For the Record - Humanities Nebraska

Was the Land Really Free?
The Age of Exploration came after the Middle Ages and at beginning of the
Renaissance. Many different European countries paid for explorations for
different reasons. Some of the reasons they explored were:
 To find a sea route to the spices of Asia
 To find gold, silver, and precious stones
 To expand their knowledge of the world
 To control a larger empire
 To expand Christianity
 To find animal fur
When you look at the previous image what issues
come to mind both for and against Western European
William Henry Powell’s dramatic and brilliantly colored
canvas was the last of the eight large historical paintings in
the Rotunda commissioned by the Congress.
It shows Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando De
Soto (1500–1542), riding a white horse and dressed in
Renaissance finery, arriving at the Mississippi River at a
point below Natchez on May 8, 1541. De Soto was the first
European documented to have seen the river.
 What form /medium can public records take? Are
there different mediums from different times?
 Who made records of the original inhabitants of the
“New World”, what did they record and what was the
method of the record?
 From whose point of view are the records?
 Describe the Native American’s view of landownership
and how it varied from the European immigrants?
Standing Bear, born in
1839, was a Ponca Native
American chief who
successfully argued in U.S.
District Court in 1879 in
Omaha that Native
Americans are "persons
within the meaning of the
law" and have the right of
habeas corpus.
*Chief Standing Bear is a historical figure portrayed in the “Free Land” Chautauqua.
In 1832 Karl Bodmer accompanied German Prince
Maximilian on his tour of America.
Today Bodmer’s paintings and Maximilian’s journal give
valuable information to Native Americans whose ancestors
inhabited the shores of the Missouri River.
Karl Bodmer painted this image
nine years before Chief Standing Bear’s birth.
The Last Race
Mandan O-Kee-Pa Ceremony
White Cloud,
Head Chief of the Iowas
Pilgrims vs. Homesteaders
 Compare the motivation of the Pilgrims and the
Homesteaders for acquiring “Free Land”. What records
were kept to validate ownership?
 What were the ramifications of changes in ownership of
land from Natives Americans to immigrants and from the
government to citizens?
 Explore the concept: Who is to blame for the displacement
of the Native Americans? Were the pilgrims or
homesteaders responsible? Were their motives pure?
 Did Europeans in general assume the land was free?
 Pilgrims
 Homestead
 How did the Native Americans’ view of landownership
encourage the concept of Free Land?
Edward Hicks was born in Pennsylvania in 1780. His mother died when
he was 18 months old, and his father, a British loyalist, was forced to flee
in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. Family friends took in the
abandoned child and gave him religious instruction; from this early time,
religion became central to his life. At age thirteen Hicks was apprenticed
to a coach maker and spent the next seven years learning to make and
paint coaches.
Hicks was soon recognized as a minister and, like other Quakers, began
to travel thousands of miles to spread the word, uncompensated in any
material way. Eventually he established himself in Milford, Pennsylvania,
where he painted coaches, signs and decorated household objects. By
1820 he had begun easel painting, and scenes based on the biblically
inspired theme of “The Peaceable Kingdom" became his specialty. Hicks
continued to travel and preach and to paint until his death in 1849. He
also painted the homes of friends as a record of what they had
accomplished for the next generations and included historical references
in his works.
Nebraska photographer Solomon D. Butcher produced, over the
course of nearly forty years, a record of the settlement of the Great
Plains that is both unique and remarkable. Born in 1856 in what was to
become the state of West Virginia after the Civil War, Butcher came
with his family to the plains of Nebraska in 1880.
This restless young man soon found that he was not up to the rigors of
a homesteader's life. He had tasted just enough of it, however, to
develop a profound admiration for those with the grit to survive and
prosper on the Nebraska prairies. In 1886 Butcher was struck with an
idea that was inspired. Realizing that the period of settlement would
soon be over, he set out to create a photographic history of pioneer life.
Between 1886 and 1912 Butcher generated a collection of more than
3,000 photographs.
Though he died in 1927 believing himself a total failure, Solomon D.
Butcher's work has survived to become the most important chronicle of
the saga of homesteading in America.
 Compare images of various private residences
from American Folk Artist Edward Hicks and
photographer Solomon Butcher. How are they
 What was the purpose of these images?
 Looking at the images what can you learn about
the people in the images?
 Does anything seem out of place?
The Cornell Farm 1848
The Residence of David Twining, 1848
Rawding Homestead Sylvester
David Hilton Homestead, Custer County
The Shores Family
Edward Hicks and Solomon Butcher would be surprised
that their images are still being viewed.
As you compare their work on the consider the following
• Why are these images iconic?
• Are they iconic because they represent the life on the
plains and in the United States, or just because they
are the only images we have?
• What make some photos, buildings or paintings iconic?
 What were the results of the Age of Exploration,
Homestead Act, the Pacific Railway Act, and the Morrill
Act on the European Immigrants and the Native People?
 What new opportunities were available as a result of the
1862 legislation? Who benefited? What “costs” were
 What is our responsibility today?
 If you were going to make a record of what you, your
family or your community has accomplished for future
generations what form would that record take?
 What information would you include and how would
you ensure that it would last for generations?
Make a record of you, your family or your community.
(Below are some suggestions but there is no one right or wrong
way to complete this task.)
 Digital/photographic images (share them on Instagram or
Twitter with the hashtags #NEChautauqua or #NEFreeLand)
Video images
Do a painting or drawing or use some visual arts medium
Keep a scrapbook
A journal or other sort of written record
Share your “records” with us! – [email protected]

similar documents