Sunday, April 22, 2007

Containment Worldwide!

Beginning in the mid-1940's the United States was striving to prevent communism from flourishing and controlling the country. America took steps toward this goal through its involvement in foreign affairs. The U.S. government expressed its concern about communist influence by establishing several containment policies in different nations. The U.S. possessed one main objective in establishing containment policies within both Latin America and Asia, but the actions taken ended their commonalities. Americans' top priority during this time period was to provide the U.S. with shelter from a communist government and its effects which was reflected in both foreign continents. However, the tactics used to reach this goal contrasted with one another. When observing the success of each policy Latin America possessed the most victories through U.S. intervention within their domestic affairs.

The U.S.- established policies in both Asia and Latin America possessed a common ground. Each was created in order to maintain America's democratic government without the influence of communism. Americans felt the need to become involved in foreign events which would possibly assure the containment of this type of government. The U.S. believed that if they could regulate leadership within these continents, the flourish of communism would not occur or cause their country to fall. In the end, victories were obtained through these policies which expressed how America did reach its primary objective.

The tactics used through both continent's policies contrasted with one another. The U.S. took action in Latin America by capturing the primary source of communism and its spread- leadership. Several dictators and presidents were overthrown in order to replace them with leaders who the U.S. approved of. They planned to overthrow Fidel Castro, dictator of Cuba, but failed to do so when they sent soldiers to Cuba's Bay of Pigs. The leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in 1973. America felt that Allende's Marxist programs were a threat to its own interests in economics and politics. The policy created within Asia consisted of more militant actions that were taken. The Vietnam War occurred due to France's desire to reclaim Indochina. The U.S. became involved in this conflict because of its alliance with the French. They assisted France in conquering the Vietnamese. President Johnson's allegations of the North Vietnamese attacking U.S. warships at the Gulf of Tonkin only added to their involvement in the war. Millions of U.S. troops were sent to Vietnam to wage war against the Vietcong and North Vietnam. The conflict ended in an agreement that withdrew all U.S. troops. The Koren War was another example of major bloodshed through the containment policy in Asia. After America received control over South Korea and the Soviets over North Korea once it was divided at the 38th parallel, a discrepancy was given rise to.Whether to have a communist or anticommunist government in each region was the problem. A war broke out between North and South Korea which included invasions and retaliations. In 1953 a cease-fire was agreed to at Panmunjon on the 38th parallel. The U.S. had contained communism in South Korea with the assistanceof militant actions.

When observing the aspect of which continent possessed the most success Latin America received that recognition. Unlike Asia, the U.S. containment policy there didn't let communism be the victorious one. The Chinese Civil War was a conflict that occurred in which the idea of communism slipped through the cracks of America's policy. The communist government of Mao Zedong and the anti-communist government of Jiang Jieshi were fighting a civil war with one another. The U.S. aided Jiang's military by sending supplies. Because of all the support the Chinese Communist Party received from China's population, the communist government won the war. President Truman was criticized of being too lenient on communism and not assisting the U.S.'s ally enough. However, in Latin America the policy aided the U.S. more in obtaining its goal of containing communism. In 1954, revolutionaries overthrew Jacobo Arbenz's, new president of Guatemala, government after he planned to nationalize land that was under the control of U.S. banana companies. It was replaced with a U.S. military regime. American government used their involvement in foreign government to seize the influence of communism by its roots.

To conclude, the containment policies in both Asia and Latin America held the same goal, but went about reaching it in several different ways. The U.S. obtained victory due to its involvement in matters that were indirectly associated with their country.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Racism: A Struggle to Remember

Racial discrimination and segregation ran rapid throughout the U.S. beginning during WW1. African Americans were the focused group of people under subordination. Their status within society was one of a significantly low position. The U.S. was the central point of national turmoil from WW1 to the 1960's due to racial inequality greatly affecting citizens' lives. Drastic actions were taken in hope of preventing racism, learning institutions were segregated causing students to be deprived of experiencing a major area of life, and the government took a position in the matter by passing several legislations.

Citizens of the U.S. drastically responded to racism by not only speaking out, but taking action. The nonviolent Montgomery bus boycott was led by the world renown Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He and other participants protested against segregation on the Montgomery buses after a brave woman named Rosa Parks didn't give up her seat to a white American as the rules stated. Soon after the boycott, the Supreme Court ruled that seating segregation on municipal buses was unconstitutional. The CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) organized a protest during the mid-1950's to the early 1960's in order to gain immediate racial justice.The March on Washington consisted of 20,000 blacks and whites who demanded that racial discrimination and segregation be ended. In the year of 1919, a race riot occurred in Chicago. A policeman by the name of Daniel Callahan refused to arrest a white male who knocked a child from a raft in Lake Michigan. His decision faced many oppositions. Because of his negligence, 50 men threatened and terribly beat him. The Black Panthers was an organization formed to militantly respond to police harassment, inequality, and racial subordination. Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Eldridge Cleaver led the famous group. The Greensboro sit-in (1960) consisted of both black and white demonstrators. They would sit in diners as a form of protesting against segregation while whites poured drinks over them. A variety of organizations and demonstrations were formed just to express citizens' intolerance of national racism. They felt it was negatively controlling life in America.

Learning institutions were also segregated. Racism within schools caused several black students to be deprived of an exceptional education. Southern governor, George Wallace, desired to keep all qualified black students from being admitted into state universities. Wallace stood in the doorway of the registration office preventing black students from registering. However, President Kennedy stepped in and sent the National Guard to send him away avoiding a riot. Once Wallace left the university it was soon integrated. Mississippi was a major state that had schools that consisted of 0% of black students attending with whites. In Little Rock, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus sent the National Guard to turn away all black students from Little Rock Central High School. In response to his actions, Eisenhower ordered the U.S. army to escort the students to their classes to guarantee their safety. President Eisenhower's authority to integrate the school was challenged through the Cooper vs. Aaron court case (1958). The court's ruling reiterated citizens' rights under the 14th amendment. Segregation within learning institutions created a nationwide uproar and responses even greater.

Government took a position in the issue of racism within the U.S through the passing of legislations. A significant increase occurred in the black voting-age population in states, such as Arkansas and Mississippi after the Voting Rights act was passed in 1965. This act forbade literacy tests under specific circumstances and ordered the president to enforce the 15th amendment. In the same year, the Civil Rights Act was established to cut off all federal funding to states that did not comply with state laws dealing with voting rights, education, and public facilities. In the Brown vs. Board of Education case the Supreme Court ended the Jim Crow laws and ruled that separate but equal was unconstitutional. President Truman also took action by desegregating the armed forces the federal government. Government's responses through these legislations to the many racist policies expressed just how prevalent racism was in the U.S. and the great amount of help needed to prevent it.

To conclude, racism played a major role in American society. Although the struggle to prevent it shaped American history, racism has not yet become nonexistent in present times. The prevalence of racial inequality was expressed through the responses of U.S. citizens and is still expressed today.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Will Be Next?

On May 11, 2007 the AP U.S. history test will take place. This is one of the most difficult exams ever created! To add to the difficulty, the student doesn't know what topics will be given to write an essay about or the multiple choice questions. Several AP students are worried about how well they'll do, but these worries do not include me because I will be prepared. The four essay topics may consist of Manifest Destiny, World War 2, foreign affairs, and domestic affairs in the U.S. The DBQ (Document Based Question) will probably be based on Jacksonian Democracy. From examining previous questions, the DBQ's tend to ask about events further back in history. It seems as though the more years go past, the creators of the test ask questions about less recent historical events. From reviewing the four essay questions from prior years, it appears that the same topics will not be discussed every year. New subjects are being placed on the exam. Therefore, fresh new events should be expected.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

WW2: FDR Circumvents the U.S.'s Policy of Neutrality

Prior to World War 2 in the year of 1939, President Roosevelt faced a great amount of opposition from his own people. A conflict between Britain and Germany had arose. As citizens strived to maintain an isolationist policy within the U.S., Roosevelt searched for ways to circumvent the established policy that restricted the U.S.'s interaction with other countries. Although Great Britain was a major world power, it was in dire need of help in the war. Despite President Roosevelt's desire to create a policy in which allowed him to aid Britain in the war, several factors were obstacles that limited certain actions he was permitted to take when it came to foreign affairs. The Neutrality Acts prohibited the U.S. from intervening in any foreign conflicts that did not involve them. The America First Committee sought to maintain a policy in which America was isolated, or separated, from other nations and opposed Roosevelt's decision to be an aid to Great Britain. However, over time, President Roosevelt discovered methods that allowed him to assist Britain in the war.

The Neutrality Acts were bills passed in order to refrain America from becoming involved with disputes between nations that didn't require their presence. Therefore, U.S. Congress passed neutrality acts in 1935, 1936, 1937 that kept its country out of foreign conflicts. These laws included the requirement of the president to deny the ships of belligerent countries in American ports to the prevention of exports to nations that were at war. In 1934 Senator Hiram Johnson passed a bill, known as the Johnson Act. This act forbade further loans from the U.S. to foreign nations that didn't pay off prior debts. Because certain actions of the president were prohibited by these laws, Roosevelt possessed a dilemma. He could either abide by his country's rules or follow his own desires of helping Great Britain and violating his country's policy of neutrality.

In addition to individual opposition to Roosevelt's desire to assist Britain in WW2, movements were created that also were against his actions. The America First Committee was an isolationist movement that believed isolationism was best for the U.S. However, America's neutrality and isolationist policy has been questioned by many over time. The objective of this organization was to keep America separated from other foreign nations so that it could maintain its neutral position. Because so many people felt as though Roosevelt would be violating this established policy by helping a country that was at war, he faced a great amount of opposition.

Although several citizens of America were against Roosevelt's proposed actions, he still was determined to discover ways to circumvent the established policy and assist Britain in their conflict with the Axis Powers. "Cash and Carry" stated that belligerents were allowed to buy weapons from the U.S. if they used their known vessels to transport them and paid in cash. Roosevelt felt this policy was not in violation of the Neutrality Acts because it gave any nation at war access to U.S. products. Still, Britain would be the country that benefited. After eliminating cash and carry, Roosevelt gave the British credit so they could purchase more military supplies. The Lend-Lease Act became a law in 1941 despite isolationist and neutrality advocates opposition. Britain permitted the U.S. to construct military bases on their Caribbean islands in return for 50 U.S. Navy destroyers. These policies were all a part of President Roosevelt's creative method to discretely go around America's isolationist and neutrality policy.

To conclude, FDR found a creative way to make a policy that didn't seem to violate the U.S.'s impartial policy. In spite of the many acts and organizations established that expressed their opposition to his actions, Roosevelt still made his country an aid to a nation involved in a war that did not include them. However, America was not aware that it would soon become an addition to this conflict.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

World of Depression: FDR is U.S. Savior

In the year of 1929, the Great Depression struck the U.S. and had a major effect on the nation's functions, such as the economy. Unemployment rates increased, farmers' incomes decreased, and the social sector was dramatically hit. New investments decreased while homelessness increased. America was headed in a downward spiral to destruction. However, in 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. He had officially become the country's "savior." FDR's responses to the Great Depression succeeded in upholding the U.S. as a capitalist nation and allowed the federal government to become more involved in domestic affairs. He established a reform program known as the New Deal to possibly assist America out of its condition. Several agencies, organizations, and acts were created for unemployment relief and stimulation of the economy. The African American population and women benefited from many New Deal establishments. Laws were also passed in order to meet the needs of the people.

FDR's New Deal program created several agencies, organizations, and acts to decrease unemployment and stimulate the economy.The Emergency Banking Relief Act was passed in 1933. FDR closed down all banks for 4 days and reopened only those that were solvent. The gold standard was dissolved and paper currency was brought into the nation. The government felt paper money was a more efficient way to count the amount of money in the system. In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act was also passed. $1 billion was added to the economy, commercial banks were prohibited from excess speculation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was created which gave bank deposits up to $5,000. Many young men were hired to do conservation work by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Employment was provided and additional money was placed into the economy. The Securities and Exchange Commission was made to reduce wild speculation and regulate the stock market. Senator Robert Wagner wrote a letter in 1934 stating how he believed business would lead to employment. The Wagner- Connery Act also known as the National Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to join and form unions and collective bargaining. John Lewis expressed his support of workers' new rights on a radio broadcast in 1936. Unemployment rates appeared to decrease between the 1930 and 1940 which were the years of FDR's presidency.

The New Deal had a beneficial effect on the conditions of the black population and women. Women suffered from unemployment which caused them to struggle in order to provide for their families. Like African Americans, they were one of the first to get fired. Females were often denied employment for certain jobs that required competition with men and seldom received promotions. Blacks also possessed a low position in society. Black farmers lost their property and were forced to move away. However, both groups gained employment by the Works Progress Administration and the National Recovery Act. Frances Perkins became the first woman to hold a cabinet position as secretary of labor. The first black federal judge was appointed and blacks were delegates to the Democratic National Convention for the first time in history. Meridel Lesueur expressed her support for women who were forced to undergo hunger, homelessness, and hunger in 1932. An editorial entitled "The Roosevelt Record" in 1940 told how the government had given African Americans meaning and substance for the first time.

The federal government became more involved with the U.S.'s domestic problems by establishing laws that met the needs of the people.The Social Security Act created a trust fund that employers and employees contributed to. Once an individual became 65 years of age, they were allowed to retire and receive payments every month. People with disabilities, those unemployed, and dependent mothers were also included in this act. Taxes were restructured by placing a higher income tax on the wealthy and on capital gains. The Rural Electrification Administration was made to give electricity to rural communities. The Resettlement Administration gave assistance to farmers and sharecroppers which were a part of the agrarian sector of the economy.

To conclude, the programs established by the New Deal required the federal government to use a great amount of money in order to accumulate capital for the expansion of the economy. By doing so, FDR's administration was maintaining a capitalist system which was one of its main objectives. Because the government gave more assistance to the people, the entire nation benefited from its actions.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What About the Social Aspect!

In the year of 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was America's first Democratic president in twelve years. During his presidency, he took steps in order to restore the U.S. nation from a massive depression that struck in 1929. He established a reform program called the New Deal. The New Deal did not go far in confronting the social problems within the U.S. about women and minorities, but its central focus was to maintain a capitalist economy. Although African Americans, classified as minorities, began to place their faith in FDR, he did not possess much concern for their condition and position in society. Women were also placed in lower positions within society and FDR's response was similar to that of the black population. However, the New Deal established several programs and acts which benefited the nation's economy a great deal.

The African American population had begun to support and revere FDR' s position as president. However, they did not receive the same support from him. Blacks were usually the last people hired or the first fired from several jobs. New Deal agencies would discriminate against blacks by entirely excluding them. Many black sharecroppers lost their land due to the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act) which required them to reduce crop yields and increase prices. Although African Americans were exploited, FDR attempted to address these problems by appointing the first black federal judge in U.S. history and making a Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice. It appeared as though he took these few actions in order to make it appear to people that he possessed some concern for the minority population.

Women were placed in lower positions in society by being classified as inferior to men. Several females were paid wages that were lower than those of a male. They seldom received promotions and were often denied jobs that required a competition with men. As with the black population, women reaped very little benefits from the New Deal. They received employment from New Deal agencies and the first woman was appointed by FDR to hold a cabinet position as secretary of labor. Even though changes by the New Deal were observed, these actions did not seem to be taken out of concern, but to prevent controversies.

Unlike its response to the problems with minorities and women, the New Deal established several programs and acts that benefited the nation's economy. Its main objective was to preserve capitalism in the U.S. The New Deal restructured taxes by placing a higher income tax on the wealthy and capital gains. The Glass-Steagall Act was created to prohibit commercial banks from speculating excessively. It also added $1 billion to the economy in gold and made the FDIC which gave bank deposits up to $5,000. The Securities and Exchange Commission was created to regulate the stock market and reduce wild speculation. All of these actions, and others in addition, contributed to the New Deal's goal to maintain capitalism in America.

To conclude, it was evident that the New Deal was more focused on the economic status of the U.S. than the social aspect. FDR took certain actions that seemed to be done out of obligation and not concern for specific groups of people, such as minorities and women. Accumulating money had been the main objective of this reform program.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Division in the U.S.?

The 1920's, known as the Roaring Twenties, was a period that consisted of significant inventions and cultural innovations. Harlem was the center of attention during this time. African American creativity was expressed, a new means of transportation was created, and America was introduced to a more contemporary lifestyle. However, divisions within the U.S. existed due to certain changes that occurred. The 1920's was a representation of social and cultural discord amongst Americans because many people's comfort zones were invaded which caused them to observe an aspect of life that wasn't their own. Rural versus urban areas, religion versus science, and natives versus immigrants were all examples of how the U.S. experienced domestic divisions.

The distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol was made illegal by the 18th Amendment and enforced by the Volstead Act. The fundamentalists, or the "drys", supported this new law because they believed this product caused broken families, poor health, and other negative effects. However, the "wets", or the urban area residents, perceived drinking as a provocative lifestyle. Protestants opposed their way of living because they were so used to their own way. Urban women, known as "flappers", defied rural women's principle of a woman's behavior. Therefore, a disagreement divided the two areas due to their perception of how life should be lived.

A wide separation of religion and science existed during the 1920's and still exists in the new millennium. The Scopes Monkey trial in 1925 was an example of the conflict that arose between the two. John Scopes, a Tennessee teacher, was arrested for teaching his students about evolution. William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor and Darrow was Scopes's attorney. The court ruled against Scopes, but the verdict was later overturned. Christians saw this case as a method to prevent people from questioning how creation began according to the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. Not only was Scopes's actions illegal, but they went against someone else's belief. Once again, a conflict between two distinct groups has been given rise to because their own perceptions of life.

The natives of the U.S. and immigrants possessed a major division during the Roaring Twenties. The 100 percenters were those who considered themselves a 100% American. They attempted to protect the U.S. from all foreign influences. An isolationist policy was their goal for America. Several legislations were passed in order to limit immigration. The Literacy Test Act (1917) required all foreigners to take an exam consisting of the English language or their native tongue. The Emergency Quota Act (1921) limited southern and eastern European immigrants. The Immigration Act (1924) restricted immigrants by receiving only 2% of each nationality in the 1890 census. The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) limited Asian immigration. Nativists were so concerned about American life being interrupted by strangers. So, they took drastic actions to assure that this would not occur. Nativist anxiety gave rise to another major conflict between two different walks of life.

To conclude, the fear of change for many Americans during the 1920's was the main reason why this country experienced such discord and chaos. When a group of people are immune to a specific way of living for a great period of time, transitions are difficult . Spiritual, political, and moral beliefs were the central points within these divisions. Therefore, these distinct groups involuntarily defended them.