Thursday, August 22, 2019

Twayne’s Social Movements Essay Example for Free

Twayne’s Social Movements Essay Introduction   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It has often been said that the work of all good authors are shaped by the times through which they live, for with personal experience, the author is given the unique ability to temper even research of past events with their own trials and tribulations.   Such is the case when looking at the work of the controversial author Herbert Aptheker, whose unique historical perspective was influenced by his life experiences, political beliefs, and the changing world around him.   In this research, one of Aptheker’s pivotal works, â€Å"Abolitionism: A revolutionary Movement† will be the focus, along with other works of his being considered to add depth to the research, as well as the facts of the life of this controversial author himself. Author’s Thesis   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Overall, Aptheker’s thesis, not only in this work but in many others which he wrote in a very prolific career, is that slave labor is a key element which made it possible for the United States to be able to reach the economic, military, and cultural heights that it did in less than a century from its foundation, and also that slaves made it possible for many people to become wealthy at the expense of people who simply had no say in the matter.   Therefore, Aptheker maintains, there is a level of reparation which the descendants of slaves are entitled to receive.   This thesis, it appears, has a substantial basis in the political beliefs of Herbert Aptheker himself. Further research into Aptheker the individual has indicated that he, by many accounts, was an avowed Marxist and Socialist, and these beliefs tempered his analysis of the practice of slavery, its abolition, and the firm belief that while slaves contributed a great deal to the advancement of American society, those who were slaves of course did not receive their fair share of the fruits of their labors, and that slaves had a great deal more potential to realize than what they did in their slave roles, and of course in many cases fulfilled their greatest potential only after being freed from the bondage of slavery itself.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Aptheker’s thesis makes more sense, in fact, when it is compared to the ideas of Marxism, which likewise proclaims that those who are enslaved by the wealthy in society must in fact rise up and claim their own rightful piece of the fruits of labor, lest they be crushed under the feet of those who would use them for their muscle and effort, without providing them with just compensation for the amount of work they have put in to whatever they are doing.            Book Summary   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   â€Å"Abolitionism† is as unique a book as was the author that wrote it.   Overall, what the book succeeds in doing is to overturn all of the conventional myths about the practice of slavery in the early southern United States from several different perspectives.   To begin, Aptheker challenges the myth that all of the people who lived in the southern United States in the years prior to the American Civil War were all strongly in favor of slavery. Rather, Aptheker maintains in the book, those show supported slavery in the south were essentially those who were able to benefit financially from the practice of slavery itself, such as the plantation owners who used huge numbers of slave laborers in order to allow for the harvesting of crops in efficient and inexpensive ways, thereby maximizing profits (Aptheker).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Moving forward in Aptheker’s book, he then challenges the assertion that those who fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War were all pro-slavery.   Rather, Aptheker maintains, many of these individuals were either interested in maintaining freedom from what they saw as an increasingly oppressive federal government, or simply to protect their homes and families from the invading armies of the north. Therefore, these were not slavery supporters but were simply doing what most people would do in a similar situation-protect their land and loved ones.   Additionally, the author also makes it clear that freed slaves could, and did, contribute a great deal to the political climate of the United States, and were in fact highly regarded by whites, thereby totally debunking the myth that once a slave, always seen as a slave by others (Aptheker).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Ultimately, having defeated many of the myths of American slavery, Aptheker moves forward with his discussion of â€Å"Abolitionism† by discussing how the slave labor of the early United States in fact helped to build up the early United States, and since this progress would not have been possible without slaves, these same slaves, or more correctly the descendants of these slaves, are in fact entitled to financial reparations in a way of compensating them for the hardships inflicted upon them at the hands of slave owners (Aptheker).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Overall, what one sees in reviewing Aptheker’s book is a challenging of the misconceptions about slavery, the fight against slavery, and the aftermath.   As was mentioned in earlier portions of this research, the author’s theories seem to have been shaped as much by his life experience and political leanings as anything. How the Author Wrote the Book   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It was stated earlier in the research that Aptheker seems to have relied heavily on his life experiences and political opinions in the writing of â€Å"Abolitionism†, and this is a more reliable fact when the book is looked at in a much closer manner.   Beyond this, Aptheker also utilized historical material in the form of primary materials to form the foundation of his book.   There is also something much more important that Aptheker used in the writing of this particular book which makes it all the more unique and compelling. This book was written in the final years of Aptheker’s life- a life which led him to study the human condition, write and lecture on it extensively, and fearlessly state his opinions on the topic, many times to his own disadvantage.   What this has done, however, is allowed an insight that very few authors could ever achieve, and this comes through in this, and many other works of Aptheker’s. An Opinion of the Book   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In one humble opinion, based on research, Aptheker’s book is a well researched, eye-opening work, as long as the reader keeps in mind that the author has a very specific political slant in writing it.   However, it must also be noted that the researcher was impressed by the fact that this book was able to challenge myths that are based on only a few opinions, and that Aptheker took the chance of using established research, modern political theory, and logical conclusions to put together not only an historic work of research, but also insightful social commentary. Conclusion   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In this research, a controversial man and his insightful book about a controversial topic have been discussed and analyzed.   More importantly, however, it seems that in the final analysis, Herbert Aptheker and his vast body of work have forced all of us to take a closer look at ourselves. Putting aside what some would consider to be Aptheker’s questionable political beliefs, what we see when looking at the man and his work with a healthy dose of tolerance and respect for his point of view is a man who understood all too well the depths to which the human mind can plummet in pursuit of its own goals, how innocent people can be hurt in the process, and also how the struggle against the establishment has taken place in the past and must continue in the future.   In conclusion, perhaps this is Aptheker’s most lasting legacy.

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