Wednesday, September 29, 2021

How Much Is My Dollar worth?

Although experiments with paper money did occur throughout the early history of the country, they were largely unsuccessful. People, for good reason, didn't trust the notes and preferred gold and silver coin. In 1861, needing money to finance the Civil War, Congress authorized the issuance of Demand notes in $5, $10 and $20 denominations. The Demand notes were so named because they were redeemable in coin "on demand." The notes were nicknamed Greenbacks, a name which is still in use today to refer to United States currency.

By the 1870s the debate between supporters of the gold or silver standard began to dominate national politics. Bankers and others involved in international trade feared that considering silver as money would undermine the economy. In contrast, most farmers favored coining silver hoping it would increase their income. These farmers went on to form the 'Populist' party in 1892.

1) How much is that piece of paper in your wallet really worth?

2) How long do you have to work to earn $1?

3) How much you can buy with $1?

4) Is our dollar worth more or less than other currencies around the world?

5) Is it worth the same today as it was 100 years ago?

6)  Just where does our paper money come from anyway?

7) What are the symbols on the dollar and what do they mean?

8) Does the new U.S. $20 bill contain hidden pictures?

9) What is the 'Fed' and how does it regulate the value of our money?

10) What are the two main mandates of the Fed?

11) Who can really coin money?

12) Why can't they just print as much as they want?

13) What are the conspiracy theories about the Fed?

14) What is the largest denomination US bill ever printed?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Resistance is Futile

Whats the longest you've ever been away from your home and family? Did you get homesick? Why or Why not?

The drive to  assimilate Indians into the mainstream of American life by changing their customs, dress, occupations, language, religion and philosophy has always been an element in Federal-Indian relations. In the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, this assimilationist policy became dominant. A major thrust of assimilation efforts was to educate Indians in American ways. in 1879 the Carlisle Indian Training School was established by a former military officer. Its 'benevolent philosophy' of separating Indian children totally from their Indian environment   was supposed to help them not cause harm. Forcing Indians to adopt white ways became the basis for a widescale boarding school movement that eventually removed thousands of Indian children from their cultural settings and families.

1) In what specific ways did this young man undergo assimilation?

2) Were assimilated Indians accepted by the whites as Americans? Would they be accepted by their own people when they went home?

3) Was forced assimilation a success or failure? Why?

4) What if our school wanted to enforce a school uniform? Would you approve? Why/not?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Buffalo Soldiers

The Buffalo Soldiers were a segregated regiment of black cavalry fighters during the American campaign to rid the West of "Indians" so that "civilized" white people could gain the lands used by Native Americans. They were given their name by the Native Americans who called them Buffalo Soldiers because their short & curly hair was like the hair on the back of a buffalo's neck. They were compared with the buffalo's strength and tenacity. Duties were settling railroad disputes, building telegraph lines, repairing and building forts, helping settlers find a place to live and protecting the settlers from Indian attacks.

1) Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?

2) What was is the great IRONY of the Buffalo Soldier?

3) Who were America's forgotten cowboys?

4) Why would they want to be a cowboy?  Would you?

5) Why haven't we ever heard their stories?

6) What are their names and stories?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hollywood Indians

"A Nation that does not know its history has no future."
What does this saying mean? How has Hollywood stereotyped the Indians in the movies? Why?

How is what happened in history very different than the Hollywood stereotype of the Indians as warriors?

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

All Aboard!

Folk music, trains, and railroads would hardly exist in this country without one another. Some of the greatest American folk songs of all time can be traced back to the building of the railroads, the advent of train travel, and, of course, the riding of the rails during the Depression—when working class men and immigrants traveled on trains in search of work.

You may know our nation's railroads were built primarily by African-Americans and immigrants (particularly Irish immigrants). It was grueling work made more tolerable by the presence of music (similarly to the way field calls and African-American folk songs developed out of the slave tradition).

In the case of "I've Been Working on the Railroad," the telling line is "...all the livelong day." These men really did back-breaking work beyond the hours of labor now acceptable in our society.

From Crazy Train to Peace Train, songs about trains are still popular today...