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He was also signaling to the capitalists of the North that the war would be waged in their interests. But there were other interests that Lincoln was forced to consider. The abolitionists and, most importantly, the enslaved themselves understood that slavery was so monstrous that it needed to be completely eliminated. For decades prior to the war, abolitionists — Black and white, male and female — petitioned the government, organized rallies and public meetings, produced antislavery pamphlets and books, ran candidates for public office, built new political parties, and created a vast network to harbor runaways and resist slave catchers.
By the time of the war, abolitionist ideas had seeped into the new Republican Party. Yet now they reached a new, enlarged audience that included those in the halls of power. Formerly derided as radical extremists, the abolitionists seemed prophetic as it became clear to many that the war could not be won without destroying slavery. The enslaved, who had fought back in various ways since slavery began, escalated their own resistance during the Civil War.
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As soon as the Union Army came within reach, enslaved people freed themselves — by the tens of thousands. As historian Vincent Harding wrote:. This was Black struggle in the South as the guns roared, coming out of loyal and disloyal states, creating their own liberty. Every day they came into the Northern lines, in every condition, in every season of the year, in every state of health.
This was the river of Black struggle in the South, waiting for no one to declare freedom for them. These runaways also created opportunities for the all-white Union Army, in desperate need of soldiers and laborers. Lincoln realized that the Union needed Black soldiers to win the war. The proclamation officially opened the army to African Americans for the first time. The emancipation of 4 million people from slavery ushered in a revolutionary transformation of U. The reason corporate curriculum and conservative textbooks so often hide or distort this history is because truly understanding the causes of the Civil War, and how that war was transformed, requires an approach that questions those in power and emphasizes collective resistance.
As Howard Zinn explained:. When I look at the history of the United States, what I see is that whenever anything good has been accomplished, whenever any injustice has been remedied. Slavery was not abolished because Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery was abolished because slaves, the ex-slaves, the escaped slaves, and some white abolitionists got together and formed a great movement against slavery.
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That movement grew from a small group of people into a national movement that committed acts of civil disobedience and violated the law, violated the Fugitive Slave Act, which required the government to return escaped slaves to their masters. People broke into courthouses, broke into police stations; they rescued slaves, and all kinds of acts of civil disobedience took place.
Only then did Lincoln act, only then did Congress act, to abolish slavery, to pass constitutional amendments. And we see this all through American history.
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To understand abolition and the Civil War then, is to understand how ordinary citizens — with ideas that seem radical and idealistic, taking action together, breaking unjust laws, pressuring politicians to act — can fundamentally change society. There is no more important lesson that our students can learn from studying history. The purpose of this unit is not to simply dethrone Lincoln as the Great Emancipator.
No doubt, when put into historical context and seen through his point of view, Lincoln can be a sympathetic figure. But the popular narrative that a single white politician ended an institution that formed the economic backbone of U. It took the courageous actions of hundreds of thousands to crush such a profitable system of brutal exploitation. Our job as educators should be to expand the viewpoints through which our students look at history.
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We are citizens. Furthermore, it was not simply Lincoln who was transformed during the war. Opening the Union Army to Blacks had profound effects on white soldiers and the Northern white public. General James S. Colored Infantry, the first Black regiment formed in New York City, as they paraded down the city streets in February Only seven months earlier, Blacks had been brutally beaten and murdered during the draft riots.
While racism survived the abolition of slavery, the bold actions of Black men and women in securing and defining freedom, and the changing racial attitudes of white citizens in response, laid the foundation for postwar anti-racist politics. As abolitionist Wendell Phillips wrote to Sen.
The national purpose and thought ripens in 30 days as much as ordinary years bring it forward. We need a curriculum that surfaces the moments of solidarity, resistance, and courage that made this a more just, more inclusive society.
Students often feel alienated from history and politics because they are told that great usually white men make history. Too often, students arrive in my classroom cynical about the possibility for social change. There are countless stories of collective struggle that are antidotes to cynicism.
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Many of the lessons in this collection first appeared on the Zinn Education Project website. In my classrooms, first in Portland, Oregon, and then in New York City, I developed this unit incorporating lessons from the Zinn Education Project and adding others I developed with help from my colleagues. While working as the Zinn Education Project organizer and curriculum writer during the — school year, I began to knit these lessons together into a coherent unit.
With the support and advice of the Zinn Education Project staff, the lessons in this unit draw from a variety of pedagogical methods that aim to not just teach content, but also crucial academic and civic skills. The first two lessons in the unit begin with narrative and poetry in an attempt to nurture empathy with the plight of the enslaved, but also appreciation for the varied ways Black people resisted their enslavement.
The next several lessons attempt to paint a picture of the social movement that developed to combat slavery.
Through role play, these lessons ask students to imagine themselves as abolitionists and consider the choices that these activists faced. In character, they confront the questions that abolitionist organizers also encountered: Should they support attempts to buy enslaved people and colonize them out of the country? Should they maintain a singular focus on slavery in the South or spend their energies also opposing racism in the North?
How should they respond to the Fugitive Slave Act? By confronting these questions as abolitionists, students are able to see that people make history. Small international rapid deployment units could intervene in these with an exclusive mandate granted by a reformed and democratic United Nations system or by relevant regional authorities such as the European Union. These units could be formed specifically for each conflict, using armies from several countries as was the case when the UNIFIL was reinforced during the Lebanon War.
On the other hand, no national army would be authorized to intervene unilaterally outside its territory without a UN or regional mandate. Another issue that is worth addressing concerns the legitimate conditions for the use of force and conduct during war. The World Trade Organization's WTO agenda of liberalizing public goods and services are related to culture, science, education, health, living organisms, information, and communication. However, lacking political and widespread citizen support as well as sufficient resources, civil society has not so far been able to develop and disseminate alternative plans for society as a whole on a global scale, even though plenty of proposals and initiatives have been developed, some more successful than others, to build a fairer, more responsible, and more solidarity-based world in all of these areas.
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This is an excellent opportunity to promote their soft power, for instance with the promotion of the cinema . As far as science is concerned, "[r]esearch increasingly bows to the needs of financial markets, turning competence and knowledge into commodities, making employment flexible and informal, and establishing contracts based on goals and profits for the benefit of private interests in compliance with the competition principle.
The directions that research has taken in the past two decades and the changes it has undergone have drastically removed it from its initial mission producing competence and knowledge, maintaining independence with no questioning of its current and future missions. Despite the progress, or perhaps even as its consequence, humankind continues to face critical problems: poverty and hunger are yet to be vanquished, nuclear arms are proliferating, environmental disasters are on the rise, social injustice is growing, and so on.
Neoliberal commercialization of the commons favors the interests of pharmaceutical companies instead of the patients', of food-processing companies instead of the farmers' and consumers'. Public research policies have done nothing but support this process of economic profitability, where research results are increasingly judged by the financial markets. The system of systematically patenting knowledge and living organisms is thus being imposed throughout the planet through the WTO agreements on intellectual property.
Research in many areas is now being directed by private companies. On the global level, "[i]nstitutions dominating a specific sector also, at every level, present the risk of reliance on technical bodies that use their own references and deliberate in an isolated environment. This process can be observed with the 'community of patents' that promotes the patenting of living organisms, as well as with authorities controlling nuclear energy.
This inward-looking approach is all the more dangerous that communities of experts are, in all complex technical and legal spheres, increasingly dominated by the major economic organizations that finance research and development. On the other hand, several innovative experiments have emerged in the sphere of science, such as: conscience clauses and citizens' panels as a tool for democratizing the production system: science shops and community-based research. Politically committed scientists are also increasingly organizing at the global level.
As far as education is concerned, the effect of commoditization can be seen in the serious tightening of education budgets, which affects the quality of general education as a public service.
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The Global Future Online report reminds us that ". And while universal access is critical, it must be coupled with improved learning outcomes—in particular, children achieving the basic literacy, numeracy and life skills essential for poverty reduction. In addition to making the current educational system available universally, there is also a call to improve the system and adapt it to the speed of changes in a complex and unpredictable world.
On this point, Edgar Morin asserts that we must "[r]ethink our way of organizing knowledge. This means breaking down the traditional barriers between disciplines and designing new ways to reconnect that which has been torn apart. The exponential growth of new technologies, the Internet in particular, has gone hand in hand with the development over the last decade of a global community producing and exchanging goods. This development is permanently altering the shape of the entertainment, publishing, and music and media industries, among others.
It is also influencing the social behavior of increasing numbers of people, along with the way in which institutions, businesses, and civil society are organized. Peer-to-peer communities and collective knowledge-building projects such as Wikipedia have involved millions of users around the world. There are even more innovative initiatives, such as alternatives to private copyright such as Creative Commons , cyber democracy practices, and a real possibility of developing them on the sectoral, regional, and global levels. Regional players, whether regional conglomerates such as Mercosur and the European Union, or major countries seen as key regional players such as China, the United States, and India, are taking a growing interest in world governance.
Interdependence among countries and regions hardly being refutable today, regional integration is increasingly seen not only as a process in itself, but also in its relation to the rest of the world, sometimes turning questions like "What can the world bring to my country or region? Often seen as a problem to be solved rather than a people or region with an opinion to express on international policy, Africans and Africa draw on a philosophical tradition of community and social solidarity that can serve as inspiration to the rest of the world and contribute to building world governance.
One example is given by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gathseni when he reminds us of the relevance of the Ubuntu concept, which stresses the interdependence of human beings.
African civil society has thus begun to draw up proposals for governance of the continent, which factor in all of the dimensions: local, African, and global. Examples include proposals by the network "Dialogues sur la gouvernance en Afrique" for "the construction of a local legitimate governance," state reform "capable of meeting the continent's development challenges," and "effective regional governance to put an end to Africa's marginalization.