American History Homework Thirteen Answers - Student One

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Addison DM (all d0ne!)

1. There are many exciting periods in American history: from a handful of American revolutionaries shaking off the shackles of the most powerful nation on earth, to the bitter division of our own nation over the evil practice of slavery, to the ingenuity and developments of the Gilded Age, to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 which forced us to fight a new kind of war and possibly to compromise our domestic freedoms. I think it’s impossible to pick a “favorite” when it comes to history. History happens in stages, each stage incomplete on its own but filled in and built upon by other stages. I could pick the Revolutionary War, but thus miss the time when America fulfilled its vision of being a new and powerful nation; I could choose the Gilded Age, but overlook that fateful day of April 19, 1775, which allowed us to become what we were in the Gilded Age in the first place. So, I pass- I think it goes against the flow and continuity of history to select one period over another- one period is meaningless without the rest.

Superb answer!

2. I can see why the question asks us to contrast, because if you were to compare them, the question would be left blank! Reagan and Clinton, aside from adopting similar styles (or Clinton adopting Reagan’s style) were pretty much opposites, both politically and personally. Reagan was strong and principled, in both his moral and political lives, whereas Clinton’s morality left much to be desired, and his politics were based not on principles but on expediency. Where Reagan said “Get the welfare bums back to work,” Clinton’s administration complained, “This ends welfare as we know it.” Reagan unwaveringly stood up to Communism, endangering his own life to inspire Berliners and beseech Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” but Clinton failed miserably at dealing with the greatest foreign policy problem of his time- terrorism- by bombing a toothpaste factory in Sudan instead of killing Bin Laden. The point is made.

Very well put. You have many terrific examples to illustrate your argument.

3. There are many, but two stand out: the trend of becoming more conservative, if that is indeed true, and the overarching trend of America having high and commendable aspirations: the “City on a hill”- and having a can-do, ingenious attitude: many if not most of the world’s most influential inventions and ideas. Unfortunately, we have begun to lose our traditional can-do attitude, but becoming more conservative means returning to our roots and traditions. Hopefully one trend will work with the other to restore our nation to the trend of ingenuity and can-do which has guided us through so much of our history.

Right, and good quote to the "City on a Hill" concept.

4. I’m going to choose atheism, perhaps controversial and without much history to back it up. Atheism is more than a belief system; it is a philosophy. And the harmful philosophical ideas that come out of it are, among others: denying objective morality and a moral code which guides all men; antagonizing religion and especially Christianity, which is a foundation of our culture from the very beginning; reducing man to no more than an especially advanced ape, and reducing the meaning of life to nothing more than personal ambition and enjoyment. Even more than Communism, atheism threatens our nation because it undermines who we are from the very first second of our existence. The Pilgrims and Puritans who built our nation were inspired by the cruel oppression of a state Church to create a new place to worship God in freedom. George Washington believed Christianity and morality to be the foundation of a good society, and John Adams said that the Constitution could only govern a moral people. Abraham Lincoln, who was not without faults, was finally inspired by a renewed spirituality to support the end of slavery as a moral goal. And the majority of those who oppose the horrible crime of abortion belong to a religion. Religion and especially Christianity are written into the very fabric of who we are, and to eliminate them first from the public square, and then from men’s hearts, is more destructive than almost any political ideology or foreign threat. It is to unravel and unstitch the American fabric.

Terrific analysis, which you support very well with historical examples. Your closing sentence stands out as perhaps the best all year of any homework.

5. Certainly culture contributes to a nation in general. Politics is ideas, and most politicians just sign onto ideas they like; most of the ideas are abstractions and aspirations created and molded by inventors, churchmen, and even common citizens. A nation is driven by an almost indescribable sense which exists in the people as a whole. For example, Jacksonian democracy was not so much a creation of President Jackson, but the culmination of the desire of the common man to be represented in government. Manifest Destiny was not a law or a treaty written by Congressmen and Senators, signed by the President, and interpreted by the Courts, but a feeling, a movement, which drove the country westward, and swept up the politicians along with it. These two periods, which came from the culture, are two memorable and important periods in our history. In contrast, the federal programs of Herbert Hoover and the New Deal of FDR were inventions of politicians, and they failed to lift up the nation, failed to create a movement- it was empty rhetoric. Hoover’s “A chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage” and FDR’s “Four Freedoms,” which captivated people during campaigns, ultimately did little more, and they did much less than ideas which originated from culture and the collective national mind.

Superb again. May use as a model answer.

6. Two of Ronald Reagan’s greatest achievements were his tax cuts under the idea of “supply-side” economics and his Strategic Defense Initiative. Interestingly, both were derided and both were given sarcastic nicknames- supply-side economics was “Reaganomics” and SDI was “Star Wars.” Yet both were enormously successful. Reaganomics led to an economic (or should we say Reaganomic) boom, and Star Wars intimidated the Soviet Union like nothing else. Both were also relatively original ideas, and an example of good, logical thinking, not partisan politics. It’s a wonder Ronald Reagan wasn’t homeschooled!

Ha ha - great closing! Actually, Reagan was homeschooled to learn the all-important skill of reading. Your two picks were exactly what I would have chosen.

7. 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.

Terrific answer, may use as a model!


2. Debate: Should President Ford have pardoned former President Nixon? I don’t see why not. It is perfectly legal and traditional for the President to declare pardons. In fact, he usually pardons common criminals. So why not pardon a former President? That’s one reason he should. Another is the preservation of the office of President. I don’t think the idea that this will lead to Presidents breaking the law stands up to history, since Nixon is the only President either before of after him to become caught up in crime. The office should be kept clean of the undignifying spectacle of its former occupant going to jail. Then again, it could be asked, what would Washington do? Washington loved his country and sacrificed much for it. He had a good sense of justice. Perhaps he would put the bringing to justice of Nixon above the abstract dignity of the office, recognizing that Nixon personally disrespected the office by what he did. If the occupant cannot be respected, how can the office? Thus it might be better to prosecute Nixon to the fullest extent of the law. However, my personal opinion is that President Ford made a good decision.

Very well-reasoned, with a superb reference to George Washington and what he might have done.

4. I think government surveillance is to some degree acceptable and in some cases necessary. If there are suspected terrorists in our nation, they should be spied on and listened in on- perhaps a strategy that should have been employed in fighting Communism. We complain that Communism was not fought effectively, yet without domestic surveillance how could it be? It seems to me the Patriot Act can be construed as learning our lesson from fighting Communism weakly, and taking a better stand against terrorism, the next great security threat. Of course, our government must not take a “guilty till proven innocent” attitude towards its citizens- it would be outlandish and wrong for everyone to be watched and suspected of treason. We all imagine George Orwell’s 1984, with telescreens, hidden microphones, and Big Brother watching us at every moment. And indeed there is a slippery slope. But just because one day internal surveillance could get out of hand, doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether.

Good analysis.

5. 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.

WOW! That's a terrific ending to one of the past homework papers by anyone all year. WELL DONE!
100/100. PERFECT AND FANTASTIC! Congratulations on your superlative level of work throughout this entire course.--aschlafly 20:04, 19 December 2008 (EST)
P.S. I went back and added a second model answer from your work. Well done!--aschlafly 11:15, 21 December 2008 (EST)