American History Homework Eleven Answers - Student Six

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Rachel N.

1. This course is mostly over. Can you now identify a value in learning history?

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

History is full of nations and individuals who made the same mistakes as those who came before them. As this verse says, there is nothing new under the sun. Following this logic, we see that the study of history will reveal to us old mistakes that could be repeated. The study of history, along with a firm understanding of the root of past problems, can be helpful in avoiding future problems. For instance, the liberal political ideology of taxing the rich to give to the poor sounds good in theory. However, if one studies history carefully it will become apparent that this idea is reminiscent of communism, which was a horrible failure.

Superb. Will use as a model answer ... unless I see something even better here!

2. Was the United States right to enter World War II, and should we have entered sooner or later?

It was wrong that we did not take more effort to protect ourselves from the events that lead up to our joining World War II, yet the events that did happen were legitimate reasons for our entering the war. Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In theory, this was a legitimate reason to enter the war. However, it has been speculated that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that Japan had made plans to attack Pearl Harbor, yet did nothing about it. Roosevelt had also worked hard to incite support in Congress and among the American public for joining the war before this. This incitation and the failure to protect Pearl Harbor were wrong, yet the actual act of joining the war after we were attacked was not.


3. Which of the approaches in American history towards immigration do you like best, and why?

I like the approach used from 1905 through 1914. There were no limits set regarding how many people could immigrate from a particular nation. I appreciate this because I believe that legislation that limits immigration by country of origin is often the result of prejudice and irrational fear or hate. An example of how this can hurt our nation and good, hard-working people can be found in the life of my great-grandfather. He emigrated from Italy during this time period (in 1912), and later willingly served America in its fight against the nation of his origin during World War I. In 1924, due to the American people’s mistrust of Italians, the United States implemented legislation that severely reduced immigration from Italy and thus inhibited the immigration of other potential upstanding citizens like my great-grandfather. I prefer the approach used from 1905 through 1914 over the one used today because it encouraged legal immigration, unlike the approach today does.

Superb answer, with a personal connection! Terrific: you and your family are part of history too!

4. Pick out something from the "Roaring Twenties" and describe what you like about it.

The sudden development of art, music, technology and culture associated with the Roaring Twenties is fascinating. The question of what caused this free expression and development is an interesting one to explore. I see many causes for it. First, the economy was under Republican control at that time and followed laissez-faire economics, which encourages initiative, entrepreneurship and free exploration of ideas. Also, racial segregation was seeing the beginning of its end, and this led to the development of a blended culture (often called a “melting pot”) entirely unique to America (for instance, the Jazz music of the 1920s combined elements from African and European music). Finally, the end of World War I, which at that time was thought to have been “the war to end all wars”, gave a certain blissfulness to the times, which certainly inspired people.

Another fantastic answer!

5. What is your view of the New Deal, and what might you have done differently in response to the Great Depression?

There are natural swings in the economy, and government policies and programs such as the ones that FDR implemented in the New Deal can do little to change this. The previous statement can be proven by observing recent history. In the past forty years the economy had flourished twice: once under the Reagan administration and once under the Clinton administration. There could not possibly be two more opposite economic policies than the policies of these administrations. This leads to the conclusion that the government has little effect on the economy. In FDR’s position, I would have used any money set aside to boost the economy to invest in the free market by giving grants to businesses rather than by employing individuals directly by the government. This would provide long-term jobs (as opposed to the short-term ones that FDR’s plan provided), and encourage business and the free market.

Excellent. Good suggestions to use "free market" solutions.

6. Do you think we should have dropped the atomic bombs on Japan? Explain.

Japan was a formidable and brutal enemy in World War II. Because of their culture’s call to uphold honor over all else, the Japanese would literally fight to the death before surrendering. This obviously presented a huge challenge to America. We had only two options: to participate in a long drawn-out blood bath or to resort to a drastic measure (in this case, using the atomic bomb). The former would have resulted in a huge loss of life on both sides, while the latter only required the loss of life on the Japanese side. While I believe it is morally wrong for an individual to place value on one life over another, it remains a nation’s duty to look after its own citizens over the citizens of another nation. Thus, I believe that dropping the atomic bomb was justifiable and furthermore, the best option America had at the time.


7. Please interpret and explain the cartoon, including an estimate of its date. (It was published by a paper in New Jersey years ago.)

This cartoon displays the ghost of Theodore Roosevelt looking on in disgust at how his fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took his “big stick” policy to a much higher extreme than he had ever intended for it. In this context “big stick” refers to the federal government (and furthermore, the executive branch) having a large amount of power. When the democrat FDR was president there was a democrat majority in both the House and the Senate. For that reason, Congress went along with virtually everything that FDR introduced—and FDR introduced more than any president before him with his New Deal. This cartoon portrays this relationship between Congress and the executive by showing two men (representing the House and the Senate) carrying huge sticks to the White House as “gifts” for the president (FDR). This was probably drawn in 1933, the year that FDR took office and proceeded to make more changes to the American government than any president before or after him.

Fantastic. You explained it perfectly! Will use as a model. You might add that the cartoonist likely opposed what FDR was doing.
One of the best papers in the class all year: 70/70. Perfect!