Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to bum their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.”

This reading was about 4th of July to the slave as well as questions for the slave owners and everyone. I think that it was clear and meant to leave a message for people even today. He wanted his reader to have to think, he creates a clear picture for the reader. He asks questions that many would not dare to ask and he makes statements that are bold and vivid.

I put two of my favorite paragraphs at the top. I really like these, I feel like it can almost be seen as a message or sermon. I like that he is a graphic writer. He makes one see what most pretend they do not know. He paints a picture of what is real and does not “sugarcoat” for anyone. He shows what he believes and stands up for it, not worrying about the outcome. I think this speaks of his character, and shows the reader his passion. This is a topic that many people shy away from; the thing we have to understand is that it was a part of our past. It was a part of who we were and how we got to where we are now. We had to learn from our mistake and slavery was a mistake but it was a way of life at one time. If we do not study and learn about these things we could make the same mistakes again. Maybe not a scale this big but understanding through readings like this where it all started and how it works is very important.

He (Douglass) is a very good writer and creates a lot of emotion and questions with his writing. He can make his reader feel things that they did not know they could feel. I think this reading relates to some of the others because it is about making a “name”. He sees the value of a man’s name and his worth. This was important to him and he wanted us to see that.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I really liked this reading. I think that it makes people think about freedom from a side that we too often forget. Is freedom really free? I think here we see that it is nowhere close to free. It is actually very "expensive" or "costly".

I think that this story did a great job at capturing things that most stories like this often leave off. The idea of gender roles was seen and discussed. (Fetching wood chips) Also in the first part when the mother gives up everything. Is this taken literally or just an image? Either way i feel the point is still the same, i feel like we are to see that it is not an easy path. We must give up and lose things in order to get what we want. Even then it is still not promised. I feel like this first part was fun to read and made me think a lot about where i am today and being thankful for what i do have as well as what i do not have.

I think another important issue that we overlook is the power and idea of liberty back when this was written. What do we place importance on now in days? Is liberty truly important to us? I feel like these people early in history worked so hard to create the very government we have today and yet most people have no interest or knowledge of it. But they are all willing to complain when someone is not doing something the way "they would do it". I think that today’s society and especially the youth do not care about these issues like we should. If we did more people would vote in elections and speak up when they did not believe in what was going on. So i feel like we can see a definite change in values with the change in time.

The second part of this reading was talking about slavery and how looking back what it makes us look like. Now in days we would think the idea of selling a man is dumb. (Although to some degree it still happens, and for other reason such as sex) But for the most part we like to think that we are not this and this was such a bad time for the slaves in our history. The truth is it was a part of our culture. At the time it was not seen by everyone or by government to be wrong. It ended up hurting everyone that was involved, not just the slave. People were forever changed by this, history was forever changed. When we hear the story of the runaway slave in the second part, we can only imagine what it must have felt like. Times were hard and people were a different kind.

One question that i have and that i continue to think about, even if it might be a risky question, is how much have we really changed? Are there still slaves today? Not to the degree of back then but it does still happen. What about the men and women today being sold for their bodies or them selling their own bodies for sex? Is this still a form of slavery?

I think that we have learned a lot from our history, but i think that we will soon be repeating some of it because we did not take action. We allowed things to keep going, we do not stand up and fight for things we know to be true and honest. We go with the flow; most of us have become followers. Who will be a leader?


In this writing, Thoreau talks about politics. He is very clear about that he sees America as and he wants the men in the government to see what he sees. In the beginning he talks a lot about what he thinks and feels. He expresses that there can become a time where the government get involved a little too much in people's lives. He does stick to the theme of the last few pieces we have been reading, the idea of being an individual. He basically tells everyone that they need to stand up for what they believe and not sit back and watch because those actions will lead to a destructive nation.

I noticed that in paragraph 10 he makes a biblical reference. Does this mean he is a man of faith or was he doing it to create a sense of validity? I think that most writings from around this same time period did use the bible as a reference much more than it is even used today. I think today we only look at it, the bible, as something that is to be used in churches and things like that. When really there is so much history and things to learn from in the book.

I think that he was very passionate about what he was writing; i think that it was real to him. It is or can be hard for us to understand and read things that were written a while back, but i feel like things like this were so simple yet so important. This writing played a huge role in which we have become today!

I was not sure where he actually stood with some of his morals. The part where he was talking about, not participating in injustice but yet not promoting a more just world? That confuses me. I feel like if you’re doing one of those you’re not doing the other or vice versa. I also was unsure on his direct view of America or the world. Was he hopefully or pessimistic? I feel like in some places he was both. I was not sure on this and it seemed to confuse me a little because i feel like i cannot interpret things correctly if i do not fully understand where he was coming from.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This reading showed how little of role females got to play in this time period. Because of this writing we, females, have rights today.

I like learning about stuff like this because it does relate to me. I am a female and it is hard to believe that there was a time that we had no rights and no say. I think women’s movements started from things like this and we are where we are today because of things like this. We still are not where we should be but we are moving closer and closer in the right direction. Females still do not get the best paying jobs even if they are just as qualified or more qualified then the males applying for the same position. We still do not have as big of a voice as males but we are getting closer.

I think that it is very clear that this is important to our history. We use things like this to learn from our past and to make sure we do not go down the same roads. I feel like this was very hard to write because it was written in a time where it was not acceptable.

I feel like this is a lot like the beginning readings it seems to be based on facts and information more than just story telling.

I feel like this story also reminds me of Douglass, because he was fighting against slavery and for human rights. The ideas behind this book are very much the same. She was fighting for human rights and in greater detail women’s rights.


“Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” is a story that shows a side of slavery that most people do not want to see or hear. It talks about a woman’s experience and the horrors that came along with being a female slave. This story paints a very clear yet very disturbing side of slavery that many people do not want to see. Her story shows her life and what choices she had to make to get to where she wanted to be.

I feel like this reading reminded me of Douglass, which I am reading in another class. In Douglass every time females are mentioned it is in a horrible way. Douglas is much more in detail and holds nothing back. It paints very vivid pictures. Both books talk about beauty being a curse for a slave. This picture is clearly seen in this reading. If you were a pretty slave your owner wanted you and that meant that his wife hated you. This was not easy for females. I can see where what is supposed to be a good thing turns out being a curse.

I had a hard time understanding what she meant in the very beginning about not judging a slave female the same way as a free person. While i do not know where she is coming from as a slave, i still feel like i am not sure about this. I understand the things she was put through were horrible! But I'm not sure what she means by the beginning statements.

I feel like this work also reminds me of Ben Franklin because like he used letters to gain credibility she got some people to say that everything in her story was true. She did this to gain credibility, that way people would be more apt to read and believe what they were reading. It also would show some people a side that most did not want to talk about! This writing also probable made a lot of people upset.
The over all theme of this is the corruption of slavery and what it does to everyone. It does not just hurt the slaves it also has a impact on everyone involved. It can make a person change into something they are not and bring out the worse in all humans. Slavery was bad for everyone involved!

Monday, September 12, 2011


The overall theme of this poem is democracy. The writing expresses his idea that democracy can be not only a political system but also a lifestyle. He talks about how he experiences life through this light, and how for him it seems to work.  He uses different tactics, such as his language and dialects, to really get the reader to see where he is coming from and what he is trying to say.

I think he poem also represents a growing US. During the time the poem was written America was growing at a huge rate.  This is something I am not a 100% sure of, just something that I thought while reading.

I think that it was also important that he talks about the beauty of the individual. This was seen in many of our readings. He still saw everyone coming together but as unique and different individuals. That’s what would make us special and stand out and above the rest. This can even be seen in his title to this work. He talks about how everyone is important, even as just one voice. I think here we see what he is trying to say in his poem. I think he respects and thinks a lot of the individual. But is that how we are today? Would this way of thinking and life work perfectly?

I think that this poem does tie in with everything that we have read even to this point. It expresses ideas and things that make one think even many years after its creator is long gone. This poem still holds value and expresses things in a light that, most of us do not think about.

Something that stood out to me was all the list. I’m not sure it this was done on purpose.  I think this was done to drive his point across and show it in many different forms. Not too sure but that’s what I got from it.

I like this style of writing, I love poetry. I find it easy to read and enjoyable. It is not always clear nor is it meant to be. I think that it does allow the reader to see things in a different light and create a idea of what it means to each different reader. The overall theme may be the same but it will not be interpreted the same every time. This is what makes it unique and different.

Sunday, September 11, 2011



100 years after it happened

My big question is, is all of this a dream? Is this really happening or is he dreaming?

I was very unclear on this. I think it has a lot to do with the style of romanticism, i think this style of writing likes to leave questions ad thoughts that are unclear. In doing this it allows to involve the reader, it allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. It is a very different style then what we have been reading. So far we have been reading stories with a lot of facts. This story was not like that, it allowed the reader to think. I really enjoy this kind of writing a lot better.

I think that the overall theme of this story is a coming of age story. (Bildungsroman) Robins coming of age is the image of the US coming of age. This story reminds me a lot of Ben Franklin. It had a lot in common, such as run-away, being on a boat, going into a new town, and voyage. It almost felt like this story was meant to be seen as Franklin. Maybe the writer did not want to say real names and give it away like that, but several points make the reader think it could have been about him.

Something i was a little unsure of, was who is the two faced man? Is it the devil or a man that really appears to have two faces or what? It will not make or break the story, but i was not very sure on exactly who it really was.

Something i thought was very interesting was how the people dressed as Indians at one point. I think that this was done on purpose; i think the point behind this was that Indians were seen as savages and that’s why the people dressed like this. They knew that what they were doing was savage like.

The mob mentality is a huge thing in this story. Why were they doing what they were doing? Because a group? Were they all just going with the flow? At one point they are not individuals they come together creating a mob. If one does something and others people are around to see it and they say nothing they are in a sense participating in the wrong doing. The people went along with everyone else was doing, they sensed to be individuals.

Back it the story being a lot like Ben Franklin, with the run-away reference. I think that in this story, he does leave home by choice. He was the second born, which is very important, so he was not going to get any of the riches or house or things like that. The only way for him to make a life was for him to start one for himself. If he stayed he would have had to work for his brother.

The issue in this story of the tar and feathering is a crazy idea. It is a very bad form of torture. It can lead to death and it marks you forever. We can see the image created and see that this was something that was very disturbing. This idea was something that people with very sick minds came up with. But for their time and day it was something seen as a type of enforcement of a "law" or idea. This was done to this man because he was working for the British. Here we can see just how they felt about the British. We can see the passion of the people through the degree of the crime they would do to this man. Does it make it right? Is this justified? Who is to say? I think that it is a lot easier to sit where we are sitting now and say this is wrong but we have a government and a system, was this form of system? Was this the best they could come up with?

Another big thing that stood out to me was the use of color in the story. Color can be very important in creating images and helping the reader really understand and see where the writer is coming from, without the writer having to spell it out word for word. The color red was used which is significant because it does remind me of the scarlet letter and how that color represents being a whore or things of that nature.

The story just like the rest does have a play on nature. All "bad" things happen in the woods. In these days what was thought of as "bad" was only portrayed as happening in the woods. This is funny to relate to today, because now we see people that live out in the woods as innocent country people. We have more problems with things in town so to speak. I do not know if I’m in the right direction with this but it was how i interoperated it.

Federalist No.51 and Antifederalist No. 1

These writings express two different sides of what they think about how things should work with the government. Neither is completely wrong or right, both have valid points. These documents are an important part of our history because what they laid out, has led us to where we are now.

18 OCT 1787

State of New York

-Not just to the people then but concern for generations to come. They wanted to establish something that would be a foundation for many years after its establishers were long gone.

The senate can be seen as a good thing for the people for many reasons. Sometimes people need protection from uprising passionate people. Not to say that passionate people are bad or wrong but they can be forceful or strong willed sometimes and this could be dangerous.

These writings say a lot about who we are as Americans. What we hold to be important of valuable. These ties in with everything we have read up to this point by the state of nature. Here we see a majority and minority both speaking about the same thing but with different views. One exalted while the other is below standard. Mostly because of the "class" of who was writing what.

Something that stuck out to me was "if we were all angels we wouldn’t need government" this is very true. I think we often forget we are human and we all make mistakes. Some of us think that we do no wrong or that it’s "our way of the highway". Thinking and expressing ourselves in these manners show and support that we do need some type of government and control. Without anything where would we be? Would we be what we are today? What if these writings were never written?

I feel like the Antifederalist papers were easier to read. I feel like the writing style was different as well as the word choices and the way things were set up. I feel like this was done for a purpose. I think that this writing was done that way to appeal to its audience. Which would have been lower level people, people that didn’t have as much or non-wealthy people. The writing was easier to understand and this was important. If the audience or reader does not understand what is being said then they will not follow or want to follow.

The idea of checks and balances was brought up several times throughout the readings. This can be seen as allowing everyone to have a part or a role. In other words everyone has a job. This is done so that one person does not have to do everything and also to prevent one person from having that much control.

We can see that through all this it does lead to the civil war and the argument of states’ rights. Where are we with this today? Do the smaller people or state have a voice and if they truly have a voice is it the same as the bigger ones? Without going deep into politics, i do not think we are where we need to be. I understand we do not want a "black or white" (wrong or right) government. We do need the gray area but we have to understand that with this comes failure and wrong doing. Not always but because we are human we do make mistakes. We need to see both sides for what they are and come together to solve the same problem.

All and all, not my favorite reading but i understand the importance of reading this and how it does define us today. I also feel that everyone should have to read this. I feel as though one should not be allowed to vote or voice an opinion unless they have some knowledge of what they are talking about. This goes along with complaining about our government as well. Until one understands fully how it works, one should have no reason or right to complain. We need to be educated on these things. If we forget our past we will repeat it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Richard Allen

I think this character was much different from the one in our last reading. I think that this can be seem through not only him saying he believes in something but to take it the next step and actually make a change according to what he believes. He leaves a group to make his own. This was not an easy choice nor was it easy to accomplish. In leaving and making a new anything that does not agree with the popular vote means a risk and often a follow through of hardships. It is not easy to just walk away, because basically it is seen as going against or thinking your better than the popular vote. I like how he says that he did not need the name Methodist they had God and that was all they needed. They stuck up for what they believed right or wrong he took a side and stood behind it fully. No one likes someone that is "lukewarm" most people would prefer everyone to be either "hot" or "cold". In America and our everyday lives we are all about wanting to know whose side your own. If you’re not on our side then you’re against us. There is no in the middle, and i think the writer shows that through his work.

An interesting fact that i never picked up on that the writer brought to my attention was that the Methodist religion was thought to be the best for African Americans because it was easier to understand. It proved to be more simple then any of the others. The others there was so much that went with them that for some of the uneducated people it was hard to understand. I thought this was very interesting because even today most religions are divided in the same ways.

Catholics usually consist of the rich people, Baptist usually consists of the lower and middle class, these are just two examples of how we still divide religion today.

I thought that the writer had a very different way of looking at things and enjoyed the fact that he could take a stand for what he believed. I think that this book is still read in classes today because we can learn so much from people like this. We also need to learn as much about our history as we can through every source we can, because if we are not careful we will repeat our past. History is not just about dates and things found in "History books" but encounters from people who leave us these great works of literature giving us a different view.

Autobiography of Peter Cartwright

1856 (time period)

Right after second great awakening

Some things that i was not sure about in this writing were what were meant by "meetings". I think he is referring to church services kind of like the old camp meeting style. But i am still not completely clear on that.

A funny and interesting thing that stood out to me is when he talked about people "catching the spirit". Here he goes on to say people get the "jerks". I think what he is referring to, is when people become filled with the Holy Spirit. At first he seems to believe it but then moves on to say that most of the people that do this are weak minded and ignorant. He think this "movement" is unnecessary and most of the time a "put on".

I did not really like this character for many reasons. I feel like he talks about how he is against slavery but yet does not stand up for what he believes. He seems to "sit on the fence" about many issues. He blames the Methodist church for slavery basically saying if they were not behind it, it would not be. I think in some ways he has a valid point here. I feel like the church back then greatly influenced society. If the church was against something then most of the time people backed the church and stopped whatever was going against the church. He does in many ways predict a war, which could point to the civil war. But to me he is a weak character. I feel like with him being a preacher and saying he believes in things then not standing up for what me believes makes him a fake. Either you believe in something or you do not. There is no in-between. If you believe in something then you should be willing to stand up and fight for what you "believe" in. To me he was not this person. He wanted people to think he was great but truly he was weak.

This was not my favorite reading because i did not care for the main character. I do think that it is an important reading because many of us are much like this character in today’s society. We say we believe one way but if questioned hard enough we will desert our side to follow society. We look up to so many people that are in all actually worse off than we are. This goes back to the last story and caring about our "name". Do we want to be remembered as someone who deserted our cause or as someone who took a chance and stood up for what they truly believed even if it did not follow the "poplar" cause?

Venture Smith

This writing talks about slavery and what it was like for him growing up. He takes the reader through his life and shows the reader how he was moved around many times growing up. He also talks about the things he was able to accomplish as well as the struggles it took to get to where he was in the end. This story proved to be different then most because he did not start out a slave, his father was a king. His family was taken prisoner and then his life completely changed.

A big question for me throughout the story was did he actually write this himself?

I know that education was not widespread yet and many people were still very uneducated. I think a major theme from this story is much like the last, self-improvement. He knew that he could do anything and would not stop until he could accomplish what he wanted. I also think that he had a strong desire for acceptance into society. The fact that he could not be accepted like he wanted because of his skin color bothered him deeply. He had material success but still was not fully accepted.

I think another thing that stood out was the fact that he did seem well educated. He was very smart at math. He knew how to save and what to do with his money to make it work and last. This is a big deal because even now in 2011 people still do not have this concept. This book is still read today because we can learn a lot from him through how he lived his life.

I do not think his life ended unhappy but better yet hopeful of what was to come later. But who we are now in 2011 is much like how we used to be. We love to see people fail. We love to see them come from nothing and climb the ladder to success and when they get to the top; we want nothing more than to see them fall. This says something about our society; we have not changed as much as we think. We may have actually gone backwards. While we might not have slaves like we used to we still treat people like they are inferior to us.

Both this story and Ben Franklin both were very concerned about being trustworthy. Basically they believed without saying that a "name" is everything. Who you are and what you do with your life defines you. I think this is a virtue that people need to get back today. People are always saying they do not care what others think of them, but the fact is it does matter. We should care about what we do and realize that the things WE do create what people think.

It also was eye opening to some things in slavery that i did not know could happen, like getting married or going to see a judge. I think that when he stuck up for his self while getting a beating surprised me. I feel like this shows what kind of person he truly was and to take it to the next level, having the courage to go see a judge about how he was being treated. I did not know that was even an option for slaves. I understand that most did not speak up because fear of punishment, but his character can be seen when he does.

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin stars off by writing to his son to tell about his life. He tells stories about him traveling to different places and the different people he meets. Franklin explains that he loves his life and would not really change anything. In fact he goes on to be a little vain but in a humorous way. Basically he thinks that by reading these things about his life, he can help others with their life. It is the all American "rags to riches" story.

In this time that the story was written education was not a huge thing. I think that's what makes some of the story unique. We see through his story, how well educated he seemed to be. He tells the reader that he was basically self-educated. This issue to me stood out. I have a great deal of respect for people who are self-educated. In today's world, i think people are too lazy and do not care about learning. Some do and those are the ones that are is school trying their best. There are some that cannot afford school and are teaching their selves but for the most part the people that are sitting at home doing nothing do not even care to learn.

I think another interesting thing that stood out to me, was the different letters included in the work by other people. I think that he put these letters in for a reason. Not only to justify what he was saying but to show others that people thought highly of him. It allowed the reader to see a different point of view. It also created a sense of credibility.

To me the two major themes of this reading were: self-betterment and self-improvement. I feel like these two issues were talked about more than anything. There were many examples of these two things. He did come from nothing and rise to someone who "had it all". (“Rags to riches") But the self-betterment came from him taking himself away to become something better. He worked hard and because of that people started to notice him. He ended up being more successful than some of his bosses and family.

I also think that this writing had some humor hidden in it. When he gives the list of virtues but then follows it by saying that he did not live by all but focused on one to two at a time. He also talks about humility and relates it to being like Christ. The idea behind that is funny because one he did not live up to this at all. Secondly, he picked someone in history that was perfect and disputably the greatest person that has lived. He also seemed to be sarcastic in some places when referring to certain things, almost with a nonchalant attitude.