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Author Topic: American History  (Read 30257 times)
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weezo
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« Reply #1650 on: December 15, 2007, 10:49:09 AM »

And a post from another history professor:

Dan,

    Very good point.  William Mahone attended VMI, probably on scholarship.
His father was an inn keeper in Jerusalem, Southampton County, Virginia.
Father Mahone may have owned a slave or two but he was hardly a planter.
    I don't know the Antebellum period well but my research strategy would
be to concentrate on the military academies (federal and state), the
technical schools (i.e. Van Rensaeller Tech), and ministerial training
colleges.  Each took talented (white) men regardless of background and
turned them into professionals and "gentlemen."

Harold S. Forsythe
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« Reply #1651 on: December 15, 2007, 11:37:44 AM »

Just a few years ago there was considerable discussion among scholars regarding the role Ivy League colleges played in the slave trade and how they financed their expansion by selling humans.  I have not seen any similar discussions about Southern schools and any role they may have had in this tragedy.
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« Reply #1652 on: December 15, 2007, 12:21:58 PM »

Than,

Here is another reply to my quest which lists a number of works which may provide what you are looking for:

Yes, of course; the eminent Mr. Adams was merely expressing regional 
prejudice.

For Virginian and Southern intellectual life in the antebellum era, 
see, for example:

Richard Beale Davis, Intellectual life in the Colonial South, 
1585-1763 (1978);   and   Intellectual life in Jefferson's Virginia, 
1790-1830 (1964).
Michael O'Brien, Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the 
American South, 1810-1860 (2004).

For Henry Adams's own complicated personal relationship to the South 
and Southernness, see the opening portions of Garry Wills, Henry 
Adams and the Making of America (2005).

--Jurretta Heckscher
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weezo
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« Reply #1653 on: December 15, 2007, 03:25:01 PM »

Seems Adams did not know as much about the south as he supposed. The following from the Va History list is a story from George, that "backward" state where all the "crackers" lived:

I have this obituary from "The LaFayette Sun", LaFayette, Chambers Co, AL, January,1896, written by two sons of James M. Davis, who was college-educated during the 1830's:
 
"James Madison Davis was born July 30, 1812, in Elbert County, Georgia...[He] received a good common school education at the schools of the district about where he was reared [Jasper & Monroe Co, GA], and at Nashville College [University of Nashville], Tenn.  He was graduated in the Medical College in Forsyth, Ga...."
 
Neither James nor his father and grandfather were planters or owned slaves. His grandfather and great-grandfather in the mid-1700's in Spotsylvania and Culpeper County VA were skilled craftsmen--carpenters/joiners and bridge builders. Neither owned much land, but the great-grandfather and another of his carpenter sons had apprentices, a sign of some means and standing. Others in the family were large landowners, planters and slave owners, but often not literate (judging from signing by mark rather than signature)..
 
James' direct ancestors, the carpenters, were all literate, and his carpenter grandfather in particular seems unusually well-educated--possibly attending Rev. Marye's school in Fredericksburg.  James' father, an only surviving son, was orphaned in Georgia at 12 and I can find nothing about what he did. He had little land, no slaves, and seems of moderate if not meager means, but his only surviving son's education was obviously important to him, so I think he could have been a school teacher himself as were many of his descendants.
 
James seems to have been a of an usually populist branch of his family. He wanted to be known only as a "common school teacher, mechanic and farmer," although a granddaughter recalled buggy rides to see patients with him and his community called him "Dr. James." He moved before the Civil War to Tallapoosa County, Alabama where among his children and descendants were many school teachers, educators and ministers. Others of his family back in Georgia were becoming part of the non-planter elite. His brother-in-law in North Georgia, known for his brilliance, wide field of interests, far-seeing land investments and not a slave owner, was a lawyer and State Senator (who voted not to secede, in part because he did not think the South could win such a war). Other relatives were or became prominent lawyers, Georgia State Senators and US Congressmen, and in the years following the Civil War worked to found or pass legislation to establish a number of Georgia colleges, including
 higher education for women.

Joan Horsley
 
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weezo
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« Reply #1654 on: December 15, 2007, 04:09:00 PM »

And, another response, this time detailing the education of a Maryland preacher/doctor educated in PA - the son of farmers rather than of the plantation class.

My gg-grandfather the Rev. Dr. Jacob Amos Lefevre was the son of
farmers; he attended Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg and graduated
from the Presbyterian seminary at Princeton (to become Princeton
University) in 1856. He lived in Baltimore, so maybe you don't count
him as Southern.

Kathleen Much

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madupont
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« Reply #1655 on: December 15, 2007, 04:31:44 PM »

Dzimas, and Bob,

I just read that chapter on Berlin and The Education of Henry Adams, and -- as I suspected had to chuckle for this perfectly described the education we still received at the time of the second World War in a German-American community, although we had a lot more Fresh Air Exercise as you by now realize, Dzimas, the emphasis on that had changed in the new era of health and beauty and martial field exercises. The style of academic studies and exercises however has to do with that if the teacher is German and a product of the German educational system, then the emphasis of their teaching remains the same.

" Berlin astonished him, but he had no lack of friends to show him all the amusement it had to offer. Within a day or two he was running about with the rest to beer-cellars and music-halls and dance-rooms, smoking bad tobacco, drinking poor beer, and eating sauerkraut and sausages as though he knew no better. This was easy. One can always descend the social ladder."

I would go so far as to say, it may be inherent as inferred by the unfortunate saying,"Im blut". I had friends raised in America although born in Germany who did exactly the same when they went to university:
drinking poor beer, eating sauerkraut and sausages, running with the rest to the beer-cellars,and music-halls and dance-rooms.  To some extent we all did that because these were community standards  but the German-born did it best while singing the virtues of Nationalism while the rest of the country coast to coast including our city,state and region was awash in Flower Children approach Hippiedom. To a German that wasn't strange; that too was a part of their Romanticism.

But the remark about "the rise of Nationalism" (I can't see the quote from here in the post-box because weezo has moved on through the South and into the North), from Dzimas, was what caught my attention and why I respond. Adams writes at a time when the separate German states had not yet thoroughly consolidated. Our influx in the Midwest which became Populism and Progressivism, began as a result of an upperclass that resisted that notion and decided to leave the country for America with their peasants.  Yes, they still "owned" peasants, in the sense of being responsible for them, seeing that they produced the wealth of the aristocrats who decided to flee an alliance of German states. I lived in an area as late as 1980 in which whole rural villages around me were these intact groups of farmers, Lutheran, who would not have arrived in this landscape if not for their Meinherr.  I used to think they were predominantly Bavarian but not so. Now, I hear from that territory about Pomeranians coming forth and celebrating their heritage with festival days, etc.

Furthermore, these "advanced thinkers" with money in their pockets bought estates in the Midwest and have continued to pass them on in the family, having invested in trees. From which they churn out newsprint, and toilet paper and tissue and hygiene products. To say nothing of the indoor plumbing industry which has everthing for your bathroom; and I can't forget the guy who reasoned that buying up large scale quanset huts or having someone build them for perfect "Super" markets gave you campaign money from sales profits so that you too could become governor.  After that he continued with buying goods and selling them in those big establishments in shopping malls for smaller cities across America, where you buy clothes, cosmetics, housewares, toys, automotive supplies, etc.

All as a result of what Henry Adams saw fit to complain about. He apparently saw the handwriting on the wall; whereas those upper classes had to go to university to hear about an impending revolution that would take all their leisure privileges away from them when their volk got wise to the economic theories.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 04:45:22 PM by madupont » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #1656 on: December 15, 2007, 05:17:25 PM »

weezo,re:#1696

"Some months back, I saw a piece of abolitionist literature which was a poem to tell northern children not to buy/eat sugar since it was produced by slave labor".

It's a minor point, but England for instance became so awash in sugar, because they themselves had holdings in the Caribbean( and the rum ration itself from the three-cornered trade supported the British Navy pay-outs provisioning seamen)that the British could not figure out how to get rid of the sugar fast enough, in which they were up to their ears.

Whereas the northern colonies were able to receive conical shaped weights of sugar and were glad of getting it, by the time that Tea Mutiny took place, further down the coast as your post in regard to the Presbyterian School at Princeton reminded me, a whole slew of fine mansions with their tale-tell green shutters and pretty stone terraces planted with rhododenrons and azaleas continued west from Nassau street to a route which was then the Kings Highway leading to the Delaware. These were the homes of Scots merchant traders; and, by the time that I found that recipe book in the Winthrop Place Library, the Scots had sugar coming out of their ears with Chess Pies where Gingerbreads had been previously from the store of molasses, now you had Lemon Curd from the excess of profits combined as sugar,butter,and eggs with some lemon juice carefully blended until thick, to even spread on your toast as a luxury addition beyond plain marmalade from Seville oranges.

Now, by the time of Mr.Dickens, he may have remarked keenly about the health of children in the slums of London who had been thrown off the land, but many of us feel the bad state of teeth in those of British descent results when that is combined with sugar because even the better off classes showed that defect.  They really had no idea what they were doing. Watch what will go into Christmas-tide drinks/beverages prepared from now until Twelfth Night.
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« Reply #1657 on: December 15, 2007, 06:19:06 PM »

weezo, re:#1701 and #1699

"As the northern colonies developed into small farms and in-home industries, the need for slaves declined and was eliminated."  Humm....

It wasn't so much that holdings in New Jersey for instance were ever much larger than small farm, although I've seen a few spots in Mercer County that remain today from the 17th.century as Scots cattlefarms for grazing, but your earlier comment sheds some light about that "rummaging around" for runaways in Pennsylvania or actual freedmen because it was the custom in the north when they were done with their service that they continued in occupations with which they were skilled.
The first time I took in the sentence, in my "homework book", cramming for the next morning or my day at Morven as a docent, with whom you never knew  might show up for a tour of the house and you had to have something interesting to tell them about the era, given a real shortage of interesting objects to catch their interest in a big empty house gradually going to wrack and ruin (but the more that Princeton attracted corporate business, the more often guests had to be entertained from overseas with something to show them about how the Fathers of our country had lived in this place that had once been a momentary capitol of the nation; not to mention what were the Mothers up to when not writing poems as Paeans of attention getting devices from George Washington to whom the Paean had been written).

That sentence which left me agog was about the fact that each resident in New Jersey had the benefit of two body servants.  I found that mind-boggling. It is not that New Jersey has ever been underpopulated. I can clarify right from the start that not all of these body servants were Black slaves, many were white indentured servants, thus there was no ripple of excitement among the 20th.century ladies who took this state of affairs for granted.

It wasn't so much likely that these Black (enslaved) servants would wander off to the South, they remained family retainers  until their death  or they hired themselves out to the best of their ability where they were known. Of course, as I was sometime reminded, some went to Liberia; I never got so sick of hearing about Liberia in my life.

I was confronted inwardly by the fact that when the Morven Stocktons married Bayards, Bayards also married Duponts, and from the very beginning when arrived from Newport,Rhode Island, Dupont Pere et Fils heading for lower Manhattan had to have some place to live, two rooms above each other in a cabin they called,Bon Sejour, in New Jersey from which they took a ferry to the other side each morning. Or, rather the widow of Robin Poivre who became Madame Dupont named it that. While the men were away in the city such as it was, they had bought her a slave for company and a cow, probably not at the same market, for Nieuw Amsterdam was filled with black slaves of various shade; likewise the cows of which there were sufficient because the dairying areas were not yet that far remote. There was some idea that having a slave provided some protection for a housewife. And that was the last, I heard of that, after they moved, where Lafayette had pointed out to them an appropriate place for those who were enterprising, a little east of where he had fought at the Battle of the Brandywine.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 06:26:06 PM by madupont » Logged
Bob
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« Reply #1658 on: December 15, 2007, 08:09:36 PM »

I think at this point it might be a good thing to point out that  when reading the  Autobiography one should not assume it is a factual account of history. In fact its rather vague regarding the events surrounding the times it refers to. For instance, at a point in the book Adams bemoans never having been taught Marx while at Harvard. The fact is that though Marx published The Communist Manifesto in 1847, knowledge of same was confined to very few people in America. Das Capital wasn't published until 1867 and then not in English until 1877. (Samuels, HENRY ADAMS, page 13)

 Henry's memory left something to be desired, as Marx couldn't well have been taught at Harvard because it didn't exist in the academic mind or even in the mind of many Americana when he went to Harvard. His moanings are not in snyc with the reality of his times or  experience...
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weezo
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« Reply #1659 on: December 15, 2007, 08:15:26 PM »

Maddie,

Was New Jersey originally part of Pennsylvania?  In some books on colonial times it seems that New Jersey and PA were not distinct. I am talking about the time when William Penn actually walked in his woods.

In the south, there was a belief that all blacks should be slaves. The laws were set so that if a free black man committed a crime for which a white man received a punishment, the black man who committed the same offense was sold into slavery and both the profits of his sale, and the property he owned as a free man were turned over to the state.

There was strong belief that the "slavers" who roamed the countryside of Pennsylvania, Delaware and other border states, would bring back free blacks as readily as a slave, if they could get away with it.

I'm not sure why the New Englanders gave up slavery before other areas. Apparently, slaves were not profitable in that area. The smaller farms in the middle states could be operated by a family (and, as you are well aware, some still are), but the "farms" in the south were often collections of farms that needed a large labor force. In addition, to the chagrin of the working class whites, businesses preferred to rent slaves (they money went to the owner), rather than hire white free men.

In the book I'm reading now, about the "borderlands" in upstate New York and western New England at the time before and after the revolution, the Indians were most afraid of losing their land because they would become slaves, like the black men. Apparently at that time there were still a lot of black slaves used in New York and New England. And, apparently, the Indians didn't feel that it was a job merely as a "companion" as your tale of the New Jersey ladies woud suggest.

Why did you tire of hearing about Liberia? It was a solution proposed early on, and supported by various churches, to relieve the country of free blacks. The law in Virginia specified that freed slaves were only allowed to remain in Virginia (close to family, etc) for one year, and if they remained, they were returned to slavery. This caused a lot of problems for those who wanted to free their slaves, since they had to provide a trade AND transportation to another state.

By the way, in your excess hearing of Liberia, did you know that the first president of Liberia was a Virginian? Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born in the Norfolk area, and moved to Petersburg (20 min away) as a child. His father was successful in the shipping business on the James. After his father's death, JJ, took over the family shipping business for some years, then sold it all and took his mother and siblings to Liberia. He became governor of Liberia until it obtained its independence, when he was elected president. There have been ten Virginians who have been presidents - 8 of the US, 1 of Texas, and Roberts in Liberia.
Of course, that count includes Woodrow Wilson, who may be equally claimed by NJ, but here was born here.



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weezo
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« Reply #1660 on: December 15, 2007, 08:17:28 PM »

Bob,

Would it be fair of me to point out that, based on your last note, that The Education of Henry Adams is even less a "history" than Gavin Menzies 1421, which some on here objected to most heatedly? <grin>
 
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Bob
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« Reply #1661 on: December 15, 2007, 08:42:16 PM »

As to the chapter on TREASON,  here's some background to make more sense out of it.  The Adams family were close friends with Charles Sumner. He dined with them weekly for ten years and Henry liked him and looked to him at some point in his life as a mentor of sorts...but after Sumner's speech on Kansas (the one leading to his being attacked in 1856) a gulf began to open between Sumner and Charles Francis Adams. Adams was elected to the House of Representatives  for a term beginning in 1860. He was a moderate anti-slavery representative and he had backed Lincoln reluctantly for the presidency, since he was a Seward man all the way to the convention. He was on the Committee of Thirty-Three. He sought a compromise to the secession crisis and made a speech propunding the policy on the floor of the House. Days later Sumner made a scathing attack on slavery, placing him far to the  "right" of CF Adams. After all, Sumner was a Radical Republican, Lincoln was a Conservative Republican. Adams was somewhere in the middle. The speech effectively ended their relationship.

I bring this up because Henry Adams went to Washington with his father as his secretary--and he loved the position in spite of his rantings about it in his autobiography. He doesn't tell his readers that he was writing articles for the Boston Daily Advertiser for money, having made a contract  with its editor to maintain his anonymity. He used the articles to propound his and his father's position. So.....good ole Henry was in the thick of things....not the bored to death poor guy looking for an adequate education.  "From the time of his arrival in Washington late in November until Mid February when he resigned  his job as a correspondent, being replaced by Charles Hale, Henry Adams found  little leisure for anything but the most urgent work." (Samuels, HENRY ADAMS, pages 41 and 42)

During this time he wrote "THE GREAT SECESSION WINTER" for the Atlantic Monthly--the article is now a classic in Civil War literature--but failed to send it in--it wasn't published until 1910---but it outlines and defends the  moderate position of his father and others for compromise rather than war (Samuels, page 43).It's a far cry from the the view his wants to get across in the Autobiography.

The differences between the "definitive"  biography and the Autobiography are sometimes very wide.

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Bob
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« Reply #1662 on: December 15, 2007, 08:46:39 PM »

 
Quote
Would it be fair of me to point out that, based on your last note, that The Education of Henry Adams is even less a "history" than Gavin Menzies 1421

I wouldn't go that far, but I would certainly take parts of EDUCATION cum granis salis.  Roll Eyes

Keep a history book at your side....or get Samuels HENRY ADAMS if you can find a copy. The abridgement (it was originally three volumes long) was published in 1989.
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weezo
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« Reply #1663 on: December 15, 2007, 10:35:25 PM »

Speaking of "salis", I just finished "Salt" last night. It was so good, I started another book, so I could slow down and soak in the end of the history. I'm now reading the Divided Ground. I really like Alan Taylor, and Kurlansky is a really engaging writer. Not sure who recommended each author, but thanks!

Opening the discussion of Adam's notion of the south created a furor of replies, some citing personal family histories of non-elites who went to college along with the elites. Those with experiences north of the Line, pointed out that in the north, the college goers were mostly the elites.

BTW, how were the "moderates" going to compromise away slavery?

Did they think there was any way to put an end to slavery without relieving the southerners of their human "property"? Living in the south now for more than forty years, I really don't see how it would have been possible. Some here think that slavery would have eventually died out, but when we look at how long it took the former slaves to achieve "equality", I don't see how a compromise would have worked. Many Southerners truly believed that what was "best" for blacks, was to be held in bondage, and that they were incapable of living in a freedom from the yoke.

It is interesting to note that when the former slaves emigrated to Liberia, they built a "colony" based on the very principles that white Europeans used in America. But, the former Americans became the landed gentry and plantation owners, while the natives of Liberia became the under class.




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« Reply #1664 on: December 15, 2007, 10:49:03 PM »

,

Would it be fair of me to point out that, based on your last note, that The Education of Henry Adams is even less a "history" than Gavin Menzies 1421, which some on here objected to most heatedly? <grin>
 


Come to think of it, some parts of both books do have a tendency to be somewhat comedic! Wink
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