A Guided Tour of China.

Face-changing, or “bian lian” in Chinese, is an important subgenre of Chinese Sichuan opera. It is an ancient style of performance, dating back more than a thousand years. Its techniques have traditionally been highly secretive and passed down within families, from father to son, though in the modern day women have begun to perform bian lian.

It’s dangerous to reduce China to being just one thing – it is both ancient and modern, traditional and innovative. With a continuous history dating back 2,000 years, it is one of the most ancient nations on Earth today – and it is definitely complex.

For discussion: What makes a leader “great?”

The First Emperor

Qin Shi Huang (260–210 BC) was the King of the state of Qin (r. 246–221 BC) who conquered all other Warring States and united China in 221 BC. Rather than maintain the title of king borne by the earlier Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty from 220 to 210 BC. The title emperor (huangdi) would continue to be borne by Chinese rulers for the next two millennia.

Qin Shi Huang enacted major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of the diverse practices of the earlier Chinese states. This process also led to the banning and burning of many books and the execution of recalcitrant scholars. His public works projects included the unification of diverse state walls into a single Great Wall of China and a massive new national road system, as well as the city-sized mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army. He ruled until his death in 210 BC after a futile search for an elixir of immortality.

Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang

The Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses” is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.  It can also be regarded as a form of power projection – the means by which a government displays its authority, wealth, and overall strength, often sending a message to others about its priorities, goals, and values.

Each warrior was handcrafted – not from a mold – and displays subtle differences. They look like individual soldiers. (Xian, China, 2015.)

The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were rediscovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses.

Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.

The Mausoleum

In addition to the warriors, an entire necropolis built for the emperor was found surrounding the first emperor’s tomb mound. The earthen tomb mound is located at the foot of Mount Li and built in a pyramidal shape with Qin Shi Huang’s necropolis complex constructed as a microcosm of his imperial palace or compound.

According to the writings of historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE), work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne. The project eventually involved 700,000 workers.

Construction

The terracotta army figures were manufactured in workshops by government laborers and local craftsmen using local materials. Heads, arms, legs, and torsos were created separately and then assembled.  Eight face molds were most likely used, with clay added after assembly to provide individual facial features. It is believed that the warriors’ legs were made in much the same way that terracotta drainage pipes were manufactured at the time. This would classify the process as assembly line production, with specific parts manufactured and assembled after being fired, as opposed to crafting one solid piece and subsequently firing it.

In those times of tight imperial control, each workshop was required to inscribe its name on items produced to ensure quality control. This has aided modern historians in verifying which workshops were commandeered to make tiles and other mundane items for the terracotta army. Upon completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.

The terracotta figures are life-sized. They vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle in accordance with rank. Most originally held real weapons such as spears, swords, or crossbows. Originally, the figures were also painted with bright pigments, variously colored pink, red, green, blue, black, brown, white and lilac.  The colored lacquer finish, individual facial features, and weapons used in producing these figures increased the figures’ realism. Most of the original weapons were looted shortly after the creation of the army, or have rotted away, while the color coating flaked off or greatly faded.

(Click to expand)

The Forbidden City

Qin Shi Huang never lived in the Forbidden City – his capital was in Xian, hundreds of miles south of Beijing. But for hundreds of years, the Forbidden City was the palace of the Chinese Emperor.

For Discussion: How and why do governments regulate the flow of people and information?

The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China, near Beijing.
The Great Wall of China at its most iconic and impressive. (Badaling, China, 2015.)

An Epic National Project

The history of the Great Wall of China began when fortifications built by various states during the Spring and Autumn (771–476 BC) and Warring States periods (475–221 BC) were connected by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, to protect his newly founded Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) against incursions by nomads from Inner Asia. The walls were built of rammed earth, constructed using forced labor, and by 212 BC ran from Gansu to the coast of southern Manchuria.

Later dynasties adopted different policies towards northern frontier defense. The Han (202 BC – 220 AD), the Northern Qi (550–574), the Sui (589–618), and particularly the Ming (1369–1644) were among those that rebuilt, re-manned, and expanded the Walls, although they rarely followed Qin’s routes. The Han extended the fortifications furthest to the west, the Qi built about 990 miles of new walls, while the Sui mobilized over a million men in their wall-building efforts. Conversely, the Tang (618–907), the Song (960–1279), the Yuan (1271–1368), and the Qing (1644–1911) mostly did not build frontier walls, instead opting for other solutions to the Inner Asian threat like military campaigning and diplomacy.

The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 5,500 miles. This is made up of 3,889 miles sections of actual wall, 223 miles of trenches and 1,387 miles of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 13,171 miles.

Although a useful deterrent against raids, at several points throughout its history the Great Wall failed to stop enemies, including in the Yuan – lead by Kublai Khan – in 1271 and in 1644 when the Manchu Qing marched through the gates of Shanhai Pass and replaced the most ardent of the wall-building dynasties, the Ming, as rulers of China.

The Great Wall of China visible today largely dates from the Ming dynasty, as they rebuilt much of the wall in stone and brick, often extending its line through challenging terrain. Some sections remain in relatively good condition or have been renovated, while others have been damaged or destroyed for ideological reasons, deconstructed for their building materials, or lost due to the ravages of time. Long an object of fascination for foreigners, the wall is now a revered national symbol and a popular tourist destination.

Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

Watch towers and garrisons such as these were strategically positioned so that they could communicate with the next station along the wall through smoke signals, flags, or drums. (Badaling, China, 2015.)

Characteristics

Before the use of bricks, the Great Wall was mainly built from rammed earth, stones, and wood. During the Ming, however, bricks were heavily used in many areas of the wall, as were materials such as tiles, lime, and stone. The size and weight of the bricks made them easier to work with than earth and stone, so construction quickened. Additionally, bricks could bear more weight and endure better than rammed earth. Stone can hold under its own weight better than brick, but is more difficult to use. Consequently, stones cut in rectangular shapes were used for the foundation, inner and outer brims, and gateways of the wall.

Battlements line the uppermost portion of the vast majority of the wall, with defensive gaps a little over 30 cm (12 in) tall, and about 23 cm (9.1 in) wide. From the parapets, guards could survey the surrounding land. Communication between the army units along the length of the Great Wall, including the ability to call reinforcements and warn garrisons of enemy movements, was of high importance. Signal towers were built upon hill tops or other high points along the wall for their visibility. Wooden gates could be used as a trap against those going through. Barracks, stables, and armories were built near the wall’s inner surface.

The wall stretches along the crest of the mountains – a strategic decision, meaning that any potential attackers would have to dismount and attack while climbing up hill – literally as far as the eye can see. (Badaling, China, 2015.)

Condition

While some portions north of Beijing and near tourist centers have been preserved and even extensively renovated, in many locations the Wall is in disrepair. Those parts might serve as a village playground or a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads. Sections of the Wall are also prone to graffiti and vandalism, while inscribed bricks were pilfered and sold on the market for up to 50 renminbi. Parts have been destroyed because the Wall is in the way of construction. A 2012 report by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage states that 22% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared, while 1,219 miles of wall have vanished.More than 37 mile of the wall in Gansu province may disappear in the next 20 years, due to erosion from sandstorms.

In its original construction, this section of the wall was narrower than the more impressive section at Badaling.  In addition, many of its bricks have disappeared over the centuries, leaving the modern explorer little choice but to pass on the dry clay along the wall. (Jinshanling, China, 2010.)

The Great Firewall

Modern China is a one party state – a country ruled by one authoritarian Communist Party that carefully limits dissent, protest, and alternative points of view.  In fact, the Chinese government has a tradition of keeping its watchful eye on all media. Since the rapid growth of the World Wide Web in the 1990s it has constantly invented new ways of censorship to control the world’s most democratic medium, the Internet, as well. Not everything on the Internet can be accessed from within China.  The sophisticated tools used by the government to block websites that might embarrass or weaken the party are referred to as the Great Firewall of China.

It is estimated that some 30,000 Chinese civil servants are monitoring Internet traffic and blocking content that is deemed undesirable. Typing in sensitive keywords such as “democracy”, “Dalai Lama” or “Tiananmen 1989” in a search engine results in an error message. Repeated attempts by a user to search for such a sensitive topic can result in temporary disconnection of internet service.  Websites of a sensitive nature are blocked. Internet service providers also (self) censor, as do individuals: many people do not express their real thoughts because they know these will be censored anyway.

Sites Blocked in China

Chinese Equivalents to American Web Sites. Most of these familiar American sites and apps are blocked by the Great Firewall.
Chinese Equivalents to American Web Sites. Most of these familiar American sites and apps are blocked by the Great Firewall.

For Discussion: In what ways is the Great Firewall similar in function to the Great Wall?  In your opinion, do you think this strategy will work in the long term?

Huashan is the western mountain of the Five Great Mountains of China and has a long history of religious significance. Since as early as the 2nd century BC, Daoists have believed that the god of the underworld lives inside the mountain. Pilgrims have been coming here since that time in search of blessings, immortality, and plants used in traditional Chinese medicine. The route up the mountain has been called one of the most dangerous hikes in the world.
What is striking about this map, which hangs in classrooms all over China?

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Life Outside the Lines Paperworks is my family’s line of bespoke notebooks featuring photographs from our many travels around the world – many of which can also be seen on here at Openendedsocialstudies! Many of the lessons on this site began as scribbles in journals just like these!

Available designs include:

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Call for Contributors -An Open Ended World History

Any educators out there interesting in contributing to an open source world history text? This would be posted on Openendedsocialstudies.org and made available for free for anyone – schools, teachers, students – struggling with a lack of quality digital resources during these distanced, virtual times.

Ancient World History: An Open Ended History is a free online history textbook adapted and expanded upon from open sources. It is an attempt to develop a middle school world history course that is truly expansive – a true world history, in other words. While it examines historical events and figures, its approach is cultural and thematic.  The text does not aim to be strict chronology of the world – rather, it is a primer for the student who is not a specialist in history.  A primer for being a semi-informed citizen of the world. As such, it features many “digressions” into societies and cultures that don’t always make the cut in conventional textbooks. It is also a work in progress, especially over the 2020-2021 school year.  Please use and share freely – to supplement or replace what you have at hand. 
If you would like to contribute chapters to the ongoing project, please click here.

Chapters will include, but are not limited to:

  • Human Origins
  • Ancient India
  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient China
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Sub-Saharan African Kingdoms of the Ancient World
  • Ancient Americas
  • Aboriginal Oceania
  • Comparative World Religions
  • Art of the Ancient World

If one of these topics interests you, drop me a line and let’s hash it out!

 

Free Online, Open Source Textbook for Middle or High School – The United States: An Open Ended History

The United States: An Open Ended History is a free online history textbook adapted and expanded upon from open sources.  Its chapters are designed to address most state standards, splitting the difference between overarching themes, concise summary, and the kinds of vivid, personal details that make history memorable to the average student.  Please use and share freely – to supplement or replace what you have at hand.

One – A Not So-Distant Past: Native America (Until 1600)
  1. North America’s First People
  2. The Pristine Myth: How Native Americans Shaped Their World
  3. A Collision of Worlds: The Legacy of Columbus
Two – A New World: Colonial America (1600 – 1754)
  1. Jamestown: English Settlers in the Land of the Powhatan
  2. Massachusetts: Church and State in the Land of the Wampanoag
  3. An Overview of the English Colonies in America
  4. The Origins of Servitude and Slavery in Colonial America
Three – Common Sense and Independence: The Revolutionary Era (1754 – 1788)
  1. Join, or Die: The French and Indian War
  2. Agitation, Taxation, and Representation by Other Means
  3. The Shot Heard Round the World, Common Sense, and Independence
  4. The Revolutionary War: With a Little Help from our Friends
  5. A New Nation in Crisis: Shays Rebellion and the U.S. Under the Articles
  6. The Constitution: A Second Draft of American Democracy
Four – A More Perfect Union: The Early Republic (1788-1824)
  1. President Washington and the Origins of Party Politics
  2. Adams, Jefferson, and Competing Visions for the New Republic
  3. Foreign Adventures in the New Republic
  4. The Era of Good Feelings and Others Who Were Not So Lucky
Five – New Frontiers: Economic, Social, and Westward Expansion (1824-1850)
  1. Andrew Jackson, For and Against the Common Man
  2. I Will Not Retreat a Single Inch: Reformers Make Themselves Heard
  3. Manifest Destiny, Westward Expansion, and the Conquest of Mexico
Six – The Gathering Storm: Sectionalism and a Nation in Crisis (1850-1865)
  1. Sectionalism in the Fractured 1850s
  2. A Nation Divided Against Itself
  3. To Break Our Bonds of Affection: The Coming of the Civil War
  4. Gettysburg to Appomattox and Beyond: A New Birth of Freedom
Appendix – Student Activities

THIS UNIT WAS INDEPENDENTLY FINANCED BY OPENENDEDSOCIALSTUDIES.ORG.

If you value the free resources we offer, please consider making a modest contribution to keep this site going and growing.


Ancient World History: A Free, Open Textbook in Progress

Ancient World History: An Open Ended History is a free online history textbook adapted and expanded upon from open sources. It is an attempt to develop a middle school world history course that is truly expansive – a true world history, in other words. While it examines historical events and figures, its approach is cultural and thematic.  The text does not aim to be strict chronology of the world – rather, it is a primer for the student who is not a specialist in history.  A primer for being a semi-informed citizen of the world. As such, it features many “digressions” into societies and cultures that don’t always make the cut in conventional textbooks. 

Who’s interested in supporting this project? If you’d like to become a contributor, please click here.
If you’re interested in making a financial contribution – they really help me devote the necessary time to developing this resource – please do so here with “World History” in comment.

Early Humans

  • What Is It That Makes Humans Unique? (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): Read about some of the characteristics that distinguish humans from other life on Earth.ACTIVITY: Interpreting Paleolithic and Neolithic Culture: Students try their hand at interpreting examples of paleolithic art from around the globe.ACTIVITY: Come Join the Neolithic Revolution: Students create an advertisement recruiting paleolithic peoples to adopt the neolithic way of life.

Chefchaouen: The Blue City and the Moroccan Quest for Independence

This lesson was reported from:


For Your Consideration:
  1. How does the story of Chefchaouen reflect the larger history of Morocco?
  2. How did Chefchaouen become blue?
  3. Who controls Chefchaouen today – Moroccans or foreigners?  Support your opinion.
  4. What makes your town unique?  What kind of viral marketing campaign could you create around these characteristics?  Design it and share it with the class.

The Medina of Chefchaouen.
The medina of Chefchaouen – densely clustered, multipurpose buildings, many of which are both homes and businesses.

Chefchaouen is a small town of about 45,000 people. It is located in Morocco’s Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen is not wholly dissimilar to a number of other towns scattered throughout this rocky region – except that this ancient settlement looks like it was made for Instagram. Many of its buildings, many of its streets – most of its visible surfaces – are painted in vivid shades of blue.

What’s going on here?

Chefchaouen was originally founded in 1471 CE. At the time, it was known simply as Chaouen, which loosely translates as “The Peaks” in Arabic, a reference to the tall, foreboding mountainside onto which the fortified settlement was built. In these hardscrabble early days, the humble village served as a base for a fierce Berber resistance against the recent Portuguese invasion of North Africa.

In this defiant effort, the inhabitants of Chaouen were moderately successful. The remote village was never directly conquered by any European power. Chaouen would remain free and independent into the twentieth century, even as much of the rest of the nation came under foreign control. The disclaimer attached to this impressive four hundred year record is, of course, that despite the best efforts of Chaouen’s freedom fighters, no amount of Berber resistance would ever repel a European power from Morocco by force.

This humble reality was a sudden reversal of fortunes for the proud people of Morocco.

Almohad1200
The Islamic Almohad dynasty, based in modern day Morocco, and surrounding states, including the Christian kingdoms of Portugal, León, Castile, Navarre, and the Crown of Aragon, c. 1200 CE.  Before these Christian kingdoms united to conquer the area that would become Spain, the Iberian Peninsula was controlled and colonized for hundreds of years by Moroccans.

Morocco’s great dynasties, in decline by the time of Chaouen’s fifteenth century founding, offer one of the few examples in world history of a non-European power colonizing Europe instead of the inverse.

Beginning around 700 CE, successive Moroccan empires had been the dominant force in western Mediterranean world. Moroccan emperors ruled over the Iberian Peninsula, which includes modern Spain and Portugal. This long reign ensured a strong and lasting Moroccan influence in the language, art, and architecture of the Iberian Peninsula – but also a deep-seated resentment for its Islamic conquerors. The Christian peoples of Spain and Portugal fought a century-long struggle to liberate themselves from Moroccan dominance.

Their zeal also included often violent purges of any non-Christian people left behind in the wake of Morocco’s retreat.

IMG_3878
The sun rises between the towering peaks that lend Chefchaouen its name.

In 1492, Chaouen received a tide of Jewish and Muslim refugees, expelled by royal decree from a newly-unified and fiercely Christian Spain.

This traumatic arrival would transform Chaouen for all time. You can force a people from their homeland, but they will always carry that homeland with them in their language, their architecture, and in their hearts.

Previously, Chaouen had been a small military enclave – homogeneous and reflective of a proud Berber heritage. Suddenly it was a cosmopolitan blend of Maghreb (the Arabic name for North Africa) and Andalusia (the Arabic name for the Iberian Peninsula). The new refugees built their homes in the Spanish style – with tiled roofs, centered around open courtyards, designed to accommodate extended families in communal spaces. The newcomers continued to speak a form of Spanish that would persist – increasingly blended with Berber and Arabic – until the modern day.

Despite this new diversity, mistrust of the outside world only intensified in Chaouen. For centuries afterward, Christians were banned upon punishment of death from entering the walled city – a lingering, telling example of how traumatic acts of prejudice can be cyclical for generations, long after the original wrong has faded from living memory…

In 1912, during the final decades of the European colonial scramble, Morocco fell decisively under the dominion of France and Spain. It was a prize divided by mutual agreement in order to keep a third rival, Germany, out of North Africa. Unfortunately, this arrangement was devised with no input from the Moroccan king or his people. After nearly five hundred years, the long, falling arc from mighty empire to dependent colony was complete.

By virtue of this European treaty, Spain would control the northern swath of the country that included Chaouen. Spanish soldiers occupied the town during much of this colonial period. They were reputedly the first Christians to enter this fiercely-independent town, and they remained, with one exception, until 1956.  During the 1920s, the Spaniards would be forced to withdraw when Berber rebels, once again based in Chaouen and its surrounding environs, launched the Rif War, a hard-fought but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to claim self-rule for their homeland.

It was after this failed rebellion, for reasons lost to history, that the town – previously a nondescript Moroccan adobe, accented with splashes of Islamic green like so many other mountain towns – adopted its distinctive, omnipresent blue palette. Some tour guides speculate that this new color scheme represented the clear, cloudless sky that hangs like a dome over this arid country. Others suggest that blue, a color with strong ties to Judaism, is symbolic of the many descendants of the 1492 refugees who still adhere to that faith.

In Morocco, house painting is a traditionally feminine activity. So, we are left to wonder, who was the first resident of Chefchaouen to paint her house blue? And who was the first neighbor to say, “Hey, that looks pretty good – I’m going to do that, too!”

We’ll never know, but this mountaintop wave of blue was a viral trend that anticipated social media by a hundred years.

The only thing that we know for certain is that the bold blue wash is an accurate representation of the town’s independent spirit. Chefchaouen looks different from any other city in the world, and maybe that’s the point.

Chefchaouen, a town that at first glance seems to have arisen in some other, more magical, more whimsical world than our own, has become an unlikely tourist destination. In the twenty-first century, the town’s idiosyncratic color has brought the town an out-sized fame among travelers from as far away as the United States and China.

A town founded on resistance to the foreign occupation of Morocco now welcomes hundreds of thousands of foreigners every year.

These tourists, enchanted by the town’s singular beauty, sleep in Chefchaouen’s hotels, eat in its restaurants, and spend money in its shops. They are the dominant force supplying the town with a degree of wealth well beyond that of many similar-sized Moroccan communities.

Violence in Chefchaouen is a thing of the past. But it’s an open question as to whether a few hundred cans of blue paint, tastefully applied, won the centuries-long contest for Morocco’s Rif Mountains – or simply opened the latest chapter in the saga.

THIS LESSON WAS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH A GENEROUS GRANT FROM THE QATAR FOUNDATION.

Rules for Plantation Management (1853)

This lesson can be used with The United States: An Open Ended History, a free online textbook.  Adapted in part from open sources.

Plantation Management, De Bow’s xiv (February 1853): 177-8 The following rules for the instruction of overseers, and the Management of  Negroes, are by Mr. St. Geo Cocke, one of the wealthiest and most  intelligent planters of the old dominion. They are worthy of the note of  planters everywhere: 


PLANTATION MANAGEMENT. POLICE. 

1st. It is strictly required of the manager that he rise at the dawn of day  every morning; that he blow a horn for the assembling of the hands; require  all hands to repair to a certain and fixed place in ten minutes after the  blowing of the horn, and there himself see that all are present, or notice  absentees; after which the hands will receive their orders and be started to  their work under charge of the foreman. The stable will generally be the  most convenient place for the assembling of all hands after morning call. 

2nd. All sick negroes will be required to report to the manager at morning  call, either in person, if able to do so, or through others, when themselves  confined to the house. 

3rd. Immediately after morning call, the manager will himself repair to the  stable, together with the ploughmen, and see to the proper feeding, cleaning  and gearing of the horses. He will also see to the proper feeding and care of  the stock at the farm yard. 

4th. As soon as the horse and stock have been fed and otherwise attended  to, the manager will take his breakfast; and immediately after, he will visit  and prescribe for the sick, and then repair to the fields to look after the  hands; and he will remain with them as constantly as possible during every  day. 

5th. The sick should be visited not only every morning immediately after  breakfast, but as such other times of the day and night as cases may  require. Suitable medicine, diet, and other treatment, be prescribed, to be  administered by the nurse; or in more critical cases, the physician should be  sent for. An intelligent and otherwise suitable woman will be appointed as a nurse upon each plantation, who will administer medicine and otherwise  attend upon the sick. 

6th. There will be stated hours for the negroes to breakfast and dine, and  those hours must be regularly observed. Breakfast will be at eight o’clock,  and dinner at one o’clock. There will be a woman to cook for the hands, and  she must be required to serve the meals regularly at those hours. The manager will frequently inspect the meals as they are brought by the cook,  see that they have been properly prepared, and that vegetables be at all  times served with the meat and bread. 

7th. The manager will, every Sunday morning after breakfast, visit and  inspect every quarter, see that the houses and yards are kept clean and in  order, and that the families are dressed in clean clothes. 

8th. Comfortable and ample quarters will be provided for the negroes. Each  family will have a separate room with fireplace, to be furnished with beds,  bedsteads, and blankets, according to the size of the family; each room will,  also, be furnished with a table, chairs, or benches, and chest for the clothes,  a few tin plates and cans, a small iron pot for cooking, &c. 

9th. The clothing to be furnished each year will be as follows: —  To each man and boy, 1 woolen coat, 1 pair do. pants, 1 pair of do. socks, 1  shirt, 1 pair of shoes, 1 wool hat, and a blanket every second year, to be  given 15th of November. 1 shirt, 1 pair of cotton pants, 1 straw hat, 1 pair  of shoes, to be given 1st of June.  To each woman and girl, 1 woolen frock, and to those who work in the field 1 woolen cape, 1 cotton shift, 1 pair stockings, 1 pair shoes, 1 cotton head  handkerchief, 1 summer suit of frock and shift, a blanket every second year,  and to women with more than one child, 2 blankets every second year. To children under 10 years of age, 1 winter and summer suit each. 

10th. Provisions will be issued weekly as follows: Field Hands . To each man, three and a half pounds bacon, and one and a half pecks meal. To each woman, girl and boy, two and a half pounds bacon, and one peck meal.  InDoor Hands. To each man and boy, two pounds bacon, and one peck corn  meal. To each woman and girl, two pounds bacon, and one peck corn meal.  to each child over two years and under ten years, one pound bacon, and  half a peck of corn meal.  To the above will be added milk, buttermilk, and molasses, at intervals, and  at all times vegetables, and fresh meat occasionally. 

11th. As much of the clothing must be made on the plantation as possible, wool and cotton should be grown in sufficient quantities for this purpose, and the women having young children be required to spin and weave the  same, and the managers’ wives will be expected to give particular attention  to this department, so essential to economical management. 

12th. A vegetable or kitchen garden will be established and well cultivated,  so that there may be, at all seasons, an abundance of wholesome and nutritious vegetables for the negroes, such as cabbages, potatoes, turnips, beets, peas, beans, pumpkins, &c. 

13th. A horn will be sounded every night at nine o’clock, after every negro  will be required to be at his quarters, and to retire to rest, and that this rule  may be strictly enforced, the manager will frequently, but at irregular and  unexpected hours of the night, visit the quarters and see that all are present, or punish absentees. 

14th. Each manager will do well to organize in his neighborhood, whenever practicable, patrol parties, in order to detect and punish irregularities of the  negroes, which are generally committed at night. But lest any patrol party  visit his plantation without apprising him of their intention, he will order the  negroes to report to him every such visit, and he will promptly, upon receiving such report, join the patrol party and see that they strictly conform  to the law whilst on this plantation, and abstain from committing any abuse. 

Environmental Social Studies

  • Californios Verdes and Your Public Purpose Project: Can young people change the world, or are they stuck with the messy one that adults are planning to hand to them? Learn about the Californios Verdes, a group of young people inspired to take action on behalf of the environment in their hometown of La Paz, Mexico. Based on this model, students will devise their own public purpose project – a year-long project devised and carried out by students to improve quality of life, raise environmental awareness, or in some other way positively impact their community.
  • Where do you fit into Earth’s Ecosystems? (Even the Ones You’ve Never Seen with Your Own Two Eyes): Read about John Steinbeck, the American author who took part in a voyage to collect scientific samples of species in the Sea of Cortez.  His vivid writing is an entry point for students into a discussion of ecosystems, ecosystem goods and services, and human impacts on ecosystems.  Afterwards, students will apply these concepts to surveying, quantifying, and mapping their own ecological footprint.
  • Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon: Until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the Amazon Rainforest was incapable of sustaining large scale human development.  New findings have challenged this view, and evidence of ancient agriculture suggests that humans once developed this fragile region in ways so subtle that – in the form of carefully managed soils and prehistoric orchards – they have been hiding in plain sight all this time, challenging the basic tenants of “agriculture” as western eyes tend to recognize it.
  • The Pristine Myth: How Native Americans Shaped Their World (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities) For millennia before the arrival of Columbus, Native Americans shaped the environment around them to suit their needs, often in ways that were invisible from a European perspective.
  • The Three Sisters: Background information on the agricultural combination of maize (corn), beans, and squash that formed the backbone of the Mesoamerican and North American civilization, plus suggested activities.

“The Filipino is Worth Dying For” (What Ninoy really said)

“I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?
I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource.” – Ninoy Aquino

Find out why Ninoy said, “The Filipino is Worth Dying For” in Ninoy and Marcos – “A Pact with the Devil is No Pact at All.”

This lesson is a part of a larger unit on the Philippines, free for use in your classroom: At the Crossroads of the World.  
  • Islands in a Friendly Sea: Some Basics of Filipino History and Culture (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): Who are the Filipinos?  What is their history and culture?  How has it been shaped by island geography?  By contact with the outside world?
  • Manila at the Crossroads of World Trade (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): For more than three centuries, Manila was one of the crown jewels of the Spanish Empire, sitting at the intersection of global trade between Asia, the Americas, and Europe.  How did this global trade shape the Philippines – and how did the Philippines shape global trade?
  • The Origins of the Philippine-American War (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): How did the Filipinos gain independence from Spain, only to have it snatched away by their alleged ally, the United States?  How does this experience resonate in both Philippine and U.S. history?
  • The Brutality of the Philippine-American War (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): Why was the Philippine-American War so violent?  Did this violence help or hinder the goals of each side?  Should there be rules that govern the conduct of war?
  • The Philippines in the American Empire (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): After nearly 400 years, how did independence finally come to the Philippines?  Was the United States conquest of the Philippines an anomaly in its history, or was it business as usual?
  • “The White Man’s Burden”: Kipling’s Hymn to U.S. Imperialism (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): Full text of this imperialist poem, as well as an answer in the form of an anti-imperialist parody.
  • Stereoscopic Visions of War and Empire (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): This exhibit juxtaposes the visual message presented by the stereoscopic images with excerpts from the letters written by U.S. soldiers that were first published in local newspapers and later collected in the Anti-Imperialist League’s pamphlet, allowing us to get a glimpse of the Philippine-American War as it was presented to Americans at home, reading the news or entertaining friends in their parlors.
  • In The Trenches: Harper’s Weekly Covers the Philippine-American War (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities):  How did the American media cover the war in the Philippines?  An excerpt from “In The Trenches” by John F. Bass, originally published in Harper’s Weekly.
  • Ninoy and Marcos – “A Pact with the Devil is No Pact at All.” (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities):  Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Cory Aquino, and the People Power Revolution toppled the kleptocratic Marcos regime through nonviolence, answering with their lives the question, “Is the Filipino worth dying for?”

3 Signs of a Hypocritical Classroom

Some great thoughts and insights on education from a colleague whom I admire… As usual when she writes, I couldn’t possibly dream of saying it better myself:

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The entire conference room- there must be over 500 teachers in here- has been conscripted into a 9 a.m. line dance.  Everyone’s supposed to stand up and copy this ridiculously enthusiastic morning writhing in unison with all the other strangers.  I hate it.  It’s my worst nightmare, minus the ebola.  I’m hiding in the back behind a piling thinking I would only do something like this if it were a wedding, open bar, and we were making up our own moves and giggling.

In other words, we if we had some autonomy.  

The irony is that one of the big messages in these conference sessions is that to create cohesion in a classroom- thereby creating an engaged, compassionate, and high-achieving community- you must give students choice and control.  Autonomy.  It’s weird to me that they’re starting today with brainless, compliance-based call and response.

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