The American Civil War

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The most interesting chapter in this book was about the role of woman in the Civil War.

Women in the North had a history of participating in social and political activities.  They were also more likely to be educated and allowed freedoms women in the South were denied.

In the South, women were subservient to men.  They were seen as beings that needed to be controlled.  They were less educated and had no experience with social or political activism.

During the war, Northern women worked in hospitals and with their help soldiers were less likely to die from infections.  They also prepared food and delivered it to the soldiers.  The aid given by women in the North played a role in the Armies ability to fight and win the war.

 

Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island, Alabama

Fort Gaines was established in the 1800’s and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War.  It was also used during the Spanish American War.

The fort has been well preserved and now functions as a museum.  Visitors can learn about the battles fought at the fort and how French culture influenced the area.

Sitting in a Cemetery

The oldest graveyard in Athens, Alabama, is a block from the courthouse and is known as Old City Cemetery.  Most of the graves are unreadable and many have been damaged over the years.

However, the grave of John Craig received a new marker recently.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, so his grave has been maintained over the years.

I was sitting in the cemetery looking at his grave and wondering about his life.  His world was filled with uncertainty.  The American Colonies were going to war with England (a world super-power at the time).

If the war was lost, he could be executed for treasonous acts.  If the war was won, his world would still be filled with upheaval and unknown circumstances.  He would be living in a brand new country that was trying to establish a government.

I wonder what he must have thought about his future possibilities.  Did he think about future generations and how much his actions would effect them?  Was he afraid of the unknown future?  Was he filled with feelings of invincibility and the optimism of youth?

John Craig was fighting for a country that was only a dream at the time.  He was willing to die, for the idea of a free and independent nation.

His willingness to fight and give his life, if necessary, is still honored today.

Alexander Hamilton – A Controversial Man

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I enjoyed reading this book about Alexander Hamilton.  He tends to be overlooked or only briefly mentioned in history book; however, he is one of our Founding Fathers and played an important role in the early years of the United States of America.

Here are a few notes from the book:

  • Alexander Hamilton was too controversial, too disliked, and had too many enemies at a time when adversaries used weapons as well as word to express their views, to be one of the Founding Fathers who made it to the presidency.
  • He believed in a strong central government, because he was suspicious of the will of the mob.
  • Alexander Hamilton an aide-de-camp to General George Washington, who was so impressed with the young man’s astute administrative abilities that when he became president, he named Hamilton as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Alexander Hamilton fought for the federal government to assume the debts of the individual states, and for the establishment of a mint.
  • His political reputation was soiled by an affair with a married woman whose husband extorted money from his wife’s lover and then tried to implicate Hamilton in a corrupt financial scheme.
  • Alexander Hamilton would have cringed at the size of the national debt; he believed that a nation’s overall strength came from a sound financial foundation.

Weeden House Museum – Huntsville, Alabama

I throughly enjoyed my visit to the Weeden House Museum.  There are a lot of interesting things to see and the tour guide did a fabulous job.

The Weeden House was built in 1819, by H.C. Bradford.  The intricate woodwork and the federal architectural style is stunning.  The Weeden family owned the home from 1845 to 1956.

Maria Howard Weeden (1846-1905) lived in this house her entire life.  She was a poet and an artist.  Maira was particularly interested in the lives of the black people she encountered on a regular basis.  She was bothered by the way they were treated and wanted to give them a voice in the world.

Maria Howard Weeden painted realistic portraits of the black people, instead of the cartoonish images that were popular during the Reconstruction period.

Maria also spent hours talking to the black people she painted, so she could learn their life stories.

Maria used poetry to expose the horrible circumstances of their lives.  The rhythm and cadence reflected the positive personalities of the people, in spite of their lifelong suffering.

Maria Howard Weeden was truly a woman ahead of her time.

Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery

There is a monument at the Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery in honor of the slaves buried on the property.

The slaves were viewed as sub-human, so they were placed in graves with no headstones or makers of any kind.  There is no way to know who is buried here or even the exact number of people buried on this land.

We all know about the horrible existence of many slaves.  They were traded like cattle, beaten by their owners, and had less rights than my dogs do today.

I like to go to the cemetery from time to time.  It helps me remember the past and what can happen when we start judging people based on their race, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, or anything else that may make that person different from us.

 

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