1. What is your favorite period of time in American history, and why?
- My favorite time in American history is World War II. I love the strategy in all battles. It was a war in which America really developed militarily. (Nathanael H.)
- The Gilded Age is one of my favorite times in American history. America was picking herself up from the Civil War and putting herself back together. Many new and useful inventions were being made and life was becoming easier through them. This would have been a peaceful, interesting time to live in. (Jenna N.)
- My favorite time period in history is the colonial period. The New World had just started to become colonized and religion was its foundation. I liked this time because every person in the country knew the reason why they were there and acted according to their beliefs, whether that was leaving their country because of religious persecution or just to look for wealth. (Danielle R.)
- My favorite period is the "Era of Good Feelings" during the Monroe Administration. America was young and growing fast, most of the conflicts with the British were behind her, and her economy continued to expand. ... I love the early days of America when people read the Bible, grandpa remembered the Great Awakening, everyone knew what was right and wrong, none of this "what you want to believe is fine, tolerate other faiths, truth is relative" talk. Purer, more innocent, far from perfect, but this period of history seems the best to me. (Steven M.)
- I like the American Revolution period best. Just the outstanding way we beat the British after 6 years of war even though 4-5 of those years consisted of our retreating in the north and being almost demolished in the south. Once General Morgan created the plan of fire and fall back to a fresh line, the tide started turning and we crushed them at the Cowpens and Yorktown where General Cornwallis finally surrendered. (Benjamin H.)
- The 1780s, when good men fought for freedom under God and established this country, the greatest country on earth. These are the years when America's heroes wrote the Constitution, a document which I believe to be the closest to a perfect set of rules made by man. (Tom H.)
- My favorite period of American history is right now. Nothing is better than seeing history unfold before your very eyes. (Sean R.)
- My favorite period of time was WWII and the beginning of the Depression because they weren't too long ago and if you were to ask your grandparent or neighbor, they can tell you the whole story. (Matt N.)
2. Contrast President Ronald Reagan with President Bill Clinton.
- Ronald Reagan was almost entirely opposite from Bill Clinton. They were both originally Democrats, but when Reagan was in office almost everything he did ended up in a huge upset in that party. Clinton, however, usually only upset Republicans and people that tended to be more conservative. While Reagan’s first lady wasn’t particularly important to history, Clinton’s continues to upset the nation with her far left ideas and extremely aggressive liberal politics. Clinton took away our guns and Reagan gave us SDI. Reagan strengthened and protected our country. He forced Iran to free the American hostages and gave us ways to protect ourselves from aggressive foreign countries. Clinton weakened our country with NAFTA and even more so with WTO. Finally, everyone remembers Reagan and the Eight Great Years fondly, and I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t wish Clinton had never been elected. ... (Katie B.)
3. What would you say is the most important trend or trends guiding American history?
- The freedom to express our ideas and beliefs is one of the most important trends guiding American history. This trend created our country, runs our country, and keeps our country in check. If something goes wrong, we are able to communicate with each other about this and try to solve it without being hushed by the government. We can also share ideas that can improve our country and benefit our nation. (Leonard G.)
- A trend towards more involvement on the world stage. A trend towards imitating Europe. Imitating aspects of their culture, our politicians are imitating ideas of their government. The U.S. is looking for Europe's approval in some of its decisions. America is allowing itself to be dominated by nations with no authority, nations that are often far behind itself in economy, in technological achievements, and other ways. (Michelle F.)
- If by trend you mean something popular throughout the American citizens, then I think that smoking had a part to play in where we are now. Think about it; children halfway across the world, who's names we don't even know, are being forced to roll cigarettes. The cigarettes are shipped here, people buy so many of them that it could hurt the economy, people get lung cancer, heart problems, blood clots, and people die because of little 4 inch long sticks. I definitely think that smoking was an important trend leading up to where we are now. (Jessie H.)
- I would say the most important trend guiding American history would be the exodus from public and private schools towards homeschooling and other schools such as charter schools. I believe this trend is happening because people are sick and tired of their children being left behind because they struggle with certain subjects. Also, many parents are fed up with their children being taught very liberal views that they don’t feel are right for their children. (Nick DeJ.)
- Our country was founded on Christian principles, but today they are slowly fading away because people disregard the Bible. Besides the Christian churches, the only ones who keep these principles before us are the country Western singers. The unbelievers are guiding us on a downhill path to destruction. (Steven H.)
- I think one of the greatest threats is an over dependence on employment. Throughout our history, there always seems to be a conflict between workers and employers. ... The only alternative is self-employment. ... Just imagine ... where rather than having a million Wal-mart employees we have a million small businesses and a million people living the American dream. (Daniel N.)
- From the beginning America has been based on freedom for everyone. This is one of the most important trends America has set in front of the world. America's plan for a nation has convinced many other countries to do the same thing: give freedom and opportunity to every man. (Laura Grace K.)
4. What is the most important threat to the future of America? Cite history to support your view.
- The most important threat to the future of America is China. China has taken so much of our industry from us. Consequently, America has experienced a huge loss of jobs and profit. (Ruth L.)
- The most important threat to America, I think is the hard economic times and the setback of another great depression, but also the conflict in the Middle East where it seems to be somewhat akin to the Vietnam War with the loss of life and there being no clear winner. (Joey M.)
- Well I think that there have been many important threats. But the most current one that I can think of would be 9/11. I think that since it was so current Americans remember it better, and realize the danger that is within the world and how easily something like that can happen again and affect America and its future. (Amanda S.)
- Atheism and Karma. Atheism is the belief that there is no God, and Karma is a philosophy of sorts that simply states: what goes around comes around. But this is all wrong because no fair judgment ‘comes around,’ it comes directly from God with no turns on the way. This is a very precarious position that America is in right now, leaning on the philosophies of man. And I state from Casting Crown’s “While You Were Sleeping”:
- United States of America
- Looks like another silent night,
- As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
- That save the trees and kill the children. (Jonathan R.)
- The most important threat to the future of America is religion, or the absence of it. Religion has been the key component in the history of the world. ... Nation after nation has fallen when they said, though usually not in these words, that anything goes. America must learn from its ancestor nations and stop itself from following on the well-paved path of destruction. But if homeschoolers and Christians and those who love this country have any say in it, you can be sure this nation will last. (Cole N.)
5. Do you see a connection between culture and success for a nation? Give an example from history (e.g., period of time) to support your view.
- Culture and the success of a nation go hand in hand. Culture is how everyone thinks, what their beliefs are, and how they behave. ... For example, in the 20’s, the culture was booming, new music developed, women were coming into their own; it was great! America was also very successful as a nation at this time, because our economy was doing so well, and the thoughts of the time influenced the government. However, in the 70’s, the culture was not a good one. Rebelling, drugs, and sex were what people believed in. During this time, the government wasn’t doing so well either. The Watergate Scandal happened then, and a hostage crisis lasted more than a year. The world didn’t respect us .... (Sarah W.)
- There is a huge correlation between culture and success. This correlation runs deeper than the culture causing success; the culture in a way defines what success is for that nation. ... For instance, in World War II American culture cried out for the quickest possible end to the blood shed, while Japan’s culture required the upkeep of honor above all else. America’s definition of success was more achievable (and more in line with the Bible) than Japan’s, so thus we succeeded. Another example of this can be found in the America colonies. The colony at Plymouth was founded on Biblical principles, and it was successful from the start. Yet the colony at Jamestown was founded for monetary purposes. Success in that colony was originally defined as having a lot of money, without having to work hard. Obviously, this is not very achievable or in line with the Bible, so the colony failed (until a new leader implemented a “don’t work, don’t eat” rule, redefining “success” into something achievable). (Rachel N.)
- Yes, I do think that there is a connection between culture and the success of a nation. The roaring twenties were a time of success and cultural progress. Culture is very important to the success of a nation. (Isaac Z.)
- I would say the 1980’s through the present is a time period when culture had a negative impact on America. Throughout this time period, I think that America has been in a decline because of the fact that many people have become complacent and self-centered. Many people ... are ill informed and do not verify the information they hear on the television and read in the papers. The schools no longer teach the students to seek the truth and not to believe everything they hear on television or read in newspapers or magazines. (Mark DeJ.)
6. Describe two of the greatest achievements of Ronald Reagan.
- I think that one of Reagan's greatest achievements was his Reaganomics. His economics brought prosperity to America, which is (of course) a good thing! Also, his speech at the Berlin wall. He knew that some people would think his silly and childish for the line, "tear down this wall," however, the wall was torn down a few years later and Reagen is credited with ending communism in Eastern Europe. (Bethany S.)
- President Ronald Reagan proposed the greatest tax cuts in American history and fulfilled his promise. Reagan proposed the biggest tax and spending cuts in history. Ronald Reagan followed the "supply-side economics," a new theory developed by Arthur Laffer, which proposed the idea that by cutting taxes you could increase government revenue. Another great achievement of President Reagan was the SDI program which proposed that we would shoot missiles at the Soviet Union aircrafts which were thought to hold lethal bombs. President Ronald Reagan did many good things for America to help protect her for the future. (Veronika F.)
7. Explain during which century you think this map was drawn, and comment how America's achievements may have met or exceeded the expectations of the cartographer or other people of his time.
- This map was probably drawn in the first half of the 1500s. The cartographer seems to envision “Die Nuw Welt” as little more than wilderness and, in South America, cannibals it would seem. He also got the details of the shapes wrong, as they are only approximate. The prevailing viewpoint at this time was that the New World was an uncivilized savage land, whereas Europe was refined and cultured. But it was exactly the opposite of this “Gentleman” culture which built up America into the hard-working, rich, powerful- and yes, civilized- nation we are today. We have surpassed Europe in wealth, inventions, and leadership, which would have been a good joke in the 16th century. (Addison DM)
- ... America is still depicted to be very close to India, and a bit smaller then what it is in real life. America has met and surpassed many expectations, possibly a few of the cartographer too. But even though we are still "land of the free," it's getting harder and harder to be respected as a Christian even though Christianity and the want to follow Christ freely is what brought people to America in the first place. (Kara H.)
- This map was drawn after c. 1515 because we know that the landmass in the center of the page is North and South America, therefore, this was drawn after Columbus had returned from his third voyage. ... South America is almost twice as big in real life as it is in the map. (Olivia F.)
- This map of America was drawn in 1550 by Sebastian Munster. He was the first man to establish the practice of showing the four continents as separate maps. In this map, the New World is shown as a separate land mass for the first time and it is named America. (Veronika F.)
- This map was probably drawn during the 16th Century, as the names of the lands labeled on it were all discovered and named by the Europeans during this century. The cartographer clearly underestimated the significance of North America, as is clear from its size in this map. This reflected the popular belief during the 16th Century that North America was not as important as South America, as there was little prospect seen to find gold in North America. Yet while there actually was gold in the West, that was not the main misperception that the people of the 16th Century had. The main misperception was that gold would be the greatest riches to gain from this “New World”. No one ever imagined that someday the settling of North America would lead to the forming of the future richest country in the world. At that time, few even thought of settling the New World. (Rachel N.)
- This map was probably drawn during the 16th century. It couldn’t have been before then because it has the Strait of Magellan (Frerum Magalind) on it and Magellan didn’t circumnavigate the world until the 15 hundreds. Also, it has Florida on it (Terra florida), which Ponce de Leon didn’t find until the 15 hundreds. As for the expectations of the cartographer, North America turned out to be a lot bigger and more important than he thought, and South America turned out to be less important than he thought. (Ruth L.)
- This map was probably drawn in the 16th century by a German cartographer. He had no idea of the immense size of Canada, and believed that Cipango (Japan) was very close to the California coast, as was Cathay (China). He believed in a Northwest Passage, a huge southern continent (Terra Australis), and the Pompey-sized world. Back then, America was thought of as just a wilderness where you could find gold and glory; they never anticipated that it would be the greatest nation in the world. (Duncan B.)
Honors (pick 3 out of 5)
H1. Using American history as your guide, predict what will happen in the first two years of the Obama Administration.
- I think that in the first few years, Obama will try to fix our economy by creating something like FDR’s New Deal, which will fail as much as the New Deal did, and completely crash our economy. I think he will also try “end” the war in the east, because that is what a lot of people want. However, he will pull out of the war without suppressing the terrorists, and then the terrorists will began attacking our borders and we may end up in a full scale war. (Natalie D.)
H2. Write about any issue, debate, or mystery related to the lecture or its time period.
- I think that Congress is wrong to pass treaties as ordinary laws when they could not get the two thirds vote that the founding fathers required in the constitution in order to pass a treaty. (Jess S.)
H3. "Free trade": good or bad? Your view please, while mentioning NAFTA and WTO.
- Free trade as promoted by NAFTA is not a very good idea. Things which are legal in other countries but illegal in the US will be able to freely pass into our country. (Christina F.)
- The central problems with “free trade” are that it fails to recognize that other nations do not have the same standards for trade that America does and it assumes that the other nations always have good intentions. For example, on one occasion, NAFTA ordered the U.S. to admit Mexican trucks which do not meet U.S. environmental standard. Nearly every single decision of the WTO has been against the United States. (Duncan B.)
H4. What is your view of the government spying on its own citizens, such as authorized by the Patriot Act?
- Many people are against this bill because they believe that it violates civil liberties. They feel that the government is going to monitor everything they do. Supporters of this bill believe that it is ridiculous to think that the government is going to monitor everything everybody does. For example, Section 215 of this Act allows the FBI to obtain documents in the hands of a third party if those documents are relevant to a terror investigation. People against this bill believe that the government will “spy” on them because the government does not like the books they read or the government does not like an article they wrote. However, the FBI cannot do anything without the approval of a federal court. No court is going to approve a request because members of the FBI have a problem with the books someone reads or an article they wrote. Also people who are against the Patriot Act believe that the items contained in this bill are new, but I learned from my reading that the Patriot Act is actually a expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA) that was passed by Jimmy Carter during his presidential term.
- Lastly, in my personal opinion, I believe the government has no right to spy on a citizen unless there is a lot of proof suggesting that illegal activities are going on in his or her home. (Mark DeJ.)
H5. Write about any issue relating to American history at any time.
- Well Mr. Schlafly, if you can include the future in a history class, so can I. I would like to speculate about our future. If indeed atheism is the greatest threat to our future, we must combat it with religion, especially Christianity. Where atheism says there is no purpose to life, we must stand up and assert, there is indeed a purpose to life, to know Christ and to treat with kindness and dignity even the least of His brothers. When atheism tells us that random evolution created the order in the world and the multitude of species, we must say no; God, in some way, expressly created all things. When atheism tells us that religion “is but superstition which hardens hearts and enslaves minds,” we must remind them that atheists rank below religious people in charitable giving. So what is the future of America? A single kind word, a single good work, a single person who heeds the true calling of moral goodness, such a person is our future. One man, who stands up to the government, and the media, and the establishment, and cries out from the rooftops the message of truth, is the future of America. Let us pray that WE all may be the future of America. Amen. (Addison DM)