The American Revolution
Henry Ward Beecher was born in the Connecticut state, Litchfield to be more precise to Lynman Beecher, who was then a renowned preacher and biblical educator (Friar & Friar, 2002). In 1834, Beecher managed to graduate from the Amherst College. He followed his passion for theology by joining the Lane Theological Seminary, which was then under the leadership of his father. Three years later, he was called to Indiana where he fine-tuned his unique preaching modes at Lawrenceburg in a Presbyterian fellowship program. According to (Friar & Friar, 2002) he did fellowship programs in the Indianapolis state from 1839 to 1847. Later that year, he moved to a Brooklyn church where he attracted mammoth crowds to his church in Plymouth because of exemplary skills of oration. In the year 1854, Beecher, together with his church congregation, were vigorously against the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and mobilized a fundraising to help buy arms to the forces against slavery (Wakelyn, 2008). Moreover, Beecher was actively involved in politics, first associating with the Free-Soil movement and later stepped up to the Republican Party. Following the eruption of the Civil War, he raised cash to in aid of a voluntary union. Many people viewed Beecher as the greatest orator of the clergy of his time. He was able to balance religion, politics and money to realize his objectives (Friar & Friar, 2002)
On the other hand, Sitting Bull was born in the year 1831 in the present-day South Dakota. He acquired the nickname Tatanka-Iyotanka, a name that described a sitting buffalo bull in the Lakota language. His father, Returns-Again, was a brave Sioux soldier. Apparently, this was the prime reason for Bull’s bravery, as he wanted to follow the footsteps of his father (Wakelyn, 2008). He was ferociously against European occupation of the Native American land. However, he was forced to sign the 1868 peace agreement with the United States government after the government promised him a significant portion of land they would set aside for him that would not be occupied by white men.
It is also vital to consider the fact that both Bull and Beecher survived in the same era a time when the Europeans were encroaching the Native American land. During this period, many red Indians underwent mistreatment and hostility from the Europeans. Numerous red Indians disliked the Europeans because of the earlier mentioned hostility and malice (Wakelyn, 2008). Also, that moment in time was characterized by recurring wars of conquest, most probably meant to soften the resistant Indians. Both Bull and Beecher had rough childhoods with hatred and opposition from the government regime in place then a domineering factor.
Notably, Bull’s most famous quote gives a summary of his thoughts and opinion about the government and everything associated with it in the mentioned era. Friar and Friar (2002) assert that he supposedly formulated this quote to air his views as a very democratic person. Most probably, he did not dislike the Europeans, but he loathed the way they were so much selfish. The European selfishness is exhibited in the manner in which they treated Indian-Americans. For example, they tried miserably to do away with the Indian-American culture for any student that joined the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (Wakelyn, 2008). Generally, Bull abated the fact that the regime strongly advocated for the detribalizing of the Native Americans. He hated the way the administration forced the veterans to abandon their culture in favor of the “Americanized culture”. Beecher believed that the “Great Spirit” had deliberately created the Native Americans the way they were with no provision for them to change. He also added that the “Great Spirit” loved everyone the way they are and saw no need to try to dictate anyone’s culture or way of life. (Wakelyn, 2008)
Similarly, Beecher’s most famous quote describes, in summary, his feelings and opinions concerning the government and regime in place during his era (Friar & Friar, 2002). Through this quote, he argued that there was the need to take everyone as they were before contemplating on ways to help to them. Apparently, he strongly advocated against slavery and the slave trade. He opined that everyone be treated equally and not discriminatively (Wakelyn, 2008). He was also solely responsible for the theological effect In the American revolution. The quote by Beecher summarizes the message he had for everyone and what he advocated for. His prime concern was the feeling of love towards all people irrespective of their race, class and religion.
Moreover, it was the compassionate nature that drove him to stand up for others and most importantly to fight vigorously to see the government do away with slavery and the slave trade. Also, he showed his compassionate nature by using oratory prowess to spread theological ideas. To add on, Beecher firmly believed that the church, or rather theology, had an enormous place in politics (Wakelyn, 2008). Therefore, he used his clerical position to preach against slavery and the slave trade. Beecher also did controversial deeds to exhibit his love for humanity. For instance, during the slave trade period, he raised funds to help buy the freedom of some refugees. Also, he supplied guns to the Society to help people stay free from slavery. (Friar & Friar, 2002)
Living conditions in the Indian boarding schools
Wakelyn (2008) observes that the experience in the institutions was harsh especially for young minors following the kids’ separation from families. Students reported cases of sexual, manual, physical and mental abuse. The teachers yelled and slapped the students. An anonymous girl asked a teacher why she was teaching that Columbus discovered America only for the instructor to slap the child across her face. Friar and Friar (2002) notes that American teachers assigned some boys tasks in the schools gardens, other students milked and took care of the cows, fed pigs, and looked after horses besides other chores. Punishment of runways was usually harsh. Friar and Friar (2002) observes that two girls attempted to run away but were caught and ruthlessly whipped. According to Wakelyn (2008), death was not an unknown occurrence. A cemetery at Chemwa houses headstones of 189 students who died at the schools revealing the brutality encountered by the children in the Indian Boarding Schools. Discipline in the Boarding was harsh and entailed privilege deprivation, confinement centers threats to corporal punishment and diet restriction. The rules rendered living conditions in the institutions deplorable. Wakelyn (2008) explains that diseases such as tuberculosis and trachoma ravaged the Indian students. According to Wakelyn (2008) measles broke out in one of the institutions affecting the students severely. The center recorded 325 cases of measles, sixty pneumonia incidences and nine fatalities in a ten day period (Friar & Friar, 2002). Administrators subjected the children to abuse and desecration of culture. Students were beaten, malnourished and forced to undertake massive labor. Write, one of the pupils in the schools recalls an adviser hitting a boy resulting to blood spilling all over to an extent that he had to take the colleague to the hospital. Children immersed in the Indian schools were forced to make haircut changes, forbidden to speak native languages, and the students traditional names were replaced by new European American titles (Wakelyn, 2008). Instructors punished pupils for communicating in mother-tongue. The children were forced to abandon native identities and culture.
In my judgment, Beecher opposed the issue of boarding schools. In the support of my decision, the boarding schools were more or less similar to slavery. Because the rules the government put in place at that time gave discriminative authority to the students, Beecher would oppose such a deed because he was naturally compassionate and strongly condemned any form discrimination. Pratt was against anyone who questioned or doubted his beliefs (Friar & Friar, 2002).
Notably, the fact that the boarding schools in the regime at that time was hard on the Native Americans’ will to follow their customs and culture would bring up a crucial differing point between the schools and Beecher. He was naturally dialogue-minded and would think of other ways to have the native students cross over to the Christianity rather than force them to leave their cultural practices. Wakelyn (2008) notes that to Beecher, this kind dictatorship would be more or less similar to slavery, something he deeply opposed. Moreover, the mode in which the schools treated the native students would be totally unacceptable to him. Apparently, the schools burnt down the native students’ clothes upon their arrival to the schools (Friar & Friar, 2002). Also, the way the schools rubbished native names would not go down well with Beecher. Consequently, the students had their hair cut short and their culture eroded. You should also note that they were not allowed to speak their native languages.
However, Beecher loved education, and any informative deed would go down well with him. Friar and Friar (2002) postulates that he would most probably back up the idea but check on the discriminative and dictatorial dimension of leadership. He would also have liked to help the students learn Christianity and allow them to make their decisions as well as give the individuals time to adapt to the change in the firm belief. Finally, he would give them time to advance from the traditional mode of clothing to the modern one (Wakelyn, 2008)
To sum up, Sitting Bull and Henry Beecher were personalities that lived in the American lands during the American Revolution era. Both were brave in nature and were against any form of discrimination and discriminative societal norms (Wakelyn, 2008). The famous quotes they constantly talked can help get a glimpse of their thinking, reasoning and most importantly their perception of the regime in place at that moment. They were both humane and careful to protect humanity. They were servant leaders.
Friar, R., & Friar, N. (2002). The Only Good Indian: The Hollywood Gospel. Drama Publishers.
Wakelyn, J. L. (2008). Henry Ward Beecher. Leaders of the American Civil War: A Biographical and Historiographical Dictionary, 31. N.p.