Today in class we discussed two paintings: The first photo is pre civil war. It shows the time of possibility and opportunity, a chance to achieve transcendence. This photo represents how one may face many obstacles and difficulties on their way to achieving transcendence; however, the photo represents that all of the struggles one may face pay off once they do reach transcendentalism. This photo also represents how ones connection to nature can lead to transcendence as well. This photo represents the time of hope and promotion of the individual to achieve transcendence. After the civil war all of the hope and promotion of individuals changed. After the civil war people were confused and it was a time of lose. The United states had lost over 625,000 males because of the war. The US questioned the role of women and slaves. The second photo represents the struggles of the people of the united states. The people could no longer find a path to transcendence and the hardship and struggles were never ending. This picture shows the time of struggle, hardship, and hard work of the people of the United States. We talked about how we are going to be reading two books focusing on the time period after the civil war. We also discussed how these books may have uncomfortable scenes or subjects to discuss. In order to discuss and learn from these situations we should support one another and make the classroom a safe space to talk about these issues. With that background information, Let's get started!! Today in class we discussed two pieces of literature that took place around the time of the American Civil War. The first was a speech written by Frederick Douglass, and the second was a poem written by Walt Whitman. In Douglass' speech, he begins very cautiously, guarding his tongue while constantly showing his respect for his white audience. However, he turns his caution into aggressive critiques regarding the need for abolition of slavery. He uses "you" to distinguish/blame the whites from himself because the Fourth of July does not represent the freedom for African Americans that it does for the whites. He calls the government a mockery and points out the injustices of crimes such as the Fugitive Slave Law. He offers a parallel between the colonists fighting for freedom from the injustices of Great Britain and blacks seeking equality to the whites. Yet, he also states that there is room for the nation to grow, as it is a young nation, and can perfect the vision the Founding Fathers had for America. VISION: equally for all, end all American hypocrisy. HOW TO DO IT: battle, even if it causes problems. However, while Douglass was an emancipationist, Whitman was a reconcilationist. In his poem, he refers to nature constantly, offering a comfort in life in the time of conflict (following Lincoln's assassination). These nature references reflect Whitman's transcendentalist views, offering hope in the form of nature. However, he doesn't ever mention the newly abolition of slavery, instead focussing on hope for a reconnection of the north and the south. In his mind, unity between the whites was of greater importance than black equality. On Thursday in class, we reviewed the two competing visions for America, emancipationalism and reconciliationism. We talked about how Douglass was an emancipationalist, who demanded the immediate abolition of slavery and equality for all Americans regardless of the cost to national unity, slaveholders and the economic system of the country, and the potential loss of American lives. In contrast, Whitman was a reconcicilationist, and while he believed slavery was morally wrong and should be abolished, he placed more importance on restoring national unity. After reviewing these two visions, we delved into Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, which was one of the first instances of photo-journalism, even though all the photographs were staged by the photographer. We learned how to "read" a photograph, starting with describing the composition of the picture, then identifying repeating patterns and the hierarchy of the photo, then making assertions about the message of the photograph, and finally determining whether the photo represented either an emancipationalist or reconciliationist vision. Finally, we each picked and analyzed one photograph.