Week 13 represents one of several sad weeks in the history of our nation. We are discussing Andrew Jackson’s decision to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision that Cherokee Indians had the right to remain on their ancestral lands and force them to walk to Oklahoma in the harshest of conditions and slavery.
It is easy in hindsight to see how abominable slavery was and the obvious sin it was to keep other people enslaved. I remember as a child thinking that I would never do such a thing and I would certainly fight it if slavery was in the US. As I’ve gotten older, I look back at the blatant atrocities that have surrounded me my whole life and am saddened that I have not done more to stand up to them. The truth is, as Paul Washer would say, we are fish who are swimming an ocean of inequity and we don’t even know we’re wet.
Several of our Founding Fathers fought against slavery unsuccessfully. Thomas Jefferson, for example, wanted the Constitution to abolish slavery while John Adams, who had never held slaves, fought to keep slavery. These women, men and generations after them slowly chipped away at the stronghold of slavery with the abolition of the importation of more Africans, Underground Railroad, the Missouri Compromise and finally the metaphorical dam burst of the Civil War. It took a hundred years more of constant chipping at the attitudes toward black people and finally Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Act for African American people to start being treated more fairly in the US.
The take home from this, for my children at least, is that when we know that a policy, attitude, or social norm is abhorrent to God but is completely acceptable in general society, it is important to stand up against it. It might not be us, or our generation that fells it, but the impact of us standing strong will impact the situation. Each person who helped bake an extra loaf of bread for fleeing slaves participated in the final demise of this institute. Each time we do something to help others, speak truth, and stand firm, we are making a difference.
Week 13 Card 1
1820 Missouri Compromise
The Founding Fathers did not grant freedom to people who were enslaved by others when they wrote our Constitution. As a result, slavery was a constant source misery for those who were forced to work and live in horrible conditions without pay or freedom, and for the nation as a whole. The Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state and Main as a free state. This retained the balance of free verses slave states in Congress. It is important to remember that it would have been much easier to do the right thing from the beginning and never enslave others. Henry Clay was called the Great Pacificator for writing this compromise.
In the years leading up to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, tensions began to rise between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions within the U.S. Congress and across the country. They reached a boiling point after Missouri’s 1819 request for admission to the Union as a slave state, which threatened to upset the delicate balance between slave states and free states. To keep the peace, Congress orchestrated a two-part compromise, granting Missouri’s request but also admitting Maine as a free state. It also passed an amendment that drew an imaginary line across the former Louisiana Territory, establishing a boundary between free and slave regions that remained the law of the land until it was negated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
Week 13 Card 2
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Week 13 Card 3 Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine had two major points.
1) That the United States would not allow European countries to start new colonies or to interfere with independent countries in the continents of North America or South America.
2) That the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor get involved with conflicts between European countries.
Why did President Monroe establish this new doctrine?
Many countries in South America had just gained their independence from European empires such as Spain and Portugal. At the same time, with the defeat of Napoleon in Europe, Madison was afraid that European nations would once again try to establish power in the Americas. Madison wanted to let Europe know that the United States would not allow the European monarchies to regain power in the Americas.
Effects of the Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine had a long lasting impact on the foreign policy of the United States. Presidents throughout history invoked the Monroe Doctrine when intervening in foreign affairs in the Western Hemisphere. Here are some examples of the Monroe Doctrine in action.
- 1865 – The U.S. government helped to overthrow Mexican Emperor Maximilian I who was put in power by the French. He was replaced by President Benito Jaurez.
- 1904 – President Theodore Roosevelt added the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. He used the doctrine to stop what he called “wrongdoing” in several countries. It was the beginning of the U.S. acting as an international police force in the Americas.
- 1962 – President John F. Kennedy invoked the Monroe Doctrine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. placed a naval quarantine around Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from installing ballistic missiles on the island.
- 1982 – President Reagan invoked the Monroe Doctrine to fight communism in the Americas including countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Interesting Facts About the Monroe Doctrine
- The term “Monroe Doctrine” wasn’t used to describe these policies until many years later in 1850.
- President Monroe first presented the doctrine during his State of the Union Address to Congress on December 2, 1823.
- President Monroe also wanted to stop the influence of Russia in western North America.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt shifted the use of the Monroe Doctrine from the “Big Stick” policy of Teddy Roosevelt to a “Good Neighbor” policy.
- Secretary of State, and future president, John Quincy Adams was one of the main authors of the doctrine. see: http://www.ducksters.com/history/us_1800s/monroe_doctrine.php
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