Primary Source Analysis - Government Rationing Propaganda (short film)


chico high school

Question Description

Watch the short film Prices Unlimited. This propaganda film was made at the request of the U.S. government to encourage citizens to comply with rationing rules and regulations. It is a primary source that can tell us a lot about rationing during WWII, including different opinions about it, what life was like under rationing, ways people tried to cheat the system, etc.

Prices Unlimited

You must answer the following three questions:

  1. What was the overall message(s) of this film?
  2. Who was the film’s intended target audience(s)?
  3. What strategies did the film use to get its message(s) across to the audience?

You must take your answers from the film. A good way to accomplish this is to explain what specifically you saw in the film that led you to your answer. For example: “When the two women were in the butcher shop, they didn’t try to buy any cheese, therefore the message of the film was that American’s shouldn’t buy cheese during the war.” (That’s a totally made-up answer, by the way – don’t use it for your Analysis!)

The goal is to answer the three questions as clearly and logically as possible, clearly taking your information from Prices Unlimited.

There is no minimum or maximum word count, and there are no instructions for formatting. Feel free to answer with a narrative or list, whichever you prefer.

I have attached a sample of a primary source (pdf) with its analysis (word) for you to get an idea of how it looks like.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Primary Sources – The Beating of Jim, 1835 The document recreated below is a letter written by two people, Rebecca Cameron and her son, Paul. They both wrote to Duncan Cameron, Rebecca’s husband and Paul’s father. The letter concerns a series of events that took place on the Cameron plantation in North Carolina that involved one of Duncan’s slaves named Jim, and an overseer at the plantation named Mr. Nichols. This letter is fascinating for many reasons, primarily because it sheds some light on the complexity of owner-enslaved relationships. Things to consider: 1) According to the letter, what were the implicit (unsaid) rules of conduct at Cameron plantation; in other words, how were the different people expected to behave to one another? 2) What rights did Jim have, if any? 3) Why did Jim, Mr. Nichols, and the Camerons take the actions they did? 4) How might the events described matter to the rest of the slave community at the plantation? Rebecca Cameron to Duncan Cameron, April 26, 1835 Rebecca Cameron: "I am truly concerned my beloved Husband to have such distressing intelligence to communicate to you. On Friday Mr. Nichols and Jim had a difference. Nichols whipped Jim and at night Jim came over to see Paul. After talking some time with him, Paul told him to go home and conduct himself well and that Mr. Nichols would not trouble him again. Accordingly Jim [went] over early on Saturday morning and soon met with Nichols, who gave him a blow on the head which fractured his skull, and what is most astonishing before we breakfasted the poor fellow had walked over here alone. We sent up to Hillsborough immediately for a surgeon. Doctor Webb came down and prepared him last night, and says he thinks he will recover. God grant that he may for many reasons." [After she concluded the letter, on the bottom of the page is one word, in Paul's handwriting: "Over.”] Paul Cameron to Duncan Cameron, April 26, 1835 "On the other side my mother has informed you of the brutal transaction at your Brick House plantation. I use the word brutal, because it is the only word that will express the conduct of Mr. Nichols towards Jim. Mother has stated the facts. I will go a little into detail. After tea on Friday night Jim sent into me to go out to the gate, where I found him. He told me that he had been most unmercifully whipped by his overseer, and wished me to see his skin. It being dark, I carried him down to Luke's house, where I became satisfied that he had been severely whipped, tho his skin was but a little broken. I told him to return home, and submit himself under all circumstances to his overseer and that I would go over the next day. The next morning (Saturday) before breakfast, someone told me that Jim was here with a very bad wound upon his head. As soon as I saw him I went up to see Uncle, who came down at once, and pronounced him a dead man. Luke was sent at once to Hillsboro, and Dr. Webb arrived here about 5 o'clock, so he had daylight to perform the most painful operation that I ever witnessed. From external appearances he could discover no fracture, but Webb was satisfied from what I told him of the case that there must be one, and upon laying bare the skull about three inches above the lips of the wound we discovered the fracture, one that the Dr. said must have destroyed life had the operation been delayed to the next day. After the operation and last night, the Dr. thought the chances for life very doubtful, but when he left us this afternoon, he thought with great care he might be saved. The dressing is not to be removed until Thursday, as Dr. Webb is to return and spend Thursday night with him. "About 11 o'clock on Saturday, Nichols came over to the shop. I met him in the lane, and received from him an account of this most unfortunate affair. I give it to you in few words. It seems that they met in the yard about daylight on Saturday morning. When N. said to Jim, 'I suppose you went over to see your master last night.' Jim said that he did. 'What did he say to you.' 'That is my own business, Mr. Nichols.' Thereupon Nichols uttering some harsh and angry words got hold of a part of a rail and as Jim was walking off from him, his back turned, he gave him the blow, which brought him to the ground! But [one] blow was given. The poor fellow has lost immense quantities of blood from his mouth and nose. I feel a deep solicitude that Jim should live. First on account of his thoughtless overseer! And tho he has ever been a bad and ungovernable slave, I have ever felt a great regard to him, in as much as he was your first servant and the gift of my grandfather. He is anxious to live, and doubt will not be very patient, which is all important." 1 The Beating of Jim, 1835 Analysis 1) According to the letter, what were the implicit (unsaid) rules of conduct at Cameron plantation; in other words, how were the different people expected to behave to one another? 2) What rights did Jim have, if any? 3) Why did Jim, Mr. Nichols, and the Camerons take the actions they did? 4) How might the events described matter to the rest of the slave community at the plantation? The numbered paragraphs are answers to the questions from the reading. 1 From the letter, some conduct was to be observed in Cameron plantation. One of these conducts is that workers were supposed to work with no questioning, and they are not to quarrel with another person except to Nicholas. This is clear in the letter when Paul claims that Nichols hit Jim after understanding that he had visited Paul last night. Another code of conduct is that workers should not have any differences with their seniors. According to Rebecca, the differences between Nichols and Jim lead to Nichols whipping Jim. This later resulted in many complications. 2 One of the rights that Jim has is the right to live. Paul indicates that he feels deep anxiety that Jim should live. This shows that the right to live for Jim should be observed. Another reason that Jim has is the right to medication. After being attacked by Nichols, Jim is taken to the hospital by Paul for treatment, which shows that it's his right to get treatment. HST 130 ANALYSIS 2 3 From the information given in the letter, Jim could have taken the action of reporting Mr. Nichols to Paul, for he felt being humiliated. Besides, that was the only action he could take since Mr. Nichols was his senior. Another reason for his act was because he had trust that Paul would be of help to him and would help in solving differences among them. Mr. Nichols took the action of whipping Jim, for he felt that Jim had underrated him. Another reason would be that he could little expect any subordinate to have the courage and urge with him, for he was their overseer. The act of Nichols giving Jim the blow was attributed to the fact that Jim has reported him to the boss. That makes Nichols upset, which is clear from the letter, for it is indicated that he utters some harsh and angry words. The Cameron’s wrote the letter, for it was their responsibility to ensure that all workers are treated well. Their main aim was to notify Mr. Cameron on the issues as they take place on the farm. This would help in maintain good morals. The reason why Paul took Jim to Luke's house was to confirm the mistreatment upon him. 4 This event matters a lot to the rest slave community at the plantation in that it gives an indication of how their overseers treat them. Furthermore, it raises the alarm to the management to check on the mistreatment within the farm. Consistently, individuals HST 130 ANALYSIS 3 are informed that any act that they might take would result in a significant loss. From this event, the relationship between the overseers and they're subordinates will be reinforced for respect among individuals who will make the critical principle. Besides, other slaves are assured that their bosses mind their concern. This has been outlined by Paul's act to write a letter to his father as well as taking Jim to the hospital. ...
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