In a summarizing reflection for my final blog post of Honors History 10, I will give a short description on each of the presentations I experienced on Monday and Tuesday. In these two classes, six groups (including mine) gave presentations on their respective topics, all tying their information into the underlying theme: People, Places, and Power. I came to a broader understanding on this theme when each group explained the parts of the theme utilizing pictures, definitions, videos, and surveys. Each presentation was descriptive and provided enough information on the topic of People, Places, and Power. My group, Labor vs. Big Business, went first.
The first presentation afterwards, Immigration Europe, explained how religious persecutions forced many European people (especially the Jews) to move to America in an attempt to find religious and social freedom. Ellis Island on the New York coast was an important place where most European immigrants entered America for the first time. A defining power opposing the new immigrants were the American officials that ensured that tests were administered and quarantines were created for any immigrants carrying foreign diseases from Europe.
The second presentation, Imperialism Africa, explained how European powers conquered Africa to build massive empires from the plentiful natural resources. During the 1800’s, the vast majority of Africa was controlled by Europe, mostly France. The native African people were exploited and enslaved to harvest their resources for their militant European overlords. One important person, King Leopold of Belgium, took over the Congo Free State and ruled with an iron fist, terribly oppressing and enslaving the native people, prompting the Berlin Conference to discuss European claims of Africa.
The third presentation, Native Americans in the West, explained how the Navajo people were forced from their native homeland into designated territories by the American government. Pioneer Kit Carson and American government officials enforced rules for the Navajos to live on Native American-specific plantations, having to walk hundreds of miles from their former homes. One major forced migration, the Long Walk, was 400 miles long and many Navajos died due to sickness, famine, or murder. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs was created to support the Navajos and many other oppressed Native American tribes, but corruption prevented supplies and support from reaching them. Native Americans were also forced to assimilate into Western culture, losing not only their lands but also their culture.
The fourth presentation, Immigration Asia, explained how immigrants from Asia (mainly China and Japan) arrived in America for their search of opportunities. Angel Island was the West Coast version of Ellis Island, allowing immigrants to enter America only if they could pass the proper tests. If the Asian immigrants managed to pass these tests (through whatever means), they were faced with racism from the American people. Immigrant workers receive poor pay and mainly lived in ghettos. Most wanted land to work on, but the American people refused to lease land out to the immigrants. The crushing power of racism prevented Asian immigrants from receiving the opportunities they wished to achieve.
The final presentation, Imperialism America, explained the lesser known area of American history, our mission to create an empire. After a fatal explosion on an American ship was blamed on the Spanish, the Spanish-American War began. With the fighting ended by the Treaty of Paris (1898), the Spanish-controlled Philippines was given over to America, adding to the American empire. American forces began to ignore the ideas of the Monroe Doctrine, preferring to engage in foreign affairs through the use of adding more land for American territory. With the expansion of American territory, America sought for even more power, focusing on islands such as Hawaii in the Pacific and Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. This dark side of American history highlights the topic of People, Places, and Power, all presented in our Honors History 10 class.