Saturday, September 28, 2013

Marx PSA

Marx, Karl and Frederich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.  Modified from the Avalon Project.  1848.                      Yale University. September 18, 2013).

Karl Marx was a Prussian (German) born philosopher, author and economic revolutionary. He was born in 1818 and his father intended him to be a law major, but he had disciplinary problems at the Universities and decided to pursue literature and philosophy.  Two of his greatest influences was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich von Hegel, and Ludwig Feuerbach, who each had contrasting ideas on how the world functioned. Marx combined their ideas to develop his idea of dialectical materialism. Marx's most important acquaintance during his life was Friedrich Engles, who often supported Marx with money. Marx's most famous work, The Communist Manifesto was written in 1848 protesting the current economic and social system which he believed was trapping the proletarians (commoners) under to overwhelming power of the bourgeoisie (upper class). Marx's personal experiences with financial troubles and personal loss (4 of his 7 children died and his wife suffered a great mental toll) vastly influenced his desire for change to the system. His biased point of view, although it contributes to the document, also limits it, due to it's one sidedness. Marx uses a myriad of words and phrases that all are anti-bourgeoisie. He compares the bourgeoisie to the proletarians using "freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf... oppressor and oppressed." He wishes to abolish all property that is owned by the bourgeoisie and distribute all wealth evenly between all people. In the final words of the Manifesto, Marx calls for all proletarians to unite against the bourgeoisie.

**** the large paragraph should be indented to the right one tab

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Luddites: Taking Sides

During the British Industrial Revolution, not all were happy and ecstatic with the new advances in technology. There was a group of people, who were unhappy with the use of these new technologies. The Luddites, as they were called, often raided factories that contained the frames that made textile goods. The Luddites were men, who before the industrial revolution were skilled weavers, mechanics or other artisans. They took their name from their claimed founder, "King Ludd" in truth, Ned Ludd was a worker in a factory who in a fit of rage, smashed two knitting frames. They did not inherently dislike technology, but they strongly disapproved of the use of this technology to make lower quality goods and to pay workers less. They believed that the technology should be used to improve the lives of all people: the workers, the consumers and the society. However, the owners of these factories were making much more money than they needed and were not sufficiently paying their workers. They luddites wanted to punish the factory owners for their "crimes." The Luddites almost never attacked people directly, and most of the blood that was shed during this time period was soldiers killing Luddites out of fear. We can learn from the Luddites to think about technology, is it truly helping us, or is it just absorbing part of our life? The following paragraph is a mock primary source letter that is written from the point of view of  a skilled weaver to their cousin in America.
"King Ludd" The Mythical Leader of the Luddites

Dearest Cousin John,
Here in England, we are enveloped in a state of turmoil, an "Industrial Revolution" is occurring and I, for one am not sure it is for the better. There are massive, loud machines lined up by the hundreds in factories, that work day and night, fabricating textiles and other goods. They employ small children who often get injured or killed by their moving pieces. Worst of all, the goods they make are scrappy and cheap. The workers on the machines get paid even less than before. However, there is a ray of hope, a group of men, who call themselves the Luddites are protesting these atrocities. They hate the lower wages and dangerous working conditions; and much like me, they are losing their jobs to these newfound machines. The Luddites sneak into factories at night, or even in broad daylight, and destroy these horrid machines that are disrupting our wellbeing. This industrialization has cut my profits in half, and I am now in serious need of basic necessities. The factories produce similar goods as I do, and they sell it for cheaper. My skills are nearly obsolete due to these wretched beasts in the factories. I am going to join in this Luddite rage against the machines. I promise to personally destroy dozens of frames, in order to preserve mine, and other's jobs. This may be dangerous work, and this may be the last you ever hear from me. Wish me luck, and tell the family that I love them.
Yours Truly, William Webb

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Museum Curator Project

Group A: Vanessa Navin, Melanie La, Thomas Peacock, Adam Bergeron, Parker Webb

My group was assigned six sources that displayed information about the evolving textile industry during the industrial revolution of Britain. We first analyzed each source for it's significance in relation to the developing textile industry and its impact on the common family. Source one (top left) was determined to be a display of how cotton was spun into thread before the industrial revolution. This source shows that a source of income for cottage families was making goods from textiles. However, source two (top right) displays a spinning jenny; this machine would be present in a factory, powered by anyone or possibly by water power. This had the effect of removing a source of income from the cottage families. Sources three (middle left) and four (middle right) have a similar relationship. Source three is a hand loom that would be present in the home of a textile maker, but when the industrial revolution began, the presence of power looms (like in source four) make it unprofitable for commoners to make cloth goods at home. This also decreased the income of the average person in England, and contributed to poverty. Source five (bottom left) shows the exponential growth of the population of London, from 1800 to 1914. This massive population growth was caused because the common people of England were forced to move to the city for jobs. They were no longer able to make money in their homes so they had to find a new occupation. The final source (bottom right) summarizes the impact of industrialization on the cottage families. 
The title for our project was determined by the relationships between our sources and the topic of the sources. Two of our sources showed technologies for textiles before the industrial revolution and two others showed the technology during the industrial revolution. The focus of our sources was the effects of the innovations in textile technologies on the family life in England.
We intended for all visitors of our group to learn that the industrial revolution was not necessarily good for all people. In fact it caused an increase in poverty and took many jobs from the skilled women who wove clothes at home. The textile revolution caused millions of people to be forced to cities in order to find jobs that they had lost to factories.  

Transporting the Industrial Revolution:
From this group we were able to learn about the necessary expansion and innovation of transportation due to the industrial revolution. The revolution caused many more goods to be available, this meant that these goods had to be transported, fast. The British made a intricate system of railways and canals in order to expedite the shipping process.

The Industrial Revolution Brings Poverty and Pollution:
This project showed us some serious negative impacts of the industrial revolution. One problem was that the thames river was heavily polluted. Another impact was that the wages of workers fell, but the cost of living continued to rise. This caused extreme, widespread poverty.

An Era Built on the Backs of Children:
From this poster we learned that thousands of children were forced to work in very dangerous and often lethal conditions during the industrial revolutions. In cotton factories, nearly 50% of the workers were under 10 years old, and they were working with equipment that could kill or seriously injure all of them. Many young children were also forced to work in coal mines, in constant danger of death by collapse. It took until 1883 for a preliminary law against extreme child labor came into effect.

Cotton and Slave Boom in the Industrial Revolution:
This exhibit showed that the industrial revolution caused even more slaves to be brought to America. England had more need for cotton, so America needed more workers for the fields. This picture shows that the industrial revolution truly depended on the work of slaves in order to be successful.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Engels PSA Assignment

Friedrich Engels. The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. London: Swan
Sonnenschein & Co., 1892. pp. 45, 48-53.

Friedrich Engels was a German-born philosopher, author, and social scientist. He was a friend of Karl Marx’s, and together they formed the basis of Marxism as it is today. Engels wrote The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844 in order to expose the abysmal conditions that the workers of England were working in. Engels is a believable source due to his reputation as “the finest scholar and teacher... in the whole civilized world.” This was written while Engels was observing the situation in Manchester. He was a first hand view and he was writing things as soon as he observed them. There is little reason for inaccuracy due to the book being written continuously while he was in Manchester. When the document was produced the industrial revolution was in full swing in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of people were moving to cities for work and were thrown into terrible living conditions. This document teaches us that for the people who made the industrial revolution happen, life was one step away from a living hell. Some limitations of this source are that there is only one point of view; some other people may have had different opinions. There is no point of view from the workers in the industrial revolution, only from the detached observer, Engels. In his opinion, the situation for working people is completely uncivilized and filthy. He uses a multitude of words to describe to unprecedented dirt and grime. Engels was successful in showing, through words, the unacceptable condition that many British commoners are living in.

**** The large paragraph should be indented over one tab.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

United Nations Advisory Council

At the United Nations (UN) Advisory Council meeting on friday the twelve members discussed the roiling state of the Syrian country. The events of the past two weeks, the roots of this conflict, and possible resolutions were reviewed and discussed. Each advisory council member appeared to have an exemplary grasp on the situation in Syria as it is today. There was a unanimous agreement that the use of the chemical weapon sarin is morally wrong and an international war crime.  The death toll was said to be 1429. The Assad Regime is the main governing body of Syria, and the Syrian National Council is the leading group for the rebellion. Most representatives agreed that action should be taken, but many were wary of taking direct military action.
Many variables that had to be taken into account before any discussion about taking action occurred. Not all members were convinced that Assad carried out the chemical attack. Evidence that was proposed was that when Secretary of State John Kerry requested for the Syrian government to leave that site of attack open for investigation, they obliterated the site with devastating artillery. To many this is enough, but for some, especially those sympathetic to Syria, a confession or other hard evidence is required. Many members were against the Syrian government was because of it dictatorial nature and history. When Bahsar "ran" for president, there was no opposition, and he won with 97% of the vote. This indicates an unfair election and a fake democracy. 
The first proposed method of intervention was a direct military intervention. This would involve soldiers, missile strikes, air superiority. This could cause much more problems than it has the potential to solve. Even if Assad is routed, the people could elect someone who is unfit to rule. Assad also released a statement that if military action is taken, then they, along with Iran will attack the UN troops and possibly even Israel. 
Another proposition was to threaten drone strikes and weapon inspection (and destruction). The representatives were not pleased with this proposed course of action either.  The members were afraid of the near inevitable collateral damage from drone strikes, if a chemical weapon was hit with a drone strike it would cause unspeakable devastation.
The final proposed course of action was to impose international economic sanctions against Syria and to aid the refugees. This was the most widely accepted proposal. It was said that this will help with the deplorable conditions that the hundreds of thousands of refugees are living in every day. However, it is believed that the economic sanctions would just slow down the inevitable conflict. The humanitarian effort to help the refugees was near unanimously seen as a good idea.
This is truly a crisis that is affecting everyone across the world, and a resolution is needed soon. We, the human race, can not sit by and wait while innocent civilians, even children, who had their whole lives ahead of them, are being mercilessly slaughtered.