United States Essay

1. In what ways did the United States emerge from World War II fundamentally changed? Consider national power, economic health, and the home front.

A. In terms of national power the United States emerged from World War II as a major international power. We had discovered the atomic bomb, and as a result had become embroiled in the Cold War with the major Communist countries of The Soviet Union and The Peoples Republic of China. Other nations looked to us both for support in their own fights against Communism and for the financial support to help rebuild their countries after World War II.

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This was called the Marshall Plan whereby we provided Western Europe the money to rebuild, and we gained powerful allies in the Cold War.

B. the United States emerged from World War II in a much healthier economic state that it was in 1941. The Great Depression was over and the United States unlike so many other nations did not have to rebuild from literally the ground up.

We had more factories, better schools, and better healthcare than any other country in the world except possibly some of the Communist Nations of Eastern Europe. Many families were purchasing homes, and the GI Bill allowed many returning veterans to become the first person in their families to attend college. Unemployment was low and families began to purchase luxury items such as cars, televisions sets and swimming pools.

C. At the end of World War II many women began to leave the workforce to allow men returning from war to have their jobs. Women either married and became homemakers or returned to the traditionally female occupations such as nursing, or secretarial work. The return of the men from WWI led to a higher birth rate than had ever existed previously. This generation of youth would become known as the Baby Boom, and they would change the world by fighting for Equal Rights for African Americans, women, and homosexuals, as well as world peace.

2. Explain why the civil rights movement became more radical and violent as the 1960s progressed. What changes occurred in the motives, assumptions, and leadership of the movement?

In the 1960’s there were several movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King was one of them. Martin Luther King advocated attaining Civil Rights for African Americans using the same peaceful protests that Gandhi had used to gain India’s freedom

From the United Kingdom. His influence led in the beginning to most of the protests by African Americans being non-violent on the part of the protesters. However: many members of the white community became violent towards protesters even to the point of murder in some cases. The Civil Rights movement became more violent when people began to feel that Martin Luther Kings way was not working and they started following the teachings of a man named Malcolm X. In 1965 he was shot in front of his family and several people who were involved in the Civil Rights group that he had formed called the Organization of Afro-Americans.

This led many younger African Americans to form the Black Nationalist Movement. This was composed of several different groups including the well known Black Panther movement, and encouraged African Americans to fight back when protestors were attacked by whites who were against Civil Rights. People turned away from the idea that peaceful protest would gain them what they wanted. This change in perspective lead to two main changes. First, the Black Nationalist groups taught people that they should be proud to be African American, Second, it lead to the protests becoming increasingly violent especially, when the Vietnam War began and a large proportion of draftees were young African American men.

3. Was the Persian Gulf War a complete American triumph or only a qualified success? What were its long-term consequences?

I do not feel that the Persian Gulf War was anything more than a qualified success. This is for several reasons. First although we succeeded in getting Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait we did not succeed in deposing him. This would have saved the United States and other nations the billions of dollars that we have spent on economic boycotts, and the current War in Iraq. Hussein should have been arrested and tried for Crimes against Humanity then. This has had several long term consequences that have increased many of the problems that the U.S. and Europe are experiencing with terrorism in recent years.

The Gulf War led to an increase in terrorist organizations such as Al-Queada, and Hamas. This increase ended up in 9/11 and the train and subway bombings in Madrid and London. Our initial failure in the Persian Gulf War lead to much more suffering for the Iraqi people both at the hands of Saddam Hussein, and under American occupation. Finally, it has lead to increased conflict in the Middle East, both from terrorists and from the conflict created as the Middle Eastern nations pick sides in the conflict.

4. If you had been born in 1905, you would have been 10 years old in 1915, 20 years old in 1925, 30 years old in 1935, 45 years old in 1950, 60 years old in 1965, 80 years old in 1985 and 95 years old in 2000. I want you to write, for your descendents, a description of how the United States changed during your lifetime. You should discuss the major changes that occurred at each of these 7 points in your life. Include the major events, people, and ideas that were important in causing the changes.

In 1905 when I was born Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States. Most people still lived in rural areas on small family farms. Hardly anyone had electricity, running water, or automobiles. Most neighborhoods still had only one or two telephones and these were generally shared by the entire neighborhood. Doctors still made house calls, and most babies were still born at home.

My daddy became a member of a new trade union called the International Workers of the World and began to fight for a fairer world for me to grow up in. That year my Daddy and his fellow union members won a Supreme Court9 case that made it illegal for employers to make workers work more than 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week; . In 1915 I was ten and my Daddy bought our first car, a 1913 Model T Ford. Ford had started making the Model T in 1909 when I was 3. Before that only rich people could buy cars.

That was also the year the Lusitania was sunk., World War I raged n Europe. Also that year a lady named Margaret Sanger was arrested for promoting birth control. Mommy said she would explain what that was when  was older. I went to my first Women’s Suffrage march with Mommy this year. She was a Suffragette and was fighting for women to have the right to vote.

In 1925 I turned twenty years old, and I cut my hair off for the very first time. I rolled my stockings down, and woe very short skirts. I carried a flask with bootleg alcohol in it. This was Prohibition you understand, and alcohol was illegal. Prohibition had begun in 1919 and places called Speakeasies were the only place you could get alcohol. I met your Grandfather in a speakeasy called Buddy’s. He was a musician in a jazz band, and played the saxophone. We finally won, this year Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote. That year was the year of the Scopes Monkey Trial.

A teacher named John Scopes was tried and arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a public school.  Your Grandfather taught me to drive that year and I bought a little Ford roadster out of my salary as a secretary. Most women worked in fields like that back then, secretaries, nurses, school teachers, factory girls. Oh but we had a great time. In 1935, I turned 30 years old. There were no birthday celebrations for me that year; it was in the middle of the Great Depression. We had two children in 1935, your Daddy, and your Auntie Lou.

Times were hard since your Grandfather lost his job. We had moved to a smaller apartment, and I was working under the table as a secretary. Most companies would not hire married women, preferring to keep the jobs for men. President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act this year. This meant that if something happened to your Grandfather, and he could not work, or when we got old and could not work we would not have to rely on the charity of your Daddy, and your Auntie Lou. Also that year a group called the Committee for Industrial Organization formed. They even allowed unskilled workers like maids, and restaurant workers to join.

In 1950 I turned 45 and that year I had a birthday cake. Your Grandfather had found a well paying job working as a publicist in Hollywood. Your Daddy was finishing up college at UCLA and he was going to become a doctor. World War II was over and the United States had emerged victorious. That year the U.S. population reached the landmark figure of over 150,697,361 citizens. The Baby Boom had arrived and there were children everywhere. In July the United States declared war on Korea and your Daddy joined a MASH unit. MASH units were mobile hospitals used by the military. Your Grandfather worried a lot about your Daddy every time he listened to the news on the radio. This was also the year that Senator Joseph McCarthy began the communist witch hunts. Yet one more thing for your Grandfather to worry about since he worked in Hollywood and Hollywood was one of Joe McCarthy’s main targets.

I was 60 years old in 1960 and your Grandfather was 65. He retired that year and we moved to Sun City Arizona to a new type of community for retirees. Your Grandfather played gold, and I played bridge, and our favorite times were when your Daddy brought you to visit. This was the year when the Civil Rights movement really got going. Several young men in North Carolina became involved in something called a sit-in when a restaurant refused to serve them because they were African American.

The African Congo also gained independence that year and an American named Gary Powers was arrested in the USSR for flying his U-2 spy plain over the Soviet Union. In 1985 I turned 80 and your Grandfather died that year. I moved in with your Auntie Lou who was a single career woman raising 3 kids on her own. I helped her take care of your cousins. That year there was famine in Ethiopia and a group of musicians from all over the United States and Europe got together to raise money  to send food and doctors to help. They called themselves Live Aid and although I hate rock music I watched the concert with you children on the color TV.

Former movie Actor Ronald Reagan is elected to the Presidency for a second time that year and his wife Nancy was known for her taste in clothes. The popular movies that year were teen movies directed by a man named John Hughes. I liked the ones with Molly Ringwald in them because she was such a sweet girl and reminded me a lot of you. This would also be the year that signaled the beginning of the end for the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected to lead the USSR and he would implement polices of Glasnost or openness during his time as Premier of the USSR.

This year is the change of the millennium and I am 95 years old. Everyone is afraid of something called Y2K that will supposedly destroy all the computers in the world. George W. Bush is elected after a rather controversial election Terrorism is also on the rise with several U.S. soldiers being killed in the bombing of the U.S.S Cole in Yemen. In Northern Ireland the debate over home rule still rages and the IRA refuses to disarm. Finally, wife of former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for a seat in the NY senate. I have seen many changes in my life, when I was born most people did not have electricity, telephones or cars.

Most people lived in the country, and did not attend school after the 8th grade. Workers did not have many rights at all and women, African Americans, and homosexuals had no rights whatsoever. We rarely left the towns that we grew up in and world events impacted us very little. Now there is not one home in this country that does not have electric lights, or a telephone. Most children graduate from High School, and even go to college. Groups that did not have many rights when I was born now have freedoms that allow them much greater opportunities in life. We have invented technologies that can either save lives such as the artificial heart, or destroy humanity as we know it such as bioweapons, or nuclear bombs.

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