I learned a lot from both Slavery Without Submission from A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and watching The American Civil War Video. The reading addressed slavery within America as well as the Lincoln era of America. Regarding life on the plantations, I was surprised to read that female slaves committed more disorderly acts than male slaves. For some reason, I thought it would have been the opposite. One influence for my incorrect thinking is Hollywood and the movies that they produce. Most frequently, we see males slaves receiving lashes in movies. On another note, the readings also talked about slaves who escaped and gained their freedom in the North. One thing that plantation owners and other wealthy slave owners in the South dealt with were members of the Underground Railroad, especially the white members. See, the problem for the plantation owners was that the poor whites disliked them greatly. Another group who hated the wealthy plantation owners were the slaves. This common enemy helped unite the two groups of people, creating a support ground that eventually guided slaves towards the North, towards freedom, and towards a new life. Another event that I had no idea about was the journey to freedom led by a group of slaves who overthrew the crew of the Creole, a slave transport ship. The slaves ended up sailing to the British Indies. Upon arrival, they were set free and were protected by the English government which abolished slavery a few years prior. After reading, I’m still wondering how hard it was for escaped slaves to start a new life in the North? Were there groups/people who supported them? My last comment regarding the reading is about Horace Greeley and the role he played with Lincoln. Greeley pushed for the Anti-Slavery movement but what I don’t understand is why he did that even though he was a slave owner himself? I actually grew up in the town that he lived in and went to Horace Greeley High School. A few years ago my school was notified about him (Greeley) owning slaves and have been thinking about changing our school name at the request of students.
In addition to the reading, I also learned a great deal from The American Civil War Video. Something that I recently learned was that Jefferson included a paragraph regarding abolishing slavery in the United States; however, it was taken out because it was too controversial. By this I mean, the Founding Fathers were unsure that if they included the piece about slavery, that they would still get the support that they needed to fulfill their plan of creating a nation. The video also talked about Western Expansion and how has we moved west, the Southerns and Northerners wanted to claim each state for their party. The Southern leaders for emerging states to become Slave States whereas the Northern leaders wanted the new state to become a free state. Leaders continuously fought about this for years and years until the Civil War broke out. During the war, the Anaconda Plan set up a much needed blockade against the South, limiting their sea travels, trade, and more. The video also talked about the failed plan led by John Brown. His intention was to start a massive slave uprising starting in Virginia. From there, they would head South, freeing slaves as they traveled. At his first stop, Brown and his men were surrounded by Robert E. Lee and his army. Brown was later hung. The person who greatly aided the Anti-Slavery Movement was President Lincoln. Something that I had not previously learned was that, during the Civil War, he suppressed media that supported the South and the Confederation. In addition to that, Honest Abe also put people in jail without a trial. This is yet another example of students not learning about the entire picture, rather a small piece of that picture.