Civil War and Reconstruction

Photo #1

Manifest Destiny Source

What is the reason behind why Manifest Destiny was depicted by an angelic looking woman?
Including the railroad shows that technology is also coming out west, contrasted with the horse drawn carriages typically thought of when thinking about westward migration. When were the rails being laid for trains to continue out west?

Photo #2

Propoganda promoting Reconstruction Source
Do these women represent the North and South getting along after the Civil War ended?
Does the fire represent the country trying to come back together? By the time this advertisement was circulating, had the southern states that had seceded rejoined the United States?

Photo #3

Siege of Charleston Source
Was creating bunkers in the Civil War a tactic that was used often? Is this a precursor to Trench Warfare in World War 1?
Were these ships used to help completely siege Charleston?

The Evolution of Combat Sportsmanship

Jack Johnson

Famous 20th Century Boxer, Jack Johnson, faces one of his first defeats to heavyweight Al Kaufmann in 1910. Source, Library of Congress.

One of the first famous boxers in the United States was Jack Johnson, an African-American athlete with their reign of dominance taking place at the height of the Jim Crow period. His record was reportedly 74 wins, 13 losses, with a 1910 “fight of the century” against James J. Jefferies. Johnson stood against adversity to be a face of Sportsmanship in the century and an advocate for interracial marriage, before dying from a car crash in 1946 at the age of 68.

Cropped portion of what is labeled Johnson vs. Kaufmann (inaccurately so), showing it’s age through audience, referee, and athlete attire, along with contradicting information to the Library of Congress in regard to the date of this event. Source

Johnson, who was renown as the greatest fighter in his era, faced a surprising knockout defeat against Jess Willard in 1915 that began his fall from dominance. Although the picture above is advertised as the fight between Johnson and Kaufman, further research into the subject leads me to believe that the Library of Congress had mislabeled the photo as Johnson v. Kaufman by mistake, which could be why the source claims 1910 and the photo has a 1915 copyright date. This discrepancy pairs alongside the other information I found to claim this as Johnson v. Willard instead, such as the Johnson v Kaufman fight not ending by Johnson getting knocked out, and the Kaufman fight taking place in 1910 while the Willard fight was a knockout loss for Johnson in 1915.

This photo represents the idea of “passing the torch” in Combat Sports, where one legend falls as another legend rises.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston in 1965. Source. This image was retrieved without copyright from the Library of Congress.

When the legends of a sport “pass the torch,” some traits of the elder are passed to the younger — In the case of Jack Johnson (19th Century) and Muhammad Ali (20th Century), activism was a trait passed on while Sportsmanship was a bit lost along the way! In this 1965 title bout against top contender Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali once again shocked the world and silenced the many who doubted his capabilities.

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston in 1965. Source.

Coloring of this photo, the boxing attire, and cameras in the audience signal the 1965 setting of Muhammad Ali’s knockout victory over rival Sonny Liston. This is arguably one of the most famous boxing photos in American history, and the image’s significance is only trumped by the significance of Muhammad Ali’s success playing a role in his major social justice contributions.

As the combat sport of boxing left it’s golden era in the late-20th century, legendary boxers became only niche specialists in the rising sport of Mixed Martial Arts where brutality, stylistic diversity, and showmanship became the core as a variety of fighting styles were mixed to create an entirely new sport. Torches were passed to modern Mixed Martial Arts from the glory days of boxing, however rivalries, ticket sales, and fierce competitiveness allowed the torch of “smack-talk” to pass with all fire still ablaze.

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather

Conor McGregor, a Mixed Martial Artist, and Floyd Mayweather, an undefeated 50-0 boxer, in their lead up to the boxing fight that brought in the most revenue of a single bout in Combat Sports history. Source.

As the popularity of boxing began to decline toward the turn of the 21st century, another combat sport began to take center stage. Mixed Martial Arts, often seen as a much more violent sport than boxing due to the small gloves and inclusion of kicks, chokes, armbars, etc, boomed in popularity when Conor McGregor and his colorful personality rose to the top in dominant fashion. McGregor was known for his trash-talk, unbelievable knockout power, confidence, and abrasive personality, but (until fairly recently) always managed to walk the walk that he managed to talk. After compiling a series of wins and dominating the striking side of Mixed Martial Arts, Conor McGregor became the defibrillator Boxing needed to shock its dying popularity back to life. By approaching and challenging Floyd Mayweather to a pay-per-view boxing match, Mayweather being 49-0 and widely regarded as the greatest modern boxer, both MMA and boxing fans had uncontrollable excitement for the potential “fight of the decade” between experienced veteran and self-believing newcomer.

Conor McGregor of Ireland, regarded as perhaps the most controversial fighter in Mixed Martial Arts due to his “smack-talk,” employs his confidence before challenging 50-0 boxing legend Floyd Mayweather as his first professional boxing bout. Source.

On August 26th, 2017 the bout finally came to fruition, and fans were torn on whether this would be a spectacle or a farce. Floyd Mayweather was one of the most tried and true professional boxers with a record unparalleled by anyone else in the sport’s modern era, and Conor McGregor issued this challenged with no prior experience with professional boxing. Part of what made the bout so exciting was the curiosity of fans to know whether or not McGregor could transition from one combat sport and dethrone the king in another. In terms of Sportsmanship, the theme of this article, it was few and far between leading up to the fight although both fighters claimed the drama to be “staged” and to simply “sell the fight.” This approach bred a new style of combat sports Sportsmanship, seemingly related to the “professional wrestling” game of faking the poor sportsmanship for the sake of a higher paycheck as opposed to disrespect for the opponent.

The success of Mayweather and McGregor in adapting staged professional wrestling drama to the atmosphere of actual combat sports was shown in the fact that Mayweather v McGregor brought in the highest revenue of any boxing bout in American history. Both fighters earned over $100 million from the August 26th bout alone, and Mayweather in particular made a groundbreaking $275 million. After the fight ended with Mayweather beating McGregor by attrition in less than 10 rounds, both fighters had an entirely different outlook on each other that was demonstrative of great sportsmanship — a sharp contrast from the “beef” they shared leading up the the fight.

Poor sportsmanship is still seen in combat sports, whether it be Mixed Martial Arts or Boxing, but the evolution of sportsmanlike behavior has adapted to the needs of modern society. Modern society enjoys drama as observed by television shows such as “The Real Housewives”, “Jersey Shore”, or “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, and drama can be a voucher to redeem for significant amounts of revenue. Sportsmanship in Combat Sports is now taking the road that the WWE has taken for decades upon decades: Build up drama, draw in viewers that want to see a resolution, and “save face” by emphasizing sportsmanship when a fight is over to show the disrespect was not real. This formulaic method, as shown by the infamous “Mayweather v McGregor,” boxing bout, is a surefire way to have modern-day athletes fill the societal need for drama while smiling and laughing with their opponents afterward as they take their money all the way to the bank!

History In Focus

Let us make Peace source
When did this take place? It’s a black and white photo, and the soldiers are fighting each-other on horseback. Perhaps it takes place some time after the invention of the camera, but still in an age where people fought on horseback?
Above the figurines reads “Let Us Make Peace”. The work seems to be a persuasive piece arguing pacifism during a time of conflict.
Woman Suffrage source
While the title explains, the photo verifies that the subject of this photo is suffrage. Because it is a black and white photo, and due to the dress of the woman, perhaps it is taken during the woman’s suffrage movement in the late 1910s?
What is the meaning of the sashes that the women are wearing? Why is the woman on the left wearing her sash across her right shoulder as opposed to her left shoulder like the others?
Negro Going in Colored Entrance of Movie House source
This word at the top of the building suggest that this building is a movie theater. Even during this time it seems people got special deals for going to movie theaters at certain times in the day.
There is a separate entrance, and a set price of 10 cents for people of color at this movie theater. I know that African Americans were separated from white Americans during beginning half of the 20th century in America, but did they not benefit from deals like matinee prices like other Americans?

American Culture in the 1920s

A group of “Flapperette” girls in 1924; uploaded from inherited family photos. Source.
Notice some of the fashion choices of these women. For example, all but one of these women have chosen to wear pants rather than skirts. Do you think this was a normal clothing choice for women in the 1920s? Could their outfits be related to the social statement they are making?
Another thing that is common among these women is their choice of haircut. If you notice, all the women have very short hair. This is something that was common for the flapper style of the 1920s. What sort of message do you think these women were trying to send to the public with these short, blunt haircuts?
This is a combination of printed ads used in the May 1920 issue of National Geographic. Source. Courtesy of Don O’Brien.
Notice the tag line that the cigarette ad at the top of the page uses. What do you think is the significance of using words like “culture” and “refinement” in order to sell their product? Do you think this is a successful tactic?
Take a minute to process the illustration that accompanies the Deities cigarette ad. What is accurate about the image (if anything)? What is inaccurate? What does this sort of representation of a culture say about the social climate in America in the 1920s?
This photo captures an American couple on vacation in 1927; uploaded from inherited family photos. Source.
Notice this man behind the couple in the carriage. Judging by his position, it seems like he was tasked with pushing the couple around in the carriage. How might his opinion of the time this photo was taken differ from the couple on vacation?
Considering this photo was taken around the same time as the “Flapperettes” photo at the top of the post, how does this woman’s outfit compare to the women in the first picture? Do you think that this woman would be in favor of the Flapper social movement that was taking place during this decade?