Archive for January, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg, People of Williamsburg

http://www.history.org/Almanack/people/index.cfm

Created and maintained by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

January 29, 2013

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has put together a list of people, who have all at one point in their lives spent some time in Colonial Williamsburg. The list comprises people from all walks of life, from slaves to prominent members of the city.

This website creators have an excellent grasp of the era in which these people that are profiled existed. The stories of these people are told from a narrative and factual way. The selection of people chosen may play a little to the social history point of view aspect in that all classes are represented, but the biographies themselves show no bias. The presentation of these individuals are very well written and done in a way that people of all ages can read and understand the material being presented. Also, the pictures of the actors portraying the individuals are a great touch. It conveyed they idea of history being alive and not just words on a page.

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The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation employs a large amount of professional historians to ensure that the history they convey is sound. As well, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation does research to answer any unique questions posed to it by visitors to both the website and the grounds. This ensures that the history stays very current. Both of these factors lead to a very up to date as well as accurate view on the people portrayed on this website.

What impressed me most about this website was not only it’s content and organization, but also its ease of use. I’m not a master of technology by any means, but navigating this website was refreshingly easy. The use of sidebars to organize the profiles by category makes navigation especially easy. As well, if the reader is interested in other subjects pertaining to the person they are reading about there are links to other areas to also read about. This encourages further reading on subjects the reading might find especially interesting.

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As stated earlier, the ease of usage on this site is what really grabbed my attention. Although the specific details of the people depicted on this site could easily be put into a book or a short film, the links to other content related to the person being read about is, again, an important point. Also, the links to other related content aren’t just limited to other web pages for more reading. There is related multimedia in the form of video and slideshows as well as interactive material.

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Blog Critique

Posted: January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Lately I have been reading a lot of arguments for and against an assault weapons bill that may be in works in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that occurred on Dec. 14, 2012. In this incident a gunman entered an elementary school and killed twenty innocent children and six staff workers with an assault weapon. Anti-gun control activists always bring up the second amendment, as was done in this blog, as it pertains to the right of all private citizens to keep and bear arms. In most of the arguments on the anti-gun control side, people cite quotes or events from history to support their argument. The danger in such practices is that certain people, often ones who love to do research, can fact check this information. As a pro gun control supporter, and a history major that loves research, I’d like to weigh in on this particular blog and point out common misconceptions.

The first point that I would like to make is if you are going to quote the founding fathers please do you research. I understand that putting the founders pictures on quotes promotes a feeling of authenticity, but that feeling quickly fades when, on a simple Google search of the quote, one of the top hits is Common Misquotes of the Founding Fathers. Mistakes such as the George Washington misquote in this blog start to raise questions as to the historical proficiency of the writer and his use of history as his evidence in the argument. The actual quote is from Washington’s first address to Congress in which he states, “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” Obviously this quote is much less dramatic and would probably not be used in any pro gun argument. On to point number two.

Every time I hear an anti gun control argument, the Nazi gun control argument comes up. On Facebook, as well as other social media sites, pictures of Adolf Hitler surrounded by children are shown alongside pictures of President Obama also with children saying that both used children in order to take people’s guns. There is only one problem with this picture. The government that preceded Hitler’s Third Reich enacted extremely strict gun control laws. And in 1928 when they finally relaxed restrictions a little they required registration of firearms. In 1938 when Adolf Hitler signed the gun law in question he actually deregulated the transfer of rifles and shotguns, thus making gun control more lax and made some people actually exempt from any restrictions whatsoever. Oh my evidence for this point is located here. Once again, this is another example of historical inaccuracy and makes me call even more into question the argument this author is trying to convey. On now to my final point, number three.

This last and final point has to do with the second amendment itself. It is argued in this blog that the second amendment was created so that the people could overthrow their government if it became tyrannical. However, one needs to see the time in which this amendment was written. After the Revolutionary War, the United States disbanded most of its Continental Army relying on conscription for defense. An example of this was the thirteen thousand militiamen that were raised to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. For this reason the second amendment was essential, especially with the nation not having a standing army for defense with the British Army located just to the north in Canada, the French to the west, and the Spanish in the south. Also why would a document, which was written to strengthen the federal government, include an amendment to help facilitate its own destruction? Finally, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia remarked in the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision that the second amendment is not unlimited.