American History Homework Twelve Answers - Student One

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Steven M. :-)

1. The Cold War between the USSR and the United States lasted from 1945 to 1990.


2. The Vietnam War and the Korean War. The United States obviously fought hard in both of these, but it was not a concerted effort like World War II. These wars, people thought, were less important. Our country was not in immediate danger, so these wars were much less popular. Vietnam was especially unpopular, not only because of the cultural changes favoring rebellion and independence, but because of the position the U.S. took in Vietnam. Much like Britain fighting in the colonies. To the British the colonies was a large unknown wilderness with an diverse population. Many of them were strongly opinionated and planned on fighting for the soil they lived on. The colonists knew the country and fought the invaders using guerilla warfare. Although many of them sided with England (touries), the patriots were aided by foriegn countries. They were convinced by radical liturature that they were fighting for freedom.

Do you see all the similarities? America loves an underdog. And in Vietnam we were definitely not the underdog. The outcome is sad, but I think it was foreseeable. I completely agree with the way we accepted defeat in Vietnam, but there were not very many options. Right before the war started there was only two choices about it: go to war or not. What else could we have done?

In Korea, however, I believe we could have won that. Korea might be a completely capitalist country today if it were not for Harry Truman's ire.

Fantastic answer, one of the best on the class all year. Will probably use as a model. (Note: "Tories", not "touries").

3. The sit-ins were a brave protest of blacks not being allowed to be served in diners. To come in to a segregated place, even with one or two dozen friends, where you knew you would not be welcome was dangerous. Many of them went to jail because they had been taking business away from the restaurant. I can imagine white, paying customers walking in and going right back out because the place is already full of black people who can't buy anything. And the owner behind the counter is just getting madder and madder, but he's helpless. All this was a strong statement made by peaceful civil rights activits.

Right, but note that many of the "sit-in" demonstrators were white.

4. LBJ is known for the Great Society and the Vietnam War. The Great Society was the begining of the modern welfare state, so that is very significant. It was a milestone for liberals, like the New Deal. Tax-payer money went to those less fortuitous, meaning, those without fortitude. Since that time people can afford their rent and cable TV bill while only working 25 hours a week at McDonalds. The American dream lives on...

Superb answer.

5. The 80th Congress balanced the federal budget. This is an incredible feat for a government that spends as much as ours does. It demonstrated that lowering taxes can create an economic enviroment better suited to cultural growth.

Terrific. ("environment", note the middle "n").

6. Wow, what a question. I couldn't decide between Douglas MacArthur and Jackie Robinson and Elvis and Lyndon B. Johnson and Henry Kissinger. There are so many possibilities to choose from.

In the end, however, I think that I must say Earl Warren. He was the Chief Justice of the most influential Supreme Court in American History. His brazen acts of activism revolutionized the way the Constitution was viewed, and thus his actions continue to affect society today. Notably, I find his favour of criminals particularly disturbing. He held they had specific rights throughout his career. Some might say criminals have NO rights; they gave up their rights when they became criminals. I think the constitution is fair the way it's written, especially in respect to treatment of criminals. But if anything more is added, outlaws will take advantage of the errors in the system, many times getting off easy, with only a slap on the wrist.

Superb ... again deserving of appearance in the model answers!

7. The Warren Court was in charge of the building pictured. They had a very liberal ideology, espousing judicial activism. One of the boldest and most unsetteling examples of this is their interfering with States' rights. They overturned many state laws in order to allow pornography, to disrupt the democratic process in State Legislatures, and to ban official school prayer. Not only were these bad decisions in themselves, but they were bad because they took authority that belonged to the States and gave it to the Federal Government: specifically, the Supreme Court.

Fantastic answer!

H1. What is your view of whether Muhammad Ali was entitled to a conscientious objection based on Islam?

First of all, this was not a great war for America. Second, people should retain the right to choose whether or not to be a soldier, especially in a conflict as controversial as Vietnam. However, even if the war was unquestionably right, and if the draft was constitutional, Ali was muslim, and had a legitimate reason not to be drafted. Some say he converted to Islam only to get out of the fighting. This may be true, but if someone claims conscientious objection, it ought to be taken very seriously.

Ali was stripped of his title as world heavyweight boxing champion when he refused to be inducted. He was also sentenced to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine for evading the draft. In this one respect I have sympathy with Muhammad Ali: he was persecuted for his religion. Though I was never a boxer, never robbed of a championship, never felt an inclination toward Islam, never opposed military service; though I would have fought in Vietnam if I had been drafted, and died for a cause that I believed was not entirely worth dying for (or was Vietnam worth the price in lives after all?), I identify with Ali because he was punished for his faith. It is serious when a country will force you to do what you say you must not on account of religion.

And even if he was a pacifist whimp, and the only reason he became muslim was to try and get off the hook, you can not judge what is within a man's heart. We will never know his motive for converting to Islam (until Judgment Day), but inditing him for draft evasion sets a precedent for the government to control men's lives, regardless of their claimed beliefs.

Very well-argued response. But does that many that all Muslims are entitled to a conscientious objection in the future, while participating in wars of their liking? Are you expanding conscientious objection to people who may pick and choose which war they want to fight in, and which they want to sit out? That seems incompatible with the concept of a "draft", and unfair to others who went and fought despite opposing the war.

H2. Write about any issue or debate in the lecture, or relating to the period 1945 to 1980: Do you think Union power should be strengthened or weakened by Congress today?

Well, Unions are still very powerful. But what do they need their power for these days? There are no robber barons, no sweat shops. There are probably a thousand laws for employees' rights. Unions served their purpose well; those laws would not have been established without the initiative of the Unions. But by the 40's they had too much power and they began to abuse it. So it was wonderful timing that the 80th Congress should pass the laws that it did. Those laws made were fair to give some power back to the employers, after all, he does own the company. Today Unions are largly superfluous. And I feel there should be less of that which is not neccessary. In some industries, however, they may still serve some good purpose: we need not eradicate them completely.

Superb answer that reflects considerable thought.



H4. "Over time, conservative principles and values tend to gain broader acceptance by the American people." Do you agree with respect to 1945 through 1980, or 1980 through today (take your pick)? Explain.

This question is difficult firstly because of the ambiguity of the word "conservative."

Looking at the presidents of the time periods, conservatism seems to be doing better now than 50 years ago. Compare Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush vs. Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon. Politically conservative principles gained! With homeschooling legal now, as well as the removal of the compulsory draft, freedom is greater and government is smaller. Taxes are lower, communism is virtually non-existent in the U.S., racism is history, drugs are not cool.

But, the 50's and 60's were more socially conservative than today. Teenage pregnancy, divorce and skirts, were all much lower. Homosexuality was totally unacceptable, abortion was unthinkable.

This question is difficult secondly because of the extreme difference between the moderate changes in the 50's and the way so many went off the deep end in the 60's and 70's.

Overall, I feel we are more conservative today, but I would be content to live during either period.

Another model answer! I can't think of anything to add to it. Your writing style here was very clever, too: "Teenage pregnancy, divorce and skirts, were all much lower."
One of the very best "papers" in the class all year by any student. 100/100. Congratulations! You have finished very strong indeed.--aschlafly 16:52, 13 December 2008 (EST)
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