All posts by William

WDolan Reflection on Schwartz and Anderson’s Essays

I learned how the Brazilian Slave Trade brought more slaves than any other country. Reading about maroon states was interesting, as I got to learn about how segregated the Slave trade made Brazil. The document by Anderson explained the role of the Zambi, and it’s meaning, how marriage and religious practices worked, and so much more. The document by Stuart B. Schwartz explained the history behind the resistance that took place in Bahia, and provides excellent insight into the strategies used by the fugitives. 


I question why there is no access to the untranslated Portuguese documents that refer to the Brazilian Slave Trade as mentioned in Anderson’s document. Isn’t it essential to look back on history and be transparent about the events that took place and the documents that behold information? On page 548 of Robert Nelson Anderson’s paper, it says that most of what we know about Palmares “comes from accounts of the Dutch and Portuguese campaigns against the quilombo…” Wouldn’t this information automatically be biased? And due to the mistranslations, does that also affect the credibility?


In general, seeing how the community in Palmares became diverse was creating a form of unity within the segregated country of Brazil. Learning about the bravery of the resistance fighters in Bahia was fascinating as it showed a spark in motivation that  encouraged the slaves to fight for their rights. Seeing how the “existence of a group of fugitives on the perimeters of the plantations challenged the continued captivity of other slaves” was satisfying, as it allowed the slaves to disrupt regular protocols and see an effect coming from it. The effect was obviously the treaty of peace between the escaped slaves and the “colonial regime”.


Overall, the Brazilian Slave Trade was an awful historical event that took place. Learning of the slaves bravery and the certain level of success from the resistance was rewarding, as it showed the slaves hard work had not amounted to absolutely nothing. However, this was not enough, as all individuals deserve equal rights and no one belongs to any other individual. We should reflect on these events and not only learn from them, but learn about how they shaped our world to be what it is today.  



This essay was persuading as it gave multiple insights into the perspectives of the slaves and the European government. The sourcing was consistent and the author used a variety of sources to confirm the facts he was stating.

Sweet’s essay taught me that during the British Empire’s reign, black people were mainly the key to a thriving and powerful economy. The conditions of the economy were considered to be most important, and the examination of the ethics behind the slave trade were nowhere to be found. This struck me the most, as I would find it impossible as a slave owner or government official, to not think about how people’s rights were stripped away and how they were forced into excruciating labor.

The idea of ending slavery was appeared to only be a part of a bigger scheme to ‘colonize the regions’ (pg. 40). This was frustrating, as the government was so intent on finding way to make money, they were willing to make other races (particularly africans) suffer. 

One question from the essay which remains inside my mind is; Why? Why were the Europeans using other people rather than their own to help with the thriving economy? What made the Europeans so important that they were allowed to invade other countries and use people of different races to their benefit? 

Slaves lost the ability to discover and understand their culture. They were forced to ‘blend in’ to white America. The people who call themselves Christians were oblivious to the harm they inflicted and did not follow the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated). It appeared the Rule was believed to only be applied to caucasian individuals. 

Reputation appeared to be an important factor for the British as they wanted to keep their prominence within the economy and continue to stand apart from their competitors. There were increases in warfare and more hierarchical social structures. I was not surprised about the hierarchical social structures as black people where frowned upon from the time the slave trade began.

The author did a good job of explaining the fear of capitalism, an idea that naturally came with the abolition of slavery, and how it was a factor in the reluctance to do something about slavery.  However, was this a political excuse not to remove the Slave Trade? 

The author did a nice job with presenting his ideas in a well ordered manner. The paragraphs ended in a well rounded conclusion. There appears to be minimal bias and reasonable judgement included within the authors personal inserts that are scattered throughout the essay. 

The essay discusses ethics, ignorance, and how the slave trade shaped the Americas, and the economic power force Africans helped create. Explanations about how the Slave Trade precisly began were effective to gain a better understanding of why it is so significant in history and why it should be remembered. The essay showed us the moral qualities practiced and taught by the individuals of that time period. As tragic as the Slave Trade was, it should be studied, so we can avoid similar events in the future.


I believe that the 1619 project is mainly journalism, because it is recording a case made for the public to decide whether or not history education within schools should be reformed. The idea of educational reform to provide insight on all perspectives of a country’s development, should be supported. However, the perspective of how we view and have viewed history should not be disregarded. Non-colored people may have been the foundation of the United States, but that is not a bad thing. It is history. We have developed a better understanding of why it was unethical to enslave and beat the slaves, etc. 

What is history? If we continue to change our ideas about what has happened in the past, which is the right perspective? Do our old ideas remain strong, or does change such as educational reform disregard those previous conceptions? I think the ‘1619 Project’ could have been more subtly introduced, and more revision of their stated claims would have been beneficiary, and more successful in persuading the public.

The ‘1619 Project’ appears to be a clever way of trying to avoid talking about the white people involved in the formation of the United States. However, I do agree with the idea there being more focus on the African’s role in America. Nevertheless, we should simultaneously remember the non-colored people’s input in the United States. We need to consider the conclusion that without the enslavers, America may be very different today. There may be less diversity, and the economy might not be in its current state (despite the pandemic), etc. Its purpose is clear, but it is not clear how they can modify the project to ensure it becomes and stays successful. I think it could be used for political purposes in terms of being used for a campaign by an African-American. But that may be seen as propaganda, which would defeat the purpose. 

Furthermore on the subject of politics, I do not think there are many ways you can be apolitical about a subject of this magnitude. However, I think you can be interested in learning more about another perspective of history without getting involved in the idea of politics. 

I believe people who study history from the perspective of Caucasian people being the only foundation for the United States, are afraid for change. They might be afraid they are going to be frowned upon for honoring the Founding Fathers. At the same time, they have good reason to be. America is changing. 

I get stumped when I consider the question: Who is right? There may be no right answer in this situation, since you cannot please everyone. I would not call the ‘1619 Project’ propaganda because they are not expressing a particularly political topic. It is more of a historical project. The project appears to want African American people viewed as one of the main foundations for America, and to some individuals that may seem selfish. However, I see it as a project in its early stages, ready to develop and reform educations.

History October 05 2020 Blog Post

When reading the Declaration of Independence, I noticed how the writers put God first, the people second, and the government third. I observed how the Declaration is seeking justice for all. However, this Declaration has been (and continues to be) ignored by the government. How did we transfer from the topic of everyone being equal, to believing some races are superior?  Why is the current government in the United States, not shut down and abolished by the people as their Declaration says they are allowed to if the government is going against the principles of democracy?  This Declaration was supposed to unify the colonies physically and patriotically. Is this what America was intended to be?


What Is Democracy?

This is not a black or white question. And it does not strictly apply to politics. Democracy to me, is not only about rights and freedoms, but about working together to make the world a better place for every living creature. Some may believe it pertains to governmental aspects of life only, but to me it is much more than that .

A great example regarding democracy is the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement as it involves a number of groups from society that are working toward including blacks under the umbrella of “All Lives Matter.”  Every human should be seen as equal, and so should the earth we inhabit. In the Bible , we  read about how God wants us to rule over all other living things , but the way that we do this is  not in necessarily in a democratic manner as it can depend on the political agenda.

Now if I wanted to provide a  political  definition of Democracy, I would say there is no straight answer. Some believe no government interference would be true democracy.  However, others may disagree and say that governments ensure there is proper order to avoid mayhem and violence. Democracy is truly never going to be accomplished if we don’t have equality for every living soul.