History 104/Cappello Primary Source Analysis 1 of 3

History 104/Cappello Primary Source Analysis 1 of 3.

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Primary Source Analysis 1 of 3
Assigned: 23 February 2016
Due: 14 March 2016
Included in this packet are three primary source documents drawn from the historical periods covered in the
Give Me Liberty readings and the course lectures. Your job is to provide an independent analysis of one of these
documents, in essay format, using only the textbook and class lectures as points of reference. These assignments
(there will be three over the course of the semester) are designed to develop analytical skills and help students
better understand how historians engage with those things left from the past. Again, this is not a research paper.
No outside sources are to be used. That includes the internet.
Your final essay should be approximately 800 words and address much the below criteria. Because every
source is different and the act of writing is always somewhat organic, some of the topics below will be more
applicable to your particular source than others, and some may not even be relevant at all. Think analytically to
determine which among them speak to the heart of your source, then incorporate them into your essay:
Context — What historical situation produced this source? What kind of source is it? Who produced it? When?
Why? Do these factors indicate that the source may be biased? If so, what is that bias?
This section should be very concise (no more than 3-4 sentences at the start and then dive right in to the content
analysis). With such a short essay, you should avoid a long introduction at all costs.
Content I (The Elements of Argument) — What is the major point or meaning of the source in its context (this
can differ significantly from what the primary source may appear to mean to the modern observer)? Is the source
making an argument? What is the nature of that argument? Who or what is it trying to persuade? Describe the
author’s tone. Does the tone shift at any point in the document? Is it more an observation than an argument? If
so, what is it observing? How is the argument structured? How does it develop? Content I and Content II should
take up the majority of your essay.
Content II (Language, Rhetoric, and Structure) — How is the argument or observation being constructed by
the author? Does the author seem to be a good writer/speaker – how so? Does the language display bias of any
sort or ignore certain facts? What does the kind of language being employed tell you – does the author use slang
or speak “properly” or both? Is the author relatable? Does the author use imagery? Is the imagery effective?
Content I and Content II should take up the majority of your essay.
Historical Significance — Perhaps the most important factor, why is this source historically significant? To put
it another way, what does this source show us about the past? In most cases, this section belongs at the end of
your essay.
CRUCIAL: In no-way-shape-or-form am I looking for a document summary. I have already read these sources,
so write like you know I have read them. Summary should only appear in standalone form when addressing the
context aspect, and even then just sparingly. Any other incidents of summary must be weaved with larger
analytical points concerning content. Also, all arguments need to be supported with direct textual evidence (that
means you must incorporate quotes into your arguments).
The assignment is due March 14th at the beginning of class, and must be submitted as a hard copy AND via
email. One without the other counts as a non-submission. No late submissions will be accepted, as per the
Those students who would like feedback on drafts should contact me for an appointment by March 2nd. I am
available during office hours to address any issues. When in doubt, either make an appointment, consult your
notes from the analyses we’ve done in class, or examine the sample analysis posted on the course website.
Black and white sugar workers in Louisiana began organizing with the Knights of Labor in 1886. Several strikes
were broken by violence and the use of imported strike breakers. In 1887, ten thousand workers, most of them black,
walked off the sugar plantations when the planters refused to meet their demands for wages of $1.25 a day. The
governor called out the militia, angry at the sight of black and white workers on strike together. He said: “God
Almighty has himself drawn the color line.” Militia men killed four blacks. The black settlement at Thibodaux was
then attacked by militia, and at least twenty people were killed. Two strike leaders were arrested, then lynched. What
follows is a report on the strike from an African-American newspaper in Louisiana.
“Red-Handed Murder: Negroes Wantonly Killed at Thibodaux, La.” Anonymous (November 26,
Murder, foul murder has been committed and the victims were inoffensive and law-abiding Negroes.
Assassins more cruel, more desperate, more wanton than any who had hitherto practiced their
nefarious business in Louisiana have been shooting down, like so many cattle, the Negroes in and
around Thibodaux, Lafourthe parish, La.
For three weeks past the public has been regaled, daily, with garbled reports of the troubles existing
between the laborers and planters in the sugar district. Strange to say not one of these reports,
excepting two, exculpated the Negroes from any desire, or any intention so far as their actions could
be judged, of resorting to violence and bloodshed in order to secure the just and equable demand
made by them for an increase of wages. Militia from different portions of the State have been on
duty in the threatened section, and during all of this time the only acts and crimes of an outrageous
character committed were so committed by either the troops, sugar planters or those in their hire.
The Negroes during all of the time behaving peaceably, quietly and within the limits of the law,
desiring only to secure what they asked and demanding what they had and have a perfect right to
do— an increase of wages.
The planters refused to accede to their requests and at the same time ordered them from the
plantations. At this juncture, and especially was it the case at both Thibodaux and Houma, the
Knights of Labor, to which organization most of the laborers belong, hired all the empty houses in
the above towns they could, and there quartered the homeless blacks. Such unexpected action
maddened the planters and their followers, (some excepted) and as a [con]sequence they resorted to
arms and every other devilish device which the ingenuity of a few chosen spirits could devise in
order to force the Negroes to work for the wages offered.
With an obstinacy worthy of the righteousness of their cause the Negroes quartered in Thibodaux
refused to accede to the planters.
Such being the case, the planters determined to kill a number of them, thus endeavoring to force the
balance into submission. The militia was withdrawn to better accomplish this purpose, and no
sooner had they departed for home than the preparation for the killing of the Negroes began. Last
Sunday night, about 11 o’clock, plantation wagons containing strange men fully armed were driven
into Thibodaux and to Frost’s restaurant and hotel and there the strangers were quartered. Who they
were and where they came from, no one, with me exception of the planters and Judge Taylor
Beattie, seemed to know; but it is a fact that next day, Monday, [martial] law was declared and these
cavalcades of armed men put on patrol duty and no Negro allowed to either leave or enter the town
without shooters, insolent and overbearing toward the Negroes, doing all in their power to provoke
a disturbance…. Finding that the Negroes could not be provoked from their usual quiet, it was
resolved that some pretext or other should be given so that a massacre might ensue.
It came: Tuesday night the patrol shot two of their number, Gorman and Molaison, and the cry
went forth “to arms, to arms! the Negroes are killing the whites!” This was enough. The unknown
men who by this time had turned out to be Shreveport guerrillas, well versed in the Ouachita and
Red River plan of killing “niggers,” assisted by Lafourthe’s oldest and best, came forth and fired
volley after volley, into the houses, the churches, and wherever a Negro could be found.
“Six killed and five wounded” is what the daily papers here say, but from an eye witness to the whole
transaction we learn that no less than thirty-five Negroes were killed outright. Lame men and blind
women shot; children and hoary-headed grandsires ruthlessly swept down! The Negroes offered no
resistance; they could not, as the killing was unexpected. Those of them not killed took to the
woods, a majority of them finding refuge in this city.
Such is a true tale of affairs as enacted at Thibodaux. To read it makes the blood of every man, black
or white, tingle if his system is permeated with one spark of manhood. To even think that such
disregard of human life is permitted in this portion of the United States makes one question whether
or not the war was a failure?
Citizens of the United States killed by a mob directed by a State judge, and no redress for the same!
Laboring men seeking an advance in wages, treated as if they were dogs! Black men whose equality
before the law was secured at the point of the bayonet shown less consideration than serfs? This is
what is being enacted in Louisiana today, all of which is due to the Monroe speeches of Gov.
[Samuel Douglas] McEnery and Senator [James] Eustis.
At such times and upon such occasions, words of condemnation fall like snow-flakes upon molten
lead. The blacks should defend their lives, and if they needs must die, die with their faces toward
their persecutors fighting for their homes, their children and their lawful rights.
From: From Voices of A People’s History of the United States, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony
For workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company in the 1890s, home was the company town of Pullman, Illinois,
and rent was deducted from their wages. While owner George Pullman touted it as a model town, the men and women
who labored there during the 1893 depression endured starvation wages, deplorable living and working conditions,
and, worst of all, Pullman’s paternalistic control over all aspects of their lives. Workers appealed to the American
Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene Debs, which organized a nationwide strike and boycott against Pullman that
paralyzed railway traffic on twenty-four lines. This statement from a Pullman striker, delivered at the June 1894
Chicago convention of the ARU, reflected the depth of the strikers’ hatred of their employer and their commitment to
the union. The strike was broken by court injunctions and federal troops sent in by President Cleveland.
“Statement of the Pullman Strikers, U.S. Strike Commission” (Report and Testimony on the Chicago Strike
of 1894)
Mr. President and Brothers of the American Railway Union: We struck at Pullman because we were
without hope. We joined the American Railway Union because it gave us a glimmer of hope. Twenty
thousand souls, men, women, and little ones, have their eyes turned toward this convention today,
straining eagerly through dark despondency for a glimmer of the heaven-sent message you alone can
give us on this earth.
In stating to this body our grievances it is hard to tell where to begin. You all must know that the
proximate cause of our strike was the discharge of two members of our grievance committee the day
after George M. Pullman, himself, and Thomas H. Wickes, his second vice-president, had
guaranteed them absolute immunity. The more remote causes are still imminent. Five reductions in
wages, in work, and in conditions of employment swept through the shops at Pullman between May
and December, 1893 The last was the most severe, amounting to nearly 30 percent, and our rents
had not fallen. We owed Pullman $70,000 when we struck May 11. We owe him twice as much
today. He does not evict us for two reasons: One, the force of popular sentiment and public
opinion; the other because he hopes to starve us out, to break through in the back of the American
Railway Union, and to deduct from our miserable wages when we are forced to return to him the
last dollar we owe him for the occupancy of his houses.
Rents all over the city in every quarter of its vast extent have fallen, in some cases to one-half.
Residences, compared with which ours are hovels, can be had a few miles away at the prices we have
been contributing to make a millionaire a billionaire. What we pay $15 for in Pullman is leased for $8
in Roseland; and remember that just as no man or woman of our 4,000 toilers has ever felt the
friendly pressure of George M. Pullman’s hand, so no man or woman of us all has ever owned or
can ever hope to own one inch of George M. Pullman’s land. Why, even the very streets are his. . . .
He may debar any man . . . from walking in his highways. And those streets; do you know what he
has named them? He says after the four great inventors in methods of transportation. And do you
know what their names are? Why, Fulton, Stephenson, Watt, and Pullman. . . .
When we went to tell him our grievances he said we were all his “children.” Pullman, both the man
and the town, is an ulcer on the body politic. He owns the houses, the schoolhouses, and churches
of God in the town he gave his once humble name. The revenue he derives from these, the wages
he pays out with one hand—the Pullman Palace Car Company, he takes back with the other—the
Pullman Land Association. He is able by this to bid under any contract car shop in this country. His
competitors in business, to meet this, must reduce the wages of their men. This gives him the excuse
to reduce ours to conform to the market. His business rivals must in turn scale down; so must he.
And thus the merry war—the dance of skeletons bathed in human tears—goes on, and it will go on,
brothers, forever, unless you, the American Railway Union, stop it; end it; crush it out.
Our town is beautiful. In all these thirteen years no word of scandal has arisen against one of our
women, young or old. What city of 20,000 persons can show the like? Since our strike, the arrests,
which used to average four or five a day, has dwindled down to less than one a week. We are
peaceable; we are orderly, and but for the kindly beneficence of kindly-hearted people in and about
Chicago we would be starving. We are not desperate today, because we are not hungry, and our
wives and children are not begging for bread. But George M. Pullman, who ran away from the
public opinion that has arisen against him, like the genie from the bottle in the Arabian Nights, is
not feeding us. He is patiently seated beside his millions waiting for what? To see us starve. We have
grown better acquainted with the American Railway Union these convention days, and as we have
heard sentiments of the noblest philanthropy fall from the lips of our general officers—your officers
and ours—we have learned that there is a balm for all our troubles, and that the box containing it is
in your hands today only awaiting opening to disseminate its sweet savor of hope
George M. Pullman, you know, has cut our wages from 30 to 70 percent. George M. Pullman has
caused to be paid in the last year the regular quarterly dividend of 2 percent on his stock and an
extra slice of 1 1/2 percent, making 9 1/2 percent on $30,000,000 of capital. George M. Pullman,
you know, took three contracts on which he lost less than $5,000. Because he loved us? No. Because
it was cheaper to lose a little money in his freight car and his coach shops than to let his
workingmen go, but that petty loss, more than made up by us from money we needed to clothe our
wives and little ones, was his excuse for effecting a gigantic reduction of wages in every department
of his great works, of cutting men and boys and girls; with equal zeal, including everyone in the
repair shops of the Pullman Palace cars on which such preposterous profits have been made. . . .
We will make you proud of us, brothers, if you will give us the hand we need. Help us make our
country better and more wholesome. Pull us out of our slough of despond. Teach arrogant grinders
of the faces of the poor that there is still a God in Israel, and if need be a Jehovah—a God of
battles. Do this, and on that last great day you will stand, as we hope to stand, before the great white
throne “like gentlemen unafraid.”
From: Report and Testimony on the Chicago Strike of 1894 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing
Office, 1895), 87–88. Reprinted in Thomas G. Manning , The Chicago Strike of 1894 (New York: Holt,Rinehart and Winston, 1960), 2–4.SOURCE IIIThe American Anti-Imperialist League was founded in 1899, after the United States occupied Cuba and PuertoRico and the Philippine Islands. Cuba became nominally independent, although the United States retained until 1934the legal right to intervene in Cuban domestic and foreign affairs. Both Puerto Rico and the Philippines became defacto American colonies. The Filipinos revolted against American rule in February, 1899, and were suppressed in1902 after a bloody, ruthless guerrilla war. Most Americans supported overseas expansion, but many of the nation’smost illustrious citizens – including Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, and William James were appalled by Americanimperialism. In 1899 they founded the American Anti-Imperialist League in order to campaign, unsuccessfully as itturned out, against the annexation of the Philippines.“Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League,” 1899We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty and tends toward militarism, anevil from which it has been our glory to be free. We regret that it has become necessary in the landof Washington and Lincoln to reaffirm that all men, of whatever race or color, are entitled to life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We maintain that governments derive their just powers fromthe consent of the governed. We insist that the subjugation of any people is “criminal aggression”and open disloyalty to the distinctive principles of our Government.We earnestly condemn the policy of the present National Administration in the Philippines. It seeksto extinguish the spirit of 1776 in those islands. We deplore the sacrifice of our soldiers and sailors,whose bravery deserves admiration even in an unjust war. We denounce the slaughter of theFilipinos as a needless horror. We protest against the extension of American sovereignty by Spanishmethods.We demand the immediate cessation of the war against liberty, begun by Spain and continued by us.We urge that Congress be promptly convened to announce to the Filipinos our purpose to concedeto them the independence for which they have so long fought and which of right is theirs.The United States have always protested against the doctrine of international law which permits thesubjugation of the weak by the strong. A self-governing state cannot accept sovereignty over anunwilling people. The United States cannot act upon the ancient heresy that might makes right.Imperialists assume that with the destruction of self-government in the Philippines by Americanhands, all opposition here will cease. This is a grievous error. Much as we abhor the war of “criminalaggression” in the Philippines, greatly as we regret that the blood of the Filipinos is on Americanhands, we more deeply resent the betrayal of American institutions at home. The real firing line isnot in the suburbs of Manila. The foe is of our own household. The attempt of 1861 was to dividethe country. That of 1899 is to destroy its fundamental principles and noblest ideals.Whether the ruthless slaughter of the Filipinos shall end next month or next year is but an incidentin a contest that must go on until the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of theUnited States are rescued from the hands of their betrayers. Those who dispute about standards ofvalue while the foundation of the Republic is undermined will be listened to as little as those whowould wrangle about the small economies of the household while the house is on fire. The trainingof a great people for a century, the aspiration for liberty of a vast immigration are forces that willhurl aside those who in the delirium of conquest seek to destroy the character of our institutions.We deny that the obligation of all citizens to support their Government in times of grave National peril applies to the present situation. If an Administration may with impunity ignore the issues uponwhich it was chosen, deliberately create a condition of war anywhere on the face of the globe,debauch the civil service for spoils to promote the adventure, organize a truth suppressingcensorship and demand of all citizens a suspension of judgment and their unanimous support whileit chooses to continue the fighting, representative government itself is imperiled.We propose to contribute to the defeat of any person or party that stands for the forciblesubjugation of any people. We shall oppose for reelection all who in the White House or inCongress betray American liberty in pursuit of un-American ends. We still hope that both of ourgreat political parties will support and defend the Declaration of Independence in the closingcampaign of the century.We hold, with Abraham Lincoln, that “no man is good enough to govern another man without thatother’s consent. When the white man governs himself, that is self-government, but when he governshimself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government-that is despotism.” “Ourreliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit whichprizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it notfor themselves, and under a just God cannot long retain it.”We cordially invite the cooperation of all men and women who remain loyal to the Declaration ofIndependence and the Constitution of the United States.From: Speeches, Correspondence, and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, vol. 6, ed. Frederick Bancroft (NewYork: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1913), p.77

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