Source Evaluation 1

The article “Brook Farm” from the New England Magazine (Volume XVIII No. 4) backs my argument that Brook Farm was monumental event in social experimentation, changing the course of the functions of society.

The article seemed a general glance at Brook Farm, its ideals, and a description of its first settlers. However, the editorial was much more in-depth, making it a primary source rather than the secondary source I was hoping for. The editorial identifies Brook Farm’s founder (George Ripley), describes the (Unitarian/Transcendentalist) origins of Brook Farm, its education ideology, and paints the picture of the enormous property, the buildings, and the culture of their utopian lifestyle. The culture seemed the most researched part of the editorial. In some ways, Brook Farm was complex and detailed, but in other ways it was minimalist (the economic system and everyday life, respectively). Quotes from George Ripley, residents, and visitors enhanced the editorial and offered many perspectives that were  further expanded upon in the by the author.

00402-tif100

The editorial addresses the misconceptions of Brook Farm being a Communist or Socialist experiment, when in fact, Brook Farm was a utopian social experiment composed of “a company of teachers” who are “thoroughly happy”. This was the only section that the author’s bias was clear as he vehemently expresses his opposition to the idea that Brook Farm was a Communist or Socialist experiment. The only weakness I found in the editorial was this portion. The topic was addressed sporadically and not particularly clearly. Overall, though, the editorial was both meticulously researched and factual.

Citation of Editorial and Picture:

Cooke, George Willis. “Brook Farm.” New England Magazine Volume 0023 Issue 4 Dec. 1897: 391-407. Making Of America. Cornell University Library. Web. 7 Jan. 2017.

Interview Project

I interviewed my father, John, about his personal experience in America during the mid to late 60’s. At the time, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, we were involved in the Vietnam War and my father was 21. Our involvement in the war resulted in much dissatisfaction among young people at the time through protests and draft evasion which my father took part in. He took part in a protest in 1967 in New York City, lead by Martin Luther King Jr, Floyd McKissick, Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Benjamin Spock.

Eventually, wartime brought about the need for the draft, “I ended up actually experiencing going through the draft after college, my number came up, it was a lottery…”, which required him to go in for a physical before being officially drafted. Like many other men, he reluctantly attended. He, however, was excused from the draft due to a high school basketball knee injury. “…and [I] felt actually quite relieved that I wasn’t then eligible to go off to war but also felt the inequity of it–that some people had to go [and] others had to go or chose not to.” Those who did not have the same luck were so enraged that they burned their draft cards (a criminal offense).

Wartime had a significant impact on my father as he became increasingly dissatisfied with the government’s role in Vietnam. “There were a lot of photographs and news stories of some of the damage being done by the war effort–memorable photographs of villagers fleeing Napalm Bombs. He was deeply upset by the American Government’s “misguided effort”. His parents, although they disagreed with him, accepted his decision to protest and were respectful of his opinion on war.

At age 21, my father was trying to decide on a career after majoring in Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. His original interests were to pursue a governmental position or a social work career. In disgust of the American government in wartime, he decided he never wanted to pursue a governmental position. While he was still deciding what he really wanted to pursue career-wise, he began a carpentry career which he held for 10 years until he attended Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a social work career which ironically lead him to a local government position as a social work administrator.