American History Homework Seven Answers - Student Eighteen
1. What was the "Gilded Age"? The "Gilded Age" was a term coined by writer Mark Twain. He thought that what many were calling the "Golden Age" wasn't really golden because of all of the political corruption. He thought that it was gilded: it appeared to be golden, but inside it was rotten.
2. What do you like about Thomas Edison, and do you think home schooling him created enormous wealth? I admire Thomas Edison's work ethic and his perseverance. I think that if he was not home schooled, he would not have become the great inventor that he was. I think that being home schooled gave him the opportunity to develop and put into practice the values that enabled him to be such a great inventor. In school, he would not have been encouraged to be inquisitive, and his curiosity would likely have been squashed.
- Excellent, might use as a model answer.
3. How do you think the frontier might have affected the views of Americans? The frontier provided an open door for many Americans to escape the already settled coasts. It was their way to freedom, to an area where people were not as rooted and it was easier to start anew. It offered a place where it was easier for immigrants to form their own communities, where people could go and not be bothered. A party’s policy on this may have been important. Also important was a party’s policy on Indians. Americans have had difficulties in diplomatic relations with Indians since the first colonists and have looked to the government to solve it.
- Good, but not entirely clear of the cause-and-effect on one's views.
4. What do you think is special about the United States that has made it the world leader in inventions? Americans are independent by nature. We didn’t like how England was ruling us so we “ invented” our own government. We don’t like anyone to be better than us, we don’t like to have to rely on other people. We are always looking for an easier, faster (and now safer and more Eco-friendly) ways to do everything.
5. How influential do you think political cartoons really are? Give an example or two. Political cartoons represent opinion in politics that are often controversial. Cartoons offer a less serious way of supporting a cause you believe in. And besides, a picture is worth a thousand words. I think that cartoons were very influential but are becoming less influential. Many cartoons were published in newspapers, which is considered by many to be a dead media. Whether or not political cartoons are now obsolete, there is no way to deny that they played an important part in American politics. We still know quite cartoons such as “Don’t thread on me” and “Federal Superstructure”
- Superb point about how newspapers are becoming a "dead media." Will use in the model answers.
6. Other than Thomas Edison, who do you think was the most influential person between 1877 and 1896? Alexander G. Bell. The telephone is one of the most popular communication inventions. Many people carry theirs wherever they go and use it incessantly. It made long-distance communication easier: it was faster than a letter and more personal than a telegraph.
7. Please interpret the above cartoon, with special emphasis on explaining the images used and including a description of the point of view of the cartoonist. This cartoon first appeared in a pamphlet called “Coin’s Financial School”, which was in favor of bimetallism. The figure on the horse represents Uncle Sam (note the striped trousers and what looks like white hair). The mountains represent the solid ground of bimetallism, while Uncle Sam is struggling through the quicksand of gold. At the horizon is Prosperity, representing the belief that bimetallism would lead the nation to prosperity. The cartoonist was likely a Democrat as that was the party that supported the position in his cartoon.
- Good analysis.
H1. Do you agree that the Democrat Grover Cleveland was a conservative, and why? I agree that Grover Cleveland was a conservative. He was frugal in his spending, he supported free enterprise, and did not bail out banks during the panic of 1893. Even if his personal beliefs were not conservative, his actions were.
- I like the way you put that: "Even if his personal beliefs were not conservative, his actions were." Terrific analysis.
H4. Do you support or oppose unions? Use an example from the late 1800s. Unions were good when they first started. They protected workers and allowed higher wages. But then they got out of control. Today, economies of a few states have crumbled, due to the unreasonable demands of the unions. But even back in the late 1800’s, thing were starting to get out of hand. The unions had ties with groups that were violent, anti-capitalist, and even some anarchists. The 1886 strike in Chicago was one that was out of hand. The first protesters fought with the police and later the others, of whom some were armed, attacked the police.
H5. William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech: right, wrong, and/or pure demagoguery? Your view, please. Pure demagoguery. He gave himself a good image by championing the position of the masses. If it really came down to fighting the Republicans on that issue, the Democrats would probably have compromised instead of possibly losing support from more moderate voters. Some of Bryan’s expressions were to absurd and metaphorical for him to be totally sincere. It was all calculated for effect.
- Excellent analysis, though a bit harsh on Bryan, who was a very principled statesman. We'll talk more about him later in the course.
- Fantastic paper, only the second perfect honors paper that I've seen this week. Congratulations! Score: 100/100.