Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weekly Assignment Compendium

Weekly Assignment 16

Is globalization stoppable (and is it desirable to stop if it is)? What effect have economic and terrorist challenges had on American society? How did values change in this era

Weekly Assignment 15a

Was the Vietnam War necessary? Was it a tragic blunder, a noble cause, or a disguised form of anti-democratic imperialism? How did it affect the American people and the American presidency? 

Weekly Assignments 13, 14, 15 

The questions below constitute the next three weekly assignment options. You may choose to complete one, two, or all three assignments.

Weekly assignment #13: What was more important in bringing about fundamental changes in the way African Americans were treated in the United States during the modern Civil Rights Movement era: transcendent African American leadership, the changed role the United States played in world leadership—or a third factor, that thousands of African Americans decided that the second half of the 20th century was the time to act? You may consider how all of these factors played a part in this change.

Weekly assignment #14: Did the sixties, on balance, create a more liberal or more conservative America? Which changes initiated in the sixties are still with us today?

Weekly assignment #15: Youth in the 1960s were fired by the passion and belief that they could make a difference in American society. How did they come to this belief? Did any of the protests in the sixties result in significant change? What change occurred? What was left unchanged?
Weekly Assignment 11

Dr. Strangelove is an iconic piece of film making, but it is also a document of history. The film was shot and produced just a year after the United States and the Soviet Union reached the brink of nuclear war with the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film reflects the concern that some Americans felt over the arms race, and what its continuation meant for the United States--and the world. For this week's assignment, I would like you to reflect on the issues the film raises. What was the effect of the Cold War on American society? What changed in American society as a result of the perceived threat from the Soviet Union?

If you would like to tackle a longer project for this week's assignment, you may write a 3-5 page review of the movie Dr. Strangelove

Weekly Assignment 8

Why was there a great debate in the 1920s about the future? Who won this debate, the modernists, or the fundamentalists? Would your answer be the same in 1930 as it is in 2010? What has changed about the results of the debate?—or what hasn’t changed? What does this tell us about the nature of such debates?

Weekly Assignment 7

Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt supported American entry into the war. But other progressives, like Senator Robert La Follette, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, and activist Jane Addams bitterly opposed it. How did the war further the Progressive agenda, and how did the war undermine it?

Weekly Assignment 6

What was Progressivism? Was it an inspirational movement to further the nation’s democratic ideals, or was it an attempt at social control  by self-important, moralistic busybodies?

Combo Assignment 3, 4, 5

Below you will find three separate questions dealing with the assigned reading the past two weeks. The first two deal with chapters 3 and 4, respectively, while the last paragraph asks you to compare the two chapters, and look for things in common and differences. You may choose any combination of the three (that is to say, choose to respond to one, two, or all three questions). This assignment is due Friday, September 24, at the beginning of class.

The week three readings dealt with the questions of immigration and industrialization. It was said at the time that “Not every immigrant is a workman, but every workman is an immigrant.” Conditions for these workmen were undergoing drastic changes during this time period as well, and led to a great deal of conflict between workers and management. In what ways did workers resist the forces of industrialization and attempt to shape the terms of their own lives?

The week four readings dealt with the questions of imperialism and world power. How could a nation with democratic values, where the people have the right of self-determination, fight a colonial war? What rhetoric or reform aspirations made this undertaking palatable for the American people? Did democratic values stop at the water’s edge—or were their people considered not ready to govern themselves?

The readings in weeks three and four dealt with both problems created by the immigration of other people to the United States, and how the United States dealt with people in their own land. Are their common themes that you can discern in how these problems were dealt with? If so, what were they—and if their were no commonalities, what were the differences?

Weekly Assignment 2

“Westerns” (in both novel and movie form) told generations of Americans “how the West was won”—how individuals were able to triumph over adversity to forge a new life for themselves and their families. From the readings you have done for class, and the class lectures and discussions—plus the snippet of a Western movie that you viewed in class (which is available at http://themesinamericanhistory.blogspot.com), who true was this story for those who lived through it? If there were disparities, what caused them? Who benefited most, and who the least? Your answer to these questions should come in the form of a 2-3 page reaction paper (or longer, if you would like to get that requirement out of the way), double-spaced with appropriate attribution, if necessary

Weekly Assignment 1

he 14th Amendment defines citizenship, and since its ratification in 1868 has become perhaps the most cited amendment in cases argued before the Supreme Court. It remains very much under contention to this day, as litigants, lawyers, and judges argue its intents and effects. Why has this amendment remained so controversial? In a 2-3 page paper, examine its merits and failings. You should refer to the document itself, the essays in Major Problems in American History, and the discussions in class (a synopsis of which can be found below on the blog).

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