Monday, April 23, 2012

Riley's Answers

1. Why did Wilmer McLain say the Civil War "began in his front yard and ended in [his] front parlor"?
Wilmer McLain owned a farm in Virginia. The first battle of the Civil War, Bull Run, took place on his property. McLain moved to a different property close to Appomattox Courthouse, also in Virginia. When Lee surrendered to Grant at the end of the war the official proceedings took place in McLain’s new living room.

2. What percentage of the male population died in the Civil War?
According to the Civil War documentary by Ken Burns 2% of the male population died off.

3. How did the friction between states rights and a federal government contribute to the start of the Civil War?
The states thought they had more power to make decisions and the Federal Government thought they should be more powerful. This became very apparent when the question of slavery was raised.
4. Discuss writer Shelby Foote's premise that the "Civil War defines us" as Americans.
Shelby Foote believed that our country was at a crossroads. Although the war was a horrible thing, it shaped us as a nation.
5. Discuss Thomas Jefferson's comment that to keep slavery in the U.S. was like "holding a wolf by the ears.."
Slavery had been an issue since the Revolutionary War. In the documentary it said slavery sat like a coiled snake under the benches of the Constitutional Convention. The Southern States depended on slavery as a workforce if they were to let slavery go the economy would fall.
6. If one in seven Americans were owned by another American and essentially no one in the northern states held slaves, discuss the complexion (literal and figurative) of the population in the South. How did slavery remain as part of the culture?
Slaves were more abundant in the South. This contributed to a different looking population compared to the Northern States where everyone was mostly white.
7. Who is Alexis de Toqueville? How did his 1830s era observations and books inform the non-slave owning world of what America was like?
Alexis de Toqueville was a French political writer. He informed the non slave owning Americans that there really wasn’t equality in America because black people and Native Americans were second class citizens.
8. Who was John Brown?
John Brown was a unsuccessful businessmen and an abolitionist. He worked in the underground railroad helping slaves escape. He got in trouble in Kansas where he is men murdered pro slavery settlers. He was caught by then Colonel Robert E. Lee at Harper’s Ferry Virginia. He was tried, convicted of murder and hanged. He became a martyr of the North according to the History Channel.
9. Who was William Lloyd Garrison?
William Lloyd Garrison was an abolitionist who ran a militant newspaper, The Liberator. He called for complete freedom for black people. He believed slavery was a sin and people who owned slaves were criminals.
10. Who was Elijah Lovejoy?
Elijah Lovejoy was born in Albion, Maine. He graduated from Colby and he studied to be a minister. He believed in the gradual abolition of slavery and published editorials in St. Louis Missouri. Mobs destroyed his printing press three times. He died defending freedom of speech when a mob tried to seize his printing press for the fourth time according to
11. What is meant by "Bleeding Kansas"?
Bleeding Kansas describes the conflicts that took place while decisions were being made whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a free or slave state.

14. How did the presidential election of 1860 lay the groundwork for Civil War?
Lincoln was pro abolition and was not supported by the South. The vote was divided in the South and split the vote. When Lincoln became president the Southern states started seceding.
15. What state was the first to pass a secession bill? What significance does 
this have today, if any?
The first state to pass a secession bill was South Carolina. The Civil War documentary by Ken Burns said the cotton gin made the processing of cotton faster and more slaves were needed. South Carolina was a big cotton state and had the most to lose if slavery was abolished. The Civil War basically ruined their economy. They are still one of the poorer less educated states.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, Riley. The image of slavery as a snake coiled under the benches of the high-minded men of the Constitutional Convention conjures both anger and pride. Though we have wrangled that snake in that we have a black president, the venom remains.

    Right about de Tocqueville. Though he said, Americans have no word for peasant because there is no such class, he predicted disaster resulting from our continued reliance on slave labor.

    I know you took a whack at this question in an earlier paper. Are you still interested in how the Civil War still shapes us?

    Good observation about South Carolina today. Can you find evidence of whether they still have such a powerful effect on Southern/National politics?