Grade 8 History Lesson 42

Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) and Chief Joseph

1876, 1877

     Today I will be talking about two Indians. Ohuyesa or Charles Alexander Eastman and Chief Joseph.

Ohuyesa was born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, the fifth child of a Dakota family. His mother who was part Dakota, part white died while giving him life. And his father was presumed dead after a bloody battle between white Americans and Dakota Indians. So Ohuyesa was raised by his paternal grandmother, his uncle, and his cousins.

Ohiyesa lived a happy life with only the presumed murder of his father clouding it. However one day his father came back wearing the clothes of the white man. It turns out his father was spared death in a battle against white settlers and was kept alive as a prisoner of war under orders of Abraham Lincoln. While in captivity Ohiyesa’s father was exposed to Western teachings and to the Gospel of Christ. In hearing the good news he decided to become a believer. Ohiyesa’s father believed that the Dakota would thrive best if they fully embraced the ways of the white man. Ohiyesa and his siblings obeyed their father. He adopted the name Charles Alexander Eastman and headed to boarding school in Nebraska at his father’s request. And after three years of boarding school he showed he was a brilliant student. He chose to attend Beloit College in Wisconsin. Where he studied hard and adopted his father’s Christian faith. Three months before Charles went to Beloit, General George A. Custer was defeated by Dakota and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of Little Bighorn by Chief Sitting Bull and other Indians. This stirred up some distrust of Indians living among whites, which was exactly what Charles was doing. However because of his good character Charles slowly overcame racial tensions at Beloit College and greatly contributed to the athletic program. With scholarship money he moved on to attend Knox College, graduate from Dartmouth College, and receive a medical degree from Boston University. He was loved by his classmates and was voted by them to give a speech.

However when he returned to the Dakota, as a doctor among them he found that even medicine couldn’t help cure them from a disease brought to America by Europeans. The U.S was “negotiating” with the Dakota to adopt reservation life in order to build a railroad that would stretch from one coast to another. In an effort to spur the Indians towards farming  and settling the U.S government authorized the killing of thousands of American Bison. The staggering loss of the buffalo weakened the Indians and increased their susceptibility to disease. Even worse Charles Eastman was appointed a government doctor to the Dakota just before the Wounded Knee Massacre, in 1890. During which 200 Dakota Indians, men, women, and children were shot to death by soldiers. Charles would be one of the many who dug into the snow to recover the bodies of the dead and wounded. Holding on to two worlds Charles went on to marry a compassionate white woman named Elaine Goodale, who shared his vision of improving relations between whites and the Dakota.

Charles retired from medicine and worked for the government, with the government, and against the government for the sake of his people. He drafted bill after bill to help protect the Dakota. However in the end the Dakota refused to sign any of the bills, they had been lied to, betrayed and shot at one too many times. The U.S eventually drove the Dakota onto reservations. However what they didn’t realize was that the Dakota people weren’t farmers, they were hunters. They traveled in groups and followed the buffalo that freely roamed the great plains. Confinement to solitary plots was genocide waiting to happen.

Greatly disheartened by all of this, after 20 years of struggling with Washington D.C, Charles Eastman gave up on politics. He poured efforts into starting 30 to 40 Indian chapters of the YMCA across America. In 1910 he was invited to help found the Boy Scouts of America and the Camp Fire Girls. And with the help of his wife he wrote 11 books about his unique experience in the middle of two conflicting worlds. Sadly Charles and his wife separated in their later years. They apparently had two different ideas for the American Indians. Elaine wanted the Indians to fully adopt white ways. Charles hoped for the coexistence of both cultures. Charles retired to a solitary cabin on the shore of Lake Huron and returned to wearing traditional Indian clothes. He died in 1939 at 80 and was laid to rest in Detroit. However his grave was not marked until 1984.

Now onto Chief Joseph. Chief Joseph was the chief of the Wallamwatkin band of the Chutepalu. That probably made no sense. We know them better as the Nez Perce. Around 1805, the first known white men met the Nez Perce. They were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Their encounter was a peaceful one. However with time settlers began to encroach on the lands of the Nez Perce. And in 1860 gold was found in the lands of the Nez Perce. The white settlers went crazy with greed and the U.S. government asked for 90 percent of the Nez Perce lands. I don’t know who in their right minds would accept that. Obviously the Nez Perce didn’t accept. On his deathbed Chief Joseph’s father asked his son never to abandon the land where he was to be buried. Unfortunately Chief Joseph found he would have to disobey his fathers last words. Because of the unceasing demands from the U.S. government. Two things would happen. Firstly, Chief Joseph would plan the escape of his people to Canada. Secondly, angry young warriors planned for war, and unleashed their fury on some white settlers. To the United States this was a declaration of war. So the chase began. Chief Joseph was an extraordinary military genius and was able to evade the troops that pursued him. He was able to get within 40 miles of the border of Canada, only to find 2,000 U.S. troops in the way. He surrendered as he didn’t want bloodshed. Though the U.S. promised safe passage back to Oregon, the Nez Perce spent 8 months at a prison camp. They were then moved to Oklahoma to spend 10 years on a diseased reservation. Then finally they were relocated to a safe reservation in Idaho. In later years Chief Joseph actually met Charles Alexander Eastman. Charles helped document the story of the Nez Perce. And Chief Joseph’s moving speeches have been preserved to this day.

Grade 8 History Lesson 41

The Impressionists: Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cassatt


     Today we will take a break from all the wars and battles and look at art. This type of art is called impressionism and we will learn how it got it’s name. And also learn about four of the most famous impressionists. Impressionism is a form of painting that essentially catches the first impression of something. Like when you suddenly turn your head to look at something. This type of art abandons the fine lines of the Renaissance, and uses fuzzy, vibrating images using thousands of dots of paint. Cameras were being invented at this time so this new field of photography probably inspired artists to take snapshots of things around them.

Our first impressionist is Claude Monet (Moh NAY). He was born in Paris France in 1840. He aspired to be an artists and started heading to art school. However instead of copying the works or the masters in the Louvre, he found himself sitting next to the windows of the museum to paint what he saw outdoors. While in Paris, Monet was influenced by the brushstroke techniques of Édouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. And while he was in England he was influenced by the vivid colors of landscape artists. As early as 1866, when Monet was just 26 he gained recognition for a panting titled Camille, or The Woman in the Green Dress. The woman in the painting would later become his wife. Monet’s art style was growing in popularity, however it still lacked a name.

This would change in 1874 when Monet displayed a work in Paris titled Impression, Sunrise. When an art critic tried to make fun of Monet’s funny broken strokes. He used the title of the work to discredit it in the news column. Stating the work left him with the “impression” of unfinished wallpaper. Instead he just gave a name to the new style of painting. And artists adopting this style would then on be known as impressionists. Claude Monet would remain “loyal” to Impressionism for the rest of his life. Painting beaches, his son on a hobbyhorse, and poppies in a field, he loved painting nature. One of his most touching paintings was one of his wife on her deathbed. At only 32 she died, probably of tuberculosis in 1879. In grieving for his wife, Monet painted the more dismal landscape of France in the fog and the bitter cold for about a year. But with time he came back to lighter themes. He traveled and painted in Italy and settled in Giverny in northern France. Some of his most famous works were painted at Giverny including Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies (1899) and numerous scenes titled Water Lilies. He died at 86 and is buried at Giverny. Thousands visit Monet’s gardens today in memory of the artist’s contribution to Impressionism. Though many Impressionists were just as famous as Monet, or even more so, all were compared to him.

Edgar Degas was also born in Paris, France in 1834, just a few years before Monet. He started his career in Italy where he studied the masters of the Renaissance. He at first wanted to follow suit with the past and paint historical scenes, but something in him begged him to be more modern. In Paris, Degas met Édouard Manet, the same painter who influenced Claude Monet. After seeing the realism of the Impressionists, he knew he had found the modern style he was looking for. Though Degas liked the realism of Impressionism, he didn’t like unfinished it looked. As he was trained in the classic style he liked to plan out his paintings and work in a studio. Though he and Monet spent time together in Paris and displayed works at the same shows, they were not good friends. Though there were few who were good friends with Degas. He also took his work to seriously to have a family.

What he did excel in was blending his classic techniques with the realism of the impressionists. Realism to the point that some people in the painting were literally cut in half, like in a photo. Degas also specialized in mood and movement. He displayed movement at the racetrack and the ballet. Also unique to Degas was his scene selection, rather than paint the ballerinas on stage he would paint them during rehearsal, standing around. And with the horses he painted the shuffling around instead of on the racetrack. The mood in his paintings such as in L’Absinthe perhaps represented his own isolation. Though he was famous and well paid in his lifetime his personal life was not so sweet. He struggled with his eyesight in later years and appeared to be miserable. He died in 1917 in Paris.

Our next artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was also born in France, just one year after Monet. And like the others he was also influenced by Édouard Manet and followed the trend of the Impressionists. Unique to Renoir was his magnificent ability to paint “soft”. He like Degas blended the techniques of the renaissance with the realism of the Impressionists. But instead of finding his subjects on the race track he found his subjects in the streets and cafés of Paris. For that the French loved him. In Paris, in the 1860s, Renoir met Claude Monet. Sometimes painting side by side the two artists experimented with outdoor painting and the real color of shadows (which you will find aren’t always brown or black).

Remember the show where an art critic made fun of Monet’s painting? It was at that show that Renoir presented six paintings in 1874. That was the beginning of Renoir’s fame. In 1890 Renoir married one of his models. And later enjoyed painting his wife and children. One of the many paintings of his children is Girls at the Piano (1892). He even painted a painting of Monet standing outdoors at an easel in a garden. Unfortunately as he aged he developed a serious case of rheumatoid arthritis. For the last twenty years of his life he was wheelchair bound and had crippled hands. So to accommodate for his failing posture he created a rolling canvas that could move to where he needed it. Renoir got to see his works hanging in the Louvre next to the to the masters that he admired and learned from. He died in 1919 in France.

The last artist we will be looking at today was Mary Cassat. She was born in the United States, in 1844. Her family took her on a trip to Europe when she was eleven to the Paris World Fair. There she was exposed to the works of Edgar Degas. Never would she imagine she would be one of the few friends that Degas had. Back in the United states she would attend art school, only to find it disappointing. There was a great stigma associated with being a female artist at the time. So she went to Europe, where she found more opportunity, but was considered as an outsider. She would spend most of her career overcoming the obstacle of being a American female artist. When she found out about Impressionism she was lured in like Degas and Renoir. As time passed she became one of the two women who ever displayed works with the famous French Impressionists. Her specialty would be the theme of mothers and children in everyday life. In her older age she struggled with diseases and nearly went blind. This caused her to stop painting in 1914. However she went back to the United States to fight for women’s suffrage. She died in 1926.

Grade 8 History Lesson 40

The Worldwide Fight for Women’s Suffrage

19th and 20th Centuries

     In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband, John Adams. (a leader in the American Revolution and later a president). It reminded him that at that point in history women had no right to vote and therefore had no voice in the government. The word suffrage means the right to vote. The fight for women’s suffrage lasted through the 19th century and into the 20th century. So I will focus on the 19th century first.

The earliest women were allowed to vote in the united states was in 1787 in New Jersey. However for “political reasons” they lost that right in 1807. In the late 1700s women in Great Britain, France, and Sweden were speaking out for women’s rights. However the women on Pitcairn Island would have the earliest victory in 1838. Meanwhile the women in Great Britain and the United States stepped up their campaigns. The women who fought for voting rights were called “suffragists”. The women in Great Britain chose purple, white, and green to symbolize their cause. The purple represented dignity, the white represented purity, and the green represented hope. The women in America chose yellow but changed it to purple, white, and gold to make tricolor flags and banners to promote suffrage.

Launching their campaign in 1840 British suffragists fought for their rights alongside “Chartists” (a group demanding reform in the British Parliament.) While American suffragists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, for the first convention in the Western World dedicated to women’s rights. The leaders of the Seneca Falls event, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton even invited Fredrick Douglass to join the debate on women. Having previously been a slave he was sympathetic to the cry of women for better treatment. So Douglass joined 31 men, and 68 women in signing the “Declaration of Sentiments”. Which was basically the Declaration of Independence but instead of saying all men were created equal it said all men and women were created equal. Despite such clever wording, men in power didn’t take it seriously. Meanwhile in Britain, suffragists were experiencing setback after setback. This was because the suffrage movement fractured and splintered into numerous groups. At one time there were 17 suffrage groups in Great Britain.

In contrast, the American movement started to pick up steam in 1851 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Susan B. Anthony. Elizabeth was good with words while Susan was a good organizer. So together they made a good team. However progress slowed down during the civil war because many women went to care for wounded soldiers. After the civil war Elizabeth Stanton and Susan Anthony also hoped that African Americans would earn the right to vote alongside women. However when the Fourteenth Amendment came it allowed all male citizens of the united states the right to vote. When the Fifteenth Amendment came it announced that all man could vote regardless of their race, color, or previous condition of servitude. This amendment created a deep rift between American suffragists. With one side believing that this amendment would create a setback for all women, the other side believing that believing it would help the cause. Each group formed their own association in 1869. And each group continued to argue even after the Fifteenth Amendment was adopted in 1870. After 20 years of arguing both groups finally rejoin together in 1890.

Besides the women in the United States and Great Britain, the women in the southern hemisphere were way ahead of their counterparts. With the women in New Zealand gaining equal rights to men in 1893. Meanwhile the fight in Australia being more involved, going door to door trying to get 30,000 signatures on what was named the “monster petition”. The name was accurate because it took three people three hours to unroll the monster petition and when it was rolled out it was 853 feet from end to end. It all paid off in the end because they were granted the right to vote and the right to run for office.

Now onto the twentieth century, when the fight to vote started to get really ugly. It was in the twentieth century that a woman named Emmeline Pankhurst saw that the suffrage movement was going nowhere. So she formed the Women’s Social and Political Union with the slogan “Deeds not words!” Well while doing something is better than saying something. However what she meant by doing was destroying buildings mailboxes, knocking helmets off of police officers and chaining themselves to park railings. Basically her idea was to break laws to have new laws made. Honorable cause but dishonorable ways. In doing so they earned themselves the name of suffragettes. Obviously these deeds earned them a trip to prison but they didn’t stop. They went on hunger strikes, only to be painfully force fed by having a rubber tube inserted down their throats. In America Susan B. Anthony had petitioned congress for 37 years and seen no results. She was laughed at even in her 80s, she had to pass the baton. And one of the many to pick it up was Alice Paul.

She had studied in London and learned about the methods of the militant British suffragettes. She brang her experience back to the United States and with the help of Lucy Burns a fiery Irish American she organized a parade. With vast amounts of women marching on Washington D.C. before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. However there was a division between the suffragists over how militant the American Movement had become. Carrie Chapman Catt organized women to work state by state instead of aggressively fighting on a federal level. However World War I was just around the corner. The Women used WWI as an opportunity to demonstrate their worth in the workplace. Picketers made banners day and night and there appeared to be progress in the movement. However things took a fierce turn when picketers made a banner calling President Wilson a Kaiser (which is German for emperor). They called him this because he supported democracy for the German people but was ignoring the voting rights of 20 million American women at home. In my opinion maybe the American president should care about the American people first. This banner provoked many riots that led to the arrests of thousands of women.

In 1917 Communists were taking control of Russia. And their leader Vladimir Lenin, wanted women to work outside the home to build a more industrial nation. So he didn’t fight women over voting rights at all. They were granted their voting rights in 1917. Though the women only had one party to vote for, the Communist party. This was considered progress by the women. Back in Britain, British suffragists finally won the right to vote in 1918. However this only fueled public outrage in American where ordinary women, grandmother, and sisters were being put in jail. However all did not go to waste as President Woodrow Wilson was practically forced to support women’s suffrage in 1918. And finally in 1919 a majority of the states ratified the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. In Canada in 1927, the Famous Five joined together to ask the Supreme Court to define the word “person” in the constitution. Basically asking the question is a woman a person. Believe or not the supreme court said no. Not only do I think they discriminated against the women. I can’t believe that these guys run the supreme court, if they can’t tell that a woman is a person. However in 1929 the Famous Five after two years, convinced the dummies in the supreme court that women are people. Women in South America were allowed to vote in the 1930s. France held out until 1944. Africa allowed most women to vote by 1960. The women of Switzerland were allowed to vote in 1971. Kuwait only recently gave suffrage to women in 1007. However the women of Saudi Arabia are still waiting for the right to vote in a male dominated society. As you can see this issue is a really recent issue.

Grade 8 History Lesson 39

Emperor Meiji of Japan


     I’m just going to catch up on Japanese history because it is sort of crucial to this lesson. Six hundred and sixty years before Christ, Japan was being ruled by Jimmu Tenno. Jimmu Tenno was according to myth descended from a sun goddess and was believed to be divine in nature. In the 500s the Yamato family gained control of all the clans in Japan. One of their members, Prince Shotoku, spread Buddhism to the nations and was labeled the “founder of Japanese civilization.” After Shotoku, Buddhism was blended with the ancient Japanese religion of Shinto. Shinto is a religion exclusive to the Japanese.

In 1192 Minamoto Yorimoto made great changes in Japan by naming himself the first Shogun General. He usurped the authority of the emperor. However he kept the emperor on the throne as a figure head. And to protect the shogun an elite class of soldiers were created called the samurai. This arrangement would span the next major era in the history of Japan, the era of Tokugawa. It was under Tokugawa Ieyasu that Japan was closed to the rest of the world. He did this by closing off all the ports and not allowing anybody to come or leave. He did this in the 1600s. And in 1614 he made it illegal to practice or promote Christianity. As he viewed Christianity as a threat to Japanese tradition. However with time and efforts from other countries Japan opened its doors to the world again.

The Shogun style rule lasted 700 years until 1868. Which brings us to this lesson. A group of 180 feudal lords, called daimyos, wished to make drastic changes in the government of Japan. The daimyos gathered against the royal family in 1867 and forced the shogun to resign. Then on January 4, 1868 full authority was restored to the emperor. This emperor was 16 year old Mutsuhito, the given name of Emperor Meiji. Unlike previous emperors, Mutsuhito came out of the shadows of his palace home and met face to face with the Japanese public. Although he didn’t speak to the public often he was visible. To help secure the emperor’s position the imperial forces of Mutsuhito defeated the Tokugawa army. The Mikado, as a Japanese emperor is called, had been no more than a figure head for no more than 200 years. To mark the change, Mutsuhito gave himself the title of Emperor Meiji, meaning “enlightened rule.”

Young and different from his predecessors, Emperor Meiji looked to the west for ideas on improving Japan. He and his feudal lords invited experts from around the world to give advice on banking, industry, farming, and military power. They promoted western dress, western customs, and the European calendar. They also broke up centuries of religious oppression and allowed the practice of Christianity. Many other things were done including the vast improvement of schools all over Japan, the building of steamships, a telegraph system, and a national railroad. To top everything else off he moved the capital of Japan to Edo and renamed it Tokyo. In government affairs he borrowed ideas from Prussia to draft a constitution. He created a two chamber congress like England and the United states. And when it came to law he based most of his laws off the Napoleonic code. Similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights, civil rights were largely upgraded with the granting of free speech, free press, free assembly, and free worship. The emperor’s desire was to move out of a medieval feudal system and into an industrial and military power strong enough to stand against foreigners that might wish to take over the country.

Unfortunately this meant stripping the samurai from the face of the earth. You see, the samurai held on to 700 years of Japanese tradition. And they would resist change and imperial rule to the point of death and consider it an honor to do so. Technically speaking it was impossible to advance his nation without unraveling centuries of samurai practice. As described by William Durant who wrote of this warrior class: They despised all material enterprise and gain, and refused to lend, borrow or count money; they seldom broke a promise, and they risked their lives readily for anyone who appealed to them for just aid. They made a principle of hard and frugal living; they limited themselves to one meal a day. . . . They bore all suffering silently, and suppressed every display of their emotion; their women were taught to rejoice when informed that their husbands had been killed on the battlefield. They recognized no obligation except to that of loyalty to their superiors; this was, in their code, a higher law than parental or filial love.

In the end, Emperor Meiji allowed his imperial troops to battle the samurai. Many died in battle or by their own swords. An unknown number were humiliated by having their traditional topknots cut from their heads and their swords taken away. However modern Emperor Meiji was, he held on the ancient idea that he was divine. If you remember the start of the lesson? Jimmu Tenno was according myth a descendant of a sun goddess. Well Emperor Meiji would claim the same divine nature. School children were taught that he was the 122nd descendant of Jimmu Tenno. So every decree the emperor put out was considered the will of a god.

Emperor Meiji served Japan for almost 46 years. Though he was somewhat a pacifist, near the end of his life the “new” Japan was put to the test. Japan had declared war against Russia over the waterways near Korea. With complete confidence, the Japanese navy under Admiral Togo Heihachiro took on the fleets of Russia. Against the odds the small islands of Japan managed to take out 34 out of the 37 Russian warships, kill 4,830 Russian crewmen, and capture almost 6,000. The Japanese only lost 110 men, three cruisers, and three torpedo boats. No one especially Russia dreamed that the Japanese had the ingenuity or the audacity to fight the way they did.

Grade 8 History Lesson 38

The Dominion of Canada

July 1, 1867

     Today’s lesson is on Canada, the second largest country in the world. British control over Canada dates back to the French and Indian War. In 1763 England and France signed the Treaty of Paris which granted the British Government control over Canada. While the war was in progress Many French Canadians fled to Louisiana or back to France. However 65,000 stayed in Canada to endure British control. Of course they did not completely like it but it did offer them two things. First the mostly protestant British gave the predominantly Catholic French religious freedom. Secondly the British allowed the French Canadians to practice under their own civil law. For these reasons and a few more the tension between the French and British was set to a simmer. However the pot started to boil when the American Revolution unfolded. Well 40,000 to 60,000 British colonists remained loyal to England during the revolution. In fear of the war many of these colonists flooded into Canada. So many British colonists flooded in that a British province was formed to house them. This province was called New Brunswick. In addition 35,000 British settlers moved into the already existing province of Nova Scotia.

The conflict between the French and the British finally led to the Constitutional Act of 1791. In that year British legislators decided to divide the French population from the British population. The British were in the upper province of Quebec. So the British deemed one part of Quebec to be British and named it Upper Canada. They deemed another part of Quebec to be French and named it Lower Canada. Now this may be confusing but Lower Canada is actually more north on the map than Upper Canada. This is because these places were named for their elevation in land. So Lower Canada was actually lower in elevation while it was more northern. And Upper Canada was higher in elevation while lower on the map. Now just like the United states Upper and Lower Canada were tired of the heavy hand of England. They both wanted freedom so both Upper and Lower Canada produced a leader. Upper Canada chose William Lyon Mackenzie while Lower Canada chose Louis-Joseph Papineau. They both led a rebellion, however both failed.

Unable to understand the restlessness of the provinces Great Britain sent a gentleman by the name of John Lambton, the 1st earl of Durham. In his study nicknamed the Durham report he concluded that the best thing that could be done for the provinces was to allow them responsible for their own self government. As a result of the Durham report, the Union act was passed in 1841 granting Upper and Lower Canada independence from Great Britain. However there was a catch, the two provinces had to unite as one. And against all odds they did both provinces slowly dissolved to become the United Province of Canada. And in 1848, self government was granted to Nova Scotia. In addition a single parliament was pit in place in the United Province of Canada. It gave equal representation to what was previously Upper Canada and Lower Canada. However Lower Canada had a much larger population than Upper Canada. Adding to the story tens of thousands of hungry half clothed immigrants poured into Canada along with the United states in the late 1840s. Where did all these people come from, Ireland. You see the mains source of food in Ireland was the potato, so when a disease came and killed all the crops they had nothing else to eat. So they came to the United states and Canada for something to eat. Makeshift hospitals were not enough for a million malnourished Irish. And with the people came the old world rivalries between the Irish and the English.

Canadians in time began to recognize that they would stand stronger as a confederation. They wished to add the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to the United Province of Canada. Gathering at the historic Quebec Conference of 1864, representatives of Canada and the provinces were deemed the “fathers of Confederation” for planning to unite the provinces. The name that was ultimately chosen was the Dominion of Canada. They thought of the Kingdom of Canada but scraped it because they were afraid it would be threatening to the United States and they didn’t believe in the system of Kings. Two years would pass before Nova Scotia and New Brunswick approved of the union. Details were hammered out in the British North America Act, signed July 1 1867. Over the years the title of “dominion” faded away and the singular name of Canada remained popular. Not all would go smoothly because the indigenous groups of First People(s), or First Nations and Inuit (also known as eskimos) were left out of the negotiation.

Grade 8 History Lesson 37

The French Rule of Mexico Under Maximilian and Carlota


     After all that France went through with Napoleon Bonaparte you’d think that they had enough of the Napoleons. Well they figured that having a Napoleon was better than nothing. So they elected Louis-Napoleon the nephew of Napoleon in 1848. As was expected from me Louis dissolved the Legislature of France and declared himself “Emperor of France” giving him the title of Napoleon III. And just like Bonaparte, France alone wasn’t enough, so he tried to colonize Mexico. You see over the years, Mexico was greatly in debt to England, Spain and France. It was so large that Mexico voted to stop paying it. England and Spain let the issue go, however France didn’t. There was also some conflict between Mexican conservatives and liberals who differed on political views and the future of Mexico. This conflict was a perfect opportunity, or so France thought, to regain it’s foothold in the new world.

So while America was stuck in the Civil war, France thought it could sneak in and claim Mexico. However in doing so France was violating the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe doctrine, was put in place in 1823 under President James Monroe. In this statement President Monroe declared that the nations of the Western Hemisphere were to be free from European control. However like all of these sort of laws these days there was a selfish motive behind this. This freedom would help the US trade in the long run. It just seems that whenever the U.S government puts something in place, it’s to help itself. Like the soda tax, you actually thought the main reason the soda tax was put in place to make people drink less soda. Really, they just get more money each time you buy a soda. Anyways when 8,000 French troops landed on the coast of Mexico, they were actually welcomed by some of the Mexican conservatives. However on May 5th 1862, the French troops were defeated by a rag-tag group of 4,000 Mexicans under General Ignacio Zaragoza in the town of Puebla. Puebla was only 100 miles from Mexico City. With only machetes they defeated the French soldiers that hadn’t been defeated since Waterloo. No wonder May the 5th otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo is such a big celebration in Mexico. However the victory was short lived because a year later the French came in with an even bigger army and captured Mexico City. Within a year Mexican conservatives under the influence of Napoleon welcomed two outsiders to the throne. The outsiders were Maximilian and Charlotte. Maximilian was actually the archduke of Austria and the commander in chief of the Austrian Navy. Charlotte who was called Carlota by the Spanish speaking Mexicans was actually the princess of Belgium. Napoleon III used Maximilian and Carlota to exert his power over Mexico. Though honestly Maximilian wasn’t looking to rule over Mexico, he only wanted the people to embrace him. And because some Mexican conservatives embraced the French rule, he thought that the whole of Mexico wanted him. And was he in for a surprise.

He and his wife needed body guards to get into the castle, which was in shape to live in. After sleeping on a pool table with his wife, he still admirably tried to win over the hearts of the Mexican people. He embraced the Mexican culture, adopting a Mexican fashion and celebrating Grito de Dolores once a year. He favored laws that helped protect Indians, children and the working class. And when Maximilian and Carlota could not have children they adopted Mexican boys who by coincidence were the grandsons of Agustín de Iturbide) However Maximilian didn’t have enough experience to repair the deep rift between the Mexican liberals and conservatives. So he resorted to the execution of those who followed his rival, Benito Juárez, the previous president of Mexico and underground leader of the liberals. The ultimate demise of Maximilian came when the Civil War ended in 1865. The United States finally came to reinforce their law and supplied Benito Juárez with weapons and artillery. Meanwhile Carlota returned to Europe and appealed to leaders in Paris and Vienna for the support of Maximilian in Mexico. However no one agreed to send help. Meanwhile in 1866 Napoleon III gave up on his dream of having a part of the new world. He with growing pressure from the United States Napoleon dismissed French Troops from Mexico. Maximilian himself was urged to escape, but he loved the people of Mexico too much to do that, even though they hated him. Benito, who was now well supplied took Mexico back into his hands and supposedly executed Maximilian. Supposedly because some believe that someone that looked like Maximilian replaced him at the firing line. Either way poor Carlota went insane grieving for her husband and died in 1927 in a castle in Belgium. As for the people of Mexico they never again were to be under the leadership of another country and fared very well under Benito Juárez.

Grade 8 History Lesson 36

The War Between The States: Part 2


     The south were aggressively holding their ground after the first shots at Fort Sumter. Their goal was not to conquer the north, it was win the right to to be free from the north. After a loss at the Battle of Shiloh, the confederates saw victory in the Seven Day’s Battle (June-July 1862) and the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 1862). As a result hopes were high that the war was coming to an end on the Confederate side. On the Union side they were fighting to preserve the Union and force the south back in. So at the Battle of Antietam, in September they vengefully attacked the troops of Robert E. Lee. However the battle ended in a draw. Up in the air was the fate of four million African American slaves. Some were freed on the spot while some resisted freedom out of loyalty to their masters. As I told you, in some households slaves were treated like family. Five days after the Battle of Antietam President Lincoln made a bold decision. He announced that if the Southern states did not rejoin the Union by the first day of 1863, then he would override the Confederate States and free all the slaves in the South.

Though the South ignored Lincoln’s plea, many a slaveholder moved his family and his slaves to a remote location hoping to avoid capture by Union troops. Before the year ended, conflict started at the Battle of Fredricksburg, fought in bitter cold conditions on December 11-15, 1862. Fredricksburg was a quaint colonial town located halfway between Richmond, Virginia and Washington D.C. It was in possession of of the Confederate Generals, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. Situated somewhat close to the capital, Fredricksburg was considered a natural target. On behalf of the Union army, General Ambrose E. Burnside attacked the town head on. By the way Burnside had long hair on the sides of his face, and so “side burns” were created. As we learn from the previous lesson, though the south had a disadvantage in resources and men. They had a couple clever leaders with great tactics. And so the Battle of Fredricksburg became a staggering loss for the Union with ten thousand Union troops dead. Another effect in play here was that this battle took place in Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s home state. And As I told you one of the main reasons he joined the Confederates was to support his home state.

As the days passed the time for the south to surrender grew shorter and shorter. So on January 1 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves of the south. However this proclamation only freed the slaves of the rebellious states, all the border states continued to practice slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was officially adopted in 1965. To the rebellious states this was only another reason to fight for states rights. However all the newly freed slaves went to join the Union army. The first major conflict of 1863 was the Battle of Chancellorsville fought near Fredricksburg. Here General “Fighting Joe” Hooker who was chosen by Lincoln to replace Burnside, boasted that if he could could march his troops to Fredricksburg he would surly succeed. Outnumbering Lee’s troops two to one and planning to get Lee from the behind he thought he could surely win. However he lost his nerve and made his headquarters in Chancellorsville which was actually the name of a large house. This gave time for Lee to plan a surprise attack on Hooker. Lee and Jackson planned to essentially squish Hooker, with Jackson coming from the behind of Hooker and Lee pushing a small line towards Hooker. Believe it or not the plan worked, Lee and his small line pushed up on Hooker while Jackson attacked from behind. Hooker had to retreat due to heavy losses however in the midst of battle Stonewall Jackson was shot by a friendly in the arm. After some complications including the amputation of his arm Jackson died. Lee stated “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right”

Now for the Battle of Gettysburg. For some reason everybody remembers this one and not the one with two iron ships. Lee hoping to give Virginia a break from the war moved to Pennsylvania. And while settling in some confederate soldiers went to hunt for shoes. However they bumped into some Union troops and the now famous battle started. General Lee lead the south while Gorge G. Meade lead the north. The Confederates pushed the Union troops back to the town of Gettysburg because they were closer to the start of the battle. However on day two the Confederates had 65,000 troops and the Union had 85,000 troops. This battle would become the largest battle in the Western Hemisphere. The Union troops positioned themselves on Cemetery Ridge while the Confederates faced them from Seminary Ridge. Both sides kept their ridges because they were strategic. As 40,000 rounds of artillery were fired between the north and south. On day three after a bad morning Lee ordered 15,000 men to charge directly into the center line of Union troops holding Cemetery Ridge. However with cannons pointed at them from nearby hills only 100 of the men survived. With no strength to continue Lee pulled all of his troops back ans asked for their forgiveness. Lee would never have a army of that size that far north again. As Gettysburg was ending Ulysses S. Grant captured Vicksburg, Mississippi after a long painful siege that ended mid May. Memorializing the great loss of life at Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln, went to the battlefield in November to dedicate it as a cemetery. It was also there that his faith in Christ was solidified. Before his death he was asked by a clergyman if he loved Jesus. This was his response “When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me. I was not Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love Jesus.” Is it just me or is that answer just perfect.

Before the year 1863 was over several minor battle were fought. Including the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia and the Battle of Chattanooga in Tennessee. The battles didn’t do much because the south won one and the north won one. In the year 1864 Ulysses S. Grant was given full control over the Union army. From this point on it was a standoff between the strategies of Grant and Lee. Grant and Lee first squared off in the Battle of the Wilderness. Where both sides maneuvered through thick underbrush and forest fires for two days only to come to a draw. Grant himself cried himself to sleep listening to the wailing of men who had been scorched in the fire. The two faced off three more times over a course of six weeks. They battled at the battles of Spotsylvania Court House ( which lasted two weeks immediately after the Battle of the Wilderness), Cold Harbor (In early June), and Petersburg (a series of battles lasting from June 1864 to April 1865). Meanwhile General Sherman was battling confederates left and right while he moved his troops from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Atlanta Georgia. General Shermal was trying to end the war as quickly as possible and one of the ways to do that was to destroy as much of the south as he could. He burned Atlanta to the ground in the fall and in November marched to the coast city of Savannah on the coast. He plundered everything in his path and burned down many houses. However he thought Savannah was quaint and profitable to burn. So he gifted it to Abraham Lincoln. On route to Appomattox Virginia, Lee men were exhausted and hungry. Union soldiers in pursuit of Lee were hungry too. The next morning he had planned one more charge however he awoke to fine his 18,000 troops surrounded on all sides by 90,000 Union troops. Lee surrendered that day and there was not a dry eye in the Union army. To discuss the terms of surrender, Grant and Lee met at a nearby farmhouse. Lee in formal attire with a sword at his side. Grant in a dirty flannel shirt with no sword as a sign of peace. Grant was gracious, he offered food to Lee’s hungry men. And after they gave up their arms Grant didn’t allow any of his troops to touch the Confederates nor did he let them whoop or holler. And my brother can’t help but rub whatever wrong thing I did in. Grant said “the rebels are our countrymen again.” I am glad that the Civil War ended Civilly. However just six days after Lee surrendered A crazed actor named John Wikes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln while he was watching a play with his wife. Sadly Lincoln hardly had a day of peace in his presidency because the Civil War started with his presidency and ended with his death.