12 Nov Read my discussion post and my classmates post. Respond to my classmate’s post according to the instructions and examples provided. Response should be 1/2-1 page in length.INSTRUCTIONSANDEXAMP
Read my discussion post and my classmates post. Respond to my classmate's post according to the instructions and examples provided. Response should be 1/2-1 page in length.
After all initial reflection posts are uploaded, students should compose a short response to two (2) of your fellow group members. There is no need to coordinate response posts, you are free to respond to any group member you wish. The length of each response post should be between 150 and 300 words.*
Each response post should include the following items:
· Provide constructive feedback on your groupmate’s initial post. Is there an element of their post you find particularly interesting? Do you think there is an important argument or theme overlooked that you would like to read more about? If the post included commentary at the end, do you agree or disagree and why? Be specific.
· Consider how your readings connect with your groupmate’s post. Do they reflect similar or different issues, dynamics, and/or themes? Or do they appear to contradict each other? Did your groupmate’s post alter how you viewed your own reading material? How might both of your findings further our understanding of American history?
As you write your response posts, please remember that good feedback is a gift. It is what helps us improve and get better as writers and thinkers. Make sure you are using your response posts to provide helpful and constructive feedback. Simply stating "I thought your post was good", without articulating why you feel that way or providing an example will not help your classmate improve their work. Likewise, people who aren't willing to provide good feedback to their classmates have no real right to expect any substantive feedback in return!
Response posts are due one week after the submission of initial reflections. Each response is worth 20% of the assignment grade.
*Roughly 0.5-1 typed page using size 12 Times New Roman Font, double spaced and with regular margins.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW THE RESPONSE SHOULD LOOK AND WHAT TO INCLUDE!!!!!
Hey Christine! I really had planned on doing these readings as well, as I felt like the feminine ideals would be the easiest for me to relate to. I love these readings for the reason that they are, in fact, so relevant today and foundational for the the feminist movement! I gathered the same interpretation from Johnston’s work, how the era is viewed through two lenses, regressive or progressive, depending on the historian you talk to. Your reflection flowed nicely, and I saw a great difference in your section connecting to the course themes in this unit’s reflection from the last. Wonderful work, and you had some great tie-ins between the three readings! My own post had to do with the beginnings of progressivism, the sentiments of government involvement in social issues, and the role that Christianity played in reform. Our readings connected in the sense that they both had to do with changes needing to be made within the government to better take care, or be more fair, to the people they govern. I certainly agree with your commentary at the end of your reflection, that the women’s fight for equality is still ongoing, and I think that is supportive of the way we read Johnston's work. These were monumental steps forward for women at the time, but it is a shame that we still have not been granted the equality we so rightly deserve to be satisfied, and are still fighting the good fight to this day.
The United States has been commonly referred to as an “exceptional” nation, to the extent that “American exceptionalism” is an entrenched phrase in various discussions. The phrase “American exceptionalism” can be largely attributed to the origins of the nation, especially since the American government was the first nation-state in modern history to be founded upon the principles of liberty, equality, and justice for all, though these principles were admittedly applied in an uneven manner to several individuals in early American history. Nonetheless, in spite of the serious social ills associated with the appalling treatment of slaves, Native Americans, and other vulnerable groups, the United States was clear in its process of governing. Relative to its British and European counterparts, the government of the United States was not inherited by ruling royalty classes, but rather by representatives elected by the people. Since 1776, the nation has undergone various changes, especially regarding its international involvement. These changes, and corresponding controversies, are evident in the two key primary source readings: “Principles and Ideals of the United States Government,” written by Herbert Hoover, and “Letter from Bonus Army Leader to President Hoover,” written by Philo D. Burke.
In the opening lines of Hoover’s letter, he argues that Americans are a “progressive people,” people who espouse “moral and spiritual virtues” (Hoover). Hoover also acknowledged how world wars had controversially impacted American sentiments, calling for a renewal of “the march of progress from its collapse by the war” (Hoover). Hoover also alluded to the aforementioned American exceptionalism, arguing that the United States constitutes “a form of self-government” that “differs fundamentally from all others in the world” (Hoover). At the same time, the freedom has also permitted other unscrupulous opportunities to flourish, as Burke indicates in his scathing letter to Hoover. Alluding to the Great Depression, Burke remarked that numerous soldiers “lost their homes through the greed and lust of the few in power” (Burke), a complaint that resonates with numerous Americans exasperated by growing wealth inequalities in the modern age. Burke also emphasized that these soldiers did not stop fighting for American principles, despite the fact that they felt unsupported in their time of need.
Consequently, “From Isolationism to Neutrality,” written by Brooke L. Blower, provides additional insight into “fierce debates about what role Americans should play in a dangerous world,” especially since Americans themselves “have always been divided over foreign policy” (Blower, pp. 345, 349). Hoover openly questions whether or not to “start upon a new road” (Hoover), in particular one that differs from the “Farewell Address” delivered by George Washington. Of the numerous arguments Blower makes, the most significant pertains to the appropriate definitions of isolationism and neutrality as they pertain to foreign policy, especially when accounting for the impact on soldiers. Following World War I, numerous Americans felt deeply disillusioned about foreign interventions, perceiving them as largely advantageous in terms of “the sinister motives of munitions dealers and unrepentant imperialists” (Blower, p. 346). However, recalling the origins upon which the United States was founded, particularly the emphasis on liberty and democracy, others recognized that the United States could play a key role in “responsible world leadership” (Blower, p. 347), which recalls Burke’s allusion to fighting for American principles. Isolationism, in other words, did not entail remaining distant from world affairs; on the contrary, it entailed a resistance to becoming involved in war: “It was about severing trade or alliances with ‘warring’ nations, not all nations” (Blower, p. 351). However, some wars are seemingly unavoidable, though tension remains when accounting for the treatment of soldiers who made victory possible in the first place.
In closing, the primary and secondary sources from the twentieth century illuminate their ongoing relevance to the twenty-first century. The current war in Ukraine illuminates how “in a modern, integrated world, not intervening … [is] in effect a form of intervention, which would throw weight to one side of the conflict” (Blower, p. 353). Moreover, the twenty-first century also supports Blower’s argument by revealing how modern neutrality differs from traditional neutrality, especially as the latter helps “[protect] the sovereignty … of small or distant states from great power intrigues” (Blower, p. 364). At the same time, growing wealth inequality, alongside the Iraq War, has raised serious questions about the true intentions of American efforts, rendering international involvement highly controversial to this day.
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga’s recollection of Japanese internment camps was an eye-opening interview that detailed her experience as a second-generation Japanese immigrant in America during World War II. Internment camps, at the time, were intended to protect national security and were born from a place of fear and xenophobia. Internment camps were a place of incarceration for anyone living in America of Japanese descent, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This interview is significant because it expresses American government flaws that we still have not completely corrected today. As recently as 2020, and Trump’s presidential campaign, America and it’s people in power have xenophobic tendencies, referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus.” Granted, nobody put anyone in internment camps, but these comments and the fearful and ignorant sentiments behind them influenced a lot of hate towards the Chinese-American community. This document is important because there needs to be acknowledgement for the moral wrongs that the government has made, accountability, and change. Herzig-Yoshinaga states, “And I think that that’s one of the most painful experiences, the feelings about the entire wartime experience. That we were judged, not on our own character as people and persons, but simply because of our ethnicity, something that I think goes against the grain of democracy, of the Constitution and every right and privilege that we’re supposed to enjoy as American citizens. It was very difficult to accept being non-Caucasian at the, at the time” (Herzig-Yoshinaga, Japanese Internment).
James Thompson’s “Letter to the Pittsburgh Courier,” a black-owned organization, is a document that outlines Thompson’s sentiments regarding World War II. He, an African American, of course supports the efforts towards victory for America. But, he asks, what for? Thompson writes, “Being an American of dark complexion and some 26 years, these questions flash through my mind: ‘Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?’ ‘Will things be better for the next generation in the peace to follow?’ ‘Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship rights in exchange for the sacrificing of my life? Is the kind of America I know worth defending? Will America be a true and pure democracy after this war? Will Colored Americans suffer still the indignities that have been heaped upon them in the past? These and other questions need answering; I want to know, and I believe every colored American, who is thinking, wants to know” (Thompson, Pittsburgh Courier). This document is one that will, like Herzig-Yoshinaga’s, hold significance for as long as we have racial inequality and discrimination in America. This document is important for the same sad reasons that the first one is: There still exists systemic racism in our government. Thompson uses the external issue of war, to remind America that there are still very pressing internal problems that have yet to be resolved. It is a hopeful document that reassures the reader that Thompson was ready to die for his country, even if he felt like he was only half a citizen, because he had faith in a future America that would do better. The themes of his letter resonate today because it is not an unpopular opinion that America could, indeed, still do better, regarding its colored citizens.
Both primary sources have messages of race and what it means to be an American citizen. Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga describes her experience as a Japanese American and of her time in an internment camp during a time in which her racial differences directly affected her life as an American. America’s external foreign affairs kindled a fearful feeling within the nation, allowing it to affect the way the nation was handled internally. James Thompson writes his letter, supporting America and its cause, while addressing his own grievances with the country as an African American. The war was not a catalyst for these grievances, however, it was taken as an opportunity to remind people about the ongoing racial inequalities that do not disappear with the war. They do not make the same points identically, but both authors would have likely agreed, empathized, and supported each other’s works.
“From Isolationism to Neutrality: A New Framework for Understanding American Political Culture” by Brooke Blower draws the distinction between two polar opposite concepts of foreign policy, isolationism and internationalism, and brings in a third concept to which he refers to as “neutrality.” Following the understood history of (supposed) isolationism in the American 1900’s to the history of its counterpart, internationalism, Blower challenges the idea that these are the only two options of foreign policy that we can study. Isolationism, is explained as the more conservative and less-involved foreign policy, was expressed as an apprehension to join hands with other countries on any stage or platform. On the other hand, internationalism is described as a kind of foreign policy that promotes international organizations, participation, and involvement. Blower states, “ One approach to reconciling this conflicted picture is simply to concede that both currents were vibrant and influential, with internationalism having more weight during the 1920s, only to be temporarily eclipsed by isolationism in the 1930s. But attempting to weigh the waxing or waning impact of two “sides” of debate, or substituting some other dichotomy, will not solve fundamental problems with the internationalist isolationist rubric. The following analyzes the inadequacies of these terms for understanding the interwar years and most especially for disentangling those foreign policy disputes during isolationism’s supposed high water mark between 1935 and 1941,” (Blower, Page 5). From here, Blower elaborates on neutrality and how it is a much better way at analyzing the interwar era versus the two sided coin of isolationism and internationalism. Though, at first glance, this may not be the best article to use in interpreting the primary source documents because Herzig-Yoshinaga and Thompson appeal more to domestic occurrences rather than international, Blower’s concepts can still be translated in a way that connects to the racial tensions of that era. Think of isolationism as the population of people that support racial inequality and of internationalism as the population that does not. It gets a little murky here, because the argument is supposed to be that isolationism is not isolation at all, but an ambivalence. Instead of thinking of it as “supported and opposed,” we can now look at it through the lens of “neutral and opposed.” People who “support” racial inequality do not necessarily support it at all, they just don’t feel too strongly either way to 1) promote it or 2) fight it. This is ambivalence, and can be paralleled to foreign policy and the way in which America divided itself during the interwar era.
These readings are directly connected to all four course themes. We see identity, as a means of who people are and how they identify, whether it be American, Japanese American, or African American. We see inclusion and interaction, because how they identified themselves, and how America identified them directly affected the way that they were excluded and treated (either physically in internment camps, or socially on a daily basis). Institutions are a present theme as well, as we delve into the government policies and institutions that make racial inequality possible. Overall, I’m choosing interaction and institutions because all four apply to the primary source readings, whereas, these two also best overlap into the concepts presented in the Blower reading. Neutrality, isolationism, and internationalism are all ways that our American institutions interact (or don’t) with other governments and organizations around the world.
The secondary source was an extremely difficult reading to tie into the primary sources. It was not easy to connect international foreign policy concepts to domestic affairs. I probably could have chosen easier readings, but the first time I read these two readings, I was instantaneously engaged. I’ve always been more interested in the social aspect of history, and human rights in general. The first two readings didn’t really alter my understanding of history, but it definitely strengthened feelings that I already had. The last reading did alter my understanding of how Americans felt about foreign policy during the interwar era, and how those feelings were complicated and inconsistent and changing.
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