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.