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journey of a ten through talons

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Socials Final: A Look Back

To recap my journey with socials this year, I created a video, which is below:

If you want to follow along with my notes, they are below:

GOALS:

  • Previous knowledge: interested in history and government
  • Expectations: very excited for various units, mostly about EMINENT
  • Goals: improve discussion skills
  • How did it turn out?
    • !!!!!!!!! AMAZING
    • Learned so much in such a short period of time, able to connect more with peers and think critically about historical events

BIG IDEAS:

  • Collective identity:
    • English Civil War
      • Collective identity of each side was shaped by propaganda, often what the other side’s identity was (i.e. the Parliamentarians attacked the Royalists (Cavaliers), Royalists did as well (Roundheads))
      • Content: propaganda was weapon during English Civil War, helped influence social and political revolution
    • Donald Trump
      • Content: discriminatory policies (build a wall, ban all Muslims)
    • Oliver Cromwell
      • Content: discriminatory policies of Christians (ban), injustices (massacres)
  • Disparities in power:
    • French Revolution (Socials wheel)
      • With the monarchy, the power was completely owned by the King and the nobility, leading the lower classes to revolt
      • Eventually the Jacobins had so much power they could kill anyone they wanted to
      • Content: social revolution
    • Hamilton theme map
      • People in power often influence how history is written (i.e. Hamilton’s legacy was buried by his counterparts who lived longer)
    • Columbus
      • Columbus had incredible power (weapons, numbers) than Native Americans he met
      • Content: imperialism and colonialism
  • Emerging ideas:
    • Hamilton
      • Emerging ideas were literally shaping the society and influencing it – they were building a new nation
      • “The American Experiment” – building a nation on ideas, experimenting and testing out if things would work, a work in progress, a nation founded on concepts and principles rather than physical geography
      • Hamilton made: national banking system, founded New York Post, wrote “The Federalist Papers”
    • Glenn Gould
      • Innovative recording techniques
      • Content: technological revolution – in classical music
    • Columbus
      • The idea of new riches
      • Content: greatly helped advance colonialism

3 STARS FOR CURRICULAR COMPETENCIES:

  • Significance: Eminent Document of Learning and Eminent Person in general
    • Importance of Glenn Gould today in Toronto
    • Why he is eminent/why he is more significant than other pianists
  • Cause and consequence: French revolution studies
    • Discussions in class/what caused the events/how they were all related
  • Perspective: Social Order Document of Learning
    • Social norms, common beliefs, etc.

3 WISHES FOR CURRICULAR COMPETENCIES:

  • Evidence: analyze competing sources on controversial historical events
    • Bias, background of competing sources
  • Continuity and change:
    • Comparing shifts in ideology of political parties over time (i.e. Democrats/Republicans)
  • Ethical judgement: explore more into historical events that included racism?
    • Look more into historical atrocities

WHAT COMES NEXT?

  • Use the tools I’ve learned (critically analyzing documents, making historical judgments and opinions) in everyday life, watching current events (Trump)
  • Look for connections between this year’s studies and Socials 10, and in future socials classes (Confederation with American/French rev.)

 

And here are photo credits (music is instrumental music for My Shot from Hamilton):

http://mac.h-cdn.co/assets/16/09/980×490/landscape-1457039161-hamilton.jpghttp://www.firstdigital.co.nz/files/2015/06/Fotolia_50926044_Subscription_XL-744×420.jpghttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/8b/22/69/8b2269f75d131dc0abe1c5109e044400.jpghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/staticarchive/e848afa3bd3def9cc40a1db7de640eeadea2435c.gifhttp://img04.deviantart.net/1664/i/2015/179/c/3/dorito_trump_by_lefantast-d8z62ac.jpghttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UqPJ6iioH9E/TlVOrEL4e9I/AAAAAAAAAEs/y1kTSP7Av60/s1600/cromwell-at-drogheda.jpghttp://francerevisited.com/wp-content/uploads/Marat-by-David.jpghttps://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*fra6dhYu5P6q22t9q9dqVw.jpeghttp://www.glenngould.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/5124137_2.jpghttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/Columbus-day.jpghttps://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTA5UkYSPhoV8PPjJsNLU6VzDZZWPYlDFRYh6FHg-snsVYmiRPV-Qhttp://images.clipartpanda.com/birthday-20cake-20clip-20art-birthday_cake_clip_art_7787.jpg

See y’all next year – in Socials 10!

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French Revolution Final Address: A Vow of Vengeance

[Gets stabbed by Charlotte]

[Stands up, removes blade]

I am just one. Do you think, by killing me and proclaiming that you saved 100,000 lives through my death will stop us? [Snort] No. You have only succeeded in martyring me. You have succeeded in raising me to a higher pedestal, and in that, you have condemned to death yourself, and all your comrades!

Your comrades, the Girondins. The ones who wrote me off as too radical, even for the Mountain. You thought that I could not galvanize the public through my writings, and yet, they found in me someone who could hear their pleas for mercy as you were sentencing them to death through starvation. You are weak cowards, mere puppets of the aristocrats. You do not truly care for the people, the people I represented and bitterly fought for. You will not stop the revolution. Fifty years of anarchy await you, and you will emerge from it only by the power of some dictator who will arise – a true statesman and patriot. O prating people, if you did but know how to act!

[Retrieve blade, stab self and die]

*End note – the last sentence is a Marat quote from his newspaper L’Ami du peuple. It’s amazing how prophetic this is – Napoleon united the people through a vision of an all-powerful France. And he also declared himself the emperor.*

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An Introductory Post to Jean Paul Marat

I don’t feel too uncomfortable writing on here. After all, I have been writing for most of my life, and just recently discovered this new amazing platform known as Twitter. I’ve already caught beef with nearly half on France by now on there, so make sure you go check it out @https://twitter.com/_bathtubclub.

The following is a short biography of my life to date:

I was born in 1743 in Boudry to Jean Mara and Louise Cabrol. My father was an immigrant from the island of Sardinia, and I left to find the house to search for job opportunities when I was 16. After briefly studying medicine in Paris, I moved to London for several years, befriending artists and dabbling into philosophical writings. In 1770, I published my first major work entitled “Chains of Slavery”, in which I thoroughly attacked absolute monarchy. I returned to medicine, and worked as a court doctor as well as publishing several papers about science. Benjamin Franklin visited me multiple times (and I asked him if Hamilton would consider sailing across the Atlantic to meet me, but he seems more interested in visiting Lafayette).

But I felt my talents were required in another field: politics. I wrote an essay declaring that every citizen should be given food and shelter in a properly functioning nation, as well as equal punishment among all classes and the king should be no more than a representative of the people he governs. And that’s why I’m leaving my previously wealthy life and picking a pen to support the people. Because they need someone to speak for them whose voice will be heard around France. Everyone citizen deserves a new start, and the only way that can happen is through total overhaul. We can’t have pacifists attempting to negotiate their way around a revolution. But the problem is represented in most of the people: they don’t want this. We need to fight back unequivocally and unconditionally, and show the king how powerful the people united can be. And their voice will be heard through me: L’Ami du peuple.

And my job? I’m going to sit in a bathtub and write.

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#HamilTALONS: A Theme Map

After catching the Hamilton bug (it seems to have spread throughout Room 111 in Block 4), I was excited to start on our final project for the American Rev. unit: a theme map surrounding a statement that is mentioned throughout the musical. Having previously studied the song “Helpless”, where Point of View is extremely prominent when coupled with the following song “Satisfied”, it seemed to be the suitable choice for me.

As for the presentation aspect of my map, I originally planned to create a spin-off from the Hamilton logo, putting my theme statement inside of the star and using the “Hamilton” font (Trajan Pro) to give the map a poster-esque atmosphere. Upon browsing the maps of those who have already posted theirs, I realized it would be an incredibly popular design, and decided to create an interactive Prezi.

prezi.com/noqyib9l81ty/hamiltalons/

(Please turn on sound to listen to music overlays on Prezi)

thememap

Instead of clogging the page up with words, I decided to photoshop pictures of characters, and when the next slide is featured, a quote from the musical is played. (It makes a lot more sense when you’re watching the presentation)

Since I only have one complete sentence of text on the Prezi, here is a more detailed description of the mind map:

Theme statement: Interpretations of historical events and figures entirely depend on who is telling it.

With no consistent narrator throughout the play (as seen in my pie chart on my Prezi), the narrative is constantly shifting. That means that such contrasting characters (particularly Burr and Hamilton) will provide significantly different accounts of historical events. For example:

  • Helpless/Satisfied: Both songs are about the exact same event: Hamilton meeting Angelica and Eliza. In Eliza’s number, there are only a few allusions to Hamilton and Angelica’s mutual attraction to each other. But in “Satisfied”, Angelica puts a whole new spin on the story, revealing a detailed (and fast-paced) account on how she and Hamilton were perfect matches for each other right away, but Angelica realized that Hamilton had to marry Eliza. (If this sounds confusing, it is. I put a link to the Genius page about each song above)
  • The Room Where it Happens: Narrated by Burr, the entire song is basically about how there was only Thomas Jefferson’s account of the famous dinner between Hamilton, Jefferson, and James Madison. Jefferson made it sound like Hamilton was pleading for a compromise, and Jefferson and Madison grudgingly accepted, when in fact none of his story could be true. But since we only have Jefferson’s point of view of the dinner, it seems as if Hamilton really was “in distress ‘n disarray”.
  • The World Was Wide Enough: The age-old question of the Hamilton/Burr duel is not exactly answered in the penultimate song: who shot first, and who aimed to kill? Burr saw Hamilton wearing his glasses, and fiddling with the hair-trigger of his pistol, leading him to believe that Hamilton would fire at him. But in his last monologue, Hamilton realizes he is to go to the “other side”, and clearly raises his pistol at the sky. Historically, Hamilton did shoot several feet wide of Burr. But did he do it because it was an involuntary action after being shot, or did Hamilton clearly shoot wide first and Burr killed him anyway? Lin-Manuel Miranda himself revealed in “Hamilton: The Revolution” that he didn’t want to clearly answer the question.
  • Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: Because Hamilton was outlived by most of the Founding Fathers, his legacy was tainted for most of the years following his death (as seen in Angelica’s quote “Every other Founding Father’s story gets told/Every other Founding Father gets to grow old”) In the final song, Jefferson and Madison both admit how well his financial plan worked, yet do not say more about his other accomplishment. However, Eliza attempted to shed light on Hamilton’s countless accolades, yet her work was mostly forgotten for decades.

Because of its occurrence in any historical event, there are several connections between this theme and our curriculum:

Big Ideas:

  • Disparities in power: sometimes one account becomes the widely accepted one because the person who is telling it has a better pedigree or a higher social ranking than the opposing story’s narrator.
  • Collective identity: because of how one story becomes more mainstream, it can even shape a whole group’s identity (how people believed for years that Christopher Columbus was a hero)
  • Emerging ideas: when a different historical account becomes popular, it profoundly changes our opinion on a person (i.e. Columbus and Hamilton)

Content:

  • Basically EVERY SINGLE HISTORICAL EVENT (because there will always be two completely different accounts of anything that every happened)

This theme is perhaps the most important of the musical: it teaches us that no matter how convincing something sounds, there is always a historical interpretation that says the exact opposite. In Hamilton, through the stories of Eliza and Angelica both falling for him, Jefferson’s bragging account of an infamous dinner, what exactly occurred in Weehawken on a sunny July day in 1804, and how Hamilton was quashed by his political foes for years after his death, we learn to take every single sentence of any historical account with a grain of salt. Because we know that even protagonists aren’t always right, and learning both sides of a story are crucial to becoming a better historian, a better student, and a better person.

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Helpless

Moving on from the English Civil War, we’re now studying the American Revolution – through the eyes of Alexander Hamilton and Company, seen in Lin Manuel Miranda’s music Hamilton. We all chose a song to present its themes, historical context and other components to the class, and I, a little impulsively, chose the song Helpless to study.

I was not disappointed.

This is the 10th song of the musical, meant as a trilogy of sorts with The Winter Ball and Satisfied. Set in 1778 at a ball given by Philip Schuyler, Eliza and Angelica meet Alexander Hamilton. Eliza immediately falls in love with him, and the emotions are reciprocated by Hamilton. As we learn in Satisfied, Angelica also is attracted to Hamilton. The song covers the time span of around a month, from the meeting of Eliza and Hamilton, to exchanging letters, Hamilton obtaining approval from Eliza’s father (Philip Schuyler), and the wedding day.

Character Development

We meet Eliza for the first time in the musical (she does speak in The Schuyler Sisters, but Angelica is the main role in that song), and she expresses intense love for Hamilton. Something that should not be overlooked is her language and word choice: it’s mostly negative and pessimistic in a fairly upbeat and happy song. Phrases “I’m drowning”, “I’m down for the count”, and “helpless” are all thrown around regularly, and Eliza seems to be a long way away from the end of the musical, where she takes over as the main preserver of Hamilton’s Legacy.

As for the other main character in Helpless, Hamilton, we see him in love. His way with words are put into the spotlight again (just like pretty much every other song he sings in), telling Eliza that “If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it will have been worth it” as soon as he meets her. It also seems like he truly loves her: near the end of the song, he tells her about his upbringing, something he’s secretive about throughout the story.

Themes:

Having a fresh start

In the penultimate line of the song, the phrase “In New York you can be a new man” is sung three times, evoking the opening track, Alexander Hamilton. Here, Hamilton is celebrating the fact that he was given a chance to start anew with his marriage, and to forget his childhood in St. Croix.

Forging your own identity

A main theme in Alexander Hamilton is about creating your own identity. Helpless puts a spin on that, where Eliza (as mentioned above) use several phrases with negative connotations despite the mood of the piece. She doesn’t seem to be too confident about standing up for herself and her beliefs, and doesn’t realize she really will be “Helpless” during (spoiler) Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds.

POV matters throughout the play

The narrator of the songs constantly switches during Hamilton, resulting in varying opinions, an example being the Burr/Hamilton rivalry. In Satisfied, the following song, we learn that Angelica also loves Hamilton. However, since Helpless is told through Eliza’s perspective, we think that Angelica’s just introducing Hamilton to Eliza.

From https://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/02/17/theater/17hamilton-web/17hamilton-web-master675.jpg

Connections to Historical Elements

I found difficulty finding content areas that Helpless included, but one main big idea that figured prominently was “Disparities in Power”. Since being rich was incredibly interlocked with social status in the 18th century, a sizeable factor playing into Hamilton and Eliza’s relationship could be that Hamilton needs to marry into a rich family to elevate his social ranking. Also, when he’s speaking with Philip Schuyler, Eliza is incredibly nervous, possible because Hamilton is too poor and his status is too low for the likes of the Schuyler family.

Another disparity in power is between men and women during the time of Hamilton. Even though it’s not specific to Hamilton and Eliza, women who consented to marry (hence to “I do’s” by Eliza to open Helpless) in the 1700’s often were also agreeing to lose most of their rights, and basically becoming property of their husbands.

Finally, a small footnote that doesn’t have much to do with the big idea is about the courtship process in the 18th century. Back then, it would be considered impolite for a single woman to speak to a man without having been introduced first by someone else. This is why Eliza gets nervous when Angelica directly walks up to Hamilton. However, she introduces him to Eliza, fulfilling her task as the liaison between the pair.

Personal Interest

Something I found intriguing during reading through the lyrics was the veiled foreshadowing of Hamilton’s affair during Helpless. He tells Eliza “We’ll figure it out” – possibly referring to how the couple will have to figure out how to move on with their lives after scandal is made public. Another example: “Angelica tried to take a bite of me/No stress, my love for you is never in doubt”. As soon as he suggests his flirtatious nature, Hamilton reassures Eliza that he will always love her, something that comes into question during the affair. Finally, the most obvious occurrence of foreshadowing is by Philip Schuyler. Eliza recounts when he “shakes your [Hamilton’s] hand and says/‘Be true’”. Of course, Hamilton will not be true to Eliza, and Philip’s warning is unheard.

 

With Helpless, we are introduced to a subplot of the musical (Hamilton’s love life) that doesn’t come into focus until The Reynolds Pamphlet. So with everything I said before in mind, maybe the song will make a little more sense after listening to it again.

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After Three Months: Midterm 2016

With the term halfway over, we’ve been reflecting on our growth in socials in just 12 weeks as a class. I’m particularly interested at how intertwined our studies and the curriculum has been, and been surprised that the one-page document is actually a much more robust piece of work than I thought it was.

Below are three of the four main “big ideas” I thought I focused on in the first half of socials. Under each one are another three examples of where it’s come up, and how each one relates to the “content” area of the curriculum.

3 BIG IDEAS:

  • Collective identity:
    • Donald Trump
      • Portrayed America as failing nation, created identity of the people who voted Trump¸ discrimination against Mexicans, Muslims
      • Most of the identity was constructed by Trump
      • Content: discriminatory policies (build a wall, ban all Muslims)
    • English Civil War
      • Collective identity of each side was shaped by propaganda, often what the other side’s identity was (i.e. the Parliamentarians attacked the Royalists (Cavaliers), Royalists did as well (Roundheads))
      • Content: propaganda was weapon during English Civil War, helped influence social and political revolution
    • Oliver Cromwell
      • During English Civil War, helped make New Order Army, helped shape anti-Catholic identity through Irish massacres
      • Content: discriminatory policies of Christians (ban), injustices (massacres)
  • Disparities in power:
    • Columbus
      • Columbus had incredible power (weapons, more men who were trained to fight) over the Native Americans he encountered
      • Content: process of imperialism and colonialism, how most examples (Puritans, Cortes) include the colonists having immense advantages intellectually and technologically
    • French Revolution (Socials wheel)
      • With the monarchy, the power was completely owned by the King and the nobility, leading the lower classes to revolt
      • Content: social revolution caused by lack of balance between higher and lower classes
    • English Civil War
      • King Charles I’s lack of respect for the lower classes (New Prayer Book, disregard for Parliament) gave him much more power than the masses
      • Content: led to a regional conflict, the English Civil War
  • Emerging ideas:
    • Glenn Gould
      • Creative uses of recording technology (splicing, multiple mics, instant playback, etc.) were similar to methods that were used in pop culture at the time
      • However, his ideas were very unique in the field of classical music
      • Content: technological revolution – in classical music
    • English Civil War
      • The ideology of having at least a parliamentary democracy to have some say in the country’s running (and Charles’ hate for it) was a main factor that caused the Civil War
      • Content: led to a regional conflict, the English Civil War
    • Columbus
      • Being the first major (in terms of his popularity and common portrayal of him today) sailor to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and going back to Spain to encourage more to go over and find the riches that awaited
      • Content: greatly helped advance colonialism

Another major part of our class is the focus on curricular competencies. We were able to take the seven that were described in detail on the curricular document, and translate them to more understandable words. These seven elements were used as the rubric for our documents of learning.

3 STARS FOR CURRICULAR COMPETENCIES:

  • Significance: Eminent Document of Learning and Eminent Person in general
    • Importance of Glenn Gould today in Toronto
    • Why he is eminent/why he is more significant than other pianists
  • Cause and consequence: Wheel
    • Wheel that came after French revolution was directly caused by first one
  • Perspective: Social Order Document of Learning
    • Social norms, common beliefs, etc.

3 WISHES FOR CURRICULAR COMPETENCIES:

  • Evidence: analyze competing sources on controversial historical events
    • Bias, background of competing sources
  • Continuity and change: comparing shifts in ideology of political parties over time (i.e. Democrats/Republicans)
    • How two various historical locations evolved during the same time frame (i.e. Chinatown/Gastown)
  • Ethical judgement: explore more into historical events that included racism?
    • Determine motives behind atrocities, and in some cases, defend them (i.e. morality of atomic bomb)

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The Wheel of Revolution

 

socials blog 2

Click for Larger View

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Social Order in Our Modern Society

Social order: the term you hear occasionally, have no idea what it means other than it needs overhaul. So basically any term that involves the word “socials” (including the subject, says Mr. J!)

What even is social order? It can be broken down into two main branches in my mind: economic social order, similar to a class structure, and social social order, where general themes are dictated for a whole population to follow. They have both been changed and shaped into what they are today, and are much more recognizable than you think. *To avoid confusion, economic social order will be simply referred to as economic order, and social social order as social order. If that makes sense.

Economic Order

Economic order is the general organization of humans into different income levels, or classes. However, the social order (i.e. race, gender, etc.) can influence where someone can be put in the economic order. Some prime examples in the past of economic orders include the feudal system. It was the prevailing structure in the Middle Ages, spanning hundreds of years. The main people who would benefit from the system would be the king and nobles. On the other end of the structure, the peasants would suffer under this structure.

Simply put.

Sounds awful, right? Even though you may think that during the Renaissance and after, this system greatly changed, a variation of it still exists to this day. Right now, in the United States, 1% of the population owns the majority of the wealth. And most of the 1% are men. And most of the 1% are white men. The social order will always influence the economic order. At the bottom of the rank, a sizable number of the lower-income class work for the 1% and their businesses. The economic order is always determined by the wealthy. At the beginning of any system, there is always a pre-existing disparity in wealth. The disparity then becomes fertile soil for a new system, or variation of the system, to emerge.

Social Order

The social order is much more ambiguous in nature. It can be loosely classified as a collection of values and traditions that are infused into society today. These values are expected of a person in order to be a functional member of society. Again, these values change for each person. They can be imposed in various different settings: family values, school values, community values, and societal values. These values can be so enforced that they become interchangeable with the word “rule”. The values change between classes (economic order) because people are raised with different morals. Values also vary between age demographics. For example, as a “good” human being, I must be a polite and caring person. That is the social order I must hold myself to when I’m in public. This moral, and others, have been defined long before I was born. As a teenager, I must look a certain way, dress a certain way, and act a certain way. I must, or risk being frowned upon. Modern pop culture and large celebrity figureheads have influenced what it means to be a teenager, and how to be a teenager. Instagram, Snapchat, stylish haircut, makeup, and so on. I’ve never really liked and stood to these values. And so the question arises: Why not change him to be more like what society wants?

Trying to change others to become like the current social order has existed for centuries. Rebellious people are considered as outliers, and are not taken seriously. The general thought is that “everyone else follows the social order (on the surface), and it may be wrong, but it’s much easier to change one person’s mind than a whole group”. Take Shakespeare in his play Taming of the Shrew, for example:

For I am he am born to tame you Kate,

And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate

Conformable as other household Kates.

Petruchio, Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I

Aside from the fact that the passage is put in a misogynistic setting, it’s still clear to see that even back in the Renaissance, people would change a person to be like the status quo, not the other way around, even if it was generally accepted that the status quo was wrong. And that’s like today. Sure, the Renaissance’s is far different from today: women, like Kate in Taming of the Shrew, were treated like dirt, and the Church was still arguably the biggest contributor to how people lived their lives. But we still find it far easier to change than be changed. It’s hard work. It faces obstacles from the wealthy, because they love their lives where they are. People back then probably realized that sexism was prominent in society, but didn’t act because, as discussed on Friday during Socials, they didn’t know a world where women were treated equally as men. Massive overhaul was, and still is today, scary because we don’t know what will happen.

Both the current economic and social order face opposition today. The poor are getting angry, and rightfully so. The rise of feminism, black rights, and LGBTQ rights has brought up a whole new conversation: revamping the whole system.

It’s happened before. Just Google “revolution”, and “examples”. Most influential countries today have had large revolutions, where large changes have occurred. Or so you think. Take Russia, where the Tsar ruled for years. The people were tired of suffering. They wanted a say in running the country. With those two rallying points, they overthrew the Tsar and later installed a new government: the communists, led by Vladimir Lenin. But just 15 years later, with Joseph Stalin in power, most of the people were working in factories with little pay. They believed in a cause, overthrew the status quo…and their lives did not improve, and in many ways (secret police) went down. The French people also overthrew the monarchy, survived the Reign of Terror, basked in glory when a man named Napoleon saved the nation…and watched as he declared himself emperor and crippled the population through multiple wars. Revolutions aren’t always bad: historians regard the French Revolution as one of the most important points in human history, as it helped establish republics and democracies. But the debilitating price of progress for so little gain raises another question: Is it worth it?

The Protestant Reformation was worth it. I believe that statement wholeheartedly. But the Church was in need of serious reform. A key indicator of that is the volume of support Martin Luther received during the Reformation. But in today’s society, where social and economic order are hard to find and harder still to define, is change necessary? It’s kind of like cleaning your room. It may seem annoying and impossible to accomplish, and doing it won’t achieve anything in the long run (after a short burst of change, the prevailing state (messiness) will eventually win).

In the grand scheme of things, social order is important. Social order helps organize any population as a whole, and even though parts of it are immoral and do need change, do more good to us than they think. The call to action that should be emphasized isn’t that trying to revolutionize what it means to be a socially conformable person by influencing a large group won’t work at all. But change, if change is to occur at all, must start from the inside. It’s difficult. But it’s necessary.

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Socials Studies and My Place Within It

Main Focus

  1. Where are you (with respect to social studies)?

I’d like to think I’m fairly advanced in the general area within social studies, with some fields within it that I’m more knowledgeable in and others where I’m interested to learn more about. Socials has always been my favourite subject in school, and I spend a considerable amount of my free time pursuing more knowledge in the area. I’m particularly interested in history, and political science.

Other subjects within the realm of social studies what I am not as learned about include, economics, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. Throughout my time in school, these subjects have never been mentioned often, let alone taught in detail, so I simply don’t know as much about them. Philosophy in particular does intrigue me because of its incredibly ambiguous nature and how it’s found its way into the mainstream in a world where people are constantly searching for objective answers.

 

  1. Where are you going?

In Socials 9, and high school overall, I look forward to continuing my relationship with history and beyond. Now that I’ve learned a basic amount about history and politics, I want to dive deeper into the areas, and not just learn the facts, but the ideologies behind them. This is where I feel philosophy will become a main passion I will pursue along with the aforementioned topics. Of course, I definitely want to explore the other topics (economics, sociology, anthropology) as well.

My future life (or what I envision it to be right now) also includes social studies. I am looking to get a degree or masters in history. In the future, I also want to be involved in the area of politics, whether it be locally, provincially, or federally.

 

Second Focus

  1. What interests you about this topic? Why? Examples?

History and politics go well together because one clearly influences the other, and vice versa. I taught my class last year a full course about Canada’s Parliament, and I follow the House of Commons and the current United States presidential election very closely. It’s uncanny to see how history, no matter the circumstances, will always repeat itself. The only hard part is finding out the connections. As American author Will Durant writes, “So the story of man runs in a dreary circle, because he is not yet master of the earth that holds him.” However, accepting this cycle of fate is not productive. Instead, we must find ways to learn from our mistakes, or at the very least acknowledge that the connections exist, if we are to not involuntarily throw ourselves back into the endless continuum.

learning_from_history

http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/history/learning_from_history.jpg

 

  1. What challenges you about this topic? Why? Examples?

When I’m reading long timelines and evolutions of anything in general, I find it difficult to resist the urge to skip directly to the 19th and 20th century parts of the book. It’s definitely easier and more engaging to read the more modern stories because they are more relatable and simpler to imagine. For example, I was reading a book about the development of fencing, I forced myself to read the chapters where the general time period was the Roman Empire and early Middle Ages. Those parts, while crucial to how the sport changed from an actual part of a battle to more of a trained bout, simply weren’t as interesting as the passages where the author details Napoleon and Mussolini being trained swordsmen. I believe that as I begin to read more sophisticated works and improve my connection-making skills, it will get easier over time (though not in the foreseeable future).

reading-dog

Yes! I know that [insert fact that should be interesting but really isn’t] was important to how [insert topics] development, but WHY, and more importantly, WHY SHOULD I CARE?

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  1. What have we done/read/discussed so far that provides an example of the main or 2nd focus?

Over the past few weeks, the class has been reading the first chapter of A People’s History of the United States by the famous Boston University professor Howard Zinn. It focused on the “truth” of Christopher Columbus’ mission, as well as Cortes and other early settlers before arriving on Zinn’s primary thesis statement: is human suffering (usually in very large groups and almost always the minority) necessary for human progress? The whole class was highly interested in his engaging and provoking writing style, and I also found it incredibly engrossing.

First of all, the book is about history, and politics to a certain degree. It also introduced a few philosophies and ideologies that I enjoyed discussing with the class, and touched on economics and anthropology. This book has introduced me to a new level of thinking, away from the fact-only textbooks of middle school, and more towards what the real world is like: two contrasting points of view, with members on both sides insistently stating that their idea is right. Zinn’s thesis statement is directly related to my interests about socials: the past, and how it affects the present. Do people need to die so that we can be where we are today? Do those people not have stories that we need to consider as well? These questions are timeless, which has also gotten me more excited about older history. Though Columbus’ (and others’) voyages can hardly be considered “ancient”, they didn’t interest me all that much – until I started reading Zinn’s storytelling. He keeps everything in perspective, often adding his and other intellectuals’ interjections strategically to subtly get a point across.

Through the first handful of socials classes in high school, I’ve been able to indulge in a satisfying blend of topics: ones that I know and love, and others that I’ve never really looked into before. I definitely look forward to starting the journey that socials has to offer!

 

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