African American Struggle for Freedom in USA

African American Struggle for Freedom in USA

Introduction

America is known as the land of the free as sang in the National anthem, but the Black Americans experienced a different journey since their entry as slaves in the 16th century. Their history begins with slavery in the American fields, and their fate in slavery ended up dividing the nation into two during the civil war. Slavery was the most detestable form of dehumanization experienced in the country as it entailed people seen as property and their human rights deprived. Through the whole fight for freedom, some significant events and leaders spearhead the shaping of the character and identity of the United States of America and the black community. The struggle of the African Americans for freedom and inclusion traces back to the period of the civil war where the first victory against slavery got won; it, however, did not stop there as the Blacks still fought for inclusion in the social, cultural, intellectual and political framework up until the second reconstruction.

Slavery

Slavery was an inhuman form of labor consisting of very hard labor sustained by force and the fear of separation from families and humiliation. They were the factories in the field as they dealt with routine jobs every day and got considered as the factories in the fields. Plantation labor was the most common activity with slavery, and it consisted of working in sugar, cotton, rice and tobacco farms[i]. In the 18th century, there was a trend towards self-sufficiency of the slaves in their jobs, and they leant skills and performed several other tasks, including carpentry, cooking, seamstressing, blacksmithing, and cooping. The level of his/skill measured the value of the slave and it determined how they got treated. Within the slavery, the African Americans developed their form of culture. The culture consisted mostly of a combination of Christianity, African culture and resistance. The culture came about because the masters treated the slaves brutally often; they had to ensure humiliation, beatings and whippings, rapes and sometimes executions.

Slave Resistance

Slave resistance got integrated into the Slaves culture because of the trauma. They had several forms of resistance ranging from subtle forms to even the violent approaches.  The violent forms of rebellion included the infanticide, sabotage, running away, suicide and destruction of property. The blacks never successfully overturned slavery through their violent reforms; the inspiration was the successful rebellion that gave freedom to slaves in Haiti[ii].  The whites had superiority in the slave ownership, but they lived under the fear of slave revolt. Several revolutions happened in the United States starting from the 15th and 16th century and the massive ones happening in the 17th century. The two notable ones include:

The Stono Rebellion

The Stono rebellion took place in South Carolina on September 1739. It was a violent rebellion led by a literate slave known as Jemmy. He organized a group of slaves with arms for them to attack the whites. Jemmy was a slave believed to have originated from Kongo kingdom, and most of the other slaves in South Carolina were believed to come from the same place, and so it made it easier for him to communicate with the other slaves. The meetings got held in the common slave assemblies, and parties and information passed within the area until there was a group large enough for an attack. The insurrection got organized where the slaves stole arms formed their masters and started an armed war with their masters until the white militia stopped them.  The insurrection resulted in death of both slaves and militiamen; the surviving slaves got executed and some sold to West Indies. The revolution resulted into passing of a new Slave Code in the land to better manage the slaves: it was the Negro Act 1740. The law imposed new limits on the slaves’ conduct prohibiting any of their assemblies and getting the right to study, travel and grow their produce.

New York Conspiracy Trials of 1741

After the Stono rebellion, many revolts appeared all over the country. New York had a high population of slaves and contained many different ethnic groups; it therefore resulted in tensions. In the year 1741, 13 different fires broke out in the city one burning down the Fort George. The Whites spread rumors that the fires were a plan of the slaves’ massive revolt and that there was more to come including killing of the whites. Two hundred slaves got interrogated about the case and trial held at city hall over the claims. The government executed 17 people, thirteen among them being black. Seventy slaves got sold in the same period to West Indies.

End of Slavery

The institution of slavery was a central thing in the politics and economy of the United States in the 19Th century. The demise of slavery happened in two waves: the first one which involved a gradual, peaceful wave in the American regions that had few slaves and the other wave involved a violent clash of sections.  Slavery officially ended on December 6, 1865 after the passing of the 13th amendment of the constitution. The 13th amendment states that no one should work as a slave except if forced by the law in the case when they get punished for a crime committed. The slave trade internationally was prohibited sixty years before the end of slavery in USA; in the period, internal slave trade happen in the US, and by the time it was abolished, there were almost four million slaves in the country. Several important events built momentum towards abolishment of slave trade. They include:

The Civil War

Slavery played a pivotal role in the development and end of the American civil war. The northern leaders had attempted to stop slavery from expanding to the western territories, and the southern leaders resisted. According to the census carried out in 1960 there was a total of four million slaves inhabiting 15 states and some 400,000 free black Africans.  Freeing slaves was not easy, and it was something the government had to ponder about clearly. The war started with Union armies spreading all over the southern region.  All over the battlefront, runaway slaves started presenting themselves to the Union armies where they got hired and used in the war.  The Confiscation Act was passed in 1861 that allowed for the legal status of runaway slaves, and therefore they could be confiscated by the Union forces[iii]. In 1862, another law was passed to prohibit the return of slaves after confiscation. By the end of the war, the Union had set up 100 camps for their confiscated slaves. They took the initiative of freeing slaves. In 1862, General David Hunter who had command over a large part of the Southern area abolished slavery in the area under his command, but President Lincoln negated his order. In late 1862 however, congress processed slavery abolishment in Washington DC. After the battle of Antietam, the Confederates got driven out of Maryland, and Lincoln issued preliminary emancipation.

Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation was a document written by President Abraham Lincoln on 1863 January 1st to free slaves if the states in rebellion to the union. The start of the Civil war witnessed an interest of the people in the north seeking to stop slavery and the trade.  The result was a call for secession by the southern states. President Lincoln wanted to save the Union of the USA by either preserving slavery, destroying it or destroying part of it. After the battle of Antietam, he called on to the revolted states to return their allegiance to the union, or he would declare slaves as free men by the next year. Since no state returned into the allegiance, the emancipation declaration was issued on January 1 1863[iv].

The declaration from the emancipation was that “all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states were and henceforth declared free.”    It ensured that the war was more of a crusade for human freedom. The results of the proclamation included the recruitment of black into the armies.  They responded well, and there was recruitment of up to 180,000 blacks into the armies for the remaining part of the war. The emancipation was the deathblow to slavery in the United States, and after it only few efforts ensured the sealing of the ratification of the thirteenth amendment.

The signing of the 13th Amendment

 The 13thm amendment was the final blow to slavery in the USA. It was passed in the Senate on April 8 1864, the House on January 31, 1865 and passed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on February 1, 1865.  The necessary states required to ratify the law reached on December 6, 1865. The amendment provided that “ neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime of which the party has been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to its jurisdiction.”  It was the final solution to the problem of slavery. Together with the 14th and the 15th amendment, these laws were the major trio of the post-Civil-War amendments that expanded the civil rights in America.       

Narratives during Slavery

The cultural aspects of the African American picked up fast in the period before the end of slavery. From 1830 to the end of slavery, several writers perfected the narratives about slavery. Frederick Douglas wrote the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: an American Slave in 1845.  Harriet Jacobs wrote the incidents of the life of a slave girl in 1861.Their narratives painted the picture of the tensions that ensued between the slaves and their masters. They intended to fight for the end of slavery through stories of their experiences. Their narratives were used the biggest propaganda weapon by the White abolitionists. The writers wanted to have their true personal account of the slave life. Both narratives were about runaway slaves, and both had the elements of suffering under bondage, cruelty of the masters and their strong will to seek freedom.

Life after slavery for the African Americans

Life after slavery was a big transformation for the slaves in the south.  The world of brutalities had ended, and they had newfound freedom to education, marriage, wages ownership and more. The years after slavery was however difficult. The states instituted black codes that while gave them blacks some rights, they also denied them the rights to serve in state militias, appear injuries and testify against whites; they also had to sign annual labor contracts with their landlords. Most of the black Americans, therefore, lived in poverty. They had no education and money they had to depend on their former owners where they paid rent from the little wages they got. Former slaves were never compensated. The African culture revolved around education, school and faith. The black churches were the centerpiece of the black community; it was where socialization, education and politics were organized.  Their desire for education resulted in creation of schools for them at different levels. Some other facilities such as hospitals and black colleges got created for freedmen by the freedmen’s Bureau between 1865 and 1870.

Reconstruction

The reconstruction period was between 1865 and 1877. The government passed laws for political and civil rights for the blacks in the south. The 14th amendment of 1868 granted African Americans citizenship. The 15th amendment of 1870 gave the black men constitutional voting rights.  The reconstruction period saw 700 African American men serving in the elected public office, another thirteen hundred men and women serving as public servants. The period did not go smoothly because there was fierce opposition by the whites in the south.

 End of Reconstruction

The late 1860s had the white supremacists known as the KKK terrorizing the African American leaders and citizens in the south for eleven years until Congress passed the law to arrest them[v].  The military of the federal government protected the civil rights of the Africans in the south. They, however, got withdrawn from some areas; that was the end of reconstruction in those areas. The period witnessed the beginning of lynching, segregation laws and disenfranchisement of the blacks.

African Americans After reconstruction

The period of the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century involved many social tensions between the native and the immigrants. The south experienced tensions between the blacks and the whites.  Very few blacks got jobs in the industries as they got portrayed as lazy and ignorant.  Majority of blacks became sharecroppers or tenant farmers. Segregation was at peak in 1900, and civil rights of blacks got curtailed. The Supreme Court ruled in the Civil rights cases that segregation cats and the 14th amendments protected people form violations against state and not individuals; it effectively gave leeway for the segregation of the African Americans[vi].  In the wake of the Supreme Court decisions, several states legalized racial segregation in public places such as schools, hotels buses.  The south also came with other laws in the 1900s to disenfranchise the blacks thus imposing their right to voting; the limitations included residency requirements, disqualification because of crimes, payment of all taxes, and a literacy test.  The loopholes favored the whites.  Louisiana, for example, instituted that one would only vote if their fathers or grandfathers had been eligible to vote as of 1867[vii]. The segregation resulted in most of the blacks migrating from the rural south to the urban north and some back to Africa.  They established all-black towns and created some equal rights organizations.

Civil Rights movement

The civil rights movement arose as a response to the unfulfilled promises of the end of slavery and the reconstruction.  The US was emphasizing propaganda of equality and liberty while the blacks fought in s segregated army during the wars.  After the war, many veterans returned to the country determined to fight for their rights. The civil rights movement took different strategies and brought them together for a common goal. The strategies included:

Legal Action

The earliest Civil rights movements used the courts spearheaded by the National Association for the Advancement of colored People.  They brought lawsuits that would undermine the validity of the Jim Crow Laws in the South.  The landmark case of Brown VS. Board of education Topeka ruled that use of separate educational facilities were unequal and declared the segregation in classrooms unconstitutional. The southerners resisted, and it took federal intervention to actualize the law.

Non Violent protests and civil disobedience

The southern regions disobeyed the court orders to stop segregation and therefore Civil rights movement leaders took to direct action involving protests.  The Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 got initiated after a Black lady refused to vacate her seat for a white lady. Martin Luther was the leader of the boycott which involved boycotting the use of public transport. It provided a template for the fight for civil rights.  There were also other protests organized by religious leaders such as SCLC, student organization and labor unions to accelerate the passing of the federal civil rights[viii].  The largest of them all was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It contributed to the successful passing of the Civil rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1964. The mass media was also important in passing the news and covering the nonviolent protests.

Black Power Generation

The Civil rights and voting rights were the second biggest victory for Blacks after Slavery. There were however many whites within the campaign, and it worried some of the blacks about their independence. For example in the freedom summer of 1964, several white students joined in on the Blacks protests in the south, and it got seen as an imposition into their leadership. Martin Luther King assassination meant the reduction of real black leaders.  It led to the uprising of more influential African names in the fight for self-reliance. People like Malcolm X rose to be a great advocate of cultural pride, self-reliance and self-defense in the case of segregation[ix].  He spearheaded the black power generation which gave rise to many other African American leaders.  After Assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, Stockley Carmichael rose to be another leader within the African American community. 1966 saw the rise of the Black Panther Party led by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. All these black power groups campaigned for blacks to demand employment, decent housing and to have self-reliance.

Unfinished business after the Civil Rights

The civil rights marked the second milestone towards African American freedom. It was however not the end. The struggle further continued and achieved the fair housing Act of 1968 that brought an end to segregation in housing units. After the bill, the African American population in the urban areas increased from 6.1 million to 15.3 million[x]. The black areas were however prone to poverty crime and drug abuse. The early 1970s, there was an uprising of the feminists, and it led to the creation of the African American Women’s movement[xi].  A representative of the feminist group, Shirley Chisholm ran for president in the year 1972.  She became the first major African American and first woman to run for president[xii].  She was also the first black woman in Congress in 1968.

After J F Kennedy, there was the introduction of the affirmative action that sought to increase the chances and opportunities given to African in the education and employment sector.  Universities used race as a qualification criterion for admission to ensure that they followed the affirmative action — the racial quotas, however, got ruled as unconstitutional in 1978 in The Allan Bakke case. The struggle for the African Americans was almost over; several other leaders appeared on the way and championed for equality including Oprah Winfrey, and Jessie Jackson. The symbol of an almost free nation for African Americans got actualized after the election of an African president Barack Obama in 2012.

Conclusion

The African Americans have faced a tough journey so far in the United States. As the war on segregation and racism still continues up to date, looking through history reveals how far they have come. Today the situation has greatly improved: there are many African American leaders, several have taken employment and others are leaders in different fields. It shows the great strides that they have gone through to reach this point. History therefore is there to appreciate the journey, the important events and the main players through each of the stages.

[i] Castronovo, Russ. Fathering the nation: American genealogies of slavery and freedom. Univ of California Press, 1995.

[ii] Knight, Franklin W. “The Haitian Revolution.” The American Historical Review 105, no. 1 (2000): 103-115

[iii] Hummel, Jeffrey. Emancipating slaves, enslaving free men: a history of the American civil war. Open court, 2013.s

[iv] Guelzo, A. C. (2005). Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. Simon and Schuster

[v] Trelease, Allen W. White terror: The Ku Klux Klan conspiracy and southern reconstruction. Secker & Warburg, 1972.

[vi] Wells-Barnett, Ida B. On lynchings. Courier Corporation, 2014

[vii] LaVeist, Thomas A. “Segregation, poverty, and empowerment: health consequences for African Americans.” The Milbank Quarterly (1993): 41-64.

[viii] Morris, Aldon D. The origins of the civil rights movement. Simon and Schuster, 1986.

[ix] Marable, Manning. Race, reform and rebellion: the second reconstruction and beyond in Black America, 1945-2006. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2007

[x] Chong, Dennis. Collective action and the civil rights movement. University of Chicago Press, 2014.

[xi] Minister, Meredith. “Female, black, and able: Representations of sojourner truth and theories of embodiment.” Disability Studies Quarterly 32, no. 1 (2012).

[xii] Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African American women in the struggle for the vote, 1850-1920. Indiana University Press, 1998.

 

African American History to 1865

  • Over the past 8 weeks we have studied African American history. We have looked at events that were political, social, cultural, and intellectual in nature. Our class starts with slavery and moves towards the Civil War and limited freedom.
    • Discuss slavery and the move towards freedom
    • Pick events and events and people that show both the challenges and triumphs that African Americans faced from the first slaves to the Civil War.
    • Develop a thesis about the changes that?s we have seen over the last 8 weeks.
  • Use specific examples for each section.
  • Use the textbook and additional materials. You must also provide 8 additional sources.
  • Use academic search engines provided by the University library.
  • Paper length 8 to 10 pages. This does NOT include title page or reference page. And they must be full pages.
  • Must use Chicago style formatting.

READINGS/ TEXTS to help out:

( *Main textbook* )The African-American Odyssey, Combined Volume, 7e,   https://console.pearson.com/enrollment/ohxrwo

Born in slavery?. (2001). Retrieved from: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html

Emancipation Proclamation. 1863.  Retrieved from: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/.

?American Experience: Reconstruction The Second Civil War?. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/index.html

  • Margaret Garner. 1834-1858. Retrieved from: http://library.cincymuseum.org/aag/bio/garner.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw6cCuBRCh4KrGoJ6LoboBEiQAwzYsdBtaVn4i3hAJHtWfdi8y10O62-jA9822lHGYFp5w1wkaAvq-8P8HAQ
  • Minister, Meredith. Female, Black, and Able: Representations of Sojourner Truth and Theories of Embodiment. Retrieved from: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3030/3057
  • Truth, Sojourner. (1851). Ain?t I woman? Retrieved from: http://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/sojourner-truth.htm
  • African-American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920. Retrieved from: http://dbs.ohiohistory.org/africanam/html/
  • Towards Racial Equality. Retrieved from: http://blackhistory.harpweek.com/
  • Infamous Lynching. Retrieved from: http://www.americanlynching.com/infamous-old.html
  • The Haitian Revolution. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p2990.html

Annotated bibliography: African American Studies

Annotated bibliography: African American Studies

Thesis: The struggle of the African Americans for freedom and inclusion traces back to the period of the civil war where the first victory against slavery was won; it however did not stop there as the Blacks still fought for inclusion in the social and political framework up until the second reconstruction.

  1. Guelzo, A. C. (2005). Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. Simon and Schuster.

The book by Allen Guelzo tells of a story of how the war to create a union ended up being the birth of freedom to the slaves in America. The story revolves around the creation and administration of the Emancipation proclamation by President Lincoln. Much about the proclamation is seen on how ineffective and vague it was but Allen Guelzo brings the back end impact it had to the eventual slavery end. It creates the atmosphere of the period of the Civil war and the rise of Abraham Lincoln. It then progresses to explain the Mighty Act led by Lincoln as the main instrument towards freedom.

  1. Hummel, Jeffrey. Emancipating slaves, enslaving free men: a history of the American civil war. Open court, 2013.

The books deals with the civil war and the slavery end in two different ways. The policy claims deals with how turning the North into a haven of runaway slaves would have undermined slavery within the independent confederacy. The second is the historical channels of the book shows the progress of the civil war. The book creatively interprets the war and its aftermath. It accounts for sectional conflict, the war itself and reconstruction that followed. It uses vivid examples of slave runaways and the channels they used to fight for their freedom. It further presents an argument that slavery would have been abolished even without the destructive war

  1. Minister, Meredith. “Female, black, and able: Representations of sojourner truth and theories of embodiment.” Disability Studies Quarterly 32, no. 1 (2012).Click Here to Place your order and Get 100% original paper on any topic done for Your

Sojourner Truth exists in Popular Culture as an immense contributor to women rights.  The article presents the acts of Truth in making a case that black women are just as able as white men. It features representation from stigma racial segregation, gender and disability. She is an important figure to the fight for secondary freedom in US. Her main ideology was that of ability which claimed that both African Americans and women are powerful and able.

  1. Knight, Franklin W. “The Haitian Revolution.” The American Historical Review 105, no. 1 (2000): 103-115.

The Haitian revolution is through case study of a revolutionary change in the face of slavery.  In a colony dominated by the blacks, the struggle for independence was their channels to a life of freedom. Their struggle ensured freedom in all aspects: social, economic and political. The events in Haiti came as news of revolution in the new world. It inspired more struggles for freedom for the American slaves. It became a sensitive issue up until America realized abolition of slavery.

  1. Wells-Barnett, Ida B. On lynchings. Courier Corporation, 2014.

The books traces the time to the period after the Civil war and end of slavery. The period however has another horror.  The social oppression of the blacks continued past the end of slavery. It exposes the practices of lynching carried out by mob rule while the law enforcement official looked the other way. Patricia Hill is the voice that protests against the acts that led to deaths of over 160 African Americans.

  1. Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African American women in the struggle for the vote, 1850-1920. Indiana University Press, 1998.

The book takes into another struggle of the Blacks acceptance to the United State. The women rights to vote was fought for in one of the women’s suffrage campaigns. It brings to focus the activists and their roles to see beyond sexism in the society.  It provides a practical and theoretical framework of paradigms of African American’s women history. It uses the real women stories and shows how they joined to the bigger women suffrage campaign in USA.

  1. Castronovo, Russ. Fathering the nation: American genealogies of slavery and freedom. Univ of California Press, 1995.

The book focusses on the narrative of liberty and democracy in USA. The author patches up narratives of the important struggles during the African American struggle for freedom to indicate the yearning for liberty.  He also introduces the issue of slavery as a political and societal problem. It is this problem that became the source of the biggest internal war in the USA.   He further makes a good argument of the need to ban slavery to achieve the nation’s homogeneity and coherence

  1. Marable, Manning. Race, reform and rebellion: the second reconstruction and beyond in Black America, 1945-2006. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2007.

It is a historical book covering the struggle of the Black Americans for political and social inclusion after the world war two. After 1945 marked a very intriguing period for social reform for the nonwhites. It analyzes the main tools used in the reform such as hip-hop culture, black neo-conservatism, and welfare reform. It further indulges into the struggle for the African American Civil rights of the 1950s and 1960s which led to the emergence of powerful Black class. Effectively is progresses to the point of black Nationalism and the second reconstruction.

 

 

References

 

Castronovo, Russ. Fathering the nation: American genealogies of slavery and freedom. Univ of California Press, 1995.

Guelzo, A. C. (2005). Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. Simon and Schuster.

Hummel, Jeffrey. Emancipating slaves, enslaving free men: a history of the American civil war. Open court, 2013.

Knight, Franklin W. “The Haitian Revolution.” The American Historical Review 105, no. 1 (2000): 103-115.

Marable, Manning. Race, reform and rebellion: the second reconstruction and beyond in Black America, 1945-2006. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2007.

Minister, Meredith. “Female, black, and able: Representations of sojourner truth and theories of embodiment.” Disability Studies Quarterly 32, no. 1 (2012).

Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African American women in the struggle for the vote, 1850-1920. Indiana University Press, 1998.

Wells-Barnett, Ida B. On lynchings. Courier Corporation, 2014.

African-American Studies

  • Write your thesis statement
  • Provide an annotated bibliography that has at least 8 sources in it.
  • Annotated bibliographies should answer important questions like who, what, when, and why. Be sure to explain how this source is valuable to your paper.
    • Annotation should be 5 to 7 sentences.
  • Over the past 8 weeks we have studied African American history. We have looked at events that were political, social, cultural, and intellectual in nature. Our class starts with slavery and moves towards the Civil War and limited freedom.
    • Discuss slavery and the move towards freedom
    • Pick events and events and people that show both the challenges and triumphs that African Americans faced from the first slaves to the Civil War.
    • Develop a thesis about the changes that?s we have seen over the last 8 weeks.
  • Use specific examples for each section.
  • Use the textbook and additional materials. You must also provide 8 additional sources.
  • Use academic search engines provided by the University library.

 

READINGS/ TEXTS to help out:

( *Main textbook* )The African-American Odyssey, Combined Volume, 7e,   https://console.pearson.com/enrollment/ohxrwo

Born in slavery?. (2001). Retrieved from: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html

Emancipation Proclamation. 1863.  Retrieved from: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/.

 ?American Experience: Reconstruction The Second Civil War?. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/index.html

  • Margaret Garner. 1834-1858. Retrieved from: http://library.cincymuseum.org/aag/bio/garner.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw6cCuBRCh4KrGoJ6LoboBEiQAwzYsdBtaVn4i3hAJHtWfdi8y10O62-jA9822lHGYFp5w1wkaAvq-8P8HAQ
  • Minister, Meredith. Female, Black, and Able: Representations of Sojourner Truth and Theories of Embodiment. Retrieved from: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3030/3057
  • Truth, Sojourner. (1851). Ain?t I woman? Retrieved from: http://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/sojourner-truth.htm
  • African-American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920. Retrieved from: http://dbs.ohiohistory.org/africanam/html/
  • Towards Racial Equality. Retrieved from: http://blackhistory.harpweek.com/
  • Infamous Lynching. Retrieved from: http://www.americanlynching.com/infamous-old.html
  • The Haitian Revolution. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3p2990.html

Aristotle vs. Modern Science

Aristotle vs. Modern Science

The Aristotle reality of causes as broken down as MEFF introduces the idea that to learn things; there is the need for the purpose to be defined.  Aristotle doesn’t reject the idea of matter but presents that for matter to exist, there must be form. The modern since on the other hand refutes the claims and still have made their great strides even without understanding the purpose. The debate between the two concepts raises a great concern but me weighing in on the matter, I would support the argument by Aristotle.

In the definition of a system in modern science, a system consists of various parts that need to work together in an interconnecting network to achieve the required mechanism. It is therefore clear to me that in studying any of the elements in a system, there is need to tie it to the specific function or form as stipulated by Aristotle. This function that is in them is the basis that will explain their internal structure and elements that would effectively define the final function. Therefore any study of systems within the universe always directs towards us to the creation of a purpose. We cannot study anything without a purpose.

Discoveries within the field of physics and engineering, in the initial times, stemmed from studies without any concept of final purpose but directed eventually to a purpose. Studying an electron and its internal structure had no purpose but was influential eventually in the discovery of electricity, silicon devices, good conductors and poor conductors, materials processes, etc. It is clear therefore that you can start from the unknown and move to the known progressively without causing any problems. Discoveries have also come from mere accidents and generated studies into the field and thus generated phenomenal products. All these studies and discoveries directed towards a purpose eventually.

The field of biology, on the other hand, requires that when studying anatomy, one comes from the form to the internal structure; this field thus requires one to know the form. Technology, as we see it today, has people making solutions to various problems based on the materials they have. They, therefore, start from the functionality they want to create before studying and designing the instrument.

Effectively, all human studies and activities revolve around a specific purpose. The purpose may be clear at the start of the study, but it would eventually lead towards something. Science and knowledge are not just for the sake, they are used to solve problems, and therefore Aristotle is right in his argument that we should study things because of their true purpose.

The trio Socrates reflection paper

Write a complete and well-developed essay with a beginning, middle and end.  Write in complete sentences using good grammar.  Suggested length?1.5-2 pages double spaced. Answer the following;

  1. Aristotle thinks that in order to understand something fully we need to know its purpose or final cause?  Modern physics has said that to understand matter and motion, final causes are irrelevant (e.g. there is no purpose of a molecule in motion).  What do you think?is scientific understanding correct in disregarding final purpose for matter?or does Aristotle have a good point?  Support your answer.

SOURCES ARE NOT REQUIRED. The reflection paper will be over the information from the attached file only and your take on it.

The trio Socrates, Plato and Aristotle form a most important trio. Despite sharing many common goals, aspirations and learning a great deal from one another, each developed their own distinctive pattern of thought. It was Aristotle who said, “friends of the truth more than friends of Plato.” Despite the deep kinships that these thinkers have, their

!2commitment to dialogue and truth led them to profound disagreements. These disagreements will reverberate through the history of Western Philosophy. Plato had established a school. The school had a vigorous curriculum in math and the sciences. It also required the study of Plato’s dialogues and this would have been the source of Aristotle’s acquaintance with Socrates. Note that Aristotle would have known of Socrates only through Plato. Aristotle came to study with Plato when he was 18 and studied with him for approximately 20 years until Plato’s death. Aristotle’s father was a physician to Philip of Macedon (father of Alexander the great) and passed a love of biology on to his Aristotle. This love of biology had a profound effect upon Aristotle’s down to earth philosophy. A close look at Raphael’s great painting, the School at Athens, shows Plato and Aristotle at the center of an epic congregation. See http://www.hull.ac.uk/philosophy/images/athenslarge.jpg for the big picture. Plato’s finger is pointing heavenward and Aristotle’s hand is on the level; the orientation of their books also reflects differently—one vertical, the other horizontal. It might be supposed that Raphael had in mind Plato’s pointing up to the forms in the heavens and Aristotle’s pointing to the forms in the earth. However, it would be too easy and even misleading to think of Plato as an otherworldly philosopher and Aristotle as a “this worldly” philosopher. Raphael, I think rightly, painted this image pair as balanced pair. Aristotle is clothed in the iconographic color of the heavens, blue, and Plato’s mantle is red—the color of earth and clay. Plato’s otherworldly propensity for the forms above is always grounded in earth. His view of love, which leads us toward the heavens, always begins on earth, as Plato’s own love for the lowly Socrates kindled his highest aspirations. Similarly, Aristotle sees eternal purposes built into the nature of physical things. In Aristotle’s thought even the lowliest marine creature has implanted in it a desire to achieve immortality in its own fashion. As a physician Aristotle’s father would have been exposed to the developing science of anatomy, it kept Aristotle grounded in the physical world. Aristotle’s interest in biology yield several interesting stories. One is that on his honeymoon he was collecting marine specimens—so much for a romantic walk on the beach!!! Another story is that one of Aristotle’s former (and erring) students, Alexander the Great, sent Aristotle specimens back from his military expeditions. From a modern perspective, Aristotle got all of his biology wrong—from the number of women’s teeth (it is immodest to count them) to his embryology (he thought that a man’s semen is like a seed and the woman is the potting soil that adds nothing but nutrition). But if he got much wrong he also got one thing right, he thought the way to study things is to break things into genus and species. This, we might say, is the form of biological science because it is the organizing principle that makes biology to be what it is.

Materialism

Materialism

From my perspective and view of the lecture on materialism, I think that there is no real argument against and for it.  All the arguments placed for materialism can be summarized as “all physical evidence points towards materialism and not on dualism.”  It is not a wrong argument because it is based on evidence, but I think that itself it misunderstands the position that materialism refutes. Empirical evidence is physical and thus is will most certainly support materialism. The empirical evidence cannot support something like dualism because dualism proposes a relationship between “non-physical” things.  In some materialistic arguments such as the cases of brain injury and surgery, it is also clear that the materialistic evidence cannot get supported by observation or other empirical methods; they get based on philosophical argumenta which as we know has its shortcomings. You cannot argue something to existence: Proof is needed.

Another way I see materialism as not true is that all that is explained in materialism: atoms, measurements, molecules, etc. are all based on human experience. Therefore the idea that everything that we ever observed, the materials, has independent existence outside our consciousness would be an act of faith. Perceiving the idea would be impossible.  What we see as humans and in science is based on multiple reproducible observations, but only by our experience; we need to view things outside of our experience.

The brain or mind has both material and immaterial parts. An analysis of the mental capabilities that everyone has, there are several of them including memory, perception, will, sensation, imagination, and intellect. The brain acts of specific senses and concepts that not physical such as love and beauty. When analyzing the brain of a human, it is clear that there are regions that are directly involved in the analysis of memory, imagination, sensation, and perception. Effectively we can say that analysis of these brain functionalities present that the mind is materialistic. In coming to the final two, intellect and will, it is not clear from any study where specifically in the brain these two are perceived and analyzed.  Through intellect, we can understand our senses imagine and remember things, and from the intellect we make decisions according to our wills. Without these two we see that the first brain functions would not operate. But these will and intellect are not material powers; they are immaterial as no one can specify where exactly these two operate. There are no specific protein compositions or DNA material that can be put into combination that can be said to make someone oppose or accept something. There is, therefore, an immaterial aspect of the mind.

There are concepts of the human person that do not add up when analyzed from the materialistic perspective.  From experience, it is common that everyone has a conscience and a moral compass that they follow.  It makes one do good, and when they falter, they get a sense of guilt.  The materialist says that everything can be traced back to a physical matter. I would wonder how a physical state could define what is good or bad and get to decide which one to choose.  Another issue is the issue of truth. Confining every though process as a chemical reaction, then how are we able to say the truth or lie. How are we also able to control what we say if it is all a chemical reaction? How can we then believe in ourselves that we made the right choice?  Where would our convictions come from? These are things that I believe could not have developed through a physical process; they require another state to develop them.

Reflection Paper evidence for materialism

Below are the instructions and meaning of a reflection paper.

Reflection papers are meant to provide you a place to express your own thoughts and opinions on what we are covering in class. I evaluate the reflection papers more on how you support your position or pursue your inquiry than I do on the content of your thought. Suggested length of reflection papers is one typed page.

Usually the reflection paper is on a topic of your choosing related to the class. It can be over the readings or something that we have discussed in class. The reflection papers are designed to allow you to reflect on what you are learning in class. I want you to give your evaluation on what we cover and ask yourself is what I am learning true or good or beautiful (or false or wicked or ugly). Explain the reasons why you think something is true or good or beautiful.

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Mini lecture 1: What is the evidence for materialism? After reading Nagel, we saw three options emerge for viewing human beings: they were physicalism, mind body dualism and dual aspect theory. Physicalism can be used as an equivalent word for materialism. Though in Nagel we were primarily concerned with the reality connected to humans, in considering materialism we shall expand the focus to include not just human beings but reality as a whole. We will move from the ontology of humans to the metaphysics of all reality (human and non-human reality). Materialism claims that there is just one kind of reality, material reality. It claims 1that all reality is material or a material process. Materialism avoids one of the problems that Descartes’ dualism had. With Descartes we saw that he had to explain how the two different realities of mind and matter could connect. We also saw his “bad” solution in the pineal gland. Since materialists hold that there is only one reality, they don’t have the difficulty of showing how the two realities connect. However, if they dodge one problem they also inherit others; the main problem many people see with materialism is its reductionistic moves. Many, like Nagel for example, do not believe that everything can be explained solely by reference to material processes. As the lecture said, qualia can’t get explained. As we approach materialism in the class, we can already see that it has a strike against it. It may also have another strike against it as well. In my experience of teaching philosophy, it seems that most of the students I have had are dualists. This view is the cultural default position, so that even prior to studying dualism people are already inclined toward it. One of the major reasons for accepting this view is probably religious. Many people are inclined, on the basis of their religious upbringing to believe in an after-life and since it is clear that the body is no longer of any use after death—there must be a soul that continues on. So many people are dualists by default. (By the way, it is possible to be a materialist and believe in an afterlife—however, if the materialists are correct, any after-life would have to involve a bodily resurrection; some forms of Judaism and Christianity have views of a bodily resurrection, rather than just a disembodied soul.) Given this religious perspective, it seems then that materialism may have at least two strikes against it. In an effort to leveling the playing field and give materialists a fighting chance, I want to suggest several reasons for being a materialist. Materialists have been around for many years and go back to ancient times.

Philosophy Reflection Paper

Reflection Paper

Humans value knowledge; therefore disapproving the idea that any knowledge exists is intriguing. How can I know even that the knowledge that I have is real because questioning it brings about circling as I beg the questions?  I, therefore, can’t know anything. Since I still have the value of knowledge, am left with the option of belief. What I choose to assume is abstract is  based on my belief. I, therefore, decide to accept some things as valid; then if I place my hand in front of my face and my eyes confirm to me that the hand exists and it is in front of my face, I choose to believe my eyes. When Descartes says he can know the mind is real and never be deceived about it while he is conscious: I think this is a representation of belief in action. We have no other fixed point of reference apart from the mind which seems to be the closest we have. The rest of the things are purely what we believe to be true.

The philosophy, however, gives me trouble with how to deal with the real world objects, ideas and issues. How would I trust knowledge and ideas passed down by teachers, religions, and scientists?  How would I then trust material objects that are humanmade if I cannot prove the existence of the maker and the object itself? All knowledge that I have had before is based on the disputed form of reality most of us have. I also understand that most of what I know is things discovered by myself full of the hazards of mistranslation, misinformation, prejudice, and personal limitation. In the argument, I would also not want to divert up to the point of unmitigated skepticism. Confirming that something cannot be known at all is the denial of the existence of knowledge and will cause self-refutation.

Even with these doubts and limitations, as humans, we have devised a body of knowledge and facts that have worked for us and seem to be a universal reality. Therefore I think that what we know so far are the ideas that started as a series of experiences, developed to an opinion, then a belief and finally became justified knowledge. Therefore any belief or opinion of something cannot be proven as knowledge without the justification.  It has to get tested until its certainty is proven before it becomes knowledge. From this basis, we get the common empirical knowledge that exists in science, mathematics, etc. However, there is another form of knowledge that doesn’t work same as the empirical knowledge, some matters are of reasoning to create a truth. It requires prior knowledge to make the reasoning. For example having prior knowledge that a round object does not have straight edges makes one know that a ball is round.

In conclusion, I think that we can know things based on the beliefs that work for us. If I know that my hand is in front of my face, then next pick up a pen and write something, I conclude that believing in the existence of the hand has worked for me.  If it is useful then it is true.  In the belief that something is true and making use of them to produce positive results, then it proves that the objects are a reality. It is the only argument I have about proving that things are real.

Reflection papers “reasons why you think something is true or good or beautiful.”

Below are the instructions and meaning of a reflection paper.

Reflection papers are meant to provide you a place to express your own thoughts and opinions on what we are covering in class.  I evaluate the reflection papers more on how you support your position or pursue your inquiry than I do on the content of your thought.  Suggested length of reflection papers is one typed page.

Usually the reflection paper is on a topic of your choosing related to the class.  It can be over the readings or something that we have discussed in class.  The reflection papers are designed to allow you to reflect on what you are learning in class.  I want you to give your evaluation on what we cover and ask yourself is what I am learning true or good or beautiful (or false or wicked or ugly).  Explain the reasons why you think something is true or good or beautiful. 

I have attached the file over the topic I want discussed or “reflected’

NAGEL

SOURCES ARE NOT REQUIRED. The reflection paper will be over the information from the attached file only and your take on it.

Nagel How do we know anything? Lecture: If you had to make a list of the top ten philosophical problems in the world, I doubt that many of you would list this one: How can we be sure there is a world outside of our mind? Also way down on the list would probably: am I sure I have a body? Most of us take these for granted and we couldn’t care less about it. Both of these questions are on our agenda for today and that leaves me as a lecturer with a big problem—no one cares what about what I will talk about. So, before I begin, I want to try to inspire your care and concern. I won’t try shaming you into caring, because that doesn’t work very well. While I think an appropriate love of truth is something that is very important believing in it out of a sense of shame will only take you so far. If we say we should care and we don’t really care we are in a bind. This bind is an important issue—because it represents a kind of apathy that is deadly. I believe that the best way to learn to care is to look for a way to tie something you don’t care about to something that you do. Once you find the connection you can funnel the energy for what you do care about into what you don’t care about. This is why I stress the importance of making connection and understanding. The more connections we make the more likely we are to care, because we can find the link that leads us to our concerns. So what is the link to belief in an external world and what you care about? I suggest the link is our value on knowledge. If we value our knowledge, then we should care about whether there is an external world. Teachers value knowledge and if you are headed toward teaching it will be important for you to know what knowing is and whether we really know something. Also if you are going into a field that uses science, you know that science claims to know an external world by observation and if we aren’t sure about this external world it will affect how we see the value of science. Many people value that knowledge highly, but are they justified in doing that? So if you are going to be a teacher or study science, I may have given you some reason to care. One more appeal—if you are a human you should find dignity in yourself. One important source of dignity is your knowledge. Knowing the limits and strengths of your knowledge will be important to. As a rational being, you should care about whether you can support your position and defend it without falling into fallacies. I realize that what I have said may have only limited effect, so short of calling the care-bears in let’s get going. Hold your and in front of your face. Stare at your hand. Go on, stare at it. Now say, “I know that I see my hand in front of my face.” Probably nothing will convince you that your hand is not really there or that you don’t see your hand. But, how do you know that your hand is in front of your face. You know it because you see it. How do you know that your senses are trust-worthy? If you say you know your senses are trustworthy

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because you can see your hand, you have committed the fallacy of begging the question. By the way, when dealing with fundamental principles it is very hard not beg the question. Let’s talk about that particular fallacy. One form of begging the question is circular argumentation. Here’s an example. John: The Bible is the word of God. Mary: How do you know it is the word of God? John: Because it says so in the Bible. Mary: How can I trust what it says in the Bible? John: Because the Bible is the word of God. There is an internal consistency to John’s claim, but from Mary’s point of view she doesn’t care about consistency but evidence. She is outside of the circle of the argument. Once a person is in the circle it all makes sense because of the mutual support but to someone outside there is no way this argument allows them to step into the circle.