A Proud Hypocrite

There is always one phrase on the news that gets repeated over and over again– America, the leader of the free world. First, that’s awfully pretentious. And secondly, it seems ironic that America also has the highest number of incarcerated adults per capita. The leader of the free world also has the most inmates. However, this isn’t the only example of hypocrisy in American.

Take note: this is not to bash America, it’s only to give you the facts so that you don’t blindly believe in propaganda that is blatantly not true. The most dangerous type of belief is blind faith. Don’t only listen to things that sound good, pay attention to things that sound true.

Despite constant railing against religious extremism, the US supports Israel and Saudi Arabia who are quite religiously stubborn and would like to force their faith on people who don’t believe in the same things they do. This is justified by the US’s invested interest in both countries.

America’s boasted democracy is limited to, at most, elections of the House and Senate. The President is elected by the College and everyone else in the government is appointed by other officials (elected and unelected). The two-party system is run by big corporations, with people from elite schools that has the same connections and the same policies as their predecessors. No wonder why even though America is a wealthy first-world country, it is definitely not considered one of the more progressive ones.

Another thing about America’s democracy: even though America says that democracy is the best form of government, the country has had a hand in overthrowing many fairly elected governments for their own interests, namely access to the other country’s resources.

America is a big preacher of civil rights to other countries, but there is a serious threat to such rights within the country. The gov’t admonishes other countries for their oppression of the people and being aggressive in their foreign campaigns, but they have no room to say any of that because of the problems that they themselves have in their country and their own foreign policy. The same can be said for the general American populace who seem to preach but their own conduct and situation doesn’t support their viewpoint. In terms of domestic affairs, Americans also can’t seem to keep their heads straight on what they want. They complain about gun violence, but they get defensive whenever someone so much as touches their gun laws. 9/11 remains a dark spot in America’s history, but the two atomic bombs the US dropped on Japan doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal.

An older example: the Boston Massacre that killed five civilians occurred around the same time as the veritable genocide of Native Americans. The death of entire nations of Native Americans didn’t deserve a name but a “massacre” of five people was widely publicised and the name is still used today. I understand that the word massacre was propaganda, but really, for Christians and preachers of freedom and liberty, you’d think that thousands of lives would matter more, if not to them then, then to us now. Instead, conflicts with Native Americans are at most marginal in US history classes.

Being part of a minority myself, I can’t help but feel the power of economic and political “persuasion” in everything America does and teaches in relation to foreign countries. The Nanjing Massacre at the hands of the Japanese was passed over in the unit for WWII while Germany, the Allies’ primary enemy, and its Holocaust has been put on a pedestal to overanalyse and discuss. In the end, Japan became one of America’s best friends when it came to like-mindedness of foreign policy and suffered little consequences and no long-lasting condemnation from the international community at large for its war crimes. In the meantime, Emperor Hirohito got only a marginal mention in history classes while Hitler takes up entire pages. There is a clear lack of knowledge when it comes to one event to the other although they are the same in importance and cruelty. When you don’t have background on certain countries, it becomes a lot easier to judge them for any current shortcomings. But that is an article for another time.

The US also has a history of doing anything to stop communism and socialism. For example, Taiwan was readily accepted as a country because it defied China’s Communist regime and also because it harboured many enemies of China, the Guomintang. For those that didn’t know, the Guomintang before and during WWII caused just as much destruction politically and economically as any other invading country during the last years of and after the Qing Dynasty in China. One of the reasons why they were chased out was because of this and the other reason was because Mao Zedong, who was seen as the savior of the country, defeated them in the later part of the Chinese civil war. Now, the reason why someone like him even rose to power at all was because the country was already in turmoil. Happy, healthy countries don’t feel the need to become communist or socialist. There’s a reason why the Chinese people accepted a Communist regime– because what they had before was bad and was made worse by powerful outside forces. All of this just shows how limited the average American’s understanding of world history, recent world history, really is and they condemn what they don’t really understand.

The US says that they are the guardians of liberty, justice, and freedom. That is just not true. The main problem isn’t this hypocrisy though. Being a country with a lot of power, I understand foreign policy becomes complicated and maintaining a consistent stance in the face of different situations is difficult. However, the main problem for me is the fact that the country preaches something it blatantly ignores due to economic and political greed.

That’s all for this time. I’ll talk to you again on Sunday.

Top Mistakes (Fanfic) Writers Make

 

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What you think it looks like vs What it actually looks like

I’m going to say first off that fanfiction can generally be considered the cancer of online writing. There are really well-written fanfiction; they’re just hard to find. If you are a BatCat fan, here’s one for you here. I’m gonna reference a lot of books here and there are also some terms that most people don’t know. If you don’t know the books, you can clearly tell which ones I like so check those out and if you don’t know any of the terms, don’t worry about it (there’s a reason why you don’t know). Otherwise, let’s jump into it.

 

P.S. This is directed at the fanfiction writers since writing fanfic online generally means you don’t have to go through a publishing company first with their pesky editors. However, if you’re looking for some general don’ts to writing, this is a good place for you too.

Using words you don’t know how to use/Using words the wrong way

This is one of the cringiest things a writer can do. Some people try to sound fancy or more sophisticated by using words that they have recently searched up in the dictionary. Instead of achieving the desired result, it just sounds awfully pretentious or just plain wrong. A prime example comes from the book Tiger’s Quest when the main character complains of aching muscles by claiming that they were “unionising against her”. Unionise? Cue massive cringe. In the midst of cheesy dialogue and an over-used plot line, there was this shit and I flipping flipped when I read it. It was just so ridiculous! So.. make sure you don’t do something like that and stick with words you do know how to use. Besides, most people read books for the story and the characters. If they wanted long fancy words, they’d rather pick up a thesaurus.

Starting with a question or a rhetorical situation

God, I hate this one so much. Most people use this type of opening wrong and it ends up being so cliche. The general rule of thumb is if it sounds like an infomercial, don’t use it.

Being too happy

Your job as a writer is to make trouble for your characters. Don’t start with a scene where everything is all right in the world. Nobody is ever totally content and no story should start off in Happyland. It totally ruins the reader’s suspense of disbelief and it makes for flat characters. Make trouble for your characters whenever you can but don’t be like Bleach or Noblesse where endless battles seem to be en vogue. Nobody wants boss after boss after boss and then have some sort of Deus Ex Machina come in on a white horse to save the day. It’s tiresome and frankly not very impressive. I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent, let’s keep moving.

Too much brave isn’t good

Despite what you think, having fearless and virtuous protagonists really isn’t a good idea. It means conflicts are often heroically resolved and the good always knows what to do to defeat the bad– and it means that it’s boring. Take Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium Series and Milo Weaver in the series named after him and you see that these characters are really flawed. They hurt people for selfish reasons, they neglect the people closest to them and they have a skewed moral compass. That’s what makes a character relatable and dynamic. Nobody is perfect and perfect is boring and predictable and neither of these traits are known to keep the readers flipping pages. There should be a threat of death over the entirety of the story, whether it be literal death or metaphorical death. Conflict is what drives a story but if the characters fall flat on their faces, then it’s like having a muscular body with no arms or legs. It has a lot of potential but no way to demonstrate it. I’m done with strange similes- let’s move on!

OOC

This one is exclusively for fanfic writers. OOC means out-of-character. In the pursuit of perfecting a ship, the fanfic writer often twists the characters’ personalities to make it possible. It would be like instead of having Mr. Darcy be snobby and proud for the majority of the book, Jane Austen decided to make him act like Bingley after he confessed. That is just not who he is and the sudden flip between the canon and the fanfic means that either the writer doesn’t know the character or is a fan of cheesy romance novels (don’t be like Twilight). I’ve read fanfics of my favourite animes and some of them have the characters so wrong, the only things the fanfic and the canon have in common are setting and character names. Mikasa shouldn’t have a Historia-type personality but she’s not a tsundere either (I don’t know why people like to make Jean perverted but he’s not so just stop it). Other strong female characters like Temari aren’t going to suddenly become moe to make the ship possible. Please don’t make Kougami or Levi softies either.  THAT’S NOT WHO THEY ARE!! Why do you do this? If you like a franchise enough to write fanfic about it, at least keep the integrity of the characters.

The convoluted back-and-forth plotline

Soooo many fanfic writers like to do this with their ships and it’s supposed to turn readers off but I guess some people love melodrama. In any case, this type of plot is characterised by the sheer amount of times the two main characters fight, break up and come back together again. It’s okay if one or both of them have some sort of mental problem (insecurity, depression, paranoia, trauma etc) but it is NOT okay if it’s over some petty thing. Jealousy is believable but a lot of the characters in fanfics get jealous and mad over every single little thing. It’s so stupid. It also doesn’t help that the characters themselves are basic. Besides the point I made above in OOC, the worst thing you can do to a character besides drastically changing their personality is giving them no personality at all. You effectively kill characters by making them ordinary. John McCain was more of a “people’s man” in terms of the way he spoke (he had an accent and spoke more informally) but Obama made way more of an impact both with his booming voice and his eloquent words. People don’t want to relate to an ordinary character; they want substance, something they can look up to and judge at the same time. Add details, little personality quirks and a little history and plausible motives to inform their decisions. Make the character come alive and once the character becomes more than just a Mary Sue, then the plot will naturally follow. Take care of your characters and they’ll take care of you.

Grammar and spelling

This should be something basic that everyone should know how to do: how to English. Hell, you people have gone through school and got graded for it. You should know how to spell and how English syntax works. No matter how well you write, you have to first make sure that you can be understood correctly so no matter what other problems there may be in your writing, having sloppy spelling and careless grammar is inexcusable. One of worst (maybe the worse) fanfics ever written, My Immortal, is a prime example. To this day, I still don’t know whether it is trash or comedy gold.

Dialogue

I’m not surprised that a lot of people mess this one up since their characters aren’t fully developed, therefore their plot is lukewarm and therefore their dialogue is all fluff and no substance. Two things drive good dialogue: purpose and flow. Don’t make your characters say something they can show instead. Make sure each piece of dialogue is essential to either furthering the plot or developing the character. Flow is how natural it sounds. For example, don’t add the name of the person being addressed at the end of every sentence. Just as important is the use of dialogue tags: he said, she said. You should use them liberally since readers don’t even register the word said as much as people think they do. Using too many descriptive verbs, however, and the reader’s attention gets drawn to that instead and if the reader pays more attention to your writing than your story, then that’s bad news. Too many fanfics have dialogue that is mundane and plain old stupid. Dialogue isn’t there to take up space- make it count.

The Dan Brown Effect

I’ve named this literary phenomenon after Dan Brown, the guy that wrote The Da Vinci Code and Inferno. I’ve read his earlier book Digital Fortress and that book was pretty good but the two other books I’ve mentioned was especially rife with the Dan Brown disease. If you have the Dan Brown disease, it just means you put in too many details and like to show off your research way too much (and if you’re like Dan Brown, you’ll still get the facts wrong anyway). If you cut out all of the unnecessary descriptions of scenery or art or architecture from Dan Brown’s later books, you’ll be left with a book half the size of the original. (lot of his information is inaccurate or just not true. If you want a full list, tvtropes has a page specifically for Dan Brown here.) Don’t feel the need to display everything you’ve researched to your readers. They don’t care. Instead, put your reference material at the back of the book and if your readers want to know more, they can go read it themselves.

Too much drama or too much action

Unlike movies where you can pull off having an action-based plot without the watchers being turned off, this type of imbalance in a book isn’t going to fly with the right type of readers. Too much drama turns off the less patient readers and you’ll attract fewer male readers. Too much action leaves you with no time to rest and no character development. Finding the right balance between drama and action means you can optimise the quality of your story and also increase interest from a wider group of readers.

That’s the end of my list. Hope you’ve gotten some ideas out of it. Of course, you might say that this list is false because there are popular fanfics that defy everything I say not to do here and people still love them. But then, it’s the same reason why people like McDonald’s. It doesn’t have to be good for a lot of people to like it and the people who know better would never touch it.

That’s all for today. See you on Sunday.

P.S. For those who are more interested in the steamier side of fanfiction, there is a good website here. Do not click if you are not over 18 and if you are offended by things like this, don’t read either. You have been warned. I will not be held responsible.

Silent Judges

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This the first of my neo-surrealistic style works. I only draw in graphite and so far, I’ve found it good enough for what I’m drawing. This was back when I first began drawing so you can see quite clearly that the concept wasn’t very well executed.

In any case, you see the barrel of a gun at the left side of the screen and that the main subject has been shot. He seems to have a clock for a head but his shadow shows a normal human head. His clock head is damaged by the bullet and has stopped. The reflections on the clock face show his dreams and thoughts. In the background, there is a circle of faceless figures that watch silently. On the side of the man’s clock face protrudes some sort of projector with the man’s life story and the faceless figures stand by silently, watching it. While he is dying, the man is totally helpless, both over his current situation and his future. The shirt he wore that day now ironically echo his loss of life.

 

More Content and Writers

Hello, everyone! Thank you to the four people who have followed this blog so far. XD I appreciate it.

I have recruited two other writers to occasionally help me put out content, so watch the name of the author if you’re going to leave a comment. I’m also thinking of expanding the number of categories on this site (once again). The new categories include Gaming, Tales and a poems subcategory under the Books and Quotes category.

And yes, I am a high school student and that’s why I upload APUSH essay prep. Next year, I’m going to take more AP classes, so watch out for help in those classes…

If you guys want us to talk about a specific topic or recommend us a book or poem or want our take on something, feel free to send the Outlet team an e-mail at whentheskyisovercast@gmail.com. In the sidebar is a link to a SurveyMonkey poll about the potential topics I’ll write about next Wednesday. Voting closes on Sunday at noon. You can also write-in your own topic and if I like it, I might pick your suggestion. That’s all. Have a great rest of the week y’all!

Feb 2017 Quote of the Month

 

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” -Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The Beginning of an Acquaintance

The shadows outside of the tinted windows stopped moving and Tom knew that they had arrived. His silent chauffeur sat in the driver’s seat, his hands still on the steering wheel. Ready to drive once his passenger and his baggage are gone. Tom gulped and forced himself to open the door and step out.

His polished leather shoes crunched on the newly-fallen autumn leaves. He could see his pale skin and wide eyes in them. A sudden rustle overhead made him jump. A lone crow broke cover, cawing loudly and he followed its flight with his eyes. He colored, embarrassed of his thumping heart. As he traced the crow’s origin, his thumping heart soon gave way to awe.

It stood dignified even in its disrepair. The fences and shutters, though faded and losing to vines, grimly kept their posts. Its chimney stood proud even with the humiliation of a nesting avian. But for all of its dignity, it could not help but look sad as well. The windows that might have once admitted light into the lives of its masters are now clouded, concealing its mysteries. Tom sighed. Then, a stray ray of sunlight broke through the canopy of branches and the house winked at him. He blinked. No. It’s just a coincidence. The house couldn’t have heard just as he was thinking of mysteries.

But…. what to call it? Now that he thought about it, his uncle’s will never mentioned the name of this mansion. He looked around. Only a cracked wooden sign tacked onto a nearby hickory tree betrayed any sign of its name. 1412. Tom sighed again. That will have to do for now. The chauffeur was getting impatient and as he was unwilling to get out the car, Tom had to lug out all three suitcases plus one duffel bag that would contain his life for the duration of his stay. The chauffeur drove off in a flurry of leaves, leaving Tom with his luggage at the side of the road.

He looked down at his three suitcases plus duffel bag and sighed for the third time.

Well, 1412. It looks like you’re stuck with me for now. My name is Tom. Nice to meet you, too.

He stacked his smaller suitcase on top of one of the bigger one, shouldered his duffel bag and set off on the driveway towards his new acquaintance. The mansion’s top windows twinkled mysteriously as the sun sent forth a final effort and dyed the sky a beautiful gold and red before retiring to make its reappearance the next morning.

Unit IV: Antebellum America (1800s up to the Civil War)

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Trail of Tears by Robert Lindneux (1942)

This unit’s essay prep is incomplete because at the time, there was other things going on and my partner and I didn’t have the time to fully expand on all the points, so I’ll only include the prompts that were completed.

(1) The Jacksonian Period (1824-1848) has been celebrated as the era of the “common man”. To what extent did the period live up to its characterization? Consider TWO of the following in your response.

Economic development   Politics   Reform movements

Synthesis: There’s a lot you can use here, but the 19th Amendment and the Civil Rights movement would be prime examples.

Contextualization: “Corrupt Bargain” of 1824

Points:

Politics:

  • Voting power
    • westward expansion added new states (Alabama, Ohio…)
      • these states lowered voting requirements in hopes of more voters and influencing national politics (other states have begun the process)
      • People were more free to form political parties like the Anti-Masonic and the “nativist” American Party
  • however, the common men also supported Jackson’s policies (veto National Bank’s charter, pet banks, Specie Circular Act) against the Bank
  • Nominating conventions became a thing
  • expanded the use of the spoils/ patronage system
  • to appeal to the masses, the campaign was invented and provided the foundation for what would become reality TV
  • the people’s newfound political clout was instrumental in the disagreement over the Tariff of 1828 by diverting power away from New England and forcing the Compromise of 1833 (Calhoun from SC)

Reform:

  • A whole bunch of reforms. Get ready:
    • industrialisation and revivalism encourage reforms to alcohol consumption, prison reform, the creation of mental asylums (and Silent Hill), abolition (The Liberator Garrison), women’s suffrage (Susan Anthony, Seneca Falls etc), and an education requirement for children
  • the rise of utopian societies: Noye’s Oneida, Ripley’s Brook Farm and Owen’s New Harmony
  • immigrants found their situation to be slightly better (education and voting-wise)
  • more consideration for a wider amount of people
  • Native Americans were excluded from this reform fest as evidenced by the boot in their buttocks

(2) Compare and contrast the impact of the market revolution (1815–1860) on the economies of TWO of the following regions.

The Northeast The Midwest The South

For this one, I said that the market revolution wasn’t nearly as impactful on Southern economy than it was for Northern economy, so just keep that in mind for your thesis.

Synthesis: The industrial and economic boom post-Civil War

Contextualization: The influx of immigrants (especially the Irish during the mid-1840s due to the potato famine)

Points:

  • Urbanisation & Industrialisation (North)
    • massive concentration of workforce and production centres (aka factories)
    • Whitney’s interchangeable parts means viability of factories
    • Lowell Girls (Massachusetts) as example of change, new economic opportunities, more participation from a wider demographic
    • but but BUT! crowdsource manufacturing was still prevalent even in the face of industrialisation (more officially known as the “putting-out” system)
  • Specialization
    • North (textile mill), South (cotton)
    • internal trade
    • independent US economy
    • but too much specialisation wouldn’t be good (a big reason why South lost Civil War)
  • Federal Involvement
    • Clay’s American System-railroads and canals affected both (though significantly more in the North, actually South didn’t have much of that at all)
  • South
    • cotton gin and British demand for cotton jumpstarted South economy
    • strong exports in cotton->favourable balance of trade (very)
    • intense focus on cotton=slaves and reinforcement of institution (over 9000!)
    • relied increasingly on Northern and English products because of overspecialization
  • RESULT: ¡¡¡WORLD-CLASS ECONOMY!!!! (almost) 

(3) Explain how the Second Great Awakening in the north influenced TWO of the following movements.

Abolitionism    Utopian Communities  Temperance  The cult of domesticity

This one is short and a bit rushed. The points listed aren’t very organised so you’ll have to do that yourself.

Synthesis: First Great Awakening, obviously

Contextualization: the fact that the Second Great Awakening was encouraged by residual Revolutionary sentiments (namely, freedom in all aspects of like and dislike of authority)

Points:

  • Charles G. Finney was one of the most effective preachers
    • preached against Calvinism in “burned-over districts” in New York (Erie Canal attracted poor workers)
    • the slave-holding aristocracy ignored the Great Awakening teachings/beliefs
  • Utopian Communities: New Harmony (Robert Owen), Oneida (Joseph Humphrey Nodes), and Brook Farm (George Ripley)
  • Reforms and Perfectionism( achieving sinless perfection)
  • No predestination- salvation available to everyone
    • slavery is not right because everyone is equal in God’s eyes –  equality for all

(4) Compare the experiences of two of the following groups of immigrants during the period 1830-1860.

Irish     German    English  

Synthesis: Discrimination against the Chinese in the later half of the 1800s that resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Contextualization: Whichever immigrant group you didn’t use could be used as contextualization which in this case, would be the English. They moved mostly for the opportunity and to escape poverty

Points:

Germans:

  • Germany was a diverse group- so they included Catholics, Protestants, and Jews
  • The Germans bound together in neighbourhoods ( very self-sufficient). The Germans were clannish
  • Americans disliked their economic success and their clannish ways
  • They usually left the ports on ships heading towards the cotton trade in New Orleans.
  • Germans immigrated to flee the economic hardship
    • crop failure, lack of land, and overpopulation in Germany
    • a lot were farmers and land was cheaper and more abundant in America
  • Some Germans also came to America for democracy, due to political persecution from the autocracy in Germany- there was not a lot of freedom in Germany

Irish:

  • Between 1845 and 1850 there was a potato famine in Ireland, so the Irish immigrated to escape the famine and because of the land and economy of America.
  • Many of the immigrants were Catholics from poorer classes (the Irish were the poorest white immigrants)
    • American Protestants became very hostile and anti-Catholicism with the Irish (the Americans thought the Irish were inferior)
    • due to the increase in Catholic immigration anti-immigrant societies were created and the American Party was born
    • also not received well by the Native Americans
  • The Irish accepted lower wages and were taking the jobs of Americans
  • The Irish men helped dig canals and railroads  and the women were domestic servants or worked in the textile mills
    • the majority of the canal work done by the Irish
    • where they congregated in New York ( Five Points District became the worst slum in America)
  • “ Irish Need Not Apply”- a sign said this for the Irish when they looked for jobs in industries.

Both:

  • Political organisations would help the immigrants in return for their votes.
    • The Germans and Irish mostly aligned themselves with the Democratic Party
    • Irish hated abolitionism because they feared they would lose their jobs if the slaves were freed and the Whigs’ religious values threatened those of the Irish and Germans
    • They even disliked the public school reform
  •  The  Irish and the Germans drank a lot
  • The labour could be slavish, and they were not protected.

A Lonely Life

 

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When the cold and wind of life wears you down, you find a cold snow-covered bench to rest yourself.

 

 

A poem to share and analyse today by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
Analysis:
This poem resonates with us through our shared experiences and sobers us through its masterful usage of compare and contrast. It also reveals an intrinsic part of human nature– that of denial. We hate the sad and unpleasant and seek to avoid it at all costs. Even if it a loved one that is hurting, we would rather get it over with as soon as possible to move on to happier things. While it is something good to surround ourselves with positive things, the poem exudes a much more negative attitude towards this side of human nature. It shows a side of human selfishness, the very sign of mortality itself. After all, only one with earthly needs is able to deprive others of the same needs in order to satisfy himself.
It also shows how uncaring the world is by the line:
Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air
It is not other humans that deny suffering, but also the earth. The earth, something that should give us all that we need, is not only unmovable but also impervious to human suffering.
This poem encourages you to sit down next to the abandoned, the neglected and the dejected. Listen to them. After all, whatever else you may have in common, everyone has the human experience and you may one day be in need of someone to talk to you while you’re down.

Unit III Key Terms List

Unit III Key terms and Concepts

First Bank of the United States

Hamilton’s Reports (Public Credit, the Bank, Manufactures)

Whiskey Rebellion/excise tax

Hamiltonian v. Jeffersonian philosophy

Loose v. strict construction

Federalist Party

Republican (Democratic-Republican) Party

The First Party System

the “elastic clause”

Washington’s Farewell Address

Bill of Rights

Napoleonic Wars and U.S. foreign policy

Neutrality Proclamation of 1793

Jay Treaty

Pinckney Treaty

Citizen Genet

Elections of 1796, 1800, and 1820

X, Y, and Z Affair

The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

The Alien and Sedition Acts (know specific acts)

The “Quasi War”

Convention of 1800

Convention of 1818

Adams-Onis Treaty (1819)

Louisiana Purchase

Hartford Convention

Tariff of 1816

Second Bank of the U.S.

Embargo Act

Non-Intercourse Act

Macon’s Bill #2

Impressment

“War Hawks”

War of 1812 – causes and effects

Monroe Doctrine

Missouri Compromise

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Fletcher v. Peck (1818)

Dartmouth v. Woodward (1817)

The “American System”

Erie Canal

John Quincy Adams

Henry Clay

John C. Calhoun

“Republican motherhood”

The “Era of Good Feelings”

Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address

Hamilton’s Plans

Story Starter: Deathfriend

 

She was five at the time. It was her first day of kindergarten on an otherwise normal day. She was waiting by the school gates waiting for the sight of her mother’s red hair. Her backpack was an unfamiliar weight on her back. She shifted the straps uncomfortably. Several of her new classmates waved to her as they passed her, hand in hand with their own parents. She waved back with her right hand.

It’s funny how she could still remember each of their faces clearly. The boy with sandy-colored hair, the girl with freckles and an overbite, the curly-haired girl in her flowery skirt, the boy with the Pokemon cap and his deck of cards. She smiled. That same boy lived next door to her now. She had taken a liking to him the first time she’s seen him. It was a child’s infatuation. She liked the way his eyes lit up when he talked about his cards, the way he frowned in concentration and the way he treated everyone fairly. Maybe a shadow of that childhood infatuation still remained. She shook her head. That doesn’t matter anymore. She looked down at her left hand.

Through her five-year-old eyes, she saw her pudgy fingers holding tightly onto her masterpiece as if it would fly away.  A voice called her name. She looked up, neck craned, searching for the source of the voice. “Here, mommy!” Her mom’s red hair came bobbing into view and her fingers loosened. The piece of paper flew away, carried away by a sudden breeze. Thinking back on it now, it seemed like Fate was taunting her. When she was little, she thought that if she hadn’t let go of that piece of paper, her mother would still be here. Her paper with her happy stick family floated away, lost forever to her grasping fingers.

But those thoughts didn’t occur to her until she was older, much older. At the time, a strange man was hovering by her mother. As she came closer, her five-year-old self could see the empty sockets where the eyes should have been, the grinning face and what scared her most, the scythe that he carried in his bone-white hands. The scythe’s curved blade fit snugly around her mother’s slim waist. The man held chains in his hands, chains that ended in shackles on her mother’s wrists, ankles and throat. She pointed to them and asked her mother what they were used for. Her mother, taking it as a child’s figment of imagination, replied as such. But the man turned his empty eye sockets on her, taking notice of her for the first time. She waved at him. Her mother looked over her shoulder, trying to see who she was waving to. But besides a sudden chill, didn’t detect anything else. Her mother took her left hand and led her to the car, chatting happily. And that’s where the memory ended. They could have been walking forever to the car.

She focused again on her left hand. On it, was a scar. One that curved through her palm. Like the strange man’s scythe. A touch on her shoulder caused her to turn her head. A similar grinning face looked back at her. Attached to the face was a cloth-covered body and out of the body was the same bone-white hand, holding a scythe. In the other hand, was the same chains ending with the shackles in the same places. Looking back at her hand, she saw the grained wood handle of a scythe. Oh, that’s right. She was friends with the death gods. The reapers that took her mother’s soul when she died. But that doesn’t matter anymore. The reaper stood up, chains rattling. She stood up at well but her chains were empty. She needed to find someone and soon. As her friend faded away, she followed. The branch that she was sitting on rustled as if shaking off a pest. The boy next door shivered. Maybe he would be suitable.