Category Archives: Social Studies

Was It Worth It? (Final Address)

Was it worth it? That is a question I seem to be asking myself a lot lately. Was the deconstruction of our current monarchy the proper thing to do, only to have it lead to a reign of terror and the rise of an even stricter monarch in its place? Were those few months of freedom and independence what was best to prelude total control of everything in an even more controlled setting that when we first started to get fed up? My answer for a long time was “I don’t know.” It was not an end I thought of when I marched on Bastille. I asked for the king to release some of his iron grip, to keep his starving people alive, but I did not know the chain reaction it would cause would shake the country to its foundation and set it on a path of assured destruction. Those few months of Freedom were great, though. We ruled the country by ourselves (more or less) and had to answer to no one but our neighbors for our actions and activities. Of course, the fool Robespierre had to go and spoil it by killing his opponents for power, causing the reign of terror. I was lucky not to be selected for guillotining myself during that time. Things didn’t get better after he died either. My prediction came true as Napoleon rose to power through the triumvirate and had himself crowned Emperor. The truly dark days, I saw in my mind’s eye when I met him in Croatia have arrived worse than I predicted. Hell has come to France, and his name is Napoleon. This brings me back to my original question: was it worth it? After much consideration, I have now come to the answer of yes. It may not have worked perfectly for my country, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for other countries in the future if they try, and I encourage them to try. Eventually, someone will succeed, and when that happens, the world will be a better place. I depart into history knowing that that is what I have left to the new world.

Big Talk With the Little Man (DOL #2)

It was the year 1783. I was on the run from the French army for taking part in the storming of Bastille, and I had taken refuge in Croatia.  One night, on my way home, I saw an average-height man in a French army officer uniform being chased by a small mob. By a stroke of fate, he happened to turn down the alley I was hiding in and tripped right over my outstretched foot. Once he had picked himself off the ground, I discovered he was, in fact, the great Napoleon, on leave back in his native country. I had seen some British newspaper comics about him and I could not resist using the “Short” joke at any possible opportunity during the conversation that ensued. He was (and still is) a very intelligent man and he could see that the royals were not going to win this fight. He was interested to hear about my connections with the Jacobeans, and asked about contact information I had on their leaders. I agreed to give him what I had, in exchange for calling the army off my back about the Bastille thing. I could see the wheels turning in his head as he started to formulate a plan to the top of their organization, and I can clearly see him succeeding. He would be a dangerous man to have power, possibly a threat to the whole world. I hope he never gets it.

March to the (Golden) Gates of Hell (French Revolution Post #1)


(In the perspective of Madame Reine Audu)

It is the 6th of November 1789. My march was successful. The king never implemented, or even responded to the suggestions I put in the letter I wrote to him. There are no women allowed in his conventions, so I had to send the message directly. It was just me and a bunch of other women to start. We had demands, and we wanted to see the king. Over the two days it took to march to the palace of Versailles, we were joined by hundreds if not thousands of people, effectively becoming an unruly mob eager for blood if our plights were not heard. We reached the golden gates full of anger and vice. The guards were intent to stop us from reaching the king, so we killed them.  That got the kings attention and he ran out in a huff about not killing anyone, and said he would listen and in act all of our demands. Satisfied that the king had finally heard us, and worried about possible reinforcements (I didn’t want that maniac with the grapeshot showing up) we decided to head home, and waited for the changes to happen. Two months later, we were still waiting. The king had played us for fools, and now we were angrier than ever. We were collectively looking for a target for our aggressions, and we all seemed to settle on the prison-fortress of Bastille. Not only was it close and easy to burn, it also had lots of weapons in it. The staffs, even though they were Swiss Guard, were critically short and they would be unable to defend a mass invasion from a mob of our size. We were able to force our way in and smash into the grounds, liberating many weapons and “freeing” some “political” prisoners. It was just moral justification for the crimes we committed. The prison burned, and with it the chances of peace between the Royalty and the Third Estate. Nothing will ever be the same again.

What Do You Meme? (DOL #3)

empire sepsaliensCfjG8FtVIAEcDd7My meme big idea is the theory that the Americans could not have beat the British Empire in the Revolutionary war without outside help from other countries such as France. This connects to Zinn/Hamilton because that is the time period when they took place and they have several mentions to the fact that the French army helped them with their revolution and probably won the whole thing for them (and then proceeded to be forgotten by the Americans when the US ducked out of helping in the French revolution). This also connects to current events with the fact that immigrants and foreigners helped them make the country, and now they are turning them away and trying to force them out (ahem, Mr Drumpf, ahem). The invasions, subjugation’s and manipulations are almost exactly how the British Empire ran the world and made the Americans want to leave them in the first place. The America of now has become the British Empire of then.

 

UK > EU?

For this next installment of my social studies learning I will talk about the upcoming referendum  in the United Kingdom about weather or not they should remain in the European Union.

Many Mayors and other leaders of municipal governments want to leave because they don’t like the influx of immigrants and they think being in the Union is making them a risk for terrorist attacks. Basically, for the same reasons Donald Drumpf wants to build a wall across the Mexican Border. Their opposition is led By David Cameron and the county’s government, saying that it is not worth losing the trade, safe travel, protection, investments and regulations imposed by the rest of the Union. Personally, I would side with David Cameron on this, but this looks like a topic that will be open to debate for the months to come, until the country goes to vote on the 23rd of June.

I do have some questions about this topic. Things like: why are people so easily swayed by fear? Why is the threat of terrorism so great to countries so far removed? Should younger people be allowed to vote on the issue like with Scotland? These questions mainly have to do with human nature, but human nature is the reason we have this problem in the first place.

People in Canada should care about this more than commonwealth sympathy because the European union is a machine of many gears, and removing pieces would make the whole machine collapse. The world economy would not be able to handle a country like the UK to flounder around die, a result which would ultimately happen if the country separates, a lá the Scottish referendum.

I have gained this information from multiple scores, namely discussions with Kelvin and Oliver on the forum, online magazine The Week, and the BBC website.

The many causes of the issue are that this was a campaign promise of the conservative party during the last election, and a major pledge and the euro-skeptics of the party keeping them to their word. David tried to change it so that it would be a “reformed” EU, but the Brexit campaign has shut him down.

The various opinions of this debate are the one championed by David Cameron, that it is a bad idea and Britain would fail on it’s own  without the benefits of being in the EU. The other main opinion, championed by most of the municipal government heads, is that being in the EU is making them a target for things like the unchecked levels of immigration and Islamic terrorism.

Personally, I am with the “stay” party because while leaving would be good for the short term, I think that staying  is what is best for the country in the long term.  We shall see what the UK thinks on the 23rd of June.

Social Studies. I’ll Come Up With A Creative Name Later.

Well, as social studies have started up again, this shall be my first document of learning for 2016. The first thing I am putting forward is my biggest comment from last year: don’t rush. I have to learn to slow down, look things over carefully, and catch my mistakes. Personal behaviors aside, I also want to improve my abilities for conversation/ debates about the current topic (i.e. contributing more in class and on twitter). These goals more or less fit into the competency of communication, specifically the explain/recount and reflect and the acquire, interpret, and present information parts.

The big idea I want us to focus the most on this year is disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies. The biggest reason for this preference is that it complements my favorite part of history the most: learning about the people themselves. When we can state the name of someone and exactly what they did, that I what go into history hoping to do. I have no particular reason for this preference, it is just something I have always liked, and I hope to do a lot more of it this year.

I have no particular issue or questions about the curricular competencies, but I have the most  interest in learning and developing the communication and social responsibility competency because they can help me achieve  my goals for the course and life in general. I suppose my biggest question about our reading on Columbus would be  is it fair to judge his actions by modern standards, and would he have gone on his exploration if he knew how it would end, and the suffering it would cause? Another question I have is will we be reading the rest of the book, because it sounds like a very valuable recourse.

That is all from me for now. I am looking forward to a fun and successful semester, and hope to post soon,

Christopher

My Socials Final (Biography)

Hello everyone. This is my biography that I made for my final for Social Studies this year.

My life? Yes it was a good one. One I can look back on with a smile on my face, one that I am proud of, but it did not start that way. . .

I can remember everything that has happened to me since I was born. I even remember some things from before I was born, but you don’t care about that. I was born to poor Irish immigrants Megan and Peter McSmith on August 25, 1845, in the new and glorious country of Canada. Or that is what they told me. Christened Ably Jonas McSmith of the not-so-noble house of McSmith, I grew up in one of the first slums of the country, backstreet Toronto. It was a rough neighborhood for immigrants and I got in fights often as a boy, usually losing. Education was mandatory but not enforced, so I received no formal schooling, but the ways of the streets became my soul and I could still tell you how to navigate it in fullest detail. This came to my aid when my generally-bad luck turned for the better.

The day was October 21, 1860. I was walking home after doing some errands for my mother, when I noticed noise coming from the alley. I looked down it and saw a boy, about ten, being roughed up by a couple of older boys. I have always been one to look out for myself but this boy intrigued me, so I chose to save his life. I rushed down the alley, dropping mother’s groceries along the way, shouting to the older boys to get their attention. They barely had time to turn around when my fist plunged into the face of the closer of the two, spraying blood from his nose and mouth, knocking at least two teeth out. The first boy hit the ground, unconscious, and the second boy dragged his friend out of the alley and away to whatever safety he could find.

The little boy I had come to save had been cowering in the corner this whole time, shaking like a leaf, and he tried to shrink away when I asked if he was alright, scared of me and what I could do. I tried to calm him but he was too scared, so I tried a change of tactics. I walked away and stood outside of the alleyway, waiting for the boy to calm his nerves and come out to talk in his own time. After about 15 minutes he came out, still scared, but no longer shaking. He thanked me, and I told him it what I had done was just the right thing to do. He asked me for my name; I told him. When I asked him for his, he told me: Hugh John Macdonald. I was not familiar with the name, so I asked him where he lived. When he gave me an address, I took him home.

We walked out of the slums into the richer part of town, and then we walked out of the richer part of town into the incredibly rich part of town. I was quite surprised at the obvious wealth of this place. The only time we had fountains in my neighbourhood was when the local plumbing broke. And that was the nasty, public flush toilets used by a whole building of about 50 people, because it was so revolutionary. I looked at Hugh again, and noticed that his clothes were smeared with grime, but undoubtedly top quality. We stopped in front of an absolutely astonishing mansion with every extravagance money could buy. I knocked on the door and a maid answered. She had a disgusted look on her face, but this changed to surprise when she saw Hugh. She rushed back inside, only to come out again with the head of the house. He was a tall man in a rich coat, and I recognized him from all his pictures in the newspaper. He was Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada.

On my way home, I stopped to pick up mother’s groceries that I had dropped. The milk was done for, but everything else was fine, or so I thought. When I got home, mother was waiting for me with a dark look emanating from her eyes. She asked me where I had been. When I told her about Hugh John (cleverly leaving the fight out), she bubbled over with anger and slapped me across the face so hard I hit my head on the doorframe. I woke up to her screaming something about how all the Scottish and all the Politicians are corrupt and corrupting and that I was to never to go there again.  After that event I went back to my regular life and didnt’ see Hugh for months. I never stopped thinking about him, though. After a while I often found myself walking through the richest part of town, looking for the Macdonald residence. I would never go in, never knock; I would just watch. Watch and wait for Hugh to come out. Then we would talk. It was never about heavy topics like expansion or politics, only normal things like life in general, and how it differed between us. It was an unusual bridge of the classes that did not happen very much, if at all. This was a friendship that ended up being productive for both of us.

After we had been talking for a few months, Hugh and I started teaching each other. Hugh taught me how to read and write, and I taught him the ways of the streets, the slums, and the people who lived in them. He believed he would go into politics like his dad, and I wanted a better future. These simple talks and teachings blossomed into a friendship that lasted many years. I saw him become a powerful and influential member of the Conservative Party, and myself. . . a school teacher. This, I admit, is a bit of an anticlimax. This was not the job I had always wanted, but it got me out of the slums and into a nice house, with only the occasional student to upset my routine. I still got the weekly letter from Hugh, though. There was one in particular that was the final turning point in my life, for the better.

I received my usual weekly letter from Hugh on April 23, 1873 without thinking much about it. It was always the same thing:  stuff happening on Parliament Hill, the latest scandals, and other truths about the politics of this country. This letter was different though – lighter, in a sense. This week’s letter would be short, I knew. I had already read about the Pacific scandal, and I knew Hugh’s father would have to step down soon, as many had done before him. I remembered my mother’s tirades and smiled to myself thinking how she was always right, even after death. He was losing his grip on everything, even that precious railway of his. Nothing in that letter could surprise me, or so I thought.

The letter was small, but very elegant. It had an envelope that was much more expensive than Hugh usually used. When I opened it, I saw two kinds of handwriting. I recognized Hugh’s immediately, it read:

“My dearest friend Ably,

You would not believe the news I have for you today! I finally told my father about everything you have done for me, and he has decided to reward you by pulling every last string he has. . .”

The letter continued to thank me for everything I had done since we met, but suddenly the writing changed to a hand I did not recognize. After a bit of reading, I realized that it was the writing of Sir John A. Macdonald himself. It was a letter of recommendation for the Senate. My friend’s father used the last of his influence to make me a senator. There was no escaping my joy at the prospect, but it also filled me with dread about the possibility of being shut out because of the scandal. This fear was lifted shortly thereafter when I read that he sacrificed his own position as Prime Minister so that I would not be kicked out by the other members. This act of selflessness was the reason I took the job. Well, one of the reasons.

When I first took my seat in the cabinet, I have to admit I was sweating buckets. The other senators were all better at politics and none of them seemed to like me, but I don’t blame them for that. They were all elected. I was placed via recommendation. This stigma remained for a few months before they warmed up to me, and accepted me as one of their own. After I got used to the role, I loved being a senator, and continued to be one for the rest of my working life, until I retired at age 67. I saw Canada become a mighty country, in size and economy alike. I also saw how much one person can affect a whole nation with a single idea. These experiences, combined with my hardships and friendships, make me believe I lived a good life to its absolute fullest. I never did forget Hugh, but he soon slipped off the political radar after his father left, and his letters stopped coming. Wherever he is, I want him to know it was all because of him that I ascended away from a dark and dreary fate, and allowed my children to escape the path I had to endure. Thank you.

My Current Political Views and Supportting Party

The one political narrative I believe in the most is the government aspect of the inquiry and search for the missing and murdered aboriginal women. Any current action has been handled badly, if any at all. It has become a huge mess that whoever is elected next has to clean up. I think of it as a major issue because it is living testament to the white settlers’ negative attitude towards the first nations. They have been mistreated for too long, and we have done almost nothing to fix what has happened. The recent charter released on residential schools can even be considered cultural genocide, and yet, nothing. The same chart even says that an inquiry towards these missing and murdered first nation women would help with the healing processes of the country. This makes lot of sense, but Mr. Harper has failed to even start an inquiry on why these people even died. It has been overall mishandled. The conservatives are no longer able to head up the government. I feel a replacement is in order. The best replacement I feel is the NDP. They are willing to completely follow the suggestion and search for the women. I think they could place it as a higher priority, but their plan is mostly sound and completely possible, something I am willing to follow. Tom Mulcair is not the perfect leader, but he is the leader this country needs at the moment. They are the country’s best choice not only with the missing aboriginal women, but most other issues as well.

Christopher

Give Me Your Land: a Canadian Expansion History

Of all the crazy and weird things that the early Canadians have done, the one that intrigues me the most is their treatment of occupied first nation territory and its people. Before it became a country, the people living in Canada were very friendly and kind to the first nations people. Why did that suddenly have to change? I personally think they went too far with the various treaties and residential schools. I believe they could have been lighter- handed and still have gotten all the things they wanted.  I am mostly drawn to the treatment of first nations people. It could have been handled so much better. It connects with the person I was for the role play and all the stuff we have been learning about and discussing in class for the last week.  I would love to know why Canada decided to cut the various treaties into chunks, and why they stopped briefly. I think it is possible to answer these questions, with the help of Canada’s record bank, and I hope to figure it out myself someday. I find that this topics connects to many other parts of the curriculum, such as C3, B3, and C1. It all relates because without first nations people, all of those events would have taken a very different course and outcome. In fact, I believe if first nations people never existed, Canada would not have such a rich and vibrant history. I wish for continued research in this topic. That is all I have to say for now. I hope to blog soon. Goodbye for now,

-Christopher

Social Studies Midterm

This half of the term has been wonderful. I felt that for the most part I did really well and understood the overall ideas put forward by the extraordinary teaching of Mr. Jackson. There were some shortcomings and misunderstandings, all of my fault, but other than that I feel great about what I accomplished so far and hope the second half goes just as well.

So far this term, I have found that I have done considerably well in some of the aspects that we have covered, specifically A1 (applying critical thinking skills), A3 (demonstrating effective written, oral, and graphic communicating skills), and C1 (describing the evolution of responsible government structure and key contributing events). I did this mostly by the three role-play blog posts, the 4 note-taking sessions, and our almost daily class discussions on any topic related to social studies. Through the blog posts (example my second post), I was able to take on the role of a pacifist aboriginal chief, and saw the world through his eyes, allowing me to express my ability to communicate ideas, opinions, and arguments in oral and written forms. My note-taking skills (ex. the session on 16/02/15) proved that I can draw conclusions about an issue, situation, or topic. Finally, our discussions a few weeks ago (about 20/03/15) proved I can describe the consequences of the 1837-38 rebellions. I found that reading material also helped in all of these categories for me. The blog posts are also a revolutionary idea that I do not have much experience with.

On the other hand, when it came to some of the topics, I found that I did not reach my full potential. These areas were B4 (Describe the factors that contributed to a changing identity), C4 (describe the structure and function of Canada’s federal, provincial, and local governments), and B1 (analyse Canadian society from 1815-1914 in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts). The feeling for the inadequacy of these categories is based off mostly the feeling that I did not do it for long enough. I feel if I had more time, I would do much better. For some of these topics it was also just not grasping the topic and unintelligibly not asking for help.

In conclusion, I felt very good about what I have accomplished this half of the term. I did have some trip-ups, and I made some mistakes, but I feel that I did very well and succeeded in my personal goals for this half. I hope for a second half of the term that is just as good, if not better, then the one I just had. Thank you, Mr. Jackson.