It's a little fatalistic, but if you really look at the history of this country, the Civil War was pretty much inevitable from day one. And in a lot of respects it's actually surprising it took all the way until the 1860's to happen.
 

Grandadmiral

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They were too afraid of not having everyone on board with the Revolution to let them walk.

There were many who absolutely believed that once (or if) the goal of independence from Britain had been achieved, that the colonies/states would descend into infighting because pretty much the only thing they all had in common was wanting to win the war. Beyond that, the economies, cultures, values, and social structures of the states were so different that many believed there was no way it could work. And the issue of slavery was a key driver in all of that, as well.

It's a little fatalistic, but if you really look at the history of this country, the Civil War was pretty much inevitable from day one. And in a lot of respects it's actually surprising it took all the way until the 1860's to happen.
Yep. Everything in the development of the country has been a compromise on slavery:

  • Declaration of Independence: see my previous comments
  • The U.S. Constitution is full of compromise
    • Three-fifths clauses
    • Delaying the prohibition of the transatlantic slave trade to 1808
    • If you read Madison's notes from the convention in 1787 you'll see how contentious the debate over slavery was and how close it came to ruining everything
  • The Missouri Compromise
  • The Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act
The Civil War was inevitable seeing how the country kept punting the issue.
 

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Sorry to derail but:

Wanted to thank those that coached me up on the cotton gin. After seeing the contention here, and after reading last night the excerpts from the Smithsonian; man was I wrong. Not only did it perpetuate slavery, Eli Whitney didn’t even invent the thing (by himself). He just got the only credit on the patent because everyone else on the team was Black or a woman.

I consider myself not a complete idiot so when I learn I have fallen victim to the white washing of history it unnerves me. I really thought I had rooted out all of the historical inaccuracies from my childhood.

This one perplexes me though. why tell kids “the cotton gin was not only awesome, it helped end slavery!”

When in reality, the truth is it perpetuated it. So why not just tell kids that while the cotton gin was a revolutionary machine, that was the cornerstone for modern manufacturing AND agriculture; the machine had unintended side effects that led to the explosion of slavery in the south. It doesn’t cheapen the cotton gin, imo. But it gives a wonderful example of unintended consequences that we can learn a lot from. Again it is perplexing to me.

Thanks again, to all on this board. You truly do learn something every day.
 

guidomerkinsrules

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Yep. Everything in the development of the country has been a compromise on slavery:

  • Declaration of Independence: see my previous comments
  • The U.S. Constitution is full of compromise
    • Three-fifths clauses
    • Delaying the prohibition of the transatlantic slave trade to 1808
    • If you read Madison's notes from the convention in 1787 you'll see how contentious the debate over slavery was and how close it came to ruining everything
  • The Missouri Compromise
  • The Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act
The Civil War was inevitable seeing how the country kept punting the issue.
continues punting the issue
 
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This one perplexes me though. why tell kids “the cotton gin was not only awesome, it helped end slavery!”


You can ask this question about a lot of the things taught in school

For whatever reason Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin is one of the inventions that kids are taught about in school.

Why? Who knows? Who invented air conditioning, the refrigerator, the steam engine? I know for a fact that I didn't learn about them in elementary school. Why the cotton gin?

I recently watched CNN's documentary series on Abraham Lincoln and one of the lines was "the truth is a lot more complicated than what you learn in the 2nd grade"
 

Sun Wukong

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Lots of things you're taught in school are bullshirt. When I was a kid they were still telling us the reason no one would fund Columbus' voyage was because they thought the Earth was flat. The reality is naval navigation had been based on the concept of a spherical Earth since the time of ancient Greece.

I was also taught that Louisiana was named for King Louis and his wife Queen Anna. Unfortunately three seconds of research would tell you his wife was not named Anna.
 

Sun Wukong

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I'll also add that a lot of our teaching of history is based around hero worship and turning complicated and flawed real people into mythological figures. So less history and more cultural myths perpetuated as history. This is rooted in the late 19th century mythologization of the founding fathers and other notable leaders, but also expanded from there. Honest Abe. Washington and the cherry tree. That kind of stuff.
 
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DaveXA

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The unintendend consequence of a thread about a lame-brained school assignment is actually learning something from you guys about our history. Thanks to everyone for contributing. Learn something new all the time. :9:
 

guidomerkinsrules

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You can ask this question about a lot of the things taught in school

For whatever reason Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin is one of the inventions that kids are taught about in school.

Why? Who knows? Who invented air conditioning, the refrigerator, the steam engine? I know for a fact that I didn't learn about them in elementary school. Why the cotton gin?

I recently watched CNN's documentary series on Abraham Lincoln and one of the lines was "the truth is a lot more complicated than what you learn in the 2nd grade"
my office used to be right next to our technical director who also taught costuming/sewing - his intro to sewing lectures about the invention/development of the sewing machine and it's enormous cultural impact were always fascinating to me

in my intro to theatre lecture, i explain how the incandescent lightbulb was the propellant of Modern Theatre
 

guidomerkinsrules

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I'll also add that a lot of our teaching of history is based around hero worship and turning complicated and flawed real people into mythological figures. So less history and more cultural myths perpetuated as history. This is rooted in the late 19th century mythologization of the founding fathers and other notable leaders comes from. Honest Abe. Washington and the cherry tree. That kind of stuff.
and i don't know what it's like teaching grade school (if the mythology approach makes impact), but at least by 8th grade, the students LOVE learning about the flaws and the mess of historical figures
 

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