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  • risacheb 5:13 pm on 2015-10-26 Permalink  

    World War I, or “The Great War”, has a dark history and was greatly different from the previous wars. Word War I was a huge turning point in the history of the world and its aftermath had major effects on almost every continent. In this post, I would like to review how exactly WWI was different. Obviously, it was the first world war. With more countries involved, comes a higher number of combatants involved. With this came an increase in nationalism, or soldiers willing to fight for their nation. Another major difference between WWI and previous wars is the increase in technology and the change in tactics. Some of these technological advancements include better artillery and artillery tactics. The war is known for trench warfare, chemical warfare, submarine warfare and the extensive use of machine guns on the battlefield. The machine gun (specifically the Gatling gun) was used during the Civil War, but was not reliable like it was in WWI. Trench warfare is the result of machine guns and artillery forcing the infantrymen to take to trenches to stay alive. Chemicals such as chlorine gas were brutal types of weapons used during the war and these would slowly and painfully kill their victims. It was also the first war to use airplanes in war. All of these factors led to many causalities on a global scale. It was the first completely industrialized war, helped diminish unemployment in the U.S. as a result of the need for jobs to mass produce weaponry, and made military spending more important in the U.S.

     
  • risacheb 4:28 pm on 2015-10-13 Permalink  

    The reconstruction of the South post-Civil really catches my attention. The three constitutional amendments that were passed in the wake of the Civil War created massive controversy in the Southern states: the 13th amendment which abolished slavery, the 14th amendment which granted civil rights to African Americans, and the 15th amendment which granted African Americans the right to vote. While the freed slaves at the time were technically considered “free”, they would unfortunately never truly experience total racial equality. There was without a doubt still a huge amount of tension between the North and South after the war. While the North tried to rebuild the South, it turned out to be counterproductive as the South didn’t welcome their help. Overall, the process of reconstruction in the South turned out to be a rough transition which lasted several years.

     
  • risacheb 3:57 pm on 2015-10-13 Permalink  

    John D. Rockefeller’s business sense was nothing short of genius. The way Standard Oil (his company) was able to beat its competitors and gain a monopoly in the oil industry through numerous business tactics is interesting. “By 1904, Standard Oil controlled about 90% of the oil business in the United States and had large investments overseas” (Sage American History Readings). Some of his business strategies included lowering his prices below cost which drove out his competitors and once he had almost complete control of the industry he raised the price of the oil products. While he may not have been the most selfless man around, he was certainly good at what he did.

     
  • risacheb 3:24 pm on 2015-10-13 Permalink  

    Westward expansion in the 19th century has always been interesting to me. Just the idea of historic events such as President Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana territory from France in 1803 and James Marshall’s discovery of gold in 1848. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the nation at the time and added to the agricultural power of the U.S. which in turn greatly strengthened the economy. As for the California gold rush, it brought large numbers of not just American citizens but European and Asian immigrants as well. Both of these events sparked further westward expansion and really shaped what our country is today.

     
  • risacheb 9:29 pm on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    The South was at a huge disadvantage during the Civil War. Not only did most of the war take place on their own soil, which destroyed their farmland and more, but the South had far less of a population and wasn’t industrialized. They also had less resources to supply their troops’ needs which hurt them. However, while the South had a lot going against them, they also had some advantages over the north. Some of these advantages include home field advantage (for the most part), a lot of pride, and a strong incentive to defend their own land.

     
  • risacheb 8:48 pm on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    Transportation has played a major role in the shaping of the United States economy. It doesn’t matter how much of a particular high-demand good a nation has, if they are unable to efficiently transport the good from place to place it will not be a lucrative business. For this reason, the creation of the Erie Canal and others, as well as the railroads was extremely important to the economy. With the beginning of the industrial age came increased production, and with increased production of goods came a higher need for transportation. Canals, followed by railroads, allowed for large amounts of goods to be moved to distant urban centers for further distribution. Being able to move goods faster and farther is what made canals and railroads so important to the U.S. economy.

     
  • risacheb 8:29 pm on 2015-09-29 Permalink  

    It’s incredible how much the cotton gin impacted the United States economy (particularly in the south). The fact that one simple invention had an enormous amount of importance is fascinating. From 1793 (when Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin) to 1860, the cash crops for the United States changed from tobacco and indigo to cotton because the cotton gin made it so cotton could be cleaned faster and more easily. Another factor contributing to the change of cash crop includes the fact that cotton can be grown anywhere, regardless if the land is full of nutrients or not, whereas tobacco requires the perfect conditions to grow. Not only did the cotton gin greatly increase cotton production but it also greatly increased the dependency on slaves due to the lowered cost of producing cotton fiber and higher demand of cotton from the textile mills. Higher production of cotton meant more cotton to plant and pick which resulted in a higher demand for slave labor. What I find interesting is Eli Whitney’s purpose of creating the cotton gin in the first place: to make picking seeds from cotton easier for the slaves. I’m assuming Whitney had no idea he’d inadvertently make life more difficult for slaves by increasing the number of slaves needed.
    Another thing I’d like to add is the impact of inventions in general. It’s weird to think that one new creation has the ability to change the lives of individuals around the globe; whether it’s the cotton gin or something more relevant today like the internet, for example. Like the cotton gin, the internet has had a tremendous impact on the economy. It has changed the way we work and share information and ideas on a global scale. The U.S. (and world) economy has drastically changed ever since the internet was invented. Technological advances, such as the cotton gin and internet, are needed for a nation’s economy to move forward.

     
  • risacheb 11:38 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    Unfair Treatment of Native Americans:
    A dark part of history includes the Europeans’ forced removal of Native Americans from their lands out of greed. When the Europeans looked at the best, most fertile land America had to offer, they saw money bags. Unfortunately for the Native Americans, they were the only thing standing in the Europeans’ way when it came to the prosperous crop-growing business, and the Europeans were going to do anything in their power to overtake the land. What’s funny is how quickly the Native Americans went from allies to enemies, particularly after the Revolutionary War. What amazes me is the ruthlessness of the early American people. For example, they used legislation to exploit the Native Americans by creating acts such as Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, which basically allowed for the president to “negotiate” with Indians for their removal to the west of the Mississippi River. The reason I put “negotiate” in quotation marks is because realistically the Native Americans had no choice in the matter. Sadly, other ways the early settlers of America drove out the Indians consist of murder and disease. They intentionally infected Native Americans with new diseases the Indians’ immune system couldn’t defend. The fact of the matter is that history isn’t always pretty and events similar to the Europeans taking over the Native Americans’ land happen, which shapes out an entire nation’s economy. In this case, farming cash crop on the acquired, fertile land altered the American economy.

     
  • risacheb 10:34 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    The Distribution of Wealth:
    Inequalities in the wealth department have existed in the year 1774 and still remain true today. “In New England, the wealthiest 20 percent of the population owned 66 percent of the total wealth; in the middle colonies, the wealthiest 20 percent held 53 percent of the total wealth; in the south, the wealthiest 20 percent held 70 percent of the wealth in 1974” (Miller, Sexton, pg. 81). Currently, it feels like the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The fact of the matter is those that earn money get more while those who don’t get less, resulting in the wealth gap widening. These statistics prove this was also true in the eighteenth century and will continue to be true in the future as economical competition becomes stronger, even more so than it already is.

     
  • risacheb 9:57 pm on 2015-09-15 Permalink  

    The Importance of Tobacco:
    It’s fascinating how one crop (tobacco) was so indispensable to an entire region’s economy. Imagine how different the economy back in the day would’ve been had John Rolfe not experimented and discovered the extremely suitable conditions for growing tobacco in Virginia. This changed the entire structure of the economy by establishing slavery (indentured servitude) due to the desire for cheaper labor since growing the crop required a considerable labor force. Luckily for the individuals at Jamestown, tobacco was in high demand during this time period. Combine this with the colonies’ favorable growing conditions and you get major amounts of profit.

     
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