While this website will remain online, it is no longer maintained. Our last two meetings focused on the geographical growth of the United States during the era of Manifest Destiny. Today, we will turn to the other part of our ongoing story - the political, economic, and social realities of Manifest Destiny.
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We have seen how Americans rapidly moved across the North American continent and using their belief in Manifest Destiny, rounded out our borders in just 53 years. Now, let's look at another type of growth that arose during these same decades - the economic and political growth of the railroads. When examining these maps , you can clearly see that the northern or federalist economic vision of America is marching westward.
And why is the vision of the industrial agenda of the federalists - of those living primarily in the North and who favor strong federal governmental involvement in the promotion of industry - is prevailing? These economic and political realities - the two separate visions for the expanding United States - will shape the era of Manifest Destiny and ultimately, will push us further on the pathway to war.
Both the colonies and the fledgling United States were tied into a free market economy - Americans depended upon the laws of supply and demand to voluntarily produce what people want and to sell their products to whom they want, with little to no interference from the government. Cotton production vastly improved with invention of cotton gin in Now, one slave could clean 50 pounds per day.
Both Southern and Northern economies improved - factories turn raw cotton into cloth; merchants profit from shipping; plantation owners profited from growing cotton. As the maps below indicates, by cotton production accounted for a large portion of the Southern economy. During the first decade of the 19th Century, western settlers relied on roads and rivers for transportation. By the s the popularity of canals and steamboats was dwindling in favor of the increasingly dominant new transportation mode - the railroad. In short, the transition to a national market economy was facilitated by improved manufacturing, advanced technology, and a new transportation system.hasufrehyd.tk
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Discussion Goal 2: To discuss the consequences of economic change upon American society. Society made its first large shift from rural to urban and at the same time, the U. From to , the U. More goods and services became available, were more reasonably priced, and were especially affordable to the growing middle class.
Traditional laboring values and control systems disappeared. Women's role in society was redefined at the same time that the family structure was reorganized. Wealth became a sign of American status and a symbol of respect and recognition. As most Americans hoped to attain great wealth, a tolerance arose for accumulating wealth in any way possible. Few Americans were concerned about the method of becoming wealthy. American society was both democratized and improved, as well as stratified and hindered. Discussion Goal 3: To discuss changes in the national political climate and the ways such political changes were directly related to national economic changes.
Before the Revolutionary War, Americans were interested in local matters and had little interest in national or state matters - economic or political. After the War, interest in national and state politics was minimal and involved only a minority of privileged, male Americans.
However, from forward, many people began to realize that federal, state, and local governments could support economic projects in which they would benefit. As a result of this new interest, more people became involved in the political process. By the middle of the century, more people began to vote in national elections than ever before, especially as political parties emerged with which people could identify. Increased voting and more interest in political parties combined with a new recognition among Americans that the federal government could be the instrument of stimulating or depressing local economies.
Consequently, federal stimulation of the economy largely occurred via two avenues:. States, in turn, enacted measures to stimulate commerce and economic development. Such policies created the commonwealth system, which elevated the public good common-wealth above that of private individuals, and which involved two actions:. The story of enslavement in America, then, replicated the original fall from God's grace.
As a type of this archetypal Eden tale, enslavement posed a problem which had confronted Judeo-Christian theology since its inception. Christianity posited a supremely powerful deity who was also supremely benevolent.
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How could such a god permit evil and suffering to exist? It is not difficult to understand the poignancy of such questions among African-descended people, who had been subjected to far more than their fair share of misfortune. As racial theorist J.
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Lewis wrote: "It is a question in the mind of many, why an infinite God can allow such a violation of human rights, and so much physical suffering, and so much blood-stained soil. If Lewis could believe that God could "by an act of arbitrary power despise his own work," it would obliterate in his mind "all love and reverence to that God as a good being. Men were permitted to perpetrate evil; God worked more subtly to redeem the world. Nathaniel Paul put these words in the mouth of God: "It is my sovereign prerogative to bring good out of evil, and cause the wrath of man to praise me.
According to another, when God "suffered the first swarthy man to be inveighed, entrapped, and stolen from Africa," he "overruled the evil intentions of men for the benefit of mankind, by placing us in the midst of the path of progress. African Americans owed their enjoyment of American life, limited though it was, "to that curse, the bitter scourge of Africa" -- "slavery has been your curse, but it shall become your rejoicing. Yet a question remained: had He waited so long for the hour of their deliverance?
The answer drew upon the notion of free will in much the way Puritan theodicy did.
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Human virtue -- the capacity to honor God -- lay in free will; obedience without moral choice was meaningless. God had the power to enforce his law, yet chose not to interfere with man's exercise of his free will so that man might honor God through his choice of virtue. According to Loguen, the Christian nation "was free to obey God according to its own mind. He granted them time that they "may be suitably affected, and so be led to repentance and salvation. To the contrary, it served as the means of their redemption. Edward Blyden theorized that before the coming of the millennium "one of the most ancient and powerful states must pass through a series of unprecedented calamities.
But training for what? Of the forthcoming destruction of slavery few African-American Northerners had much doubt. Speaking at an anniversary celebration of the ending of the slave trade to America, one George Lawrence cautioned that "the time is fast approaching when the iron hand of oppression must cease to tyrannize over injured innocence. Through these, they hoped to "touch the heart of the American nation," and warn those loyal to the slaveholding nation "of their follies and the fate of the great empires of antiquity.
God will hold you responsible. Ford Douglass: "You must either free the slaves, or the slaves will free themselves. All history confirms the fact.
For God Almighty will tear up the very face of the earth!!! Oh Americans! I warn you in the name of the Lord, whether you will hear, or forbear, to repent and reform, or you are ruined!!!
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Where exactly African Americans stood in relation to the coming millennium was a matter of some debate, but most black spokespersons assigned them a primary role. The result would be the re-emergence of a black nation onto the world stage. For princes shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God.
If these views of a divine history endowed with special meaning for blacks seemed tinged with the millennial, they were. Antebellum black nationalists postulated a history driven by the struggle between tyranny and liberty, slavery and freedom, God and Mammon.
According to black abolitionist Hezekiah Douglass, "the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor" was one which "every where marks the pages of ancient History," from the days of Babylon to America's own revolutionary struggle against Britain. When William Seward spoke of an "irrepressible conflict" between freedom and slavery, African-American thinkers easily picked up the refrain, infusing the statesman's secular millennialism with overt religious significance. Divine Instrumentalities for Divine Ends.
Over the course of the period from the Revolution to the Civil War, the consensus on the actual agent of black redemption changed in important ways. Of course redemption ultimately stemmed from God, but man's role in the process was less clear. What exactly did God want of oppressed African Americans? Where did His will stop and theirs begin? Options ranged from early century admonitions for blacks to patiently await God's coming to pre-Civil War nationalists who suggested that blacks become active instruments of His will.
Drawing from the epistles of St. Paul, Hammond found "a plain command of God for us to obey our masters. Robert Alexander Young, an obscure black New Yorker who likely served as a popular preacher among the working class, penned a sermon prophesying the coming of a messiah -- a mulatto, to all appearances white -- who would be "ordained of God, to call together the black people as a nation in themselves. In contrast to these working-class manifestations of black messianism, middle-class leaders deeply implicated in black political struggles envisioned African Americans themselves playing increasingly significant roles.
In , Peter H. Clark, a black activist from Cincinnati, declared that blacks had erred in thinking "that a political millennium was coming" -- that God would work his will any other way than through African Americans. Frustrated by decades of seemingly futile protest, and discouraged by the Republican Party's racist form of antislavery, Clark determined "never to petition for a right again. This view was typified in the thought of Henry Highland Garnet, the New York minister, editor, and lecturer who issued a call to slave rebellion in Like Robert Roberts, Garnet believed that slaves were "duty bound to reverence and obey" God's commandments, but he differed radically from the Pauline approach of those like Roberts and Young.
For him, God required the enslaved "to love him supremely. God commanded slaves not to obey their masters, Garnet stated, but to seek their freedom. Garnet revolutionized the nation of black agency, at least rhetorically. The problem from black clerics was no longer one of justifying resistance in the face of a divine commandment to obey.
Echoing Jefferson, Garnet argued that resistance to tyrants was obedience to God. The oppressed had a Christian duty to resist, actively and openly.
Increasingly, African-American spokespersons believed they were to play conspicuous and active roles in the impending Apocalyptic contest, thus shifting the locus of black protest from messianic deliverance to political revolution. James McCune Smith told his readers, "we live in the heroic age of our country, and the negro is the hero," 62 while Frances Ellen Watkins believed that blacks in America were to play "a conspicuous part in the great struggle of the latter day of the world's history.
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