All posts by Armaan

The 1619 Project

With The New York Times’ 1619 Project, there are questions raised regarding the significance of History in relation to America and enslavement. In addition to this with the claims made by the article can they be related to journalism or propaganda? With the project, there were claims which made Historians disagree with how factually correct the project was. This disagreement resulted in a letter being sent to the Times with four signatories: James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, and James Oakes. A professor by the name of Sean Wilentz wrote his own opinions on how the 1619 project was just a matter of facts. 

“Yet the subject, which connects the past to our current troubled times, remains too little understood by the general public. The 1619 Project proposed to fill that gap with its own interpretation. To sustain its particular take on an immense subject while also informing a wide readership is a remarkably ambitious goal, imposing, among other responsibilities, a scrupulous regard for factual accuracy.” 

After reading the project Sean Wilentz sought to put an end to it. With his use of words calling the project “a scrupulous regard for factual accuracy.” He is basically attacking the project entirely without having a genuine conversation with the writer of the article: Hannah-Jones. The New York times 1619 project is a work of journalism that aims to be supplement material for teaching students about slavery in America. Adam Serwer wrote within his writing: The Fight Over the 1619 Project Is Not About the Facts in response to Sean Wilentz’s actions towards the 1619 project that “The New York Times Magazine issue on slavery represents a fundamental disagreement over the trajectory of American society.” This “disagreement” seems to be connected to slavery, specifically with how much slavery contributed to America’s development. The issue with slavery is that it is not acknowledged enough, to the point where it becomes lost within America’s history. 

The problem with people like Sean Wilentz is that they may say that they acknowledge slavery and its contributions, they do this very subtly to give slavery little relevance with America. For example, the historians who sent the letter to the Times said: “We applaud all efforts to address the foundational centrality of slavery and racism to our history.”  It may seem like they are happy with the impact the 1619 project has had on the school curriculum within America but this is not at all the case. Following this within the letter it said that the project was reflecting “a displacement of historical understanding by ideology.” The historians behind the letter are criticizing the project. They say that the project is all ideas, ideas that go against the ideals behind politics within America. This dispute between The New York Times and other Historians has led to the 1619 project demonstrating how the American national identity is revered by liberals and conservatives. Adam Serwer touched on this idea in response to the scholars. He included Hannah-Jones words to defend her: “I think had any of the scholars who signed the letter contacted me or contacted the Times with concerns [before sending the letter], we would’ve taken those concerns very seriously. And instead, there was kind of a campaign to kind of get people to sign on to a letter that was attempting really to discredit the entire project without having had a conversation.” Adam Serwer does not attack Hannah-Jones for her work, he defends her because she was not wrong to talk non-factually about America and slavery. 

It is not a work of propaganda even though Sean Wilentz claimed it to be something that displays “No effort to educate the public in order to advance social justice can afford to dispense with a respect for basic facts.” Sean Wilentz views History as “a matter of facts.” He may be educated but I think he believes the project is a piece of propaganda. “In the long and continuing battle against oppression of every kind, an insistence on plain and accurate facts has been a powerful tool against propaganda.” Is using facts to check whether or not a piece of writing is propaganda a reliable tool? If writing goes against the known facts, does that make it wrong? If the 1619 project is trying to reframe Americain History with non-factual claims then it is wrong, but this is not the case. Sean Wilentz acted with the letter as if the project was framing American history wrongly but he did this (earlier said) without any communication between himself and Hannah-Jones. 

The 1619 project showed a darker side of America, one that many individuals were unaware of. The fact that Americans have not made as much progress as they think, and that black people will indefinitely struggle to understand what their rights are compared to the rights of a white American. This discussion now becoming a political one shows how the truth can be altered to sustain political ideals. When it comes to the discussion of slavery in American schools, it is all a deception of the truth to hide slavery’s significance. Slavery and its impact on America have been neglected for as long as colonists have existed. I think it is important to notice how when the significance of slavery in America is brought up within an article it can be viewed as propaganda or factually incorrect even when it is trying to bring out an issue that has been subtly neglected. The issue being that without black Americans and slavery, America would not have developed into the nation it is today

 

The U.S. Constitution: Article’s 1 and 2

Article I Section 1. of The Constitution of the United States of America outlines the design of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government, which is known as the Congress.

Ideas that need to be considered through this section of the Constitution is how there is the separation of power made between the various levels of government. This separation helps to balance the election of representatives and senators. The process of electing these two is important towards the laws that are initiated within the United States of America along with the power the Congress attains through this. It is interesting how the Constitution helps to separate the powers because if there was no separation there would most likely be a lot of arguments towards who is right or wrong when something goes wrong. People tend to want a leader or at least a group of people who have more power above them. The only reason for this is so that if a mistake is made by someone of lower power then there at least an option to blame someone else such as a boss…

Article Two helps to establish the idea of there being an executive branch for the federal government. Which is there to support the federal government by making responsible choices towards carrying out the federal laws the country needs.

Section 2. of Article Two explains the basis of the powers of the presidency. Further explaining the fact that the president is also there to listen to the commander-in-chief within the military along with other roles the president needs to commit to. The thing is an executive branch is needed so that the government does not need to waste their time on smaller matters or laws that the country needs to address. The president is not the leader of the military but when the Constitution says that the president is commander-in-chief. The thing is the president needs to have a say in what happens within battles, he needs to be able to support decisions for the benefit of the country and himself. Do they not give the president full control over the military because there is a chance that the president could make an unjust decision? For one person to control the military and have control over almost everything else that occurs within the United States of America would be too much power for one person.

I feel that separation of power within a country is important when it comes to making respectively agreeable decisions. I feel that the powers given to the presidency had been carefully thought on by the delegates who wrote the Constitution. In my opinion, giving one person the power to control how a country runs is okay but only when the person chosen has the education required to run, lead and speak for the country in a non-discriminatory way.

Reflection on: The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was created based on America’s morals for there to be independence between them and Great Britain. Did America want to stop the Revolutionary War? Some people believe that their true morals were to protect themselves. By initiating independence between them and Great Britain so that they could maybe receive support from other countries across the world. However, others disagree with this idea for America only desiring support during the Revolutionary War. Some believe that America created the Declaration of Independence to help towards their development in becoming a great empire. 

In The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn, he said: “The Declaration of Independence represents the colonists’ deepest fears and beliefs” (1967). Bailyn describes the document as being a creation of the colonists’ “deepest fears.” What were the colonists afraid of? Was it the idea that Great Britain may eventually defeat America and the only opportunity was for America to attempt to initiate peace across the world so that they could defend themselves within the war? In A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, he said: “The solution was to find language inspiring to all classes, specific enough in its listing of grievances to fill people with anger against the British, vague enough to avoid class conflict, and stirring enough to build patriotic feelings.” This excerpt in some ways supports Bernard Bailyn’s explanation for why America truly created the Declaration of Independence. However, Zinn’s idea is slightly different… It tackles the American’s solution to survive the War. To try and make other people angry with the British in a way which is imprecise enough to keep away from any conflict between the classes and “stirring enough” to develop patriotic feelings between America and the rest of the world. Their solution for survival succeeded and America was aided within the Revolutionary War. 

It was legally formed on July 4, 1776, by the continental congress. The 13 colonies of America had broken their political connections to Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was a chance for the colonists to initiate independence which is what they wanted to achieve for quite some time but they never had an opportunity until the idea of the declaration had come up. 

The Declaration of Independence had been a turning point for change within the world. It had given an opportunity to change the Revolutionary War from originally being a civil war located within Britain to a war held between two separate countries. This change in the Revolutionary War had given other world powers a chance to be able to help support the Americain cause… This had ended up changing the civil war within Britain to a global war that involved Spain, Britain, France, America, and the Dutch Republic. Although this change in War may sound like a negative effect because of the Declaration of Independence we have to consider the after-effects of the war to understand the true benefits… 

Even to this day, the effects of the Declaration of independence can still be seen quite clearly seen. Once America had chosen to become independent on July 4th many other countries across the world had followed America’s steps and morals for independence and became independent countries themselves. This declaration was the first document that had a beneficial effect throughout the world and not just within one or two countries. It brought the world’s countries together and initiated an opportunity for peace instead of War.

What is Democracy?

A democracy is where the people play a role in the growth of a country and their voices are listened to instead of shunned. A democracy must have a free electoral system that allows everyone to freely vote for who they believe should be in power. We have seen that in the past this has sometimes been beneficial but other times an been an issue… 

What is Democracy? Within Canada, we have grown up in what you could call a somewhat stable democracy. Compared to other countries throughout the world such as the United States and India, Canada has attempted to help satisfy the needs of its people by having a democracy. However, I struggle to see how democracy can be a thing when we all struggle to agree with one another. Are humans accustomed to disagreeing with each other? When we have the choice of whether to agree or disagree with something that someone has said, written, or done we might choose to disagree so we have the chance to give our own opinion. 

See when you are given a higher stand in society it can change you. Changes in the way you think, feel, and act towards others. A clear example of someone who had changed because of power would be the mythical character Oedipus from Oedipus The King written by Sophocles. Although this story is a made-up play it is still relevant to this time. When Oedipus had saved the city of Thebes from the Sphinx many people wanted him to become king. No one really knew of his background or past education; they assumed him to be the best fit for taking over asking. When Oedipus became king he judged people somewhat erratically when someone would talk back to him. When everyone was in his favor you could say he was caring and appreciative of them. Oedipus’s rise to power had undeniably been one of the causes of his downfall. 

The start of democracy had begun in the year 507 B.C. Originally named democratic by Cleisthenes. This leader brought up the idea of “rule by the people.” I wonder if many people questioned Cleisthenes about this idea as many people nowadays also disagree with other people’s ideas. Was the idea of democracy really a bad idea? People come up with certain ideas that they think could benefit society but they don’t realize that these ideas could maybe make society words. 

Something many people want is more freedom. Whether the freedom to make their own decisions or the freedom to speak of their own accord. Does Democracy give us more freedom? In some cases yes because it gives us the opportunity to vote for someone to become a leader. What else do we get from having a democracy in a country? Is there anything else that gives us more freedom and more control over ourselves? Something that gives us equal power amongst those who are classed as above us? Now we are talking about the idea of equality… With equality amongst people, it is not referring to the way we look, act, and not at all how we are physical. It is more or less so talking about the equal benefits all humans should have. Imagine a world where everyone is of equal class… How do you feel that would affect our society?