Short Notes: Abe Lincoln, Slavery, Civil Rights Movement in America, Harlem, The Euphrates, The Congo, The Nile & Pyramid

Short Notes: Abe Lincoln, Slavery, Civil Rights Movement in America, Harlem, The Euphrates, The Congo, The Nile & Pyramid

Short Notes: Abe Lincoln, Slavery, Civil Rights Movement in America, Harlem, The American Dream, The Euphrates, The Congo, The Mississippi, The Nile, Blues, Pyramid


Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln's full name is Abraham Lincoln. He was born in February 1809, near Hodgenville, Kentucky, US. Born in a Kentucky log cabin, he moved to Indiana in 1816 and to Illinois in 1830. He worked as a storekeeper, a rail-splitter, a postmaster, and a surveyor for sometime, and then enlisted as a volunteer in the Black Hawk War in 1832, and was captain of his company. He taught himself law, and having passed the bar examination, began practicing in Springfield, Illinois, in 1836. As a successful circuit-riding lawyer from 1837, he was noted for his shrewdness, commonsense, and honesty (earning the nickname "Honest Abe"). From 1834 to 1840 he served in the Illinois state legislature, and in 1847 he was elected as a Whig to the US House of Representatives. In 1856 he joined the Republican Party, which nominated him as its candidate in the 1858 Senate election. In a series of seven debates with Stephen A. Douglass, he argued against the extension of slavery into the territories. He was defeated in the election, but his antislavery position and oratorical brilliance made him a national figure in the young Republican Party. In the 1860 presidential election, he ran against Douglas again and won by a large margin in the electoral college. He became the 16th President of America. The South opposed his position on slavery, and before his inauguration seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. The American Civil War ensued in 1861. He excelled as wartime leader, combining statecraft and overall command of the armies with military genius. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The Gettysburg Address in 1863 ennobled the war's purpose. He defeated McClellan in the presidential election of 1865. He outlawed slavery with his 13 Amendment in 1865. On 14th April, 1865 he was mortally wounded by Wilkes Booth, and died the next day.


Slavery means the condition in which one human being is owned by another. A slave was considered in law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of the rights ordinarily held by free persons. Slavery has existed on nearly every continent, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and throughout most of recorded history. The ancient Greeks and Romans accepted the institution of slavery, as did the Mayas, Incas, Aztecs, and Chinese. Europeans began importing slaves from Africa to the New world, beginning in the 16 century. An estimated 11 million people were taken from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. By the mid-19th century the slave population in the US had risen to more than four million, although slave imports had been banned from 1809. Most slaves worked on plantations in the South. Their status was governed by slave codes. Most of the slaves sent to the Americas ended up in South America. There their conditions were so harsh that constant replenishing of slaves was essential. When abolitionism arose, Britain outlawed slavery in its colonies in 1833, and France followed it in 1848. During the American Civil War, slavery was abolished in the Confederacy by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which was decreed by President Abraham Lincoln. Slavery continues to exist in many parts of the world, although it is not recognized by any government.

Civil Rights Movement in America

Civil Rights Movement in America is the movement by the black American to gain full citizenship rights and racial equality. The exact times of the beginning and the ending of the movement are not known for certain. However, it is believed generally that the movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and ended with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is also believed that it is doubtful whether the movement has yet ended or not. The movement is also known by several names such as the Black Freedom Movement, the Negro Revolution, and the Second Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Movement was a challenge to the segregation or apartheid between the white and the black people of America which continued even after the abolition of slavery in the 1860s.

10 Langston Hughes was deeply involved in and concerned with the Harlem community which was composed of one of the largest black populations in the country. He perceived a disillusionment throughout Harlem due to intolerance prevailing in the country. In the poem "Harlem" Hughes deals with this disillusionment.


The term "Harlem" is associated with the "Harlem Renaissance" or "New Negro Movement". The "Harlem Renaissance" was a period of outstanding vigour and creativity centred in New York's black ghetto of Harlem in the 1920s. Its leading literary figures included Alain Locke, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Jean Toomer, Wallace Thurman, and Arna Bontemps. It was a literary movement which coincided with the great creative and commercial growth of jazz and a concurrent growth of the visual arts. and altered the character of much African-American literature. Dialect works and conventional imitations of white writers were replaced with sophisticated explorations of black life and culture. 

The American Dream

J.T. Adams defined the American Dream in the following terms: life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." Thus, the American Dream is the national values of American people. It involves a set of moral ideals which include personal freedom, and opportunity for prosperity and success. Through hard work a person aims at achieving social mobility and personal prosperity. Langston Hughes touches the theme of American Dream in many of his poems. There he becomes the spokesman for the African-Americans, downtrodden immigrants, the poor farmers, and the disenfranchised. He portrays the glories of equality and liberty as ideals yet to be achieved by the poor and the underprivileged. In "Harlem", he speaks about the dream of the black, underprivileged people of America. Most of the poems of Langston Hughes are directly or indirectly concerned with the American Dream, its assertion or realisation, by the black Americans.

The Euphrates

There are several alternative names for the Euphrates River. It is also known as Firat Nehri, and as Al-Furat River. It is in the Middle East. It is the largest river in Southeast Asia. It rises in Turkey and flows southeast across Syria and through Iraq. It is formed by the confluence of the Kara and the Murat in the high Armenian plateau, and descends between major ranges of the Taurus Mountains, and drops nearly 1000 feet to the Syrian plateau. It flows through western and central Iraq to unite with the Tigris and continues, as Shatt al- Arab, to the Persian Gulf. In all, it is 2235 miles long. Its valley was heavily irrigated in ancient times, and many great cities, some of whose ruins remain, lined its banks. The ancient city of Babylon grew on the bank of this mighty river. With the Tigris, it defines an area historically known as Mesopotamia. In the Bible, the Euphrates is one of the four rivers flowing out from the Garden of Eden. In the whole history of human civilization, Euphrates is the most important river.

The Congo

The Congo River, also known as the Zaire River, is in west- central Africa. It rises in Zambia as the Chambeshi and flows 2900 miles through the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second longest river in Africa. It flows through three contrasting regions: the upper Congo, characterized by lakes, water falls, and rapids, the middle Congo, with seven cataracts known as Boyoma (Stanley) Falls; the lower Congo which divides into two branches forming a vast lake area called the Malebo (Stanley) Pool. Many great African Kingdoms have flourished along the banks of this big river.

The Mississippi

The Mississippi River is in central United States. It rises at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows south, meeting in major tributaries, the Missouri and the Ohio rivers, about half way along its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It enters the Gulf southeast of New Orleans, after a course of 2350 miles. It is the largest river in North America, and with its tributaries it drains an area of 1.2 million square miles. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to discover the river in 1541. French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette travelled down the river in 1673 as far as the Arkansas River. French explorer La Salle reached the Delta in 1682 and claimed the entire Mississipi region for France, as Louisiana. France Kept control over the upper river, but the lower portion passed to Spain in 1769. It was designated the western boundary of the U.S. in 1783. France, sold it to the U.S. in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. During the American Civil War, Union forces captured Visburg, Miss. in 1863, breaking the confederate hold of the river. As the central river artery of the U.S., it is one of the busiest commercial water ways in the world. b

The Nile

The Nile river, of which the Arabic term is Bahr al-Nil, is in eastern and northern Africa. It is the longest river in the world. It is about 4132 miles long from its remotest headstream, and 3473 miles from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. It flows generally north from eastern Africa through Uganda, the Sudan, and Egypt. It receives major tributaries, including the Blue Nile and the Athara River, before entering Lake Nasser near the Egypt--Sudan border. After the Aswan High Dam impounds the lake, it continues northward to its delta near Cairo, where it empties into the Mediterranean. The first use of the Nile for irrigation in Egypt began when seeds were sown in the mud left after its annual floodwaters had subsided. It has supported continuous human settlement for at least 5000 years, with canals and waterworks built in the nineteenth century. The Aswan High Dam, built in 1959-70, provides flood protection, hydroelectric power, and a dependable water supply for both crops and humans. The Nile is also a vital water way for the transport of people and goods.


The Blues is a secular musical form. It incorporates a repeating harmonic structure with melodic emphasis on the flatted or "blue" third and seventh notes of the scale. The origins of the blues are not known, but elements of the music of former slaves include the call- and-response pattern and syncopated rhythms of spirituals and work songs. The codification of the structure of the blues occurred in the early 20th century, most commonly as a twelve bar phase that used the chords of the first, fourth, and fifth degrees of the major scale. Its origins as a primarily vocal form induced instrumental performers to imitate the human voice with "bent" notes. Lyric stanzas are usually in three lines. The words of the second line generally repeat those of the first. The elaboration of the rural blues from Texas and the Mississipi delta established both lyric and instrumental traditions. They often featured speech-like inflection and guitar accompani- ment. The first blues recordings, in the early 1920s, featured singers such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, using jazz accompanists. Their style came to be known as classic blues. The highly personal interpretations and improvisation of the blues, combined with the elements of its structure and inflection, served as the foundation of Jazz and Rock Music.


A pyramid means an ancient monumental structure constructed of or faced with stone or brick and having a rectangular base and four sloping triangular sides meeting at an apex. Pyramids have been built at various times and places; the best-known are those of Egypt and of central and South America. The pyramids of ancient Egypt were royal tombs. Each contained an inner sepulchral chamber that housed the deceased (usually mummified) ruler, members of his entourage, and artefacts. The rest of the pyramid complex consisted of a large enclosure, an adjacent mortuary temple, and a cause way leading down to a pavilion. About 80 royal pyramids survive in Egypt, the greatest being those at Giza. American pyramids include the pyramids of the Sun and Moon at Teotihuacan, the Castillo at Chichen Itza, and various Inca and Chime structures in Andean settlements. These pyramids were generally built of earth and faced with stone; they are typically stepped pyramids and are topped by a platform or temple structure used for rituals, including human sacrifice.

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