RCC Honors History Project

Archive for the ‘Class Discussion’ Category

Post your thoughts about primary documents, class discussions, readings, current events here. Have lively discussions and debates about the themes of the course.

William Henry Channing —

Posted by wrmahugu on December 29, 2009

William Henry Channing was a rarity among Transcendentalists because of his political conscience. He was probably the sole social activist of the group. He extended the Transcendentalist concept of the self into an ideal of selflessness. His was a ” renewed social and political vision. ” Man was to be a ” new moral creation… transfigured. ” This led to ” a desire to glorify God in a perfect social life.”Emerson called him “‘ the evil time’s sole patriot .'” Channing was born in Boston in 1810 to a prominent family. He was the nephew of William Ellery Channing, the famous Unitarian minister, who had a profound influence on him. He went to Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard College in 1829. He was already associated with Transcendentalists at Harvard. He attended Harvard Divinity School until 1833 and became an itinerant Unitarian preacher, eventually settling in New York where he grappled with urban poverty and immigration. He moved to Cincinnati in 1835 and found it less free than the East. He leaned towards Thoreau in his outlook. He began to publish The Western Messenger. He virtually became a Deist while in the West. He moved back to New England in 1841 and translated Jouffrey’s Introduction to Ethics for George Ripley. He contributed to the Dial. He became active in every reform: anti-slavery, peace, temperance, and women’s rights. He became involved with Brook Farm. While at Brook Farm, he is strongly credited for the change to Fourierism, possibly because of its emphasis on collective humanity over the individual. He was interested in unity. He wrote for the Harbinger. He did not think that the community was religious enough, though he tolerated this. “In 1857 he was honored by replacing England’s most influential Liberal Unitarian preacher.” He called this “‘pivotal'” because he “was able to reconcile his political enthusiasm with his commitment to the church.” He remained the rest of his life in England, returning to pastor a church in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. He also was Senate chaplain. Channing was troubled with a “disease of disproportionate specualtion.” He was labelled as impractical. He feared that the “‘one divine far-off event’ might happen before breakfast.”  He thought that the only darkness came from “‘one’s own shadow, beneath his feet.'”  Channing represents among Transcendentalists “the fervent hope for social justice.”He died in 1884. Channing was the social activist among the Transcendentalists. Apparently his spirit never rested as he ever sought to improve upon humanity. He was not happy with the intellectual side of the movement.

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Response to Anti-Masonic Party

Posted by jwilhelm21 on December 29, 2009

It was interesting to consider the Anti-Masonic Party emerging from the woodwork of the political system.  It’s interesting how the term “Masonic” immediatley invokes conspiracy in the minds of any infomed historian.  It’s ironic because although the concept of conspiracy is usually considered a dirty word by Americans, our country could not have been founded without an abundant ammount of conspiracy.  It makes me wonder why people cease to question their government when things are going so badly?

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Treaties. America isn’t greedy… right?

Posted by laurabrady91 on December 29, 2009

After seeing all of these treaties (take for example the treaty with China, the treaty with Hawaii, the treaty with the Cherokee, the treaty with the French Republic, etc.) I’m really starting to see that while America was quite greedy, they were also quite smart. While it is easy to insult the things America does, it is quite amazing how far the country has gone and that even though it is such a young country, it is already a world power! The country was founded on greed and the tradition has definitely carried on through the corporations and government that call this country home. Other countries look at America and hold contempt for the people they view as “Americans.” I’m just wondering if perhaps America tried to conquer too much too soon. With the economy quickly spiraling downward and the country desperately trying to hold on to it’s power, it brings a question into my mind, how would this country be different if it hadn’t become a world power so early?

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Response to Louisiana Purchase

Posted by jwilhelm21 on December 29, 2009

I’m perturbed my the dilemna the Louisiana Purchase presented in terms of congressional approval and executive power.  While I feel the Lousiana Purchase was a historical event that helped propel the United States towards the status of a world power, I question Thomas Jefferson’s decision to make the purchase without congressional approval.  However, I feel that democracies excel at delaying any definate decision and oftentimes leave two or more parties equally unsatisfied.  I had these thoughts about the Louisiana Purchase because me and Alberto have been having conversation about the advantages of an absolute ruler (which I know is a dirty word to Americans).

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Mexican-American War

Posted by sierralapoint on December 3, 2009

In reading some of the documents from the Mexican-American war, it seems that a majority of Americans had, by this point, already moved beyond their “we don’t know any better” attitudes to a more arrogant “well you should really know better than to mess with us” attitude.  I mean, honestly.

So, it’s like this: mexico invites americans into Tejas (Texas) to live and work this land, so long as they still recognize that they are still on Mexican territory.  Americans come.  They rebel.  They claim their independence and establish a government and demand to be recognized as a sovereign nation.  The Mexican government is like, “Are you kidding? You’re a bunch of punks.  That’s our land!”

Meanwhile, the Texians have been recognized as independent by Britain and France, and are trying to convince the US to annex them and make them a state, which they eventually do by the end of 1845.  The Mexican government had already warned the US that if they accepted Texas, it would mean war, but in true American fashion, we blew them off as not a real threat.

So Mexico is pissed because Tejas still really belonged to them, and America of course has already sent troops to defend their new state.  Texians claim that their land extends to the Rio Grande, and the US supports them.  But this is even more problematic because now those pesky rebels are trying to claim even more land than they had to begin with! (Tejas had been bordered by the Neuces River, not the Rio Grande, a difference of about 150 square miles.  Texians cited the Treaties of Velasco, a document never recognized by the Mexican government to begin with.)

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Posted by brttnyala on November 30, 2009

Words that make Manifest Destiny a monster.



erstwhile pg 26


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Happy Indigenous Genocide Day

Posted by jas1wills on November 27, 2009


This is a link to an exerpt from a Book by Ward Churchill called Indians Are Us. I’m not sure if  this book or it’s author is mentioned in Manifest Destiny because I still havent got it yet but the exerpt does a nice comparison of the indigenous genocides in America and the  genocide that took place in  Germany under Hitler’s rule. If you’ve read the first 2 chapters already and are willing to let me borrow you’re book hit me on: www.facebook.com/spacenjason or www.twitter.com/spacenjason

Have A Great Holiday Everyone! It is most definitely, without a doubt, important to be thankful for the blesings we have  in life, but I also feel that it is equally important to be aware of the true history of the traditions celebrated in America in order to better understand our present surroundings.

“As we “practice love” and strive for this blissful state of grace let’s atleast be thankful for the sacrifices of all living creatures..” –Russel Simmons

I think he meant the turkeys, but I interpret it here for Indigenous people to be included under the “all living creatures” category. I know it might be hard to imagine being thankful for  genocide, but the sacrifices that indigenous and black people went through in history greatly influense the present circumstances. And although I might not be extremely wealthy, I am still far from being dead broke and suffering.  America, with all her negative histories, has far more good stuff that comes from it that heavily outweighs all the bad stuff. So why do we spend time focusing on it and studying it? To understand. To be aware of what is going on around us today and why it is happening. To bring balance to the otherwise blissful existence that is experienced as a free citizen of the United States. So for all the sacrifices that Native Americans and Black Americans before me have suffered and endured …I am thankful, I salute you and I raise a toast to your memory and struggles.

— Jason

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Please Post

Posted by rccaahistory on November 24, 2009

I don’t know if I am misunderstanding the assignment: I have been commenting on primary documents, but I am under the impression that we are also supposed to comment on other comments. If this is the case, then we need to pick it up students, because I am not finding any comments to comment on (and I have gone through every category). 😉



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Posted by wrmahugu on November 22, 2009

Came across this while reading the chapter “Religion and Politics”

“…Only a revival of religion, many believed, could preserve the nation “from our vast extent of territory, our numerous and increasing population, from diversity of local interests, the power of selfishness and the fury of sectional jealousy and hate…” (Masur 66)

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We have 30 Basic Human Rights: Do you Know Them?

Posted by jas1wills on November 22, 2009

We Have 30 Basic Human Rights: Do You Know Them?

November 16, 2009 at 12:19 am

By Sarah Melody

Sarah Melody resized Sarah Melody, musician and spokesperson for Youth For Human Rights International

We have 30 basic human rights, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the United Nations in 1948 to provide a global understanding of how to treat individuals.  Before I became National Youth Spokesperson for Youth For Human Rights International’s Canadian chapter in 2005 at the age of 16, I had no idea what my human rights were, and even though the document has been around for 61 years I know most people don’t.

Back in 2005, I was promoting anti-bullying through my tune “Song of Peace,” which led me to the Stop the Violence conference in Toronto, held by Michael “Pinball” Clemons, then coach for the Toronto Argonauts. I spoke on behalf of my generation, in front of teachers and community leaders. My three minutes grabbed the attention of Youth for Human Rights International, a non-profit organization teaching people their human rights. They asked if I would represent their organization.  After seeing their “United” music video, a street-savvy, multi-ethnic, anti-bullying message, and their other video PSAs and printed materials, I accepted the position. I was titled National Youth Spokesperson and my first major assignment was to represent Canada at the 2006 International Human Rights Summit held at the United Nation headquarters in New York.

Human Rights are a global term we hear often, but many people can’t define. So the question is what are human rights? “Rights” are things we are allowed to be, to do or to have, simply by being human. We each own 30 basic human rights, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in my role as National Spokesperson, I have been speaking and singing my songs at elementary and high schools across Ontario. We hope to expand to the rest of Canada. I educate the kids about human rights and how it’s our responsibility to learn them and spread the word, since human rights are not taught in the schools or at home. My message to everyone is not political; it focuses on education. Even in Canada, a place of freedom, we still have issues of violence in homes and on the streets. By educating each other, we can hopefully, eventually, eliminate this.

Sarah on the Human Rights Education panel in Geneva, Switzerland Sarah on the Human Rights Education panel at the International Human Rights Summit in Geneva, Switzerland

Youth for Human Rights International presently has more than 180 chapters in over 80 countries around the world, including Australia, Denmark, Ghana, Guyana, India, Japan, Liberia, Morocco, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Uganda, the UK, U.S.A. and, of course, Canada. Last August, I represented Canada in Geneva Switzerland at the 6th annual International Human Rights Summit. I met youth delegates ages 16 to 25 from all across the globe with the same goal in mind, human rights education.

International Human Rights Day is right around the corner on December 10, celebrating its 61st year of existence. So what can you do? Learn your rights! If you’re a parent or teacher share these rights with your kids or pass them along to a friend. Feel free to learn more about your human rights at www.youthforhumanrights.org or email info@sarahmelody.com

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. We are all free and equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.

2. Don’t discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.

3. The right to life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.

4. No slavery – past and present. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.

5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.

6. We all have the same right to use the law. I am a person just like you!

7. We are all protected by the law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.

8. Fair treatment by fair courts. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.

9. No unfair detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without a good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.

10. The right to trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.

11. Innocent until proven guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true.

12. The right to privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters or bother us or our family without a good reason.

13. Freedom to move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish.

14. The right to asylum. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.

15. The right to a nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.

16. Marriage and family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.

17. Your own things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.

18. Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.

19. Free to say what you want. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.

20. Meet where you like. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.

21. The right to democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.

22. The right to social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and child care, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.

23. Workers’ rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.

24. The right to play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax.

25. A bed and some food. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for.

26. The right to education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn.

27. Culture and copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that “art,” science and learning bring.

28. A free and fair world. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.

29. Our responsibilities. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.

30. Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.

* List provided by Youth For Human Rights International, adapted and simplified from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Here is a link to the original:  http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

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