Monday, December 19, 2016

History's Recurring Themes

Some notes from Anna's history paper, comparing four recurring themes in US history from 1865-2000.
4. Benefits and drawbacks of economic growth
Benefits: lower unemployment, lower interest rates(?), more spending = more taxes collected by the government.
Drawbacks to economic growth?  
3. The proper role of the federal government
...Always a tension between state's rights and federal oversight.
...Interstate commerce regulation Taft Hartley act
...To a certain extent the Civil War was about keeping the southern states as part of the USA as it was about slavery.
...Monitor trade with other nations
...Recent decisions concerning education, same sex marriage, gender equality, and religious liberty are greatly affecting economic growth in various regions of the country.
2. Racial conflict.
...The Civil War
...The Dread Scott decision
...The integration of baseball in the 1940's. Led to the demise of Negro League baseball.
...1960's MLK Jr. marches and assassination. Meant a great deal to erect the MLK memorial in Washington, and establish MLK day as a national holiday.
...70's Watts riots
...2016 black lives matter…important now because of all the unrest. As the middle class continues to disappear and the country becomes the rich minority and the poor majority, African American income and power continues to erode and disappear.
1. US role in world affairs: when and where the US should step in on issues
...World War One 1920's
...World War 2 1940's the US long debated joining in the fight in Europe before they did
...Korean War 1950's
...1961 Cuban Missile Crisis
...Vietnam War late 60's early 70's
...The Cold War in the early 1980's
...Gulf War in early 90's
...War on Terror since 2001
...The recent rise of Russia as a world power under Putin, and the volatile government in South Korea
...Current issues: Syrian refugees, whether the US will recognize the threat of ISIS, whether the US will continue to be an ally of Israel, conflict in the Middle East.
...Relations with China (1) as their economy becomes larger than ours (2) the trade imbalance making the US overly indebted to China (3) the possibility of China's government and military becoming increasing aggressive and volatile.  
...Foreign aid – the decades long debate of sending US money to help overseas even as the US budget deficit skyrockets. In the 2016 presidential election the two major candidates' viewpoint on foreign aid were polar opposites.    
US role in United Nations
1.Sometimes supportive (donating land, constructing UN headquarters in NYC, supplying a majority of the UN funding when many other countries fail to fund)
2. Sometimes not supportive (US unwillingness to lend troops to fight battles the US doesn't agree with).
Which is the most important, and why?  All four are vitally important. Today the US faces complex and dire issues in all four areas that will greatly influence the course of not only US history, but world history as well.  

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