Monday, February 27, 2012

Clear and Present Danger....

Here is a picture of a Minnesota farmer who was tarred and feathered for speaking out against American involvement in World War I. In Freshman Social Studies, we are wrapping up World War I. During the war years, sedition laws were instituted to prevent people speaking against the war.

"The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that th"eir utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right."

Students have wondered about what limits can be placed on our free speech. For example, is it fine to criticize the war (it is). It is interesting to see how this ruling could be tested in today's internet world.

Regardless, many citizens lost their civil rights in the troubled World War I era--a time when many Americans looked at a European war as their problem and not ours.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War

Students in AP European History are learning about the Crimean War, a war that led to the break up of the concert of Europe. Russian designs on the straits of Constantinople were met with a combined force of British, French and Italian troops. The result was a "Vietnam' war of sorts that took men and material. Russia lost over 400,000 men.

The dead were evacuated to the hospital on the Asia side of the Bosporus, at Scutari. There a wealthy Englishwoman, Florence Nightingale, traveled and using new methods of nursing helped to reorganize the hospital and save lives. She was called the lady with the lamp because at night she went from bed to bed comforting the soldiers. A poem was written about her by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, entitled "The Lady with the Lamp."

The wounded from the battle-plain,
In dreary hospitals of pain,
The cheerless corridors,
The cold and stony floors.

Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom,
And flit from room to room