Final Thoughts and Reflection

Wow. This semester is winding down so quickly it feels just like yesterday we had started. I think that March was so excruciatingly slow and then April was gone in a blink. That messed me up. As for this class, I feel like I say it a lot, but I am a Chemistry major and I took this class as my IT requirement because I really REALLY didn’t want to code anything. I figured that even though History isn’t my favorite subject, I could bear with it and do the work. This class turned out to be so much more than that and I couldn’t be more grateful. I learned about NEW HISTORY TOPICS that were actually interesting and a lot better than Virginia and US history that I had shoved down my throat for years. I also learned some cool technology tricks, uses, and programs (thanks Zotero for saving my life) that will help me throughout the rest of my college career and real life career.

I really enjoyed the Small Projects and even the reading reflections we did because it helped me learn so much about events that I had only heard the name of, besides the Revolutionary War of course. I was worried about the class because I was so stressed about my STEM classes (I am taking Organic Chem 2 which is notoriously TERRIBLE) that I felt like this class would fall to the wayside. After a few weeks in the beginning I was realizing that this class was actually a breath of fresh air to do when I can only see hexagons and arrows. I also really enjoyed the interactions that I had in class and how much I connected with other students.

Now I can reflect on the second half of the semester. I had a really hard time with the discussions because I don’t feel connected and I was worried I would say something that sounded dumb or weird. I didn’t participate as much in the discussions as I should have but I did listen to every single podcast and really enjoyed all of the perspectives and information. My life spiraled downward after the quarantine started and I would stay up super late because of anxiety and wake up at noon and have no motivation to get out of bed. I would listen to the podcasts on my phone when I woke up to start my day with something intellectual.

I thoroughly enjoyed being in this History class, which is something I don’t say lightly, because of the atmosphere Dr. Mullen and the TA’s set and how much effort was put in from their part.

Thanks for everything and I hope we cross paths in the future.
Gillian Megan Payne

Final Project

Explaination

I chose the events in my timeline by the American Perspective. Many Americans had the idea of a “manifest destiny” engraned into their ideals during this time. They insisted that their nation had a manifest destiny to dominate the continent and felt that it was their mission to extend the “boundaries of freedom” to others by passing on their idealism and belief in democratic institutions to those who were capable of self-government. Firstly, during that period of time, the United States was experiencing high population growth rate from increasing in birth rate and immigration. Therefore there was a need to expand into new territories to accommodate with this huge population growth. Secondly, the United States suffered from two economic depressions (1818 and 1839), therefore driving people to seek living in frontier areas since frontier land was inexpensive or free. Thirdly, expansion into frontier areas provided new opportunities for commerce and individual self advancement thus promoting economical growth.
I mainly chose and added more battles because I found it interesting that for many, the American army was outnumbered but still managed to find offensive ways to win. Also seeing all of the killed and wounded statistics for both sides was eye opening to how this war functioned as the Americans were underdogs who made a comeback and won. I also was interested to see how some were close, literally one day and then the next, and how this impacted which side would win or how the battle went.

Reflection

The timeline medium was very interesting to work with because I am a STEM major so I work with Excel/Sheets a lot. Seeing this to go from a cramped and annoying spreadsheet to an understandable and informative timeline was very gratifying. I think that the spacial aspect and the pictures really made the timeline an interesting way to vizualize and learn about the battles of the Mexican American War. It was also nice that the formatting was super easy because you just put a link in a website and it does the rest!

Bibliography

“Battles of the Mexican-American War.” Accessed May 9, 2020. https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/b/Battles_of_the_Mexican-American_War.htm.
Christensen, Brandon. “5 Battles That Defined Mexican-American War | RealClearHistory,” May 15, 2019. https://www.realclearhistory.com/historiat/2019/05/15/5_key_battles_of_mexican-american_war_437.html.
Foos, Paul. Short, Offhand, Killing Affair : Soldiers and Social Conflict During the Mexican-American War. The University of North Carolina Press, 2002. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.mutex.gmu.edu/lib/gmu/reader.action?docID=413281.
Frahm, Sally. “The Cross and the Compass: Manifest Destiny, Religious Aspects of the Mexican-American War.” The Journal of Popular Culture 35, no. 2 (2001): 83–99. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.2001.00083.x.
Quint, Ryan. “Mexican-American War 170th: Battle of Huamantla | Emerging Civil War,” October 9, 2017. https://emergingcivilwar.com/2017/10/09/mexican-american-war-170th-battle-of-huamantla/.
“Siege Of Pueblo De Taos | World History Project,” February 3, 2020. https://worldhistoryproject.org/1847/2/3/siege-of-pueblo-de-taos.
Simmons, Marc. “Trail Dust: Battle at Brazito Coincided with Christmas 1846.” Santa Fe New Mexican, December 15, 2018. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/trail-dust-battle-at-brazito-coincided-with-christmas-1846/article_a8892faf-f038-5e9b-a523-ffc6af5c6597.html.
“The Mexican American War (1846-1848),” 2012. https://www.mymexicanwar.com/.

Small Project 6

Importance

I chose Zachary Taylor because he was an important General in the Mexican American War. He led his small troops to many victories in the battles outlined in the StoryMap. He also faced backlash from the Polk Administration but kept fighting and was one of the prominent figures that led the US to victory in the war. After the war, Taylor’s status as a national hero propelled him to the presidency in 1848 on the Whig ticket. 

Citations

Biographies: Zachary Taylor | A Continent Divided: The U.S.-Mexico War. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2020, from https://library.uta.edu/usmexicowar/item?bio_id=17&nation=US

M. A., H., M. S., I. and L. S., B. A., H. and P. S., & Facebook, F. (n.d.). Major General Zachary Taylor (Old Rough and Ready). Retrieved April 26, 2020, from https://www.thoughtco.com/major-general-zachary-taylor-2360134

Small Project 5

Perspective

I chose the events in my timeline by the American Perspective. Many Americans had the idea of a “manifest destiny” engraned into their ideals during this time. They insisted that their nation had a manifest destiny to dominate the continent and felt that it was their mission to extend the “boundaries of freedom” to others by passing on their idealism and belief in democratic institutions to those who were capable of self-government. Firstly, during that period of time, the United States was experiencing high population growth rate from increasing in birth rate and immigration. Therefore there was a need to expand into new territories to accommodate with this huge population growth. Secondly, the United States suffered from two economic depressions (1818 and 1839), therefore driving people to seek living in frontier areas since frontier land was inexpensive or free. Thirdly, expansion into frontier areas provided new opportunities for commerce and individual self advancement thus promoting economical growth.
I mainly chose battles because I found it interesting that for many, the American army was outnumbered but still managed to find offensive ways to win. Also seeing all of the killed and wounded statistics for both sides was eye opening to how this war functioned as the Americans were underdogs who made a comeback and won.

Blog Post: Collection

Collection

James K. Polk Papers

https://www.loc.gov/collections/james-k-polk-papers/about-this-collection/

Purpose

The purpose of this collection is to compile President Polk’s documents and diaries and correspondants as primary sources.

Document Types

The collection includes correspondence, presidential letterbooks, diaries, speeches and messages, account and memorandum books, family papers, financial and legal records, printed matter, portraits, and other papers relating chiefly to Polk’s political career in Tennessee and on the national level.  Since the collection is about Polk’s writings, any secondary sources, such as books or commentaries, are not included.

Machine Readable?

As far as I have seen, the documents in the collection are not machine readable and have just been scanned onto microfilm.

Example Document

The Declaration of War against Mexico written by President Polk

Small Project 3

Document 1

This is a Bulletin that is from the Mexican-American War. This talks about a loss of the Mexican Army and a small update about the US Army. This will help me understand how fights ended and how news travelled during this war.

Document 2

This document is the back and forth between President Polk and Congressmen discussing the treaty that ends the Mexican American War. This will work with the next document to provide more behind the scenes as to how the Treaty works and the agreements and discussions behind it.

Document 3

This is the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which is the treaty that ended the Mexican American War. This is an important document that can help me learn about the end of the war and where the relationship was left with Mexico.

Document 4

This is the Declaration of War that started the Mexican American War. This document shows a small amount of why the war is starting and how the president wants his people to respond.

Document 5

This is a document written by the President and sent to Congress about hostilities with Mexico. It can help me learn about why we went to war with Mexico and how they came to a decision to declare war.

Reading Blog 4

Title

A Precarious Neutrality Ends in a Second War against Britain, 1805–1815

Reference

Dull, Jonathan R. “A Precarious Neutrality Ends in a Second War against Britain, 1805–1815.” In American Naval History, 1607-1865, 49–64. Overcoming the Colonial Legacy. University of Nebraska Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1d9nqgf.7.

Terms

  1. Impressment: the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice.
  2. Convention of Mortfontaine: Ended the 1798–1800 Quasi-War between the US and France, an undeclared naval war waged primarily in the Caribbean, and terminated the 1778 Treaty of Alliance.
  3. St. Domingue: a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti. 

Questions

  1. What did the negotiations look like for the Louisiana Purchase?
  2. What did the manufacturing processes look like for all of the supplies needed to win the war?

Other Resources

Smith, Joshua M. Battle for the Bay: The Naval War of 1812. New Brunswick Military Heritage Series 17. Fredericton, N.B: Goose Lane Editions, 2011.

Reading Blog 3

Title

The War of 1812

Citation

Chapters, All. “7. The Early Republic | THE AMERICAN YAWP.” Accessed February 19, 2020. http://www.americanyawp.com/text/07-the-early-republic/.

Terms

  1. Embargo: an official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country
  2. War Hawks: Members of Congress who put pressure on President James Madison to declare war against Britain in 1812. The War Hawks tended to be younger congressmen from southern and western states. Their desire for war was prompted by expansionist tendencies.
  3. Galvanize: to shock or excite into action.

Questions

  1. What were the roles of women in this time and are there any underground channels that had strong opinions about anything?
  2. How did the loopholes causing the theft of ships affect the citizens of America and even France and Britain?

Other Resources

Peskin, Lawrence A. “Conspiratorial Anglophobia and the War of 1812.” The Journal of American History 98, no. 3 (2011): 647–69. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41510113.

Blog: Copying

Doing the Copying Exercise enlighted me on how information traveled in 19th century wars. I realized that this is why there are not a lot of primary documents or why they are in worse condition. I never thought about how people would have to just sit and rewrite documents that were seen to be important over and over again. This is kind of parallel to how emails can get forwarded today but is a lot harder to do. I feel a great sense of appriciation for all of the communication technology we have and also all of the methods we have learned for preservation to more easily keep important documents or artifacts safe and preserved for longer.

Reading Blog 2

Title

A New Navy Fights France and the Barbary States, 1783–1805

Citation

Dull, Jonathan R. “A New Navy Fights France and the Barbary States, 1783–1805.” In American Naval History, 1607-1865, 33–48. Overcoming the Colonial Legacy. University of Nebraska Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1d9nqgf.6.

Terms

  1. Corsairs
    • Pirates that seized merchant vessels whose nation of origin had not purchased protection from the Barbary rulers.
  2. Tributary State
    • A tributary state is a term for a pre-modern state in a particular type of subordinate relationship to a more powerful state which involved the sending of a regular token of submission, or tribute, to the superior power.
  3. Bicameral legislature
    • Any lawmaking body of government that consists of two separate houses or chambers.

Questions

  1. Why did the US wait to start rebulding the Navy?
  2. How did George Washington take such action and resposibility of a country and lead it through a term that became conflicted?

Other Resources

London, Joshua E. Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Built a Nation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub, 2005.