If you'd like to do any of the Sunday night shows (due Monday) for extra credit, here's where you can put them! Enjoy!
As I mentioned in our last class, if you do "60 Minutes" or "The Pacific" this week, you will get extra credit. "The Amazing Race" isn't on tonight. As usual, it's due by Monday night.
Well, it was an interesting day... Here's what I want you to do -- and I'd like you to do it while it's fresh in your mind, so it's due by Sunday night... I'd like you to:
1. Tell us what your afternoon seminar was on (we all had the same morning session, give or take)
2. Tell us 10 things that you learned today. These can either be in the morning session, the afternoon session, or any other time.
3. On a scale of 1-10, tell me what you thought (seriously) of the seminar. Then tell me 3 things you think they could have done better (either as a group or as instructors in the sessions).
4. Tell us a question that you have.
I will give you my answers after you give me yours. Although it will make you happy to know that I'm currently watching "Seven Pounds" (or as Angie and Regina call it, "Nine Pounds") so I now officially know who Rosario Dawson is.
This photograph is probably the most famous photo taken of one of the greatest building projects in this country's history -- the moment when workers drove the golden spike and completed the Transcontinental Railroad. As I've said before, I highly recommend that you read Ambrose's book, "Nothing Like It In The World," his book about the building of this railroad. In this chapter, I found Ambrose's description of the men who led the way on this project very interesting. At the end of the building, after they became rich, they were vilified (look it up) for their wealth and what was viewed as their greed and corruption. As Ambrose describes them, they were men who put a lot of their own personal wealth (and names) on the line in order to get this railroad built. They were men who took a huge risk and could have ended up destroyed. Given this way of thinking, did they deserve everything they got, in terms of wealth? And by that token, can that same theory be used today to describe the CEOs of large companies that make $50 or $100 million per year? Do they deserve it? Do the two men who created Google deserve to be billionaires? Did the builders of the railroad deserve it? How do we determine who deserves it and who doesn't and how much is too much?
I find another interesting part when he talks about how the railroad could not have been built by slave labor and uses the Russians as an example of trying this and being unsuccessful. He also talks about the engineers and he says that they were ambitious "as only Americans can be." Why does he say this? Is he being irrationally jingoistic?
As Barack Obama showed during the last presidential election, words themselves have great importance. In this chapter, Ambrose purports a view that I haven't often heard before. As a youngster, when I learned about the treatment of Native Americans, I learned of it as a "genocide." A genocide is currently defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially of a particularly ethnic group or nation." Ambrose feels that it was not a genocide because most of their deaths were caused by the introduction of European diseases, most of all smallpox. Does that mean that it was a holocaust ("destruction or slaughter on a mass scale") but not a genocide? Is it a genocide if most of a group of people are killed, even if the "killers" don't "mean it?" Do you have to have a goal of murdering all of a certain type of people in order for it to be a genocide? What should be the definition of that word? And if it wasn't a "genocide," do you imagine that Native Americans would find it offensive to NOT have what was done to them termed a genocide?
I found the most interesting section of this chapter to be when he was talking about how Native Americans weren't as innocent as is it usually taught they were, and how they came about possessing a lot of their land by conquest (the same way the rest of the world went about it). As I've often said), history is created by those who write it down. If you don't write it down, history will most likely be forgotten within a generation or two. Before the Civil Rights Era, the Native Americans were often looked at as people who needed to be "civilized" and adjust to join white America. During the Civil Rights Era, the view of Native Americans changed to be people who were completely innocent victims, people who held nature in the highest esteem, and who completely did not deserve the evil that befell them (this was the history that I was taught when I was young). I find it interesting that it seems the truth of the matter falls somewhere in between, and I enjoyed Ambrose's description of that. I also found his proposal to return the eastern third of Montana and some of the Dakotas to the Native Americans very interesting and wonder what the average Americans would think if that was seriously proposed. What do you think?
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In this chapter, Ambrose says that Andrew Jackson "had contempt for almost anyone who was not a white American" yet, in the Battle of New Orleans, he "put together the first multiracial arms, one that stands as a model to today's American armed forces." Why do you think Jackson did this? How do you think he rationalized it in his mind?
My favorite paragraph/line of this chapter was on page 19, where Theodore Roosevelt comments on the battle and says of the African-Americans who fought, "One band had in its formation something that was curiously pathetic. It was composed of free men of color, who had gathered to defend the land which kept the men of their race in slavery.... Surely there was never a stranger instance than this of the irony of fate." Keep in mind that in WWI and WWII, black men also fought (as did the sons of interned Japanese). In contrast, many black Americans were refusing to go to Vietnam and fight, a position with which many black leaders (MLK, Malcolm X) agreed. Why do you think men fought for a country that kept their brethren enslaved/segregated? Are they right to fight or should they protest by not fighting?
We have an odd class schedule for the next week or so... We have class on Wednesday and then don't have class again until the following Friday (we have trips on Friday (Global Kids) and Wednesday (Morgan Stanley))... Therefore, we're going to change things up a bit... We're going to be commenting/discussing the book on the blog. We'll also talk about it in class, but for now, I'd like to do it this way... You are supposed to have read the first 4 chapters over break, therefore, I will put up the first 4 postings now. Below is what I need you to do for each chapter. The comments on the first 4 chapters is due by Friday, April 9 (this Friday).
There are 3 things I want you to do for each chapter.
1. I'm going to post up a few questions for each chapter and I'd like you (obviously) to answer each question. I will not write all of the questions/comments I have, because for each chapter...
2. I'd like you to come up with at least one question/comment that you have for the chapter - something that you'd like the rest of us to comment on. As these are your books, and you can write in them as you read, you should be underlining/writing down questions as you go along.
3. I'd like you to include your favorite line(s) of the chapter. It might be a line that made you think or it might be something that you'd never realized before -- anything that catches your fancy. Explain why you liked the line. Feel free to comment on one another's favorite lines.
Keep in mind that I'm going to post my questions for the first FOUR chapters now. Therefore, you're going to have to look down a while to find the questions to previous chapters, but I'm thinking that you all are intelligent enough to figure that out.
I will be grading you on three different things -- (1) your answers to the my questions, (2) your questions, AND (3) on the comments that you provide on others' questions -- so please make sure to comment on the work/questions of others...
Here are my questions for Chapter 1, which I'd like you to answer (they might overlap a bit with the questions from our previous Socratic Seminar):
1. Should we hold it against Washington and Jefferson that they owned slaves, given that they were doing exactly the same thing that most of their peers were doing?
2. Ambrose says that "Few of us entirely escape our times and places -- do you think this is true?
3. My favorite line - "Jefferson, by his words, gave us aspirations. Washington, through his actions, showed us what was possible. Lincoln's courage turned both into reality."
1. Answer any and all blog posts to the left by their due dates (which can be found on SnapGrades)
100 Most Common SAT Words
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