Author Archives: matthew dickhausen

How the establishment of the Church of the Ascension demonstrates the increase in Irish immigrants and Irish culture in late 19th century Minneapolis.

In the 19th century Ireland faced many problems. Famine, strife, political instability, and other issues. Due to these issues many Irish immigrants made their way to the U.S. and as they spread out around the country, one of the places they chose as their new homes was Minnesota, more specifically, Minneapolis.

The Church of the Ascension was built in 1890 by Father Alexander Christie. it became a place of community for Catholic immigrants in Minneapolis in what is now the Old Highland neighborhood. The area consisted mostly of Irish immigrants as well as some Catholic German immigrants. The first look of the church can be seen in the image at the bottom of the page. The Church of the Ascension parish continued to become a bigger part of Irish culture in Minneapolis over time, In an Irish newspaper titled “Irish Standard” there are many things posted about the Church of the Ascension, which continued to demonstrate it’s presence as a physical place where Irish immigrants could come together under similar beliefs to gain a better sense of community in a foreign country.

The location in Minneapolis helped contribute to an increase in the size of the surrounding Old Highland neighborhood which became a heart for Irish immigrants in an ever-growing city. The original parish of the church consisted of only about four families but as time went on it grew to become a large place of meeting for immigrants. In 1894, Father Jeremiah Harrington opened the Ascension school which help provide many immigrant children with the opportunity to an education. The Church of the Ascension was an important part of the history and development of Irish culture and community in Minneapolis from the late 19th century all the way up through today.


Old Highland Neighborhood Association, “1723 Bryant Avenue North: Church of the Ascension,” Minneapolis Historical, accessed May 2, 2019,

“The Irish Standard.” MNHS Hub – Viewer, The Irish Standard,


“Catholic Church Records for St. Paul/Minneapolis.” Catholic Church Records for St. Paul and Minneapolis,

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How European colonialism negatively affected Africa’s ability to develop due to the controlling nature of the colonists. (Final Exhibit)


Not many people argue that colonialism in Africa was wrong and had many negative effects. However, some people argue that European presence did help develop some groups to help catch up to the “modern” standard. The problem with this thinking is that by forcing European colonialism on Africans caused more problems than it did good. For example, when looking at at a map of Africa in 1840 and 1900 ( (Maps-secondary) the difference in the spread of groups is astounding. The two images at the bottom of the page demonstrate the disregard that colonists had for different groups of African people. By combining these groups (groups of people being different colored areas) in regions that overlapped other groups caused conflict between different groups which hurt many Africans ability to better their own lives. The overlap is seen when comparing the change from the 1840 map to 1900 where colonization was in full effect. Colonists combined these groups to make it easier for them to govern the African people but it really only caused increased conflicts.

One of the major ways that the Europeans gained control and kept control in Africa was through governments in Africa which were run by the colonists and not the people who were really being governed. The emphasized role of the white Europeans in governing Africans is seen in a letter by George Washington’s open letter to King Leopold (   (Words-primary). When putting his letter into Voyant tools, the most common word is government with 48 usages. The words “state” and “white” are used 26. Without even reading the letter in its entirety it is clear that Africans were being controlled heavily by governments that were run by white Europeans. After reading the letter, it only becomes clearer how the way things were being run (especially in the Congo) was hurting African people significantly. Perhaps the biggest event that was to doom free African people was the Treaty of Berlin in 1885 ( (Time-primary). The treaty formally divided Africa up into sections among many European powers and pushed for free trade which only made exploiting African subjects only more tantalizing for colonists. The treaty was the recognition of many nations that Africa was up for grabs which formalized the “Scramble for Africa”. The Treaty didn’t give any real rights to the Africans being governed and was signed by just about everyone but Africans, thus African people having all potential say and control of their future withheld.

Looking at a post on twitter we also see another example how colonization hurt African natives especially in terms of education. In a tweet from Ben Southwood, he includes an image that shows how rubber work under colonization hurt Africans in terms of education ( (Social Media-secondary). The more work done with rubber the less educated the African people were. This map (located at the bottom of the page) lines of up with common problems that faced some colonies in Africa at the time. Even if Africans were educated, they were educated by the colonizers who upon leaving would leave many African people with and unfamiliar language and no uses for it. In the gallery at the bottom of the page there is an image (Images-primary) that shows French colonists with African subjects outside of a school that was run by the French in order to teach native Africans what they deemed important. This type of teaching wasn’t the type of teaching that African subjects needed however. The information taught to them only really helped colonists keep their subjects in check, and didn’t always help native people deal with problems relative to them. If any of these sources didn’t convince anyone of the controlling nature of the European colonists, then surely the numbers will. Some of the number are a little broad and look at a world view but in the late 1800s most of the data is quite relevant to Africa (Numbers-secondary). The site holds plenty of good information including stats and maps on this subject but the numbers that I found so interesting was that 34.59% of the world population was ruled in colonies. Most of this percentage was made up of African and Indian subjects. The amount of the population that was ruled in colonies against their wills is astounding and the fact that these colonies lasted up until 1960 is honestly shocking and shows how many countries acted in order to gain any kind of profit in any way. All of these sources combined, it is quite clear that one of the major reasons Africa had failed to develop on its own was the many controlling aspects that European colonies enforced on native Africans.




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Industrialization still contributes to child labor issues.

When I think of child labor I think of the first Industrial Revolution. I think of the Industrial Revolution because what comes to my mind is the children that worked all day in factories in poor conditions, or very young children who would place charges in mines  and then run out to avoid being killed. Child labor may not be as cruel in as many places as it was back then, there are still places and instances where children are exploited for hard and cheap labor.

One of the biggest places where children are worked is West Africa where children are worked in the chocolate industry. In the article “Child labour is part of most of what we buy today: what can we do?” (2016) by Annie Kelly of The Guardian, I learned that West Africa has a problem with child labor in the cocoa industry. While the work can sometimes be harmful to the child, sometimes it can be helpful and necessary for the child to work to help support their family. The problem of addressing the situation is that some children are being exploited but you don’t want to hurt the family of the child who is working to perhaps pay for education or other needs of the family that other developed countries may take for granted.

An interesting primary source I found that shows similar problems from industrialization is the article “Child Labor in the Canning Industry of Maryland” (1909) written by sociologist Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940). The article gives some examples of child labor and the negative affects of it. Lewis Hine was a photographer that used photos to demonstrate the many problems and poor conditions of child labor. He was a member of the National Child Labor Committee where he helped promote change regarding child labor in the U.S.

I find the two sources to be similar in a few different ways, despite the great difference in date. Both of the sources are on the topic of child labor and where and how it can be detrimental. Both of the articles demonstrate how each respective industry can take advantage of the desperate situations in which the children work to help provide for their struggling families. The biggest problem that the groups of children have in these situations is that there is a necessity to work which allows the employer to exploit them because they know that the families may have no other choice but continue the hard work.

Looking at the historical industrialization can help us see why certain social changes and problems are happening. In both of the sources, I saw how the use of child labor was not always about industry’s needing children to work, but that the children in these developing countries need the labor which allows the employer to use them almost as slaves. This also brings up the question of whether we are obligated to intervene or would that harm the children in question?

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