Social Studies 5: Davis Bend: Symbol of the Dashed Hopes of Reconstruction
Meet the Jeffersons. No, not the TV family. No, not the cartoon about the people living in the future - that's The Jetsons. Oof. You really need a history lesson.
|5th Grade||Social Studies|
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
In case you've forgotten, that's the side that was pro-slavery, and the side that lost. [Davis stood in front of a confederate flag]
But let's take a step back. [The confederate flag disappears]
Before the war, Jefferson's brother Joseph ran the plantation as what he hoped would
become the model for all good slave plantations, where he did his best to treat his slaves
well and give them a little bit of freedom here and there. [Slave smiling and is then put in a cage]
Though not enough freedom to y'know, actually… be free.
Then the whole Civil War thing happened, which as you know, didn't end too well for the Davis [Pictures of the war]
brothers and their Confederate pals.
This loss was at least partly Jefferson's fault, because he wasn't very good at coming [Jefferson riding a horse]
up with war strategies, which is kind of important… when you’re in a war.
He also printed lots and lots of Confederate money to finance the war. [Jefferson printing money on a photocopier]
Which sounds like a pretty good way to get more money, right?
Except the more money there is, the less money is worth. [Graph showing devaluing]
Think of it like pizza – if there's only one slice left, everyone wants it, so the [People fighting over a slice of pizza]
value goes up.
But if there's a hundred slices, then everyone stops being desperate for it, and the value [People lying on the floor surronded by pizza]
As the Confederacy lost, the Union invaded and Joseph was forced to flee the Davis Bend [Joseph running away]
plantation, leaving the slaves to run it on their own. [Slave is left behind]
After all was said and done, the Union decided that the plantation should belong to the freed
slaves and be like a paradise for them. [Waiter brings drinks to slaves sat on a beach in deckchairs]
Davis ended up selling the land to one of his most savvy and successful former
slaves, Benjamin Montgomery.
At first, things didn't go so bad for Benjamin.
But then the price of cotton plummeted... [Graph showing the price of cotton going down]
Needless to say, being the black owner of a cotton plantation wasn't exactly paradise. [All the nice things at the beach disappear]
And to make matters even worse, Jefferson Davis only had to spend a brief time in jail [Jefferson Davis's cell unlocks]
before being pardoned for his war crimes and released.
And, surprise, surprise, he came right back to Davis Bend and campaigned to get it back. [Jefferson Davis arrives at his old plantation]
And because life is not a Disney movie and not all stories have a happy ending, by 1878, [The slaves are dancing in a nice field, it then begins to rain and they look unhappy]
Jefferson Davis got his wish and Davis Bend was returned to the Davis family.
We know what you're thinking: is there no justice in this world? [Girl looking angry]
Nope, not always.
That's why we watch a lot of Disney movies and eat a lot of pizza.
“And they lived happily ever.... wait a second!”
Show his tombstone.
“Here Lies Jefferson Davis – a man who died before the internet or TV or video games
or even Doritos.
Shmooper watching a happy Disney ending, "If only real life was like this…"
Blue Fairy appears.
Shmooper: "Blue Fairy!
Are you here to make real life better?"
Blue Fairy: "No.
I smelled pizza.