Categories
Free Essays

Slavery the most controversial themes in the history of the United States

Chapter 1 Introduction:

Slavery is one of the most controversial themes in the history of the United States; throughout much of the past century historians have debated, sometimes quite heatedly, various interpretations of this area. For the purpose of this dissertation, the personal relationships amongst the enslaved will be the subject being examined.

Early research into the area on slave relationship tended to focus on the instability of slave families, The controversial Moynihan report of 1965 argued that the harsh regime of slavery shattered family ties of all that had been bound by it, and as a result the future generations of the ‘Negro Family’ lacked in strength and stability, Moynihan claimed that the majority of slave families “…developed a fatherless matrifocal (mother-centred) pattern”[as men were absent husbands and fathers.

Elkins notorious study on Slavery in 1959 also negatively depicted slave relationships. Elkins compared slavery to the Nazi system of concentration camps, arguing that the enslaved were psychologically infantilized by the regime. Elkins’ argued that the totalitarian environment and “…absolute power…” held by the slave owners destroyed slaves capacity to resist the regime and form any sort of positive relationship with one another. Elkins asserted that the slave master was the only significant other in the life of a slave, and believed that significant bonds between slaves were unattainable.

However, these views of slavery tended to focus on the perception of the slave owners and neglected the views of the enslaved. In the 1970’s new revisionist historians shifted to examining perspectives of the slave rather than that of the master, moving towards investigating ‘history from below’. The works of Gutman, Blassingame and Levine were of the first historians to look at slavery from this angle[5]; their works focused on the cultural aspects of the lives of the enslaved, a view that had been previously neglected. Similarities between their studies showed that cultural autonomy allowed slaves to distance themselves from the psychological pressures of the slavery regime and made it possible to establish and maintain positive, loving relationships.

Gutman criticised the earlier orthodox views of slavery put forward by Elkins, Moynihan and Frazier, arguing that they did not appreciate the extraordinary “…adaptive capacities…” of the African American slaves in spite of the rigours imposed under slavery.

The revisionist historians tended to focus on what Engerman referred to as “…the positive accomplishments of slaves under slavery.” However more recently historians have criticised this approach, believing that the resilience and autonomy of the slaves have been overstated, shadowing the harsh truths of slavery, Kolchin’s studies claim that revisionist historians have created “…an exaggerated picture of strength and cohesion of the slave community.”

However one must note that by accentuating resilience and the desire for independence does not mean that historians are romanticising the whole regime of slavery and that the restrictions and exploitations imposed on slaves by their masters were not significant. Rather as West argues the fact that the enslaved strove for independence under the terrible hardships of the regime is of immense importance, since it “…highlights the desire for freedom within the context of the restraints imposed by slaveholders.” For slaves, spousal love and support was of vital importance in the fight for cultural autonomy and also to provide shelter and support from their bleak lives under bondage.

This research project will further this perspective, in the attempt to show that the relationships between enslaved spouses facilitated the desire for and the development of a social space between the lives of slaves and owners and a means of resistance against oppression. This dissertation will attempt to show the strength slave relationships under and in spite of the harsh restraints of bondage.

The chapters within this dissertation will look at enslaved courtship and marriage under the regime of slavery; each assessing the strength of these relationships in spite of the hardships and restrictions placed upon them.

Slavery in America was present for almost two decades; it would difficult to adequately cover these issues for this entire period, for this reason this dissertation will focus on the antebellum period (1820-1860) of slavery which took place before the civil war. The significance of this period is that slavery had already been established and legislated for a long time thus providing historians with numerous sources of evidence in which to study. The limit of this period for one looking at cultural issues, is the fact that by this time there would be very few African born slaves; so this dissertation will be unable to look directly at the role played by native African slaves, as Kolchin argues that Antebellum period lacked the “…large-scale infusions from Africa that might have served to foster separate black cultural forms by reinforcing a cultural continuity with the traditions of their ancestors”.[11] The majority of the slaves in the antebellum period would have been born and brought up under the regime of slavery, however, this smaller scope of study should not be looked at negatively, as Levine argues that the slave culture is one of oral tradition, where culture was passed on from generation to generation by stories, songs and folk tales therefore African culture would still be relevant in the lives of Antebellum slaves.[12]

As this dissertation is focusing on the antebellum period, it is limited to the Southern States of America as slavery had already been abolished in the Northern States. Although this may seem a broad geographical area, this dissertation will hope to prove that regardless of location the enslaved strove for the same autonomy to shape their own personal lives and relationships.

American Slavery has been an area where sources of evidence has been heatedly criticised, the majority of early research into this topic was based primarily on ‘white’ sources which tended to rationalise the exploitation of their black counterparts. Other revisionist historians have focused on ex-slave testimonies which too have been criticised as being unreliable which will be discussed in more detail further on. However this dissertation will draw from sources of oral testimony left behind by former slaves, as Frederick Douglass explains one

“…cannot see things in the same light with the slave, because he does not, and cannot, look from the same point from which the slave does…”[13]

The Works Progress Administration Narratives (which will be referred to as WPA throughout this dissertation) are a collection of other 2,300 interviews of former slaves from the southern states conducted from 1936-38. These interviews are of vital importance when investigating slavery from the perspective of the enslaved and gives historians insight into the personal lives of slaves which is neglected in the majority of ‘white’ sources.

There is however many arguments against the reliability of these narratives, the main one is that over two thirds of the respondents were more than eighty when they were interviewed, it has been suggested that their memories of bondage would affected over time, and that they were only young children during the regime of slavery. West explains that even though the respondent memory may have dimmed with age, they still remembered “…a great deal about life under the peculiar institution” Moreover even if slave narratives weren’t perfectly recollected, the nature of the unique source still holds immense value to that of a historian.

Another issue that has been noted is that many respondents would have been children at the time of slavery; this could be problematic when assessing courting and marital relationships as the former slaves could have possibly been too young to partake in these types of relationships themselves, however as previously mentioned Levine’s study shows American slave culture was one that rested on folk tales and the passing down of stories through the generations, therefore slave testimony on their parents and grandparents relationships will still be highly significant to this study.

To end with Woodward brilliantly sums up that even though the WPA narratives are sometimes confusing and contradictory “…they represent the voices of the normally voiceless, the inarticulate masses whose silence historians are forever lamenting”

Chapter Two “…Set Out to Play an’ Court all Dey Pleased…”: Courtship among the enslaved.

As detailed in the introduction this dissertation will examine the personal relationships in which slaves participated; in the attempt to show the strength of these relationships and also the degree in which slaves strove for the autonomy from their masters to develop and maintain these relations. This chapter will examine the role of courtship amongst the enslaved, although there has been much more recent research into the ‘romantic’ lives of slaves since the wave of revisionist historians in the 1970’s, courtship has been looked at as a ‘mere passage instead of its own social event’; historian’s have either overlooked this area completely or merged it into a broader study of marriage. This chapter will detail early historical views of enslaved courtship before discussing the variety of restrictions which were in place to hinder courtship before finally discussing the ways in which the enslaved managed to create meaningful relationships of their own.

By the antebellum period slavery had become institutionalised across the American South, slaveholders were increasingly concerned with controlling every aspect of their ‘properties’ lives, especially that of sexual unions. This is due to the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1808, which stopped any more African people being imported as slaves; hence the sexual unions that slaves created became increasingly important to slaveholders to insure that they would have future generations of slaves to perpetuate the southern social order. Oral testimony from the former slave, Hannah Jones showed that there were some plantations who “…just raised niggers…”. By examining other slave testimonies it can be seen that many slave owners decided who their slaves would be with, in order to produce the best offspring. Katie Darling, a slave born in Texas in 1849, argued that slaves didn’t court each other under the restraints of Slavery, merely that their masters would “…pick out a po’tly and a po’tly gal and jist put ‘em together…” to reproduce as he needed more “stock”.

This shows one of main reasons why historians have neglected the topic of enslaved courtship as they viewed the way in which slaves formed relationships to some extent as an insensitive and unemotional process, as the majority of masters’ chose partners for their slaves with little or no considerations of their personal feelings. Genovese acknowledged that in some cases; masters had a paternalistic attitudes towards their slaves and let them choose their own partner yet the process was still not regarded as a ‘romantic’ one as

“if a man saw a girl he liked he would ask his master’s permission to ask the master of the girl for her. If his master consented and her master consented then they came together“

As a result of forced breeding, coerced relationships, and the ‘unemotional’ joining of partner as detailed in ‘white’ sources and also in a few slave narratives, Fraser concluded that “…courtship and the normal relationships preliminary to marriage seldom existed”. By examining more of the WPA slave narratives, however, it can be seen that this negative image of courtship was not always the case; instead one can see the importance that the enslaved placed on the creation of their personal relationships, as they “…sought to define the nature and shape of their own courtship experiences.” By examining the ‘courtships’ of those who were bound by slavery, historians can gain insight into the cultural and social aspects of their rituals and how the enslaved strove to meet and choose their significant other, free from the influence of their master.

Within this dissertation numerous WPA slave narratives will be discussed to show the extent of personal relationships between the enslaved. However when looking into the area of courtship one must note that the majority of former slaves who partook in these testimonies were young children during the years of bondage, hence they may not have participated in courtships themselves until after slavery and historians must acknowledge this issue. However this does not mean that the testimonies are of no value as many recount the stories that have been passed on to them or those they witnessed personally, giving historians insight into how courtship was shaped within the slave community and also how the slaves strove for the autonomy to create strong relationship bonds. A perspective that many traditional historians neglected as can be seen in the previous chapter as they used primarily ‘white’ sources.

Many slave owners expected to decide the timing of courtship and coupling among slaves and to constrain their slaves’ choice of partner to suit their own needs; such as keeping their slaves on their plantations at all times and producing ‘quality’ offspring destined to be the master’s future slaves and/or income. To make sure this was the case slave holders placed numerous restrictions in the way of their slaves’ courtships; time was one of the largest constraints faced by the enslaved, as Smith explains “all time on the plantation, whether work or leisure, was ultimately the master’s to bestow, manipulate and define”. With slaves spending all their time working in the fields or domestically in the masters house, even when their long day at work was over, their master still controlled what they did and even when they had to go to sleep. For example, Ex-slave Matida Mckinney explained the concept of curfews on her plantation, pointing out that the

“…curfew horn was blown and no lights could be lighted after its warning not had sounded. There was very little visiting to or from the group which dwelt here, as the curfew hour was early”

This shows how relatively little freedom slaves had in their day to day lives to socialise or court one another.

As well as time, slave owners also restricted their slave’s mobility. The enslaved were restricted to the boundaries of their plantations. The Former slave Austin Steward points out that

“Slaves are never allowed to leave the plantation which they belong, without a written pass. Should anyone venture to disobey this law, he will most likely be caught by the patrol and given thirty-nine lashes.”

The enslaved had to gain their masters permission to leave their plantation, they were required to get a written pass, detailing their master’s name, the origin of their trip and their destination, and they were also required to produce this pass at the request of any white person.

Not only were their ‘patrollers’ hindering slaves geographical mobility but slave owners also placed physical boundaries, such as high fences, around the perimeter of their plantations to contain and restrict slaves mobility further. Former slave Louisa Adams argues that

“All de plantation wuz fenced in, dat is all de fields, wid rails; de rails wuz ten feet long”

It should be noted here that the restrictions imposed on the enslaved were inconsistent throughout the Antebellum South, not just in differing states but “between slaveholders themselves; urban and rural environments and different police measures in the county”Regardless of these restrictions the enslaved managed to control their personal relationships through working around the restrictions enforced upon them by the regime of slavery. Certain social events were organised by the slave owners and occurred as part of the work regime, for example ‘corn shucking’ and ‘candy pulling’ where numerous slaves from neighbouring plantations would come together to complete a large task. Even though the slaves were working on these occasions by reviewing many of the WPA slave testimonies it can be seen that the enslaved looked forward to these events and the majority described them as ‘fun’. As well as working the slaves had the chance to engage in socialising, flirtation and courtship at these events. For instance, they played numerous courtship games such as ‘kissing for a red ear of corn’ and ‘dropping the handkerchief’ which allowed them to possibly establish a meaningful personal relationships. The former slave Anna Wright explained how these organised events offered a good place for the enslaved to meet a potential partner but also for existing couples to continue their courtship, she explained that courting couples relished these days as they could “…set out to play an’ court all dey pleased”. Therefore the enslaved managed to manipulate some of the terms of their working lives to their own ends.

As well as these occasions, many slave owners also recognised different times of the year as holidays, during these times the usual time and mobility restrictions enforced on the enslaved were temporarily relaxed allowing slaves to move between different plantations and spend time socialising and courting. For instance for Christmas Holiday which could last anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, one former slave detailed that on his plantation from Christmas through to new year the slaves “…feast, an’ we dance, an’ we sing.” Another slave explained that at Christmas, slaves “…went up de riber to other plantations ter dances an’ all dem things…” However it must be noted that these opportunities were completely dependent on the slave owner, who could withdraw these privileges at any time or choose not to partake in them at all.

It can be seen so far that the enslaved had very little opportunity to partake in courtships, and the opportunities they had, if any, to escape being governed by their masters were seldom. Some slaves, however, resisted these restrictions which bound them and sought to have a social world separate to their plantation and thus developed ‘…alternative or illicit social spaces, where they socialised, flirted and courted without the presence or consent of the slave owner’.

The enslaved would go to unauthorised ‘frolics’ or their significant other’s plantations without obtaining the permission of their master in order to pursue or create a courtship. For example, ex-slave Penny Williams recounted that

“Dar was some nigger men what ud go courtin’ spite de debil, an’ master ain’t gibbin dem no passes dey go widout ‘em”

She also detailed how regardless of the punishment bestowed on them when they were caught, they would still continue this behaviour in pursuit of love. This point was furthered by former slave Hugh Berry, who described that he would risk severe punishment to “…go back over there to see that girl”. By doing this the enslaved defied and resisted the systems of control, such as time and geography.

In conclusion, the enslaved in the antebellum south strove to meet and court a significant other of their choosing. Slave utilised the time that their owners allowed them, such as work based event and holidays to extend the limits of their lives, but they also strove to establish romantic bonds with one another in spaces that was separate from their plantation and their master’s authority. This chapter shows the value and importance slaves placed on their courtships, so much so that they would risk a severe beating in order to pursue their love interest. Also by examining slave testimonies, one can see that courtship was a vital stage in the romantic relationships of the enslaved, despite being neglected by early academics.

Chapter 3 “Jumping the broom”: Weddings and Marriage amongst the enslaved
The last chapter analysed the opportunities the enslaved had to meet and court a partner of their own choosing, this chapter will look at the next stage in the romantic relationship; marriage. Slave marriages have been one of the most controversial areas of research within the topic of slavery, numerous orthodox historians viewed slave marriages as weak and unstable, Stampp believed that with all the constraints imposed on the enslaved, ‘no deep or enduring affection could develop between husband and wives’.This chapter will examine the extent to which this claim is true, focusing on the difficulties and restrictions that affected slave marriages and how the enslaved managed to overcome them.

The first question this chapter will examine is opportunities that the enslaved had to get married; the southern legal system never recognised slave marriages on the grounds that property could not enter into a legal contract, slave holders would not tolerate a legal contract that would interfere with their rights to dispose of their property as they pleased, therefore early scholars concluded that marital relationships could not have existed amongst slaves. However, throughout this chapter it can be seen that this was not the case; although slave marriages were not legislated they were culturally formed and respected by the slave community.

As in courtship, marriages between slaves were greatly influenced by the slaveholders; some slave owners forbade their slaves to enter in marriage at all. There were many different reasons for this, one of which being the threat to the master’s authority, for example Harriet Jacob’s master rejected her requests to wed a free black man as he thought that it would displace her loyalties to him, he asserted, “Well, I’ll soon convince you whether I am your master, or that nigger fellow you honour so highly”.

Another reason for master’s forbidding enslaved matrimony, which is suggested by reviewing slave testimonies, is the practice of forced breeding as discussed in the previous chapter. A former slave recalled the application of this in her plantation;

“As a rule negro men were not allowed to marry at all, any attempt to mate with the negro women brought swift, sure horrible punishment and the species were propagated by selected male Negros, who were kept for this purpose, the owners of this privileged negro, charged a fee of one out of every four of his offspring for his services”

A former Texas slave, also described a less explicit way of forced breeding, where the women on his plantation were paired and forced to cohabit with a mate that their master deemed as suitable, as effective reproduction was more important to the slave owner than his slave emotions. Franklin believed that this was the case for the majority of slave women, who were forced into ‘relationships’ and pregnancy by the venality of her master, Franklin asserted this made it unlikely that slaves would ever establish a loving and affectionate bond with their significant other.

Conversely, even though numerous slaves were coerced into relationships, some managed to manipulate their masters so they could be with the person of their choosing. An example of this can be seen in the testimony of former slave Virgina Yarbrough, who recalled once when her master forced two slaves together even though they were in love with others, they slept in separate beds “Twas’ bout three months aftah, de marster see thar am no chillums gwine to be bo’n, so he tuks her f’om dat fellow an’ ‘lows her to stay wid de one she laks.” However, it must be noted that this happened in the minority.

By examining numerous slave testimonies, however, one can determine that the majority of slave owners did allow slaves to marry the person of their choosing, as Genevese explains most owners understood that if slaves were denied their request to marry the one they loved, they would become sullen workers and would be more likely to run away. Slave owners also allowed informal ceremonies to mark marital unions amongst slaveseven if there were not legitimate.

This Chapter will now examine some of the various ceremonial rituals which took place at slave weddings; one of the most common of these rituals was jumping over the broomstick where slave couples literally jumped over a broomstick together and were then married. Historians take different views on the meaning of this ceremony; Blassingame and Gutman believed this ritual originated in Africa and was initiated by the slaves themselves. On the contrary, Stevenson argues that the broomstick ritual derived from pre-Christian Europe and was passed down generations as a quaint and amusing remnant of the past, Stevenson believes this ritual was imposed on slaves by their masters, which suggested the lack of respect and honour slave-owners held for their ‘…blacks attempt to create meaningful marital relationships’ By reviewing numerous slave testimonies that describe the broom stick ceremony, they tend to fit in with Stevenson’s analysis of the ceremony, this can be seen by the use of coercive language, that they were required to perform this ceremony. Again reaffirming the master’s control over slave marriages; for example Georgina Giwbs said that, ‘When yer married, yer had to jump over the broom three times. Dat wuz de licence. ’ Another instance of this can be seen by reviewing the testimony of George Womble, he describes that slaves ‘…were commanded to jump over the broom ’.

All slave ceremonies were not as basic as jumping over a broomstick, they ranged from extravagant weddings as described in several slave testimonies, for example Tempie Durham recalled her “…big weddin…”, where her master arranged for her to have a “…big weddin’ cake…”, a massive feast, a bible wedding ceremony with a “…nigger preacher…” and a grand white wedding dress. One may question why masters would arrange elaborate ceremonies for their slaves, Stampp suggests the reason is for the white masters to mock and belittle their black ‘property’, delighting in watching ‘…a bride and groom move awkwardly through the wedding ceremony’. Genovese, however, disagree with this notion; instead believing that masters indulged slaves on their wedding days expecting that in return slaves would become more loyal and work harder. Regardless of the ulterior motives of masters, Will’s research shows that slaves preferred the elaborate trappings of the white culture, this signifies how the enslaved wished to have the same opportunities as their white counterparts to celebrate their personal relationships

For the enslaved, wedding ceremonies legitimised their personal relationships to the extent possible during their time in bondage. The value and importance of these ceremonies held by slaves; whether extravagant events held in their masters house or the simple act of jumping over the broomstick, reflect the commitment slaves held in marriage and also the importance of the communal validation of their relationships.

As with so many issues vital to the enslaved, white laws and planter control inevitably limited the range of marriage options open to slaves, yet working within the range and persistently attempting to widen this range of possibilities as seen also in the previous chapter, slaves forged marriage rituals that they not their masters ultimately determined and guarded.

The importance of attaining marriage status alone is not sufficient evidence however to prove that slave marriages were not weak, unstable and unaffectionate as orthodox historians suggested.

Another factor which led early scholars to label slave marriages with negative connotations was the idea that slaves were sexually promiscuous, and could not remain faithful to one another, as one white slave mistress recounted “Not one in a thousand, I suppose, of these poor creatures have a conception whatever of the sanctity of marriage…”. This is reiterated in some slave narratives, for example an former slave from Alabama explained that he couldn’t stay with the same woman instead he “…jes tuck up wid one likely gal ater anoder…”

Gutman, however, argues that this was not the case and ‘…fidelity was expected from slave men and women after marriage’by reviewing numerous slave narratives one can see that the majority of married slaves were loyal to each other regardless of the adverse situations they found themselves in. For example, Susan Snow a former slave, recalled that she “…never hear’d tell o’ wives runnin’ round wid other men in dem days”

Another example of the enslaved devotion to their spouse is recalled by Bryant Huff, who father was sold far away yet his mother refused to be unfaithful to him, she “… grieved over his departure and refused, although urged, to marry again”.

A serious problem which affected slave marriages was not the loyalty between spouses but the sexual exploitation faced by female slaves at the hands of white men usually their master, former Slave Henry Bibb explained that

“slaves wives… cannot be true to their husbands… they dare not refuse to be reduced to a state of adultery at the will of her master”

This was extremely difficult for female slaves but also their significant others who were often powerless to stop the abuse; Henry Bibb further detailed his experience of when his wife Malinda was being sexually abused by their master,

“I was compelled to stand and see my wife shamefully scourged and abused by her master; and the manner in which it was done, was so violently and inhumanely committed upon the person of a female, that I despair in finding decent language to describe the bloody act of cruelty”

Some male slaves attempted to protect their wives from this abuse, former South Carolina slave Philip Evans recalled how his aunt was abused by a white overseer, her husband Dennis then attacked the overseer before fleeing into the woods, he was then caught and jailed before being stripped and flogged, the abuse on his wife still continued.

By assessing these two testimonies it shows historians that however difficult it must have been for slave couple to endure sexual exploitation, the fact that they did is further evidence of the strength of slave marriages and the support spouses provided to one another.

Another factor which would give a historian insight into determining the strength of slave marriages; is the length of time slaves were married. An example of this can be seen by reviewing the journal of a former slave holder Chaplin who noted that two of his female slaves had been married for over twenty seven years, he found that this was a strange phenomenon but by reviewing numerous slave testimonies one can draw the conclusion that it was common for slave marriages to be lifelong unions, unless broken by separation (which will discussed in more detail further on in this chapter). This is reiterated by the work of Gutman, his study showed that the majority of slaves remained married when possible, as only 9% of slaves in his study had separated due to mutual consent or by desertion

Franklin believed that the permanency of a slave marriage would depend on the extent to which the couple could live and work together, based on this he deemed that slave marriages would only work if the couple remained together on the same plantation. However, as aforementioned slave marriages could not be legitimised as it would interfere with the owner’s rights to sell or give away their ‘property’, this meant that slave marriages were under constant threat of separation either through long distance or local sales, being gifted between white family members and also when estates of deceased owners were divided up Crawford estimates that nearly a quarter of all slave families were broken by sale.

Slave owners understood the value slaves held in their marriage and used this knowledge as a way to control their slaves; the threat of being separated from their spouses was the most feared punishment, ‘…a haunting fear which made all of the slave’s days miserable…’ This overwhelming fear of being separated from their spouses shows further evidence of the importance of marital ties between the enslaved.

Gutman 1970 study highlighted the strength of marital and family ties, however it has been criticised as his work only focused on large plantations where marital and family bonds would have been stronger, however it must be noted that these large plantations, where hundreds of slave presided were the exception, not the norm, Crawford’s research showed less than 50% of slaves lived on the same plantation as their significant other. The Majority of the enslaved in South were from small plantations with only a few other slaves, this meant much to their master’s dismay that they had to form cross plantation unions. These Cross plantation marriages were said to have constituted for over 33% of slave marriages, whilst these arrangements have been denigrated, work from revisionist historians have used them to exemplify the strength of marital bonds between the enslaved. Another important detail to note is that even slaves from large plantations sometimes married slaves from other plantations; the existence of cross plantation marriages amongst these slaves shows historians another example of the enslaved striving for autonomy from their masters.

Cross Plantation Marriages were obviously harder than maintaining a relationship with a significant other on the same plantation; but despite the drawbacks, slaves went to incredible lengths to maintain their long distance relationships; for example A slave owner described how one of his slaves walked 40 miles to see his wife, only love explains his willingness to repeat this trip over and over again.

Cross plantation unions also took place between free blacks and slaves, in many of these cases the free slave would attempt to purchase their significant other to no avail, however an example of the devotion held in these unions can be seen in the case of Samuel Small, a free black, who became a slave for seven years to pay for his wives freedom.

Recently Russell has argued that local as well as long distance sales caused the high rates of family separations, however West believes that even though any type of separation would cause great anguish, the system of cross plantation unions coupled with the strength of relationships between spouses meant in the case of local separations the consequences may have not been so damaging.

This chapter will draw attention to one final area, slave marriages once they were free; Gutman emphasised that when slaves were emancipated they went to great efforts to reunite with their families which they had been separated from.

Molly Tillman recounted the anguish she felt when her master sold her husband to another state, “well ma’am, I grieved fo’ dat nigger so dat my heart wuz heavy in my breas’. I know I never would see him no more” after emancipation she still could not get over her husband until one day several years later she found him “I wuz so happy I shouted all over dat meetin’ house. We jes’ tuck up whar we lef’ off an’ ‘fo’ long us got married” they lived happily as man and wife until he died 20 years later.

The enthusiasm in which slaves registered to be legally married after the emancipation shows how much they valued their marriages.

In conclusion, with all the difficulties that affected matrimonial ties between slaves on can understand why many historians deemed slave marriages as weak and unstable. However, when assessing the issues faced by slaves; legitimacy, the control owners had over their slave, forced coupling, sexual exploitation and separation, the fact that the majority of slaves managed to work through these and still managed to create deep and enduring relationships show the truth strength, resilience and value of slave marriages.

By reviewing numerous slave testimonies, it is clear that through their words and behaviour slaves repeatedly strove to make their marriages last, the enslaved worked strenuously within and around the power structure which restricted their lives to maintain their marriages.

Chapter 4: Conclusion

In Conclusion this dissertation has shown that the enslaved of the antebellum South strove for autonomy from their masters and the harsh restraints of slavery; to do this they created strong and loving bonds with a significant other. By creating their own social space to create and maintain these unions, this illustrates that slaves were able to survive and resists the oppression they faced under bondage.

Slave owners constantly intruded on the lives of their slaves, believing it was their right to control every aspect of the lives of their slaves, they attempted to decide, sometimes successfully, the opportunities slaves had to meet a potential partner, the partner their slaves should be with, the type of wedding ceremony their slaves received if any, the amount of time they could spend with their significant other and finally to separate romantic unions for sales or if they saw fit. These constant impingements forced slaves to adopt what West depicted as an “underground” approach to their ‘romantic’ lives . This has been described throughout this research project, entailing secret frolics, socialising with slaves in different plantations, celebrating marriages with appropriate ceremonies, and finally risking severe punishing at the hands of their masters or the patrollers to be able to visit the one they loved.

The majority of slave testimonies that have been examined throughout this research project have shown that the majority of slaves strove to marry the person of their choosing and were also prepared to withstand great hardships to maintain their marriages. This is contradictory of the early academic views on slave relationships, especially that of Elkins as aforementioned, who believed that slavery destroyed slave’s capacity to resist the regime in any capacity, and form relationships with anyone other than their master. The research for this dissertation has shown the opposite, that in fact the majority of slaves managed to create and maintain loving and enduring marriages despite the regime of bondage, this strength is further highlighted when examining the sexual exploitation faced by female slaves and how in many cases their significant other either attempted to protect them or provided love and support to shelter them from such adversity. Another noteworthy factor when accessing the strengths of enslaved romantic bonds is that of cross plantation union, which as previously discussed shows the lengths slaves would go to be with the one they loved, including risking cruel violent punishments to see their loved ones as much as possible.

As mentioned in the introduction chapter Kolchin believes that this positive perspective on slavery dismissed the hardships of the regime, believing instead the slaves in fact flourished during their time in bondage, however this is not what this project is attempting to achieve, instead it is the fact that slaves strove for autonomy to form a connection with another, which gave them a separate identity than that of a slave, embodying roles such as companion, confidante and soulmate.

Indeed for the enslaved of the antebellum South, falling in love was burdened with extreme emotional and physical difficulties, even former slave Harriet Jacobs asked herself:

“Why does the slave ever loveWhy allow the tendrils of the heart to twine around objects which may at any moment be wrenched away by the hand of violence”

West explained that despite all the problems ‘romantic’ bonds entailed, the majority of marriages amongst the enslaved sheltered and supported them in face of adversity, these loving, affectionate, and supportive relationships created a mindset of cultural independence.

Finally to end with a quote from Rawick;

“While from sunup to sundown the American slave worked for another and was harshly exploited, from sundown to sunup he lived for himself and created the behavioural and institutional basis which prevented him from becoming the absolute victim”

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Berlin, I. Favreau, M. & Miller, S. F. (Eds) Remembering Slavery New York: The New Press, 1998.

Bibb, H. The Life and Adeventures of Henry Bibb: An American Slave US: University of Wisconsin Press, 1849.

Bland, S. L. (Ed) African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology Vol III US: Greenwood Publishing, 2001.

Douglass, F. My Bondage and My Freedom New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1855.

Jacobs, H. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl New York: Dover Publications, 2001.

Mellon, J. (Ed) Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember An Oral History New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1988.

Olmsted, F. L. The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller’s Observation on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States New York: Alfred, A. Knopf, 1953.

Rawick, G. P. (Ed) The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography Vol. 1 From Sundown to Sunup The Making of the Black Community US: Greenwood Publishing, 1972.

Rawick, G. P. (Ed) The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography Vol. 18 Unwritten History of Slavery US: Greenwood Publishing, 1972.

Rosengarten, T. (Ed) Tombee: Potrait of a Cotton Planter, with the Plantation Journal of Thomas B. Chaplin, 1822-1890. London: William Morrow, 1986.

Secondary Sources

Blassingame, J. W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Crawford, S. Quantified Memory: A Study of WPA Slave Narrative Collection US: University of Chicago, 1980.

Davies, C. T. & Gates, H. L. (Eds) The Slave’s Narrative London: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Dusinberre, W. Them Dark Days: Slavery in the American Rice Swamps London: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Elkins, S. M. Slavery: A problem in American institution and intellectual life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Fogel, R. W. & Engerman, S. L. Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1974

Franklin, J. H. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans (Third Edition) New York: Alfred. A. Knopf, 1967.

Fraser, R. Courtship and Love Among the Enslaved in North Carolina US: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Frazier, E. F. ‘The Negro Family in the United States’ The Journal of Negro History, 1930, 15, 2, 198-259.

Genovese, E, D. Roll, Jordon, Roll, New York; Random House, 1974.

Griffin, R. J. ‘Goin’ Back Over There to See That Girl’ Competing Social Spaces in the Lives of the Enslaved in Antebellum North Carolina’ Slavery and Abolition, 2004, 25, 1, 94-113.

Gutman, H. G. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. US: Pantheon Books, 1976.

Hudson, L. E. (Ed) Working toward Freedom: Slave Society and Domestic Economy in the American South New York: University of Rochester Press, 1994.

Hudson, L. E. To Have and To Hold: Slave Work and Family Life in Antebellum South Carolina. US: University of Georgia Press, 1997.

Kolchin, P. ‘Reevaluating the Antebellum Slave Community: A Comparative Perspective’ The Journal of American History 1983, 70, 3, 579-601.

Kolchin, P. American Slavery London: Penguin Books, 1993.

Lawrence, L. W. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery to Freedom .London: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Merritt, C. E. Slave Family and Household Arrangements in Piedmont, Georgia US: Emory University, 1986.

Moynihan, D. P. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1965.

Schwartz, M. J. Born in Bondage: Growing up Enslaved in the Antebellum South US: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Smith, M. M. Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery and Freedom in the American South US: University of Carolina Press, 1997.

Stampp, K. M. The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956.

Stevenson, B. E. Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South London: Oxford University Press, 1996.

West, E. ‘The debate on the Strength of Slave Families: South Carolina and the importance of Cross Plantation Marriages’ Journal of American Studies 1999, 33, 2, 221-241.

West, E. Chain of Love: Slave Couples in the antebellum South Carolina. US: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

White, D. G. Ar’n’t I a WomanFemale Slaves in the Plantation South London: Norton & Company Ltd, 1985.

Will, T. E. ‘Weddings on Contested Grounds: Slave Marriages in the Antebellum South’ The Historian 1999, 62, 1, 99-117.

Categories
Free Essays

Phonics Intervention for Reading Instruction and Special Education in the United States

Introduction:

Research on reading and reading growth over the last decades has produced a strong consensus around the essential elements of beginning reading instruction for all students, whether the focus is prevention or remediation. Findings from evidence-based research show dramatic reductions in the incidence of reading failure when explicit instruction is provided in phonemic awareness, decoding skills, spelling, and writing by classroom teachers (Foorman, Francis, Fletcher, Schatschneider, & Hehta, 1998). These instructional elements are necessary but not sufficient to support the small, but significant, number of students who encounter difficulty in learning to read (Foorman & Torgeson, 2001).

Ensuring that all students become competent readers by third grade is one of the most important tasks of primary-grade educators and is a national priority as evidenced by the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Although the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress has suggested increases in the overall reading achievement of U.S. fourth-grade students, the proportion of students reading below basic levels (> 40%) has not changed appreciably from 1993 to 2005 (Otaiba et al., 2005). In the last two decades, evidence has accumulated pointing to deficits in phonological processing as a core cause of poor reading (Foorman, 1996). A growing body of evidence suggests that deficits in this area can be addressed through appropriate training, particularly for students through grade two (Torgeson, 1997).

State-level curriculum guides increasingly contain these essential elements of early literacy instruction and require the use of research-based methods and materials in reading instruction. Classroom teachers have access to the growing body of reading research and yet the number of students at-risk of failure on state and national assessments often suggests that the students most at-risk of failure are often not accelerating to a large enough degree to catch up with their peers and maintain grade-level performance. Classroom core reading programs generally include intervention materials designed specifically for low readers. One problem with these intervention materials is the pacing of instruction. Classroom teachers often find the pacing too brisk for struggling readers to master. This often results in teachers searching to find other instructional methods and materials that may be used to accelerate at-risk students’ reading achievement.

Overview

Reading Instruction and Special Education

The national reading gap in which 40% of our students are not reading at grade level has spurred politicians to initiate reading policy founded on research and accountability (Otaiba et al., 2005). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 allots federal money to be used to promote literacy in early grades under the premise that schools will use research based interventions and will be accountable to external evaluation (Lyon et al., 2005). Concurrently, special education law is also evolving to improve reading and academics for all students.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 described by Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006), shifts eligibility in the category of specific learning disability (SLD) away from a discrepancy model where a significant difference between academics and achievement is required for eligibility. The discrepancy model requires students to fail academically before being identified as eligible for special education services. IDEIA allows local education agencies to redirect eligibility determination of SLD from the ability/achievement discrepancy to a form of assessment that identifies a student’s ability to respond to intervention, which improves instruction for all at-risk students (Batsche, Kavale, & Koveleski, 2006).

Special education is then a last resort for students who do not respond to intensive interventions. This shift in the eligibility process involves increased accountability in general education, requiring teachers to generate data regarding students’ progress in academic areas to guide instruction and identify students who may need further support (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NCJLD), 2005).

Struggling Students and Reading

The majority of children referred for special education are identified as needing support in the area of reading (Lyon et al., 2005). However, students other than those receiving special education services, require additional reading support, further reinforcing the need for early intervention in kindergarten through second grade when reading skills are emerging (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). Torgesen (1998) indicates that children who do not acquire early reading skills often do not catch up to their peers who are reading at grade level. Negative attitudes towards reading, missed opportunities to develop vocabulary and comprehension, and less practice are characteristics that contribute to the gap between good readers and poor readers. As the gap widens, children who are not reading at grade level require intensive instruction to catch up to their reading peers who are accelerating and increasing their vocabulary at a much higher rate.

As response to intervention encourages educators to intervene for all struggling children as early as possible, it is relevant to examine reading research regarding all diverse learners. Torgesen (2007) indicates there is no correlation between phonological language ability and general verbal ability. For example, children who are dyslexic or have a specific learning disability in reading fall in the same phonological ability range as children with low intelligence. Additionally, slow learners, children with learning disabilities in reading, and children whose home backgrounds do not provide them with beginning reading foundations will require more intensive reading instruction.

Response to Intervention (RTI) and its Implications for Reading

The predominant model being adopted to address the national reading gap under IDEIA and NCLB is RTI. There are varying approaches to RTI. In this paper examination of RTI is described as follows: (a) students are provided with effective instruction by their general education classroom teacher; (b) progress is monitored; (c) those who do not respond to the classroom intervention get something else or something more, from their teacher or someone else; (d) again, students’ progress is monitored; and (e) those who still do not respond either qualify for special education or may be referred for a special education evaluation (Fuchs, Mock, & Young, 2003).

RTI is examined in this paper because the legislature backing the RTI philosophy is impacting change within our school system. RTI is requiring teachers to look at data and implement interventions which may be problematic if appropriate training and support is not provided. Mastropieri and Scruggs (2005) posit several relevant concerns regarding implementation, integrity, and the ambiguity of the evolving roles and responsibilities of teachers and diagnosticians.

The National Reading Panel (NRP, 2000) issued a report identifying research regarding key areas of reading instruction, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. The National Reading Panel report indicates that students can be successful if they are provided with systematic and direct instruction in key areas of reading instruction. Torgesen (2007) and the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, also known as NJCLD (2005) identified key elements present in effective reading instruction, and recommended that all students should participate in 90 minute reading blocks.

Students requiring more intensive instruction should be targeted for interventions and their progress should be monitored regularly. Interventions must be driven by data and should include the following: (a) reading instruction should be provided in small groups that are differentiated by needs and abilities; (b) adjustments should be made appropriately regarding intensity of instruction and group placement, and should be based on progress monitoring data; (c) small group instruction should include increased practice opportunities and direct (explicit), systematic instruction including error corrections and immediate positive feedback (NJCLD; Torgesen).

National Policy

Recent legislation, including No Child Left Behind (NCLB) of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA), is placing pressure on schools to implement research based reading interventions in an attempt to remediate the nationwide reading deficit (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). As a result, major changes are taking place systemically to produce improvements on how the nation is teaching reading (Stollar, Poth, Curtis, & Cohen, 2006; Wagner et al., 2006). If change is to occur within the classroom regarding teacher performance, support is needed (Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995).

Overview of Legislation

Over the past thirty years, the educational community has embraced various theories of instruction associated with reading (Lyon et al., 2005). Philosophy has driven educational policy, rather than research. In the 1990’s the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores indicated persistent reading problems in 4lh and 8th grades, as well as declining reading abilities of high school seniors. In 1996, Bill Clinton addressed the State of the Union with information regarding a national reading crisis. Forty percent of the nation’s fourth graders were not reading at grade level. As such, the America Reads initiative was established. Funding was set aside for volunteers to help children learn to read; however, the use of volunteers was minimally effective especially with disadvantaged youth (Lyon et al.).

In 1998, the Reading Excellence Act (REA) was passed and was the first mandate specifically focused on reading and required programs to be used that were based on research. When examining the effectiveness of REA, the government found a significant gap in educators’ understanding of scientifically based reading programs as well as a limited capacity for professional development. As a result of REA, federal and state program monitoring and research increased; and accountability at the state level was implemented (Lyon et al., 2005).

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, an amendment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Foorman & Nixon, 2006), and Reading First Legislations utilized research from the National Reading Panel (NRP) Report of 2000, which was a comprehensive summary of research regarding reading and reading instruction. The NCLB mandate allotted federal funds to be used for educational programs that have been deemed effective through research. Two grant programs were designed from NCLB including Reading First and Early Reading First.

Accountability regarding these programs required that schools provided with funding must use research based interventions, provide detailed data regarding plans and progress, and must be evaluated by an external review board (Lyon et al., 2005). As policy continues to guide and support the need for improved reading instruction within general education classrooms, special education law is concurrently aligning itself with NCLB to promote literacy for all students (Foorman & Nixon).

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) has been evolving over the past 30 years into what is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 (Foorman & Nixon, 2006; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2004). One of the components of the reauthorization involves eligibility of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). Local education agencies (LEA) are no longer required to determine eligibility through the discrepancy model, which is a significant difference between an individual’s academic achievement and cognitive ability. LEAs can now use Response to Intervention (RTI), a model that promotes the use of data to identify early need for academic support with subsequent implementation of interventions. When students fail to respond to the interventions, they may be identified as SLD (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2007).

Struggling Students and Reading

Current legislative policies regarding NCLB in conjunction with IDEIA’s recent eligibility criteria for students with learning disabilities are driving systemic changes within education to impact reading improvement for all students (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). Historically, students who were provided additional support received those services through special education. Students typically needing support in reading were identified as being learning disabled (LD). Forty years ago, students were rarely identified as having learning disabilities (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Compton, 2004).

In the 1970s Congress included this category into the EHA (PL 94-142) identifying a small population of children who demonstrated unexpected and specific learning failure (Fuchs, Mock, & Young, 2003). Early researchers examined children with low reading scores and found some children had equally low IQ scores, whereas a small group of children had discrepantly higher IQ scores and often higher math scores. The latter group of students was identified as having a specific learning disability because their IQ or ability was discrepantly higher than their academic achievement (Fuchs et al., 2003).

More recently, more than 50% of the children identified as having a disability are labeled as learning disabled, making up approximately 5% of the school population (Fuchs et al., 2004). The discrepancy model, which has been in place since the 1970’s, has been successful in identifying students who have a significant gap, or discrepancy, between their ability and achievement. However, misuse of the discrepancy model and over identification of students under this label has initiated concerns regarding the discrepancy model (Fuchs et al., 2003). In addition, the use of this process in special education has excluded a large population of students, those with low IQ’s who may struggle but do not meet the discrepancy criteria, as well as students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who need additional support (Fuchs et al., 2003).

Although the cause for reading failure may vary across students, early intervention is considered helpful for all struggling readers (Torgesen, 1998). Children with low general intelligences demonstrate the same phonological processing weaknesses as children with normal intelligences who have weaknesses in the phonological language domain (i.e., children who would be identified as learning disabled under the discrepancy model) (Torgesen). Students from low socio-economic families are also considered to be more at-risk as they practice reading less often than strong readers and are often deficit in phonological and oral language skills (Otaiba et al., 2005; Torgesen).

Under NCLB, all children including those in special education are expected to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). Despite the allowance of 3% of students in special education (those with severe cognitive delays) to be exempt from standards based testing, research indicates that the primary reason schools do not make AYP is due to the performance of students in special education. Accountability for all students to achieve is necessary regardless of academic placement (Foorman & Nixon, 2006). With the alignment of NCLB and IDEIA, all individuals with reading problems will be targeted early and provided with research based interventions regardless of why the problems are occurring.

Systemic Support for At-Risk Readers

Historically, teachers have implemented a variety of instructional approaches to meet the needs of at-risk students. One approach for supporting at-risk readers is to implement various classroom organizational patterns, in hope that varying student-grouping patterns will improve achievement. An example of this, the Joplin Plan (Powell, 1964), originally used in Joplin, Missouri, grouped students homogeneously across grades and classrooms depending upon each student’s reading level. The Joplin plan was initiated with an assessment of student achievement in reading. Next, students were organized into relatively homogenous groups independent of their grade-level classification. Then, students were sent to reading classes during the day where instruction was adapted to their needs. When evaluated, the Joplin Plan was not found to be significantly more effective than the traditional self-contained classroom grouping approach (Powell).

Interclass grouping of students is a key component of a more recent urban education reform plan to increase the achievement of inner-city students from socioeconomically disadvantaged environments. In a matched experimental study using “Success For All”® (SFA; Slavin, Madden, Karweit, Livermon, & Dolan, 1990) program developers reported that students in an SFA pilot school performed substantially better than comparison school students in reading, and that special education referrals and retentions were substantially reduced. Since that time, a larger set of independent studies involving 260 SFA schools at major demonstration sites have consistently concluded that there is no significant advantage for using the SFA program. In several studies, individual student or cumulative school reading scores declined in SFA schools and there was no evidence that the SFA program did as well as traditional approaches (Pogrow, 2002).

The Federal Title I compensatory education program for at-risk students represents a national effort to raise student reading achievement. Funds for compensatory education services in reading were first allocated by the federal government in 1966 through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Title I funds are allocated for the express purpose of improving educational outcomes among poverty or low socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Borman and Augostino (1996) conducted a meta-analysis of studies over a 20-year period and reported the effects of Title I expenditures on student reading achievement. Results of this meta-analysis demonstrated that students served by Title I failed to achieve or maintain levels of success comparable to mainstream peers.

Other studies partially explained the limited success of remedial programs. First, there is a lack of alignment among the theoretical, philosophical, and instructional bases of core classroom and remedial reading instructional programs (Allington, 1994). Wilson-Bridgman (1998) found a lack of alignment between classroom core reading instruction using a synthetic decoding base and the Reading Recovery® program (Clay, 1985), which uses a psycholinguistic approach to reading instruction. When arguing for curricular alignment, Allington (1986) stressed the importance of alignment between curricula—what is to be taught, in what order, using which materials, and the method of instruction used to help the students learn the curriculum. He argued when two reading instructional programs are widely divergent, students can develop confused notions of the nature and purpose of reading. The outcome of unaligned instruction according to Allington (1986) shifts the burden from teachers to students to do the challenging work of aligning instruction between programs. The resulting remedial instruction, lacking alignment with classroom core instruction, can often lead to lower amounts of total instruction for at-risk students.

Another form of compensatory education is federally funded special education. Bean (1991) cited two concerns with the lack of alignment between special education reading instruction and classroom reading instruction. First, instructional time is lost when students transition between the classroom and pullout special education settings. Second, Bean expressed concerns over the negative consequences of categorizing students as learning disabled. Finally, Allington (1994) and Torgeson (2004) asserted that special education has failed in its promise to lift at-risk students out of school failure.

Response to Intervention Models

In response to mounting criticism of pullout special education programs, new procedures that emphasize prevention are being implemented to identify students who genuinely need special education. Fletcher and colleagues (1998) argued that the discrepancy model for identification of students for special education is a “wait to fail” approach that did not provide needed education services to students with disabilities until third or fourth grade when interventions have been shown to be less effective. To address this issue, Vaughn (2003) has developed a three-tier, response-to-intervention (RTI) model to systematically increase instructional time and intensity for at-risk students.

In the RTI model, curriculum-based measurement (Deno, Fuchs, Marston, & Shinn, 2001) is used to frequently monitor student progress so that the effect of instructional intervention can be determined in a more timely manner. In Tier I instruction, students receive reading instruction in their regular classrooms. In Tier II instruction, students who do not make adequate progress receive intensive reading interventions provided through supplemental instruction in small groups in their regular classroom from the classroom teacher or another instructor. If progress-monitoring data indicate that a student is not making adequate progress with the combination of regular classroom and supplemental instructional support (Tier I and Tier II instruction), then a more intensive intervention is provided that may include special education services (Tier III).

Instructional Support for At-Risk Students

The instruction that at-risk students actually receive is a result of classroom organization patterns and decisions about curriculum materials and methods. For example, classroom teachers may be using synthetic phonics instruction materials from a core-reading program’s intervention component. Unfortunately, teachers often find that these intervention materials lack the repetition and intensiveness needed to meet the needs of many at-risk students in their classes.

Struggling students frequently receive supplemental instruction provided by a reading specialist, special education teacher, or another instructor. This instruction is often based on supplemental commercial programs such as Reading Recovery® (Clay, 1985), Reading Mastery® (Adams & Englemann, 1996), Early Interventions In Reading® (Torgeson, 2000), and Early Steps® (Morris, Tyner, & Perney, 2001). These supplemental programs often have independent research to support their effectiveness.

For example, a study conducted by Denton, Anthony, Parker, and Hasbrouck (2004) compared two supplemental programs, Read Well® (Sprick, Howard, & Fidanque, 1998) and Read Naturally® (Ihnot, 1992). In this study, 51 students in grades 2-5 were tutored for 40 minutes, three times per week for ten weeks. When the two groups were compared, students receiving instruction in Read Well ® made significantly greater progress in word identification (fluently reading sight words) than those receiving instruction in Read Naturally®. Although many supplemental programs may claim effectiveness for at-risk students, schools must still decide which programs to use and how to use them.

Students attending a Title I school may see several adults each day, all of whom provide instruction using a different instructional program. Each of these supplemental programs may present instruction from a different philosophical framework with different sequences, strategies, materials, and procedures. An example of how this happens was found in one Granite School District elementary school. A reading specialist and classroom teacher met to plan how they would collaborate using a push-in model. The classroom teacher taught the core reading program to the whole class and used a supplemental program for Tier II small-group instruction. The reading specialist would push into the classroom, double dosing the most at-risk students with an additional small-group reading lesson. The reading specialist was working with a different supplemental program in her additional small-group lesson.

As they monitored their instruction, conflicts related to the presentation of skills using different sequences in the core program and two supplemental programs quickly became evident. Questions arose such as, “Should the spelling patterns taught in the core reading program match what was to be taught in the supplemental programs?” “What about sight words?” “Home practice?” It also became evident that students learned sight words from one word list in the classroom core program, but at-risk students were being expected to learn sight words from three different lists in three different programs.

Effective Schools Research

Students attending Title I schools often have lower academic performance, but this is not always the case. Hoffman (1991) summarized research into the practices found in effective schools conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s in the Handbook of Reading Research, Volume II. In this review, Hoffman described eight attributes of effective schools that produced strong reading achievement among at-risk students. These eight attributes were: (a) a clear school mission; (b) effective instructional leadership and practices; (c) high expectations; (d) a safe, orderly and positive environment; (e) ongoing curriculum improvement; (f) maximum use of instructional time; (g) frequent monitoring of student progress; and (h) positive home-school relationships.

While there was a high level of interest in effective schools research in the 1970s and 1980s, schools that produced high numbers of at-risk students with high reading achievement continued to draw the interest of researchers as they sought to identify factors contributing to positive student learning outcomes. Another study of effective schools conducted by Taylor, Pearson, Clar, and Walpole (1999) confirmed that systematic assessment of student progress was significantly correlated with students growth in reading fluency and overall reading performance. They found that classroom-level data provided a form of internal accountability while giving teachers a useful indication of each student’s progress through the public sharing of data. School-level communication was positively related to reading fluency and comprehension. Teachers in the most effective schools cited collaboration within and across grades as a reason for their success, making use of a collaborative model for reading instruction.

Typically, this meant that instructional support personnel—Title I, reading resource, or special education teachers—went into the classroom for an hour a day to help provide instruction for small, ability-based groups. The presence of a school-wide assessment system also permitted teachers to implement flexible small groups. The collaborative model also allowed schools to utilize teacher personnel in a manner that increased instructional time. Factors such as peer coaching, teaming within and across grades, working together to help all students, and program consistency were mentioned as aspects of collaboration which teachers valued in these most effective schools. Although curricular alignment was not specifically mentioned in this study, teachers were clearly collaborating closely and using student data to drive instruction in these schools that were beating the odds (Taylor et al.).

School reform initiatives have confirmed the results found through effective schools research. For example, a case study by Strahan, Carlone, and Horn (2003) documented three major changes in school culture that contributed to improved student performance on state-mandated achievement tests. First, teachers and administrators developed a shared stance toward learning that linked values and beliefs into a shared sense of responsibility for each child. Second, strengthened instructional methods emphasize more active student engagement where teachers responded to individual student needs and made learning as active as possible.

Third, teachers and administrators developed stronger procedures for promoting data-directed dialogue regarding student progress, measuring their own success based on student learning. Fourth, grade-level planning sessions and site-based staff development featured a process of data-directed dialogue that nurtured changes through the use of a collaborative model. As an administrator that led the Chicago public schools into improved reading instruction, Shanahan (2008) stated:

Good teaching these days is not that individual. Every teacher matters, but no teacher alone really makes the difference-especially in something complex like learning to read. We need teachers who will do a great job and raise literacy achievement and who will then turn these kids over to another teacher, who will also raise literacy achievement. That is more likely to be accomplished when everyone is doing the right thing. The right thing in this case is complex, because there are many things that need to be learned about reading and these things need to be orchestrated into a powerful whole.. .because of this we need textbooks and systematicaly organized curriculum to better support teachers efforts. That makes sense to me. Teachers who work closely with their colleagues by adhering to the discipline of a shared systematic curriculum are not surrendering their professionalism. They are just better focusing their courage and intelligence on those spects of practice where those qualities will help rather than hinder children. (p. 1)

Once again, although alignment of instruction is not directly addressed in this quote, it is clear that as teachers collaborated around student data and develop an organized curriculum, the level of curricular alignment increased.

In spite of different instructional organizational patterns, compensatory school-wide programs, remedial pullout programs, response to intervention (RTI) programs, various supplemental programs, and core intervention programs provided to at-risk readers, many classroom teachers still struggle to know how to best help their at-risk students succeed. Many teachers often resent the “swinging-door” phenomenon of pullout programs where instruction is interrupted by students coming and going out of classrooms, resulting in fragmentation of instruction for all students (Bean, 2004).

Response to Intervention and its Implications for Reading

Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006) describe the summit meeting associated with the use of RTI in special education. In 2001, the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs hosted a Learning Disabilities (LD) Summit meeting where Frank Gresham, a leading researcher in the field of consultation, presented an argument against the discrepancy model, and indicated that validated interventions should be in place prior to determining whether a student has a learning disability. Intervention procedures under RTI are often viewed as a three tier approach where primary prevention occurs within the core curriculum. Students failing to respond to the core curriculum progress to a secondary program involving small group instruction that is scientifically supported. The tertiary level is initiated when students demonstrate poor progress towards step two and require an individualized program or special education (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006).

RTI promotes early intervention and resolves some of the issues associated with the discrepancy model. Historically, the discrepancy model required students to fail academically before they could be identified for services. The discrepancy model also excluded a large number of students who had low IQ scores, came from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as other poor readers who did not meet the discrepancy. Other concerns include the use of differing discrepancy formulae and assessment instruments across students (Fuchs et al., 2004; Fuchs et al., 2003).

The assumption of RTI is that if implemented correctly, schools will be able to differentiate between students who have a disability and students who needed more or different instruction. As a result, fewer referrals for special education should be made, leading to successful identification of children who are truly disabled (Fuchs & Young, 2006). In addition to US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, Burns and VanDerHeyden (2006) cite several agencies concurrently endorsing RTI, including the National Research Panel’s report on minority students in special education, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Division of Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Despite continuing support from leading research organizations in education, there is some dispute regarding the sole use of RTI instead of the discrepancy model. In a competing views dialogue between Batsche and Kavale (Batsche et al., 2006), Kavale posits that RTI is a valuable prevention tool to be used to contribute to the identification process; however, it should not be used to diagnose. When asked about the research base of RTI, Basche states, “the primary measure of implementation integrity is improved student outcomes, not whether every ‘step’ in the process was completed the same way in every setting” (Batsche et al., p. 10), as compared to the discrepancy model, which emphasizes identification. Kavale describes an adequate but incomplete research base, citing the Minneapolis model and Heartland model as lacking data regarding student progress. Kavale considers RTI as still in the experimental stage as many local education agencies (LEA) are not equipped with the required resources to implement RTI to its fullest potential (Batsche et al.).

Fuchs and Deshler (2007) posit that while many practitioners and administrators are aware of RTI and successful implementation, many are not. To be successful, Fuchs and Deshler reference six elements needed for effective implementation to occur: (a) professional development programs to address skills needed for RTI as well as staff turnover; (b) administrator support, clearly stated expectations, and procedures to measure implementation integrity; (c) hiring teachers with prior knowledge and skills to implement RTI; (d) willingness of staff, including teachers and school psychologists to redefine roles; (e) provision of time for staff to ask questions and incorporate RTI into their instruction; and (f) whether the decision to implement RTI was made at the grassroots verses administrative level.

Phonics Based Reading Intervention

The National Center for Educational Statistics identified a nationwide reading gap (Otaiba et al., 2005). Most efforts to address reading problems target children in kindergarten through third grade. Less than one child out of eight who is not reading by the end of first grade will ever catch up to their reading peers (Bryant, Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, Ugel, Hamf, & Hougen, 2000). Poor readers in first grade continue to move through school as poor readers, learning new words at a much slower rate than their reading peers resulting in an increased gap over time.

The National Reading Panel (NRP) was initiated in 1997 as a means to examine the status of research-based knowledge specifically relating to various instructional approaches in the area of reading (National Reading Panel: Reports of the Subgroups, 2000). Meta-analyses were conducted by the NRP in several reading areas. Because the current study targeted implementation integrity of a phonics based reading intervention, the NRP results regarding phonics, teacher education, and reading instruction were examined.

The definition of phonics is the “conscious concentrated study of the relationship between sounds and symbols for the purpose of learning to read and spell” (Savage, 2007, p. 7). Children identified as being poor readers at the end of their elementary school careers have been identified as typically having difficulties with comprehending the alphabetic principle when decoding unfamiliar words (Torgesen, 1998). Understanding the alphabetic principle, the sound/symbol relationship, is an important step in decoding and encoding words. With the ability to decode, children can bring their past knowledge and understanding of language to attain comprehension (Savage). It is the slower than normal ability to read sight words fluently and accurately that impacts comprehension in older students who are poor readers (Torgesen). Through RTI, it will be easier to differentiate these students from those who are behind in reading due to environmental factors.

Results of the NRP meta-analysis regarding phonics instruction conclude the following (National Reading Panel; Reports of the Subgroups, 2000):

1. Systematic phonics instruction contributes more to reading growth than programs that are unsystematic or provide no phonics instruction.

2. Non-phonics programs are significantly less effective than phonics programs; however, when comparing phonics programs, no comparative significant difference was evident.

3. Effective phonics instruction can occur when delivered through tutoring in small group and class-wide settings, although greater effect size is noted in small group settings.

4. Phonics instruction is most effective when introduced in kindergarten and first grade and when preceded by letter knowledge and phonemic awareness.

5. Phonics instruction is significantly more effective than non-phonics instruction for at-risk readers, but more research is needed on low-achieving readers.

6. Systematic phonics instruction enhances word reading skills, comprehension, and spelling in kindergarteners and first graders.

The NRP concludes its phonics analysis by recommending that phonics should be supplemental and integrated with other reading instruction. Phonics is targeted for the current study because it is identified as a precursor skill for comprehension. Children falling behind their peers in kindergarten, first, and second grade will likely need further support and mastery in this area.

Explicit phonics instruction has been identified as a key component in educating early readers. Several pertinent terms are often associated with effective phonics instruction: (a) systematic phonics instruction, wherein more common sounds are taught prior to more complex sounds; (b) alphabetic principle, phonemes or sounds associated with language are represented by graphemes, letters, or letter combinations; (c) letter-sound correspondences, making the association between visually seeing a letter or letter combination with the auditory sound it represents, (d) decoding, use of letter sound correspondences to translate a printed word into speech, (e) decodable texts, providing text which utilize letter-sound correspondences being taught (Armburster & Osborn, 2001; Reading Leadership Academy, 2002; Savage, 2007).

When receiving reading instruction, students should participate in 90 minute reading blocks and those identified as requiring more intensive instruction should be targeted for interventions and their progress should be monitored regularly (Otaiba et al., 2005). Interventions should be driven by progress monitoring data to ensure the student is receiving instruction in the needed areas, and should include the following: (a) reading interventions should be provided in small groups that are differentiated by needs and abilities; (b) adjustments should be made appropriately regarding intensity of instruction and group placement, and should be based on progress monitoring data; (c) small group instruction should include increased practice opportunities and direct (explicit), systematic instruction including error corrections and immediate positive feedback (NJCLD, 2005; Torgesen 2007).

The development of curriculum-based measures (CBM) by the University of Minnesota Institute for Research on Learning Disabilities during the late 1970s arose as a means to provide educators with information regarding the effectiveness of academic interventions. Criteria for these measures are based on the measures’ ability to assess skills that will improve if the intervention is effective. Measures should be; (a) related to curriculum, (b) reliable and valid, (c) sensitive to improvement, and (d) inexpensive and easy to produce (Green & Shinn, 1990).

As the use of CBMs have been embraced by NCLB and Reading First (Reading Leadership Academy Guidebook, 2002), CBMs have also been adopted within the RTI model to assess student progress school-wide by targeting at-risk students, monitoring their progress over time, and using the data to determine which intervention to implement (Rouse & Fantuzzo, 2006).

Information from CBMs can also be used to assist in differentiating instruction by designing small group instruction based on individual student needs (Kosanovich, Ladinsky, Nelson, & Torgesen, n.d.). Differentiated instruction includes key components such as: (a) flexibility based on data and observation, (b) small groups of three to five students with similar learning needs, (c) are organized based on number of times per week and number of minutes per group sessions, (d) and can be presented through guided reading or skills-focused lessons.

Riley-Tillman and Burns (2009) describe interventions at Tier 2 level as focusing on a small group of students who are not making sufficient progress with the class’ standard curriculum. Instruction should follow developmental patterns, for example, if the bulk of the class has mastered phonics, yet the at-risk group of students has not, the teacher should focus on additional instruction in phonics with at-risk group. At this stage, teachers should be tailoring the instruction to the needs of the student.

When considering Tier 2 assessment Riley-Tillman and Burns describe the use of curriculum based measures that are repeatable and assess sub-skill mastery. Once the measure has been selected and progress has been monitored than the data can be used to determine whether a student is responding or is not responding to the intervention. Because it is difficult to conduct experimental designs within a school setting, it is recommended to use non experimental design when assessing student outcomes and making RTI decisions. A-B designs are considered useful in monitoring a child’s response to a small group intervention. If a child makes considerable progress than the data can be used to determine the duration of continued intervention or whether the child’s skills are sufficient to return to Tier 1. If limited progress is made than consideration of a more intensive or different intervention should be made, or movement to Tier 3 should be considered.

Conclusion

Research is providing guidance for classroom teachers as to how to provide the best instruction to enable as many students as possible to succeed in reading (Connor et al., 2007). Research on the 3-Tier Model (Vaughn, 2003) and RTI (Torgesen et al., 1999) is providing additional guidance for classroom and intervention teachers serving at-risk students. Allington and Johnston (1986) argued that curricular congruence may be the key to the design of effective programs for alleviating school failure. Research on aligning supplemental reading instruction for at-risk students to classroom core reading instruction can create a bridge between regular education settings and supplemental intervention programs.

As a result of the RTI legislation, the roles of general educators will be impacted; however, the degree of change in these roles continues to be ambiguous for many practitioners (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2005). There has been a historical dispute over what constitutes evidence regarding evidence based interventions. Little training is reported by pre-service teachers exiting training programs in the areas of reinforcement, graphing, and progress monitoring. There is a strong relationship between teacher variables and student outcomes reinforcing a need to emphasize professional development and support.

In some schools currently implementing RTI, general educators are given the responsibility for progress monitoring and implementing interventions during the first two tiers; however, they may not possess the knowledge or skills to be facilitating this responsibility. Some educators argue that special education should step up and take on the responsibility and funding for RTI while others feel RTI is a general education initiative (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2005).

Although the major tenets of effective reading instruction are being defined and explained by reading research organizations, there is dissent regarding its implementation on both classroom and school-wide levels. For example, teachers and administrators may lack training in identifying valid research findings associated with effective instruction (Lyon et al., 2005). Highly qualified teachers or professionals may not always be available to provide reading interventions. Torgesen (n.d.) suggests providing individuals who are not highly qualified with systematic intervention programs that are structured and scripted in the absence of such professionals.

The NRP (2000) explored reading instruction research finding a predominate focus on students, materials, and tasks; rather than teacher performance. Professional development was identified as an area of concern during NRP regional meetings. As a result, current research regarding teacher performance was also examined. One concern with the teacher performance research is that it is primarily correlational. The research is also deficient in identifying the content of teacher education or professional development.

The NRP points out that teacher education has been neglected in intervention research because it is assumed that student outcomes are attributed to the intervention which has been delivered by the teacher, rather than associating student outcomes to the integrity of adhering to the intervention. Half of the studies examined by the NRP measure student and teacher outcomes and found in most cases, that teacher professional development produced higher student achievement. The NRP concludes that further research is needed in this area to examine specific variables and programs contributing to change.

References

Adams, G., & Englemann, S. (1996). Research on direct instruction: 25years beyond DISTAR. Seattle, WA: Educational Achievement Systems

Allington, R. (1994). What’s special about special programs for children who find learning to read difficultJournal of Reading Behavior, 1(26), 95-115.

Allington, R. (1986). Policy constraints and effective compensatory reading instruction: A review. In I. J. (Ed.), Effective teaching of reading and research and practice (pp. 261-289). Newark, DE: International Reading Association

Armbruster, B. B., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read (2nd ed.). Retrieved April 2011 from http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/Publications/summary.htm

Batsche, G. M., Kavale, K. A., & Kovaleski, J. F. (2006). Competing views: A dialogue on response to intervention. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 32, 6-19.

Bean, R. C. (1991). In class or pull out: Effects of setting on the remedial reading program. Journal of Reading Behavior, 4(23), 445-464.

Bean, R. C. (2004). The reading specialist. New York: Guilford.

Borman, G., &. D’Augostino, J. V. (1996). Title I and student achievement: A meta-analysis of federal evaluation results. Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis, 18, 309-326.

Bryant, D. P., Vaughn, S., Linan-Thompson, S., Ugel, N., Hamff, A., & Hougen, M. (2000). Reading outcomes for students with and without reading disabilities in general education middle-school content area classes. Learning Disability Quarterly, 23, 238-252.

Burns, M. K., & VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2006). Using response to intervention to assess learning disabilities. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 32, 3-5.

Connor, C., Morrison, F., & Underwood, P. (2007). A second chance in second grade: The independent and cumulative impact of first and second grade reading instruction and students’ letter-word reading skill growth. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11(3), 199-233.

Clay, M. (1985). The early detection of reading difficulties. Portsmouth, NH: Hinemann.

Denton, C., Anthony, J., Parker, R., & Hasbrouck, J. (2004). Effects of two tutoring programs on the English reading development of Spanish-English bilingual students. The Elementary School Journal, 104(4), 289-305.

Fletcher, J. M., Francis, D. J., Shaywitz, S. E., Lyon, G. R, Foorman, B. R., Stuebing, K. K., et al. (1998). Intelligence testing and the discrepancy model for children with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 13, 186-203.

Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L., Thompson, A., Otaiba, S., Yen., L., Yang, N., et al. (2001). Is reading important in reading-readiness programsA randomized field trial with teachers as program implementers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93 (2), 251-267.

Foorman, B. R., & Torgeson, J. (2001). Critical elements of classroom and small-group instruction promote reading success in all children. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 16(4), 203-212.

Foorman, B. R., Francis, D.J ., Fletcher, J. M., Schatschneider, C., & Hehta, P. (1998). The role of instruction in learning to read: Preventing reading failure in at-risk children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 37-55.

Foorman, B. R. (1996). Relation of phonological and orographic processing to early reading: Comparing two approaches to regression-based, reading-level-match design. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 639-652.

Foorman, B. R. & Nixon, S. M. (2006). The influence of public policy on reading research and practice. Topics in Language Disorders, 26, 157-171.

Fuchs, D., & Deshler, D. D. (2007). What we need to know about response to intervention (and shouldn’t be afraid to ask). Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 22, 129-136.

Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2007). A model for implementing responsiveness to intervention. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39, 14-20.

Fuchs, D., Fuchs, Lynn, & Compton, D. L. (2004). Identifying reading disabilities by responsiveness-to-instruction: Specifying measures and criteria. Learning Disability Quarterly, 27, 216-227.

Fuchs, D., Mock, D., & Young, C. L. (2003). Responsiveness-to-intervention: Definitions, evidence, and implications for the learning disabilities construct. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 18, 157-171.

Green, S. K., & Shinn, M. R. (1990). Curriculum-based measurement: Facilitating dynamic, outcomes-based consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 1, 321-338.

Hoffman, J. (1991). Teacher and school effects in learning to read. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, & P. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 911-950). New York: Longman.

Ihnot, C. (1992). Read naturally. St. Paul, MN: Read Naturally.

Kosanovich, M., Ladinsky, K., Nelson, L., & Torgesen, J. (n.d.). Differentiated reading instruction: Small group alternative lesson structures for all students. Florida Center for Reading Research, Retrieved April 2011 from http://www.fcrr.org/assessment/pdf/smallGroupAlternativeLessonStructures.pdf

Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (2005). Feasibility and consequences of response to intervention: Examination of the issues and scientific evidence as a model for the identification of individuals with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38, 525-531.

Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J. (2001). Early steps: Replicating the effects of an early first grade reading intervention program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 681-693.

National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. (2005). Responsiveness to intervention and learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 28, 249¬253.

National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Report of the subgroups. Bethseda, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425 (2001).

Lyon, R. G., Shaywitz, S. E., Shaywitz, B. A., & Chhabra, V. (2005). Evidence-based reading policy in the United States: How scientific research informs instructional practices. Brookings Papers on Education Policy, 1, 209-250.

Otaiba, S. A., Kosanovich-Grek, M. L., Torgesen, J. K., Hassler, L., & Wahl, M. (2005). Reviewing core kindergarten and first-grade reading programs in light of No Child Left Behind: An exploratory study. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 21, 377-400.

Pogrow, S. (2002). Success for all is a failure. Phi Delta Kappan, 83(6), 463-468.

Powell, W. R. (1964). The joplin plan: An evaluation. The Elementary School Journal, 64(7), 387-392.

Rouse, H. L. & Fantuzzo, J. W. (2006). Validity of the dynamic indicators for early literacy skills as an indicator of early literacy for urban kindergarten children. School Psychology Review, 35, 341-355.

Riley-Tillman, T. C. & Burns, M. K. (2009). Evaluating Educational Interventions. New York: The Guilford Press.

Reading Leadership Academy Guidebook. (2002). Presentations and resources about scientifically based reading research: US Department of Education and The Partnership for Reading.

Savage, J. F. (2007). Sound it out: Phonics in a comprehensive reading program, (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.

Slavin, R., Madden, N., Karweit, N. Livermon, B., & Dolan, L. (1990). Success for all: First-year outcomes of a comprehensive plan for reforming urban education. American Educational Research Journal, 27(2), 255-278.

Sprick, M. M., Howard, L. M., & Fidanque, A. (1998). Read well: Critical foundations in primary reading. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.

Strahan, D., Carlone, H., & Horn, S. (2003). Beating the odds at Archer Elementary School: Developing a shared stance toward learning. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 18(3), 204-222.

Taylor, B., Pearson, P., Cark, K., & Walpole, S. (1999). Beating the odds in teaching all children to read. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Torgesen, J. (2000). Individual differences in response to early intervention in reading: The lingering problem of treatment resisters. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 15, 55-64.

Torgesen, J. (2004). Lessons learned from research on interventions for students who have difficulty learning to read. In P. C. McCardle (Ed.), The voice of evidence (pp. 355-382). Baltimore: Brookes.

Shanahan, T. (2008). Literacy learning blog. Retrieved April 2011 from www.shanahanonliteracy.com

Torgesen, J. (1997). The prevention and remediation of reading disabilities: Evaluating what we know from research. Journal of Academic Language Therapy, 1, 11-47.

Vaughn, S. (2003). Group size and time alloted to intervention: Effects for students with reading disabilities. In B. R. Foorman (Ed.), Preventing and remediating reading difficulties: Bringing science to scale (pp. 299-324). Baltimore: York

Wilson-Bridgman, J. (1998). Curricular congruence at a conceptual level: Does curriculuar congruence exist between to programs that constitute one district’s early literacy project (the classroom language arts program and the Reading Recovery programReading Improvement, 40(4), 153-163.

Categories
Free Essays

Predictions about Global Capitalism and the Rise of the BRIC Powers as Challengers to the United States

ABSTRACT

In this proposal, what I really want to do is predict what role the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, and India) will play in the international system over the next century based mostly on secondary sources. It is based on realist premises that in the decades ahead the international system will continue to be in a state of ‘anarchy’. Economically, China and India alone are likely to surpass the U.S. economically by 2050, although they are also likely to become rivals in Asia rather than allies. I think that the world system will continue to evolve into an increasingly multipolar direction, with the Great Powers seeking a balance in the Asia-Pacific region. This region is rapidly becoming the new centre of global capitalism, and the future strategic (and of course the economic) balance of power will be decided there.

My main research question is really an attempt to predict the role the BRIC countries will play in the international capitalist system over the next century, relying mainly on secondary sources. I have provided a list of these in the references and will refer to them in this proposal at least insofar as attempting to explain the main ideas I derived from them for making my predictions. Obviously this thesis will have to combine theories of realism and global capitalism, and address economics and security. Economically, I do think that the BRIC countries of Brazil, China, India and Russia are likely to surpass the U.S. by 2050, but I am also of the opinion that the post-1945 international system in which the U.S. was the hegemonic capitalist power has been in decline for quite some time. China alone is already on track to surpass the U.S. and the European Union in overall GNP and GDP by 2050, if not GDP per capita, and India will probably not be far behind (Ikenberry 2008). Of all the Asian states, only India is has the potential to attain great power status in the 21st Century that will rival the Chinese (Ganguly and Pordesi. 2007 and Dickson 2007).

Realism, Security and Global Capitalism

I am not going to assert that global capitalism will suffer a major breakdown and collapse or that any of the great powers will break with the system and set up independent economic blocs. For the last thirty years, though, capitalism has meant the free trade and laissez faire system of the Washington Consensus, which of course is hardly a new ideology (Friedman 2005). These 19th Century ideas may have been discredited by the recent depression, making the more authoritarian capitalist models of Russia and China more appealing that than neoliberalism. Neither Russia nor China are really likely to become democracies, but will continue to have authoritarian governments with capitalist economic systems (Dickson 2005). I am also sceptical of the theory that the capitalist system necessarily becomes more liberal or democratic with higher levels of economic development, since history shows that capitalism can function well enough under authoritarian regimes, as in Russia and China (Olson 1993). All the BRIC nations will remain strongly tied to the global capitalist system, but they will also have to address their own internal problems of extreme poverty and mal-distribution of wealth (World Bank 2011). Global capitalism will therefore continue to expand in this century, along with the new developments in computers, robots, biotechnology, genetic engineering and communications technology that have fuelled its rise all along (Ohmae 2005).

I do not expect that there will be any serious alternative to global capitalism in the foreseeable future, although that system can operate in many forms, whether liberal, fascist, laissez faire or social democratic. As recent events have shown yet again, the more unregulated and free market types of capitalism are far too prone to instability, speculative booms and crashes (Hetzel 2008). This is one reason why 21st Century capitalism may turn out to resemble the Keynesian and social democratic type that was dominant in 1945-70 rather than the 19th Century laissez faire version (Skidelsky 2010 and Clarke 2009). Unregulated, laissez faire capitalism on a global scale also has too many features of injustice, exploitation and inequality to ever become a truly popular system (Klein 2009, Scheper-Hughes 2005, Shiva 2004, and Shiva and Hulla-Bhar 2004).

Conclusions about the Future Multipolar World Order

I predict that the international order will increasingly become multipolar, and that the democratic capitalist countries (the U.S., India and Brazil) may form a bloc against the authoritarian capitalist states of Russia and China. I also believe that in practice, BRIC really means China, India and Brazil since Russia is also a declining power whose main function is to supply oil and other raw materials (Ikenberry 2008).I will not predict that the multipolar system will inevitably lead to another world war, especially given that three of the BRIC countries are already declared nuclear powers. I doubt that any confrontations between the major players in Asia will result in another world war, or even in a revival of the Cold War, and for the sake of the world it would be much better for all concerned to avert a major conflict between nuclear-armed states. There are also obstacles to the rise of China and India to possible superpower status, just as the relative or absolute decline of the United States is not inevitable (Varshney 2007).

To the extent that nation-states still have the power to decide these matters, and the current recession indicates that states still retain considerable autonomy in economic policy rather than simply existing as the playthings of capitalists and ‘the markets’, they will not choose the type of capitalism that seems most vulnerable to severe recessions and depressions that have a negative impact on all countries in the world system (Li 2010).In time, a global capitalist class is bound to develop and along with it new international institutions that will replace the current ‘anarchy’ of the world system and all the classical Great Power rivalries. There are already signs that this is occurring, but it seems highly unlikely that the process will be completed in the foreseeable future (Appelrouth and Edles 2011).

REFERENCES

Appelrouth, S. and L.D. Edles 2011. Sociological Theory in the Contemporary Era: Text and Readings, 2nd Edition. SAGE Publications.

Friedman, T. L. 2005. “It’s a Flat World, After All”. New York Times Magazine, April 3, 2005, pp. 33-37.

Clarke, P. 2009. Keynes: The Rise, Fall and Return of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Economist. Bloomsbury Press.

Dickson, B. J. 2007. “The Party is far from Over”. Current History (September 2007), pp. 243-45.

Ganguly, S. and M. S. Pordesi. 2007. “India Rising: What is New Dehli to DoWorld Policy Journal (Spring 2007), pp. 9-18.

Hetzel, R. L. 2008. The Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve: A History. Cambridge University Press.

Ikenberry, J. G. 2008. “The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive?” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 1 (January/February 2008), pp. 1-9.

Klein, N. 2009. No Logo. Vintage Canada.

Li, Minqi 2010. “The End of the ‘End of History’: The Structural Crisis of Capitalism and the Fate of Humanity”. Science & Society, Vol. 74, No. 3 (July 2010), pp. 290-305.

Olson, M. 1993. “Dictatorship, Democracy and Development”. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 87, No. 3 (September 1993), pp. 567-76.

Ohmae, K. 2005. The Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in our Borderless World. Pearson-Prentice Hall.

Scheper-Hughes, N. 2005. The Last Commodity: Post-Human Ethics and the Global Traffic in ‘Fresh’ Organs” in A. Ong and S.J. Collier, eds. Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems. London: Blackwell Publishers, 2005: 145-67.

Shiva, V. 2004. “Biotechnological Development and the Conservation of Biodiversity” in A. Abbas and J.N. Erni (eds). Internationalizing Cultural Studies: An Anthology. Blackwell Publishing, 2004: 30-42.

Shiva, V. and R. Hulla-Bhar 2004. “Piracy by Patent: The Loss of the Neem Tree” in Abbas and Erni, 2004: 146-59.

Skidelsky, R. 2010. Keynes: The Return of the Master. Perseus Books Group.

Trompenaars, F. and C. Hamden-Turner 2010. Riding the Waves of Innovation: Harnessing the Power of Global Culture to Drive Creativity and Growth. McGraw-Hill.

Varshney, Ashutush 2007.. “India’s Democratic Challenge”. Foreign Affairs, March/April 2007: 1-9.

Virilio, P. 2005. The Information Bomb. London: Verso, 2005.

World Bank 2001. Inequality in Focus: An Overview of Global Income Inequality.

Categories
Free Essays

A Critical Analysis Of The Relationship Between Urban Conditions And Street Gangs In The United States, 1950 – 2010

INTRODUCTION

Gangs are not a recent phenomenon. Since the late 1700’s, street gangs have grown to become a permanent part of the American landscape. The gang label has been widely applied to various groups including prison inmates, organized criminals, outlaws of the 19th century American west and groups of inner city youths (Alonso 2004).

The sociological study of gangs dates back to Thrasher’s classic study in 1927 in which he attributed the rapid proliferation of gangs to the social conditions of urban cities in nineteenth century United States of America (US). In fact, Thrasher’s seminal work (1927) paved the way for subsequent theories and classic sociological studies on gangs from diverse perspectives. Cohen (1995), for example, pointed out that the emergence of gangs was a result of lower socioeconomic youths who responded to their exclusion from mainstream middle class culture by forming their own gangs. In a similar vein, Miller (1974) argued that criminal activities and gang formation were behavioural manifestations of focal concerns such as excitement, trouble, anxiety and fate.

In recent years, the expansion of the gang problem in the US and to other localities such as the United Kingdom (UK) has led to a renewed academic interest in gangs and gang culture (Covey, Menard and Franzese, 1997). Scholars and academics have adopted a number of theoretical approaches in attempts to understand the formation and development of street gangs in modern society. In particular, they have addressed the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs.

In order to shed some light on gangs in modern society, this paper explores the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs in the US. This paper will first outline the history of gangs in the US since the 1950s, and subsequently address the factors that have been associated with the development of gangs. Following this, the paper will critically analyse different positions and perspectives that link street gangs in the US to urban conditions. The main position of this author will be one of drawing together multiple theoretical approaches and empirical findings to reach a conclusion that highlights the multi-dimensional and complex nature of gangs and their formation.

HISTORY OF URBAN STREET GANGS IN THE US

The history of gang formation in the US dates back to 1783 following the revolutionary war (Bourgois 2003). It has been argued that the main trigger for gang formation was the immigration of various groups into the US. The main entry of immigrants to the United States was New York City’s Ellis Island (Bourgois 2003). The first immigrants to arrive in the early 1600s were the Dutch immigrants who, according to Bourgois (2003), stole Manhattan Island from the native population who resided, hunted and fished in the island. The Lower East Side of the city was also inhabited by the Irish immigrants thereby ensuing political, economic and social disorganization.

On the East coast, street gangs developed in three distinctive phases. The first phase emerged after the revolutionary war of 1783 (Bourgois 2003). These groups of gangs were not seasoned criminals but rather groups of youths fighting over local turf. The more serious gangs emerged in the second phase around 1820, when immigration had begun to pick up in New York City (Bourgois 2003). Gangs constituted members of the same race and ethnicity who joined together for protection purposes and recreation, as well as for financial gain.

The third wave ensued during the 1930s and 1940s as more Black and Latinos continued to arrive in large numbers. Soon, as Gannon (1967) notes, a large percentage of the street gangs in New York had grown to become mainly the Puerto Ricans or Blacks.

Since this third wave of gangs in the 1940s, gangs have grown considerably in numbers in the urban cities in the US. Due to the proliferation of large-scale migration to urban cities, most of the gangs have grown rapidly (Mincie 1999). For example, after the slum clearance project of the 1950s, thousands of African American and Poor Puerto Rican families migrated to high rise public housing in East Harlem making it one of the most concentrated foci of dislocated poverty in New York City (Mincie 1999).

The majority of gang-dominated neighbourhoods in the urban cities of the US are now characterized by a lack of economic opportunities, inadequate city services, poverty and struggling school systems (Alonso 2004). The barrios of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are viewed as the stereotypical homes to these gangs (Alonso 2004). The current climate is one where African American gangs have garnered considerable public attention and has been widely recognized as a prevalent social problem (Alonso 2004).

THEORETICAL APPROACHES ON THE FORMATION OF GANGS

Researchers have studied the factors involved in gang formation from a number of psychological, sociological and criminological perspectives (Thornberry, Krohm, et al., 2003; Vigil, 1988).

The first models of gang formation emerged from the followers of the Chicago school of thought in the 1920s and rely on cultural ecological models (Thrasher, 1927). These models posited that the formation of street gangs was a direct result of a environmental and social factors in which gangs were much more likely to form in parts of the city which were characterized as more geographically and socially interstitial and areas that experienced social disorganization such as deteriorating homes and high numbers of immigrants. In these contexts and conditions, Thrasher (1927) argued that the competition, isolation and conflicts occurring between individuals result in the formation of gangs. In other words, environmental factors emanating from the urban landscape play a key factor in the formation of gangs.

On the other hand, Wilson’s (1987) “underclass” theory argues that individuals who come from income deprived families and those that lack legal employment opportunities are more likely to turn to illegal or deviant activities. In the US, for example, the transition from a manufacturing to a service based economy in US during the 1970s led to drastic changes on the economic conditions, reducing the demand for low skilled workers in the service oriented industry and restricting their access to labour market, thereby blocking their upward mobility which resulted in the new “underclass” (Alonso 2004). In response, members of the underclass relied on gangs for protection of welfare and for financial gain. Undeniably, there seems to be a strong correlation between urban conditions in the US and gang formations.

Another school of thought suggests that other factors are at play in the formation of gangs. Debarbieux and Baya (2008) for example, suggested that gangs emerge from high concentrations of highly rebellious students from difficult schools. In this approach, gangs are formed when rebellious and anti-social students are excluded from school for disciplinary reasons. It is the suspension or exclusion that then allows the gang formation to be strengthened. A related approach sees peer factors as playing the strongest role in gang formation. Battin et.al (1998), in their study of stable and transient gangs in the US, revealed that the combination of a high level of interaction with delinquent peers in an unsupervised fashion leads to gang formation. Support for this position has emerged from early studies that have demonstrated that gang formation grows out of interaction and subsequent conflict among groups of young adolescents (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960).

Opposing schools of thought and perspectives on the factors involved in gang formation have led some researchers to adopt a “multiple marginality perspective” (Vigil, 1988) in which there is no single factor that leads to gang formation but a complex interaction between a host of factors that include Thrasher’s environmental and social factors, peer factors, school factors and other factors such as low-income and mother-centered homes. It is with such a multi-dimensional perspective that this essay now critically examines the relationship between urban conditions and street gangs in the US.

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN URBAN CONDITIONS AND STREET GANGS IN US

There is a large body of evidence and theoretical statements that point to a clear relationship between urban conditions in the US and street gangs. The earliest evidence can be traced to Thrasher’s (1927) aforementioned observations on urban conditions and street gangs that have been preceded by further empirical research and statistics. For example, more than three fourths of cities surveyed by Howell (1998) reported proliferation of youth gangs in urban areas. The highest level of gang activity was reported in the larger cities which accounted for 74%, followed by the suburban counties with 57%, while the small cities and rural counties reported 34% and 25% of gang activity (Howell 1998). Moreover, several scholars such as Sullivan (1989), Drecker (1996) and Bursik & Grasmick (1993) have agreed that postindustrial urban conditions are largely responsible for gang development.

In fact, the image of gang youths in America has traditionally been characterized by urban economic marginalization and social disorganization. The urban poor ghetto, the slum dwellers, the economically deprived, the “underclass” neighbourhood and “socially isolated” inner city are some of the common phrases that have become popular in the discourse on urbanism and gang formation in US as well as in media portrayals (Alonso 2004). Street gang activity is widely depicted as a signature attribute of ghetto life.

Whilst the majority of gang activity is said to occur in the urban areas, it must be noted that the distribution of such gangs in capital cities varies greatly. Youth gangs are especially more common in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Chicago was estimated to have nearly 132 gangs with estimated gang members of between 30,000 and 50,000 in 1996 (Howell 1998). The four largest and criminally active gangs in Chicago were mainly: the Latin Disciples, the Black Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords and the Latin Kings (Howell 1998). These groups of gangsters accounted for more than two thirds of all gang crimes in Chicago. In Los Angeles, it was estimated that more than 58,000 gang members thrived in the city, making it the largest city in US with the largest number of gang members (Howell 1998). The recent estimates of 2007 indicate that Los Angeles have nearly 1,350 street gangs with more than 175,000 gang members (Annual report 2007). Nevertheless, gang manifestation in the US is indeed an urban condition.

However, whilst there is no doubt that urban conditions in the US do play a role in street gangs and early studies have provided a rich source of evidence, studies that have followed the Chicago school of thought have often failed to probe deeper into the issues of street gangs. Although urban conditions have been discussed in detail, there has been a failure to understand how factors such as race and gender may be important. For example, in the former, whilst researchers observed the extreme conditions of poverty in Chicago, there were few attempts to link racism and discriminatory practices to the formation of gangs (Alonso, 2004). Similarly, in the latter case of gender, there have been few systematic studies that have investigated the formation and development of female gangs despite their increase in recent years. Recent survey research has indicated, for example, that one third of youth street gang members are girls (Esbensen and Winfree, 1998) and that girls who join gangs are in search of a critical “peer familial group” (Giordano, 1978; Harris, 1988). Taken together, it seems that one of the major shortcomings of an overemphasis on urban conditions is the risk of ignoring the role of other factors. Moreover, there are also methodological issues associated with many studies focusing on urban conditions. For example, general surveys that examine youth gangs have a tendency to be limited to specific locations that do not have diverse and representative populations, such has the longitudinal studies by Thornberry et al, 1993, and often do not take into account the presence of gangs in rural areas (Winfree, Vigil-Backstrom and Mays, 1994). In addition, few studies have focused on identifying more detailed knowledge on gangs such as Battin-Pearson and colleagues (1997) who differentiated between “transient” gangs (members for 1 year or less) and “stable” gangs (members for 2 or more years)

In regards to Wilson’s “underclass” theory, Miller (1974) provided evidence of an association between street gangs in the US with individuals from the urban lower class. In a similar vein, Spergel (1995) associated youth gangs with the urban lower class, but with an important caveat. Spergel (1995) argued that, while contemporary youth gangs in the US were mainly located in lower-class, slum ghetto; it was not clear that poverty, class, race, culture or ethnicity primarily accounted for the rising gang problems. In other words,

Despite the fact that gang formation in the US is primarily seen as a result of a postindustrial urban conditions characterized by the urban poor ghetto, the slum dwellers, the economically deprived, and the “underclass” neighbourhood, this is not the entire picture. For example, according to Klein (1995), there are 77 variables that distinguish gang members from the general population. Urban conditions therefore represent only a minority of a host of factors. For example, gangs often form as a result of the characteristics of individual members rather than urban conditions. The overarching influence of peers may result in a number of youths joining youth gangs as evidenced by findings that the strongest predictors of gang affiliation are the levels of interaction with antisocial peers (Battin-Pearson, 1997). Research has also indicated that compared to non-gang members, gang members suffer from lower self-esteem and are more likely to hold anti-social beliefs (Maxson, Whitlock and Klein, 1998; Moffitt, 1993).

These personal factors belong to the group of “risk factors” that play an important role in gang formation and development and are largely ignored by hypotheses of urban conditions. Other risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of joining a gang include alcohol and drug use (Huzinga and Lovegrove, 2009; Thorberry, Krohn et al, 2003), mental health problems such as conduct disorder and depression (Howell and Egley, 2005), and negative life events (Thornberry, Krohn et al, 2003). Although these risk factors do not directly cause gang formation or crime, they are likely to cumulatively increase probabilities.

Due to the wide variety of causal and risk factors that have been proposed for gang formation in the US, one major limitation of research on gangs in the US lies in the ability to extrapolate findings to other countries facing increasing gang crime such as the UK. However, it is interesting to note that following the rioting and gang crime in the UK last year, David Cameron brought in high profile experts in American gang crime because many see the Americanized gang culture as having set the precedence for other countries (Guardian 2011). Future research should therefore focus on more cross-cultural areas of enquiry so that universal initiatives can be developed and applied across the globe.

CONCLUSION

Over the course of this essay, it has become apparent that the dynamics of gang formation are complex and that there are numerous risk and causal factors that contribute to gang formation. Although there is considerable evidence in favour of urban conditions and socially disorganised conditions being responsible for gang formation, it is important to highlight that gang membership is not exclusively an urban poor phenomenon and that many other factors come into play. It may therefore, be argued that adopting a multi-perspective approach such as Vigil’s (1988) “multiple marginality perspective” is the way forward for theory, policy and most importantly, practice.

REFERENCES

Alonso, A.A., 2004. Racialized identities and the formation of black gangs in Los Angeles. Vinston & Son Inc.

Annual Report to Congress, 2007. Creating a Safer America,” US Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2000. “Gang Reduction Strategy,” City of Los Angeles.

Battin, et.al., 1998. The contribution of gang membership to delinquency beyond delinquent friends.

Battin-Pearson, S., Guo, J., Hill, K.G., Abbott, R., Catalano, R.F., and Hawkins, J.D. 1997. Early predictors of sustained adolescent gang membership. Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Bursik, R.J. and H.G. Grasmick, 1993. Neighborhoods and Crime: The Dimension of Effective Community Control. New York, NY: Lexington Books

Bourgois, P., 2003. In search of respect: Selling crack in El Barrio. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cohen, A.K., 1955. Delinquent boys. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.

Covey, H.C., Menard, S., and Franzese, R.J. 1997. Juvenile Gangs, Springfield, IL.

Charles C. Thomas.Decker, S.H., 1996. “Collective and normative features of gang violence”. Justice Quarterly 13, pp. 243–264.

Cloward, R.A., and Ohlin, L.E. 1960. Delinquency and Opportunity: A Theory of Delinquent Gangs. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Esbensen, F., and Winfree, L.T., Jr. 1998. Race and gender differences between gang and non-gang youth: Results from a multisite survey. Justice Quarterly, 15(3), pp. 505–526.

Gannon, T. M., 1967. Emergence of the “defensive gang.” Federal Probation, 30, 44–48.

Giordano, P. 1978. Girls, guys, and gangs: The changing social context of female delinquency. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 69(1), pp. 126–132.

Harris, M.C. 1988. Cholas: Latino Girls and Gangs. New York, NY: AMS Press.

Howell, J.C., 1998. Youth gangs: an overview. US Department of Justice: Juvenile Justice Bulletin.

Howell, J.C., and Egley, A., Jr. 2005. Moving risk factors into developmental theories of gang membership. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 3, pp. 334–354

Huff, C.R. 1990. Denial, overreaction, and misidentification: A postscript on public policy. In Gangs in America, edited by C.R. Huff. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Huizinga, D., and Lovegrove, P. 2009. Summary of Important Risk Factors for Gang Membership. Boulder, CO: Institute for Behavioral Research.

Klein, M. W., 1995. The American Street Gang: Its Nature, Prevalence, and Control. New York, NY: Oxford.

Guardian (14 April 2011). UK Gangs thrive in August riots. Retrieved 08 May 2012 from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9796446

Maxson, C.L., Whitlock, M.L., and Klein, M.W. 1998. Vulnerability to street gang membership: Implications for practice. Social Service Review, 72, pp. 70–91.

Moffitt, T. 1993. Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100(4), pp. 674–701.

Miller, W.B., 1974. American youth gangs: Past and present. In Current Perspectives on Criminal Behavior. New York, NY: Knopf, pp. 410–420.

Miller, W. B., 1958. “Lower class culture as generating milieu of gang delinquency.” Journal of social issues 14, pp. 5–19.

Mincie, J., 1999. Youth and Crime: A Critical Introduction. Sage publications.

Schlossman, S., 1995. ”Delinquent Children: The Juvenile Reform school”. In: Morris. N & D. Rothman (eds), The Oxford History of the Prison,

Spergel, I.A., 1995. The Youth Gang Problem. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Sullivan, M.L., 1989. Getting Paid: Youth Crime and Work in the Inner City. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Thornberry, T.P., Krohn, M.D., Lizotte, A.J., and Chard-Wierschem, D. 1993. The role of juvenile gangs in facilitating delinquent behavior. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 30(1), pp. 55–87.

Thrasher, F.M., 1927. The gang: a study of 1,313 gangs in Chicago. Chicago: university of Chicago press.

Vigil, J.D. 1988. Barrio Gangs: Street Life and Identity in Southern California. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Wilson, W. J., 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Categories
Free Essays

The hegemonic decline of the United States and the eastward shift in the global capitalist economy

Abstract

The Great Recession of 2007-8 has exposed the inherent weakness of the Western economies, whose growth had been fuelled on heavy indebtedness. This dissertation intends to broach the implications of the Great Recession of 2007-8 by applying the theoretical concepts related to the notion of hegemony in order to determine to what extent there is a geopolitical shift in favour of China, pursuant to the decline of the United States. The dissertation also utilizes the theory of economic crisis in order to ascertain the implications of the Great Recession and corroborate the idea of a hegemonic shift to the East.

Objectives

The dissertation seeks to intervene in a central debate of our times in the field of Political Economy of International Relations: the possible decline of United States’ “hegemony” and a possible shift of hegemony towards East Asia, especially China, given East Asia’s growing role in the world economy. This trend has exacerbated since the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-8. Using the theoretical framework of hegemony, I intend to find out to which extent the universalisation of the economic superstructure renders the notion of American hegemony obsolete. A Marxian model of interpretation can potentially shed light into the reasons which China, with competitive advantages that vastly exceed those of the United States will continue to accumulate power and establish itself as the new hegemon.

Research questions

What is the best way to conceptualise hegemony at the international level in the context of the Great Recession of 2007-8?

What elements have to be analysed in order to assess hegemony shifts in Capitalist Global Political EconomyHow does this apply to the crisis 2007-2008?

What are the signs that American power decliningWhat are the potential implications of that decline?

Did the Great Recession of 2007-8 create an irretrievable hegemonic shift towards the Pacific?

Theoretical framework

The dissertation is divided into two parts. The first is theoretical and discusses the notion of hegemony at the international level. The second part elaborates on the theory of crises. The way in which hegemony has been conceptualised by influential authors such as Arrighi, Cox, Organski and Kindleberger is critically examined. In particular, the dissertation proposes a re-reading of Gramsci stressing the role of nation states and both elements, coercion and consensus, in the exercise of hegemony. Concerning crises, the dissertation seeks to elaborate an integral and organic theory of economic crises based on Marx, contrasting the latter with recently developed neo-Marxist perspectives, such as the ones espoused by David Harvey and Ernest Mandel.

Methodology

The method for tackling this dissertation will involve a theoretical treatment of hegemony and the causes of economic crisis. Within that particular methodological framework, I intend to analyse the Great Recession of 2007-8 and its implications for the shift taking place, with the transfer of hegemonic power from the United States to China. Chapter one will be a treatment of the theoretical sources dealing with the notion of ‘hegemony’, as applied to shifts in the international political system. Chapter two deals with the nature of economic crises and long economic cycles, as applied to the hegemonic shift taking place. Chapter three will examine the hegemonic shift taking place as a result of the Great Recession of 2007-8 and how the next long cycle could favour the transition from a US-dominated system to a Chinese-dominated one. I intend to use primary sources which will corroborate the economic and political decline of the United States as well as the rise of China, and analyse my findings through the prism of the Great Recession of 2007-8. I will also utilise theoretical material (as outlined above) in order to examine to what extent there is a hegemonic shift taking place within the context of the ongoing economic crisis of the United States and the West.

Literature review

Robert Cox uses the Gramscian notion of hegemony in order to expose the structures which arise from shifts in the organisation of the international economy. These structures are kept through consensual and coercive power relations. These power relations are marked by ideological practices which give it an aura of normality, therefore establishing a particular cultural hegemony. Significantly, Cox argued that although specific states may be the bearers of hegemony, at its most fundamental level the term relates to the rooting of a set of elites in different countries that acknowledge certain essential principle on the international economy (Cox in Gill, S. (Ed.), 1993: 42). According to Arrighi, hegemony becomes the added power that a dominant class has as a result of being able to universalise the issues which are capable of leading to conflict (Arrighi in Gill, S. (Ed.), 1993: 148). A state capable of exercising hegemony if it is able to lead the international political system in a particular direction and it is perceived by other states as pursuing the interests of the international community. However, the dominant state could also be interested in leading other countries into their own way of economic development (Arrighi, 1990: 367). Arrighi argues that the competition for resources that promoted the capitalist expansion of the European economy into the wider world is structural rather than conjunctural. Its strength resides in the ability to provoke creative destructions motivated by economic crises, giving rise to the technological breakthroughs that have sustained the process of globalisation (Arrighi, 1998: 128).

Organski describes the rise of a hegemonic order in a situation in which powerful nations as well as middle and minor powers accept the given distribution of power and wealth and adhere to the same guidelines when it comes to diplomacy and commerce (Organski, 1969: 354). The international order that arises achieves its legitimacy through the ideology which underpins the ‘power differentials’ between the different states. When a power shift occurs, it may be accompanied by conflict amongst the great powers. This would very much depend on whether the challenger seeks to overhaul the rules of the game in the international political system (Organski, 1969: 354). Gilpin operates with a more deterministic notion of hegemonic cycles, positing that the resolution of a hegemonic war represents the start of another period of growth and eventual decline of a great power (Gilpin, 1981: 210). Kindleberger argues that the need to have a hegemon stems from the idea that only a dominant power can provide collective goods. He maintains that the main danger that the international political faces is not the existence of too much power accumulated in one single hegemon but the presence of too many free riding states unwilling to exercise authority (Kindleberger, 1981: 253).

Gramsci re-examines the Marxian model by positing that the cultural and political ‘base’ of a particular society is necessarily informed by the economic superstructure. The base includes categories such as the legal system, the prevailing ideology, the political make-up of the state and the cultural values of society. These categories are not involved in the production of goods but legitimate the ways in which the productive forces shape society: through surplus value extraction. Gramsci finds that the power of the dominant class goes far beyond the competencies of the state as it extends to the civil society, via institutions like schools, the press and cultural practices. The dominant class maintains hegemony by coopting the civil society, which is imbued with a particular ideology which ensures that the political status quo remains anchored in society and that it legitimates the way the productive forces operate (Holub, 1992: 103).

Marx attributed the emergence of economic crises to the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (Marx, 1863). The requirement to provide the workforce with survival wages put limits on the exchange value of the labour capacity. This limits the surplus labour time and surplus value needed for the accumulation of profits. There is a requirement that capital be transformed in consumption, therefore placing another burden on the process of production. Limitations on the production of use value by the requirement to create exchange value and the requisite of private profit before the satisfaction of social needs means that there will be overproduction. Capitalism attempts to create the conditions to resolve the inner contradictions of capitalism, such as the creation of a credit system. However, according to Marxist theory, crises are temporarily resolved until a higher level of economic crisis is attained (McCarthy, 1990: 240).

One of the ideas which Harvey puts forward in relation to the rise of neoliberal forms of globalisation is the policy of ‘accumulation by dispossession’, resulting in the centralisation of economic wealth and political power in the hands of a very reduced number of people through policies of dispossession. These policies imply stripping the publics of access to wealth. More precisely, ‘accumulation by dispossession’ entails the practice of financialisation, privatisation, upward state redistribution and the manipulation of crises. Harvey’s work is notably linked in an indirect manner to the ideas postulated by prominent public intellectuals of the Left such as Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, who also highlight the symbiosis between accumulation (upwards) and dispossession (downwards). These ideas seem to hark back to the classical Marxian template of a dialectic between the owners of the means of production and those who sell their labour at a fraction of its cost, living permanently in the ‘realm of necessity’ (Harvey, 2005).

Mandel maintains the base/superstructure Gramscian symbiosis in its analysis of hegemonic relations in the post-World War Two era, claiming that it ushered in a ‘long-wave’ economic cycle of growth. The working class had been weakened by the effects of Fascism, which focused on the cooperation of the different social classes, and World War Two. Technology had increased the rate of profit, which produced impressive economic growth and accumulation of capital. Drawing on Gramsci, Mandel claims that it is impossible for the working class to capture civil society from a ‘war of position’ as this would lead to reformism instead of creating true change. Any attempt to seize the control of society must be done using a ‘war of maneouvre’. The working class, as a subject of social change, is not capable to capture society in a hegemonic way, as it has always been economically and culturally disenfranchised. Any revolutionary process of change must be decisively quick. A drawn-out conflict would inevitably lead to an accommodation with the bourgeoisie (Mandel, 1995: 28).

The theory of economic crisis is linked to the notion of ‘hegemony’ in its political aspects. Transformations taking place in the international economy, particularly those of the magnitude of the Great Recession of 2007-8, have the potential to create a fracture in the hegemonic order constituted after the end of the Cold War. To be sure, there is a process of political and economic convergence which arises out of the increased level of interconnectedness amongst states. This process of harmonisation has been marshalled by the marriage between democracy and the free market orientation typical of the American political personality which emerged amidst the triumphalist furore of the early 1990s (Fukuyama, 1992: 338). This emerging geostrategic situation steered the hegemonic path taken by the United States towards an expansion of its political personality to the wider world. The Great Recession of 2007-8 created a situation in which the tenets which sustained that hegemony have been broken. China and the ‘Rest’ (i.e., the non-Western world) have been growing at a healthy rate whilst the West is still mired in an economic crisis which does not seem to have an end. This dissertation will endeavour to united both theoretical frameworks in order to determine to what extent the economic crisis will induce a change of hegemonic order. The most crucial aspect to be analysed is whether China will be able to rework the notion of ‘hegemony’ (which is a Western concept) in order to emerge as a potential challenger to the American dominion over the international order. The Great Recession of 2007-8 will potentially undermine the American military capabilities, which is the main element to be considered in the analysis of a putative hegemonic shift in favour of China. In addition, China seems to be interested in propping up its military capabilities. However, its geopolitical emphasis seems to be on forging commercial links with the Rest, rather than launching a frontal hegemonic challenge against the United States (Jacques, 2009: 22).

Case study – The Great Recession of 2007-8

One of my research questions explores the possibility that the Great Recession of 2008 created a hegemonic shift towards the Pacific, specifically China. In some respects, the first stage of globalisation (1990-2008) was successful in creating an extensive network of international governance. The end of bipolarity gave rise to the ability to interconnect mankind by electronic means (personal computers, internet, fast processing of data). Globalisation has also created a uniformity of ideology amongst the nations, such as the concept of liberal democracy and free markets (Dilly, 1992: 59) Although some countries deviated from the norm of untrammelled capitalism after the localised financial crises of the 1990s (Russia, Argentina, etc), by and large there has been a trend towards ideological harmonisation, which also includes a growing concern for human rights. This is true for many countries, notably first world ones. The first stage of globalisation created an interdependence that internationalised production and consumption. Whilst the outsourcing of production created benefits for consumers, it also rendered nations incapable of protecting their resources, which are now shared with the rest of the world through its management by transnational economic interests, and managed their economy for the benefit of its populations. As Bobbitt argues, the market-state ushered in by globalisation has as its main purpose the maximisation of opportunities for its citizens instead of protecting their welfare (Bobbitt, 2002: 347). Since economic considerations have overtaken political ones, the increase rate of capitalist profit in the East means that China will continue to accumulate power due to its strategic competitive advantages, lower wages, a young labour force and a huge internal market.

The challenges posed by the Great Recession exceed the capacity of individual states to be able to defend themselves. There is no nation, in the incipient stage of globalisation, which can act as steward and caretaker of the system. For example, the total flow of capital in the derivative industries vastly exceeds the size of the major economies of the world like the United States, the European Union and China ($531 tn as of September 2008). In addition, the first state of globalisation was chaotic, horizontal and disorderly. Globalisation brought in many positive elements for the world population, but also created many negative offshoots, which territorial states cannot possibly tackle on their own. The effects of global warming and natural resources degradation, the spread of disease, nuclear proliferation, humanitarian catastrophes and the threat of terrorism has one the one hand exposed the vulnerability of nation-states and created the need for common global action by supranational institutions that significantly erode their political sovereignty (Basch, L. et al, 1993: 67) The imperial overstrech that the United States suffers from has resulted in the accumulation of massive debts, which now total more than 100% of its GDP. In addition, its economy is about to be overtaken by China, which is still growing at very high rates (Jacques, 2009: 139).

The second stage of globalisation will result in the erosion of hegemonic power of the United States. The Great Recession of 2008 provides an opportunity to recreate the global financial and economic structure as well as create more centralised supranational governance, as seen in the rise of the G20. One of the ways in which the crisis keeps melting down the political sovereignty of the nation-states is seen in the depreciation of the US dollar (the international reserve currency) due to the indiscriminate printing of money (Jansson, 2001: 44). One of the ways in which the second stage of globalisation could bring in a world-state is through the creation of currency harmonisation, possibly based on special drawing rights. The increased indebtedness of nations also harmonises the system towards a world-state, since the nation-state has to rely on a debt-based economy. The socialisation of banking losses through taxpayers’ dollars is also another variable to be reckoned with. The increased fragility of the system at local level creates greater opportunity for extra-national and supranational intervention. To be sure, the role of the nation-state has not gone away. However, their role is subordinated to the requirements of this increasingly emerging extraterritorial financial and economic structure. The reaction to this emerging harmonisation towards a world-state is already being seen in the different arrangements made between BRICS nations and commodity-rich countries seeking to replace the dollar as a medium of exchange (Suominen, 2012: 33) In turn, this will end up hurting the most powerful sovereign nation, which will find it increasingly difficult to maintain military hegemony without the ability to print out as many dollars as it needs. The erosion of political sovereignty as a result of the Great Recession of 2008 and the reaction to it by the ‘Second World’ goes hand in hand with the idea of privatisation of economic power, managed at supranational and extraterritorial level by powerful private concerns (Khanna, 2008: 41). These supranational concerns are in the process of setting up their own regulatory schemes, imposed on individual territorial states, which are finding it increasingly difficult to resist them. My preliminary findings show that the realignment of economic international systems is the main conduit by which harmonisation leading to an hegemonic shift in favour of China will be activated. In addition, there is a definite reaction by what I would call the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation bloc (notably China and Russia, but also the likes of India and Iran). The harmonisation process is proceeding apace in the West. This reaction in the Second World is generating its own kind of harmonisation. The political sovereignty of nations could also be further impaired by the conflict that will arise as a result of it. Trying to eliminate the logic of anarchy brings with it the possibility of conflict. As Schmitt put it, the political cannot exist outside the realm of conflict. It is expected that the United States will not let China accumulate the necessary military capabilities in order to establish itself as the new hegemon.

Preliminary findings

There are several factors which enables us to think that a hegemonic transition is taking place. A massive, imposing display of Chinese-constructed fighter aircraft and other military equipment was used to commemorate the 60th anniversary of communist China’s founding, on 1 October, 2009. At the same time, China’s space industry was rapidly burgeoning and continuing to develop. Along with the fact that the Chinese economy continued to expand during a global recession and a rising position on the world political stage, these technological advances indicate China’s movement towards the status of a world superpower. While the rest of the world struggled in 2009, the Chinese economy exemplified a remarkable flexibility in returning to significant growth. The Chinese government attributes this economic resilience to China’s blend of communism with capitalism, in contrast to the laissez-faire approach taken by the West (Guthrie, 1999: 122).

In early 2009, a migration of millions of workers from urban areas to rural locales resulted from the closure of factories that produced exports on the east coast and south coast of China. The steep price of fuel and food had put pressure on household budgets in 2008, and in order to halt inflation, stringent financial and credit policies were set in place. These policies caused the construction industry to dip, as well as a slump in the property market. In response, the Chinese government created a stimulus package in November 2008 that was worth 4 trillion yuan (about $586 billion). Approximately 50% of the stimulus package was set aside for improving infrastructure, such as railways and airports, primarily in rural regions, while a further 25% was designated for the Sichuan province, which had been severely affected by a May 2008 earthquake and was in need of rebuilding. Banks were ordered to increase lending, and the result was a 164% upsurge of loans in the first three quarters of 2009. This facilitated a rebound of the economy, which occurred far more quickly than in other countries. (Wright, 2010: 221). Additionally, the latter part of the year saw the recovery of exports, which set China up to overtake Germany as the top exporter world-wide. As a result, speculation grew as to whether China could reclaim the dominant position that it once held prior to the early 1800s, at which time it provided roughly one third of manufacturing in the world, compared to just 25% of manufacturing in the West. This outcome was rendered more probably by a trade deal with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that transpired at the end of the year. As the world’s largest creditor, China had a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S., the globe’s biggest debtor, that had become vital in the effort to rebalance the global economy. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a statement on 23 March 2009 that called for an international currency that would replace the U.S. dollar as the primary global currency and would remain unattached to individual countries; he argued that this currency would have increased stability over time. The People’s Bank of China also proposed that Special Drawing Rights, which were designed in 1969 by the IMF for utilisation between international institutions and governments, might be employed on a wider scale and used as payment in international finance and trade transactions. This would reduce fluctuations in price and the risks associated with these fluctuations. The initiative was made again at the yearly Group of Eight (G-8) summit that took place in Italy in July 2009. Delegates from China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa (also known as the “Group of Five) were also invited to the summit, where China, along with India and Russia (a G-8 member) called for an overhaul of the global financial system and a halt to dollar domination. In the latter part of September 2009, the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, cautioned that the U.S. dollar faced an increasing threat due to the rising force of both the euro and the Chinese yuan. At this juncture China had surpassed Japan as the main creditor of the U.S.; there were concerns coming from Beijing that the $800.5 billion value of U.S. Treasury securities, along with other assets that constituted 60% of China’s foreign-exchange reserves and 30% of foreign-exchange reserves globally, would be attenuated by American debt and decreasing confidence in the U.S. dollar. China presented a temporary solution, which was to resist purchasing U.S. Treasury stock and, more significantly, to advocate the utilisation of the yuan as a world currency. (Kim, 2010: 49).

Bibliography

Arrighi, G., Capitalism and the Modern World-System: Rethinking the Non-debates of the 1970’s Review (Fernand Braudel Center), Vol. 21, No. 1 (1998), pp. 113-129

Arrighi, G. The Three Hegemonies of Historical Capitalism, Review (Fernand Braudel Center), Volume 13, Number 3 (Summer, 1990), pp. 365-408

Basch, L. et al (1993) Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States, Gordon and Breach, London

Bobbitt, Philip (2002) The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History. New York, Alfred Knopf

Bryson, J. Nick, H., Keebie, D. and Martin, R. (1999) The Economic Geography Reader: Producing and Consuming Global Capitalism, Wiley, New York

Dilly, R. (1992) Contesting Markets: Analyses of Ideology, Discourse and Practice, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh

Fukuyama, F. (1992) The Last Man and the End of History, Free Press. New York

Gill, S. (Ed.) (1993) Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Gilpin, R. (1981) War and Change in World Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Guthrie, D. (1999) Dragon in a Three-Piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in China, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ

Harvey, D. (2005) The New Imperialism, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Holub, R. (1992) Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism, Routledge, New York

Jacques, M. (2009) When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, Penguin Press, New York

Jansson, B. (2001) The Sixteen-Trillion-Dollar Mistake: How the U.S. Bungled Its National Priorities from the New Deal to the Present, Columbia University Press, New York

Khanna, P. (2008) The Second World, Penguin Books, London

Kim, Yong-Ki, The Rise of G20 and Korea’s Response , SERI Quarterly. Volume: 3. Issue: 4 October 2010, pp. 49-66

Kindleberger, C. Dominance and Leadership in the International Economy, International Studies Quarterly 25(2) (1981), pp. 242-54

Mandel, E. (1995) Long Waves of Capitalist Development, Verso, London

Marx, K. (1863) The Capital, Volume III, http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/index.htm

MCCarthy, G. (1990) Marx and the Ancients: Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and Nineteenth-Century Political Economy, Rowman and Littlefield, Savage, MD

Organski, A.F.K. (1969) World Politics, Knopf, New York

Suominen, K. (2012) Peerless and Periled: The Paradox of American Leadership in the World Economic Order, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA

Wright, T. (2010) Accepting Authoritarianism: State-Society Relations in China’s Reform Era, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA

Categories
Free Essays

France and United States Health Care Policy Comparison

Abstract

The efficacy of the social policies of health care has become a topic of considerable debate. This essay examines the nations of France and the United States in order to develop better understanding of the similarities and differences to be found in each system. The evidence shows that both nations are attempting to address the same issue, through different methods, which in turn are based on social policy. This research will be of value to any person studying the convergence or dependency theories.

1. Introduction

As technology unfies the world, there is a continuous debate on the efficacy of individual social policies. This essay assesses and compares the Health Care policies found in the France and the United States in order to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses associated with the processesThe essay identifies convergence or path dependency theory in order to demonstrate how different nations approach the same issues. Suggestions for the future will be offered

2. Health Care Policy

2.1 Overview

Health care is an issue that every nation has to address in order to create a stable, profitable internal environment (Fischer and Collins, 2010). Health care policy can be defined as an effort to alleviate ill-health amongst the population. Although health care policy is increasing, some debate its efficacy (Fisher et al, 2010). This literature suggests that varying societal factors including perception and acceptance play a positive role in the establishment of any social or health care policy.

In order to explain the development of healthcare policy, two theories are commonly employed: convergence and path dependency (Dutton, 2007). Each of these methods speaks to the cultural need to assert a semblance of cultural impact on the development of national societal institutions such as health care policy. Cnvergence theory is commonly tied to the functionalist approach which speaks to the societal expectations of having to meet requirements in order to survive and continue to operate (Baldock et al, 2012). The essence of this view associates an increase in industrialization with the coinciding resemblance to other already industrialized nations. This suggests that these forms of nations learn from and adapt other countries policies in order to enhance their own development. Alternately, the path dependency theory denotes a ‘history matters’ approach, that states future social decision and influences are constrained and based on past practices (Baldock et al, 2012). Prior decisions have a limiting impact on future actions, this method of development often is relegated to the already present institutions that society embraces. This definition of alternative development models indicates a defined social impact to any form of policy institution, not the least of which becomes health care and general population well-being.

Both the United States and France will be assessed for their health care policy approach, seeking to Understand whether the convergence or dependency models is more influential.

2.1.1 Health Care Policy France

There has long been a public policy approach in France (Hantrais, 2010). There is a commonly held belief a nationally subsidized health care system provides a methodfd keeping the population healthy (Hantrais, 2010). With a consistent pattern of leadership in the industry, providing a consistent and strong health care France has illustrated a convergence/functionalist approach to the health care issue, often citing their system as a model for other nations (Marmot et al, 2012). In many ways this evidence speaks to the fact that a healthy population enables increased access and opportunity to social benefits by reducing health care costs and increasing spending in other areas.

France as a European nation is marked by a larger than average ratio of health spending yet remains much less than their counter parts in the West spend on health care(Marmot et al, 2012). Alongside this popular national support rests that the fact that the population is largely healthy with a average life span two years more than the rest of the word (Marmot et al, 2012). . The French is to manage cost by implementing a system of premium health care levels that are directly associated with a person’s income (Rodwin, 2003). This is a targeted policy that seeks to make insurance as affordable as possible in order to ensure that that each person has access. Further, this limits opportunities for the insurance industry to adjust rates unfairly or at a disadvantage to certain conditions or participants (Rodwin, 2003). This element of control takes away much of the ability for companies to overly profit from the insurance market.

With the French system taking on the burden of the majority of medical expenses through a system of reimbursement, the average citizen’s ability to sustain health insurance is higher (Rodwin, 2003). This protection is enhanced and extended to the people who need healthcare the most, making the issue of major illness much more manageable on the economic and social front. Due to the quality of universal healthcare in France, there are very low levels of private insurance, a further indication of the capacity for this system to not only manage cost but provide efficient and dependable care (Marmot et al, 2012). With a public system in place,the need for private insurance in significantly reduced, further ensuring less expense for the average citizen.

France possesses a well-developed system of independent and public hospitals (Rodwin, 2003). This wide ranging access to care has been credited with further enhancing the overall rate of health and effectiveness in the nation. Yet, the diverse manner of health care oversight has been cited as an issue (Marmot et al, 2012). With nearly fifty different regulatory agencies to contend with, each faculty has to negotiate an ever-changing environment, which provides a serious challenge to many institutions. A further problem is the rising influence of the pharmaceutical industry, intent on generating profit rather than being concerned with benefiting the people of France (Clarke and Bidgood, 2013). With prescription charges payable, there is anarea of concern Regarding affordability of medicine.

In summary
Universal health care in France is a nationally subsidized system that reimburses out of pocket patient expenses, based on that person’s rate of income. With a convergent form of policy that seeks to make the French system a global model, the high quality of care denotes a degree of success. However, the high rate of regulation serves to diminish many of the positive elements of the policy. The French system has offered other nations a model of healthcare promising to reduce sickness, thereby decreasing underlying societal cost. In France, there is evidence that health policy supports citizens during times of sickness or injury.

2.1.2 Health Care Policy United States

The healthcare system in the United States has long been an area of contention within the nation, commonly resulting in politically partisan fighting that diminishes the ability for any system to function (Hoffman, 2008). With the ascension of a liberal regime in the United States, the recent past has witnessed a shift away from the individual, less regulated, insurance market to a form of universal health care with far more federal regulation. The private market controls the health care insurance market, making the need for supplementary services high in order to meet every expectation (Hoffman, 2008). With the rising cost of health care and a general lack of productive policy, the shift away from the strictly private system has been a rough evolution for many in the United States. With a standing of 50th in the world foro effective health care policy as rated by the OECD there seems to be a suggestion thathe US system has begun to change to match other models, actively incorporating the convergent theory and seeking to emulate the positive health trends Found elsewhere. (Palmer, 2014),

There are multiple levels of regulatory oversight in the US system of health care (Gulliford and Morgan, 2010). This is a reflection of the national and state level authorities that commonly find themselves at odds with one another. With this abundance of regulation there is substantial paperwork (Hoffman, 2008). Evidence suggests that there is a potential for politics to play a role in the policy making efforts of healthcare. This opportunity for gain at the expense of the national system is often attributed to the wellbeing of the very people that need it most, the lower earners and single mothers. US federal oversight is conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, which ensures that the appropriate compliance guidelines are followed by states (Gulliford et al, 2010). This section of governement oversees procedures from county/state level to the national level. In this manner the integration of State and Federal concerns can serve to aid in the implementation of health care policy throughout the nation. Yet, it also seems to be the case that there is a potential for conflict among policy makers, leading to a poorer service

Medical professionals in the US are licensed under the American Medical Association, with an aim of ensuring a high quality of care and adherence to ethical guidelines (Kominski, 2011). . It has been suggested that the US private system is commonly influenced by the presence of rich or well to do patients or donors (Palmer, 2014). This perception seems justified, as the best performing doctors are often unavailable to the average US citizen, thereby creating an unintentional division of care which is reflected in the life expectancy numbers. Yet, this is a demonstration of the convergent theory at work in the functionalist US society, as the recognition of expanded need becomes apparent; public policy was created to address the issue.

In summary
The health care policies found in the United States have been shown to be rated as moderate by the international community. Before the shift to the universal care subsidized by the nation, the gap between rich and poor in terms of healthcare had widened. Many people lacked health insurance. In order to address this, recent liberal policies found in the US were formulated but have been much debated. It can be suggested that new policies have succeeded in lowering the rate of people without healthcare insurance, thereby beginning the effort of increasing the health of the population in general. Yet, the regulatory environment found in the healthcare system in the US is often counter-productive. Further, this every area of contention has led to a gap of states that have accepted the new universal care and those that have not, decreasing the impact that they policies have on a considerable number of citizens.

2.3 Comparison

The health care policies found in France in the United States share many similarities as well as considerable differences. For example, the French tradition of seeking social remedies to health issues is sharply differed from the American approach of ‘goes it alone’ fundamentalism (Flynn, 2010). In many cases the expectation that everyone must take care of themselves has led the US health care system to sharply different levels of care in regions, largely based on the underlying income factors of the residents. Conversely, France has long sought to provide a balanced method that seeks to present a useable model to the rest of the world (Fisher et al, 2010). This is best illustrated by the life expectancy rates found in the US of 78.4 and 81.3 in France (Fisher et al, 2010). With numbers supporting the success factors in France over the prior efforts in the US, the American shift to the more universal system is considered a convergence with modern examples such as France leading the way.

A factor that both systems share is the high quality of physicians and practitioners that are involved in health care (Palmer, 2014). While the French system is primarily publicly owned and supported, the US policy dictated that many of their institutions are privately owned and operated, presenting further considerations during the transition to universal health care in this nation. This same issue presents itself as a difference between the social policies as the French doctors are paid substantially less than their American counterparts (Palmer, 2014). Yet, the French approach to this issue was to make subsequent education and associated services free to those in the medical profession, thereby reducing the need for the extravagant wages that many experience in the West (Guilliford et al, 2010). This same measure of policy support is yet absent in the American system, which makes a considerable difference as to where and how a student can learn and practice. This literature suggests that there is a need to make expenses of the medical learning process reduced in order to present a method of paying fair wage thereby allowing the entirety of the population to receive the same quality of care, regardless of financial position or social standing.

The spending levels for medical needs in the United States far outweigh those experienced in French system, demonstrating effective policy (Palmer, 2014). In part due to the rapidly rising cost of health care, the American system was forced to shift to a universal policy in order to slow the impact that this substantial cost on the overall economic outlook for the nation. With both nations providing a social policy of immediate emergency care, there was a widespread perception in the US that this would alleviate much of the lower class medical issues, yet, conversely, this phenomena of utilizing emergency care for routine care served to drastically increase the need for funding from the national level, thereby prompting new policy modelled on systems including the UK and Canada (Palmer, 2014). This is in contrast to the French model, which involves more spending per citizen, but has shown positive performance in response to spending levels.

The United States policy of health care has a compulsory insurance mandate this is designed to ensure that each citizen has insurance (Palmer, 2014). Conversely, the French system utilizes a series of reimbursements based on wages in order to supply the same medical services. In some ways, the perception of the US system has been cited as a form of increased taxation on the healthy, with these views stating that they are supporting the poor of the nation. Despite the strength of health care available in the United States, until recently there was a marked increase in the value, with many of the citizens putting off routine care in favour of waiting for emergency, which in turn inflated health costs of every level (Palmer, 2014). However, France overcame this issue by establishing oversight panels that ensure that fair access is assured and that the population has access to the same general level of care.

A common component of both nations health care policy is the multiple layers of bureaucrats and agencies that dictate policy (Flynn, 2010). Both nations cite the need to reduce the layers of oversight in order to streamline the process, which would in theory reduce administration costs and aid the both nation and industry. In a very real manner, this evidence suggests that the long term capacity to develop a working system will be found by taking the best of the existing structures and using these as a foundation for growth.

3. Conclusion

This essay has examined the social policies of France and the United States in the field of health care in order to evaluate and compare their offerings. The evidence presented illustrates a position of French strength through communal action. With proven records supporting the reduction in health issues, rise in life expectancy and overall positive implementation there is a model for progress. Alternately, the private system once favored in the United States has evolved to a more UK or Canadian style system that requires consumer participation. This recognition and development on the part of the American nation is deemed an example of the convergence/functionalist theory with the country seeking to alleviate many of the social health issues by implementing a system similar to other nations. An area of weakness demonstrated in both societies that have the potential to raise issues in the future is the presence of an over regulated system. With so many different agencies responsible for the oversight and regulation of the same industry, there is a need to coordinate and simplify the process in order to aid both the consumer and the provider. Further, this area is prone to political partisanship or bias, which in turn has a direct impact on the quality of care and policy that develops.

In the end, the social policy of health care has been deemed of critical import for both France and the United States. Yet, just as the nations are culturally unique yet share traits, so too will the health care issue, with both nations seeking to address the same issue though slightly differing means. Only time will judge which has been the better approach.

4. References

Baldock, J., 2013. Social policy. 1st ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Dutton, P., 2007. Differential diagnoses. 1st ed. Ithaca: ILR Press/Cornell University Press.

Feldstein, P., 2012. Health care economics. 1st ed. New York: Wiley.

Fisher, K. and Collins, J., 2010. Homelessness, health care, and welfare provision. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Flynn, N., 2010 Social Policy, fiscal problems & economic performance in France, United Kingdom & Germany. London, 1(1). pp. 65-100.

Gulliford, M. and Morgan, M., 2010. Expanding access to health care. 1st ed. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Hantrais, L., 2010. French social policy in the European context. Modern & Contemporary France, 3(4), pp.381–390.

Hoffman, B., 2008. Health care reform and social movements in the United States. American journal of public health, 98.

Kominski, G., 2011. Changing the U.S. health care system. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Marmot, M., Allen, J., Bell, R. and Goldblatt, P., 2012. Building of the global movement for health equity: from Santiago to Rio and beyond. The Lancet, 379(9811), pp.181–188. others, 2012. Health, United States, 2011: with special feature on socioeconomic status and health. National Center for Health Statistics (US).

Palmer, K., 2014. A Brief History: Universal Health Care Efforts in the US | Physicians for a National Health

Program. [online] Pnhp.org. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2014].

Rodwin, V., 2003. The health care system under French national health insurance: lessons for health reform in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 93(1), pp.31–37.
Sauret, J., 1997. Information systems in healthcare Situation in France. Health Cards’ 97, 49, p.27.

Categories
Free Essays

Looming Economic Crisis in United States

On January 21st and 22nd 2008, world financial markets crashed amidst the fears of American economy slowly are gradually moving toward recession. The emerging markets world over corrected almost 20 to 30 percent while the developed financial markets of Europe and American corrected over 10-15 percent. At present the DOW is 20 percent below its July top a signal that financial markets are entering a bear phase. (Landler & Timmons 2008)

The paper will try to shed light on what is looming large on American economy, what are the policy or market failures which are taking the economy into recession, How the present Bush plan of stimulus will impact the scenario in future and will it be good enough to bring the economy back on track.

Main contributors to the slowdown of the economy

American economy is hit by numerous factors at the same time – growth slowdown, increasing unemployment numbers, falling retail sales, increasing trade deficit, weakness of dollars, emergence of Euro, housing crisis and failure of financial markets. (Landler & Timmons 2008)

Housing Market – The housing market has been slowing down for an year now and most presidential candidates are suggesting ways on how American economy can come out this mess. The slowdown in the housing market is due to high default rate on mortgages especially sub-prime mortgages. During the credit expansion time post first Bush tax cuts banks and financial institutions lowered their vigilance on credit rating and in quest to expand market end up giving housing mortgages to shady borrowers.

Another reason why this happened was – money was easy to come and housing market was on uptrend so in case of failure of installment and foreclosure the banks and financial institutes were able to get the money back through increased price of the houses. But after the slowing down of housing markets real estate rates have fallen 5-10 percent in last year only and according to UBS it is expected go down by 15-20 percent more in coming year.

Increasing National Debt – the present national debt is around 9 trillion dollars which accounts for almost 65 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Such high level of national debt increases the interests on payments significantly and reduces the elbow space of the government in tinkering with the fiscal policy.

In the past America able to finance its debt by weakening the dollar but now with emergence of Euro it has become increasing difficult to export the national debt to foreign institutions and countries which in past are happy to maintain huge dollar reserves. (Kjeldsen, 2002)

Increasing Trade Deficit – The profitability of American companies have grown over the past half a decade but the trade deficit hasn’t come down. The main reason for it is off-shoring and outsourcing. American companies are making the most of low cost manufacturing and services in countries like China and India to boost their bottomline.

Low level of saving rates – In response to the main reason for credit card default rate one women respondent on CNBC summed up the saving rate of Americans – “we all like to buy things, we all love to travel and we don’t want to wait for it”. This culture of plastic money spending today paying later has brought down saving rates to alarming levels and it can significantly hamper the investment in the economy.

Increasing inequality among Americans – the last tax cuts provided immense benefits to the rich Americans and increased the income gap between the rich nation and poor nation. Hurricane Katrina exposed the underbelly of this growing inequality in the country and it will take years of corrective actions.

Financial Markets crash – America is financial market sensitive country by that it means that the wealth effect among American can be reflected by the state of the financial markets as more than 80 percent of the population invest in the financial markets. This has let the consumer sentiments down which is resulting in lowering retail sales and subsequently lowering employment generation. (Landler & Timmons 2008)

President Bush Stimulus Plan

President Bush has passed the stimulus plan of 168 billion into law, the stimulus plan will ensure money in the hand of real consumers in short time which will help in keeping the economy afloat by not letting the demand go drastically down. In the long run along with the tax cuts and stimulus plan the economy will able to get new investments which can bolster production and employment opportunities.

The stimulus package will start providing tax cuts after May and before that it provide a one time rebate of 600 dollars for the individual and 1200 for couple and an additional 300 dollar each for a child in the family.  (MSNBC, 2008)

The stimulus plan may be a step in right direction but the challenges the economy is facing are fundamental one. With high oil prices and fears of inflation the tax cuts may end up fuelling the inflation in the economy resulting in more import of cheap products from countries like China which is maintaining fixed exchange rates.

Conclusion

At present the economy is looking down the barrel and there is a very slim chance that it will escape recession and more importantly a growth slowing down in next 2-3 years. America is fast graying and productivity going down with increasing health costs, the times seems to be certainly tough in future. The one ray of hope is creating of jobs by investing in new technologies which America is historically good at.

References

Kjeldsen-Kragh, Soeren. (2002)  International Economics. Copenhagen, , DNK: Copenhagen Business School Press, 2002.

Mark Landler and Heather Timmons (2008) Stocks Plunge Worldwide on Fears of a U.S. Recession. Retrieved on 17th Feb from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/business/22stox-web.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

MSNBC (2008) Bush signs stimulus package into law. Retrieved on 17th Feb from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23143814

http://www.trb.org/publications/millennium/00138.pdf

 

Categories
Free Essays

Policy of Neutrality and the United States of America

In 1792, the European struggle began which started when the French Revolution concluded with the Napoleonic Wars. During the same year, the American government first noticed that a state of war subsisted when Thomas Jefferson, then the American Secretary of State, received a message from the French Minister at Philadelphia.

In reply to the notification, Jefferson assured that the United States will remain forthcoming to France “and render all those good offices which shall be consistent with the duties of a neutral nation.”(Hyneman) During that time, President Washington was art Mount Vernon, this statement from the Secretary of State seemed to be the only direct acknowledgement by the government; thus, the United States was placed in an arrangement of a neutral state.

Alongside the implementation of the policy, there were various acts and bills that were made and ratified to effectively compromise with the current state of the nation. Amongst the bill, acts, treaties that were made during that time were the Non-Intercourse Act, Macon’s Bill No.2, Pickney’s Treaty, Treaty of 1778 and the Convention of 1800 (Brodeur). For most of the treaties and acts that were made, it became ineffective and unimportant for most of its existence.

The Neutrality Policy fulfilled the idealistic objectives of the nation but it did not fulfill the realistic objectives of the country. The United States did not want to partake in the European War and they were successful in doing so by agreeing with France; however, the acts and bills that were signed to further protect themselves from war caused them futile or even more losses.

Works Cited:

Brodeur, Paul. “Restitution: The Land Claims of the Mashpee, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Indians of New England.” American ndian Quarterly 12.4 (1988): 337-39 pp. MArch 2, 2008 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0095-182X%28198823%2912%3A4%3C337%3ARTLCOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-I&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage>.

Hyneman, Charles S. “Neutrality During the European Wars of 1792-1815: America’s Understanding of Her Obligations ” The American Journal of Internationla Law 24.2 (1930): 279-309 pp. March 2, 2008 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-9300%28193004%2924%3A2%3C279%3ANDTEWO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage>.

 

 

Categories
Free Essays

History 202, United States History from 1865 to the Present

The Building of a New Nation Following the Civil War, the United States was a country that had experienced great loss and had gone to great lengths to either maintain or abolish slavery. As a nation, they were given the difficult task of repairing the damaged country as a whole, but especially the south and its economy. Their job was to not only to restore the country, but to modernize it and make it stronger compared to other nations. The task presented to the United States, its president, and its government as a whole was one that probably seemed impossible, but it would only prove to be difficult, not so much impossible.

The United States faced many challenges after the end of the Civil War. Few of which include the assassination of Lincoln, rebuilding the destroyed southern economy, the federal government’s role in helping the 4 million freed African Americans, how to treat the former states of the Confederacy, and conflict over which branch of government should decide on how to reconstruct the south. Reconstruction is the process of readmitting Confederate states to the Union, rebuilding the south, and granting or protecting the citizenship rights of African Americans.

Before Lincoln was assassinated, his plan for reconstruction was to make it simple for the south. He believed the southern states did not technically secede because no state could leave the Union, and also that secession was the fault of a disloyal minority in the South. President Johnson clashed with Republicans over reconstructing the Union and liberating African American slaves. With the disfranchisement of all former Confederate leaders, office holders, and Confederates with over $20,000 in taxable property, Johnson kept Lincoln’s plan’s power to grant individual pardons to southerners.

By the summer of 1865 all seven of the remaining Confederate states met Johnson’s reconstruction requirements, but none of the constitutions extended voting rights to African Americans. By the fall of 1865 Johnson had granted 13,000 pardons to many former Confederate leaders. Many debates arose due to southern governments under presidential reconstruction limiting the rights of African Americans. Southern state legislatures passed “black codes” to limit the rights of African Americans, which prohibited blacks from testifying in court, renting land, or borrowing money to buy land.

Work contracts also forced freedmen to work cotton fields under conditions similar to slavery. Black codes combined with Johnson’s reconstruction plan widened the rift between Johnson and Republicans in Congress. What resulted from this and the fact that Republicans were unhappy with Johnson’s “soft” treatment of the south, was Congressional Reconstruction. Congressional Reconstruction was meant to be harsher on southern states and more protective of African American rights. In 1867, the south was under military rule, and each state had to write a new constitution fulfilling Congressional requirements and elect new state governments.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was created by Congress in March 1865. It was the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, and it acted as a type of early welfare agency providing food, shelter, and medical aid for blacks and whites in need after the Civil War. Originally it had the authority to resettle freedmen on confiscated Confederate land, but the resettlement power was removed when President Johnson pardoned Confederate land owners and the courts restored the lands to their original owners.

The Freedmen’s Bureau’s greatest success was in education. It established 3,000 schools for African Americans, established black colleges, and taught an estimated 200,000 African Americans to read. The Amnesty Act of 1872 removed restrictions on ex-confederates and allowed Democrats to retake control of state legislatures. By 1876 Congress had removed federal troops from all but three states: South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, and Democrats returned to power in all southern states but those three.

Republican governments in the south made many adjustments during reconstruction such as universal male suffrage, property rights for women, internal improvements, and state supported public school systems, hospitals, and asylums for the care of the handicapped. The end of Reconstruction meant the beginning of intense discrimination against African Americans in the south. The Gilded Age was a time of dramatic transformation in the nation, and African Americans were seen as an inferior race during the Gilded Age. The only active organization for the blacks was the NAACP founded by W. E. B.

Du Bois and others in 1910. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the civil rights movement started in earnest to bring the rights of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the U. S. Constitution passed shortly after the Civil War during Reconstruction that said blacks were free, made citizens, and given the right to vote. Some people would say that although American society was advancing after the Civil War, many problems were not resolved beneath the surface. It’s true, the overall level of richness and power of the country was increasing for example, but so was the level of poverty.

Not to mention the struggle to find legal rights to defend the individual was often made difficult. Big companies and powerful writers and politicians were able to defend the ‘American dream’ even while others were suffering, losing their rights, or being exploited in the workplace. The political history of the Gilded Age is usually reduced to a tale of corruption and scandal, and indeed there were plenty of both to go around at all levels of public life. This was the age where income inequality was an increasingly pressing issue in the Unites States and around the world.

The United States was experiencing a widespread of economic growth, due to the expansion of railroads, factories, and mines, which lead the nation in industrialization. Most big businesses supported the Republican Party and they favored monopolies, trusts, and the spoils system. Farmers created a movement called Populism, and supported increased money supply using silver. The population of post-Civil War America boomed with a new tide of immigration. This made The U. S. the third most populous nation in the Western world after Russia and France.

While farmers struggled and barely maintained their numbers, business and industry boomed with America’s increasing demand for goods and services. The Gilded Age saw the United States shift from an agricultural to an urban, industrial society, as millions of Americans flocked to cities in the post–Civil War era. Even though there was much corruption people were supposed to believe that with enough willpower and determination, anyone could be a success, even become wealthy, if they just tried to fit in. However, this was not really possible.

It is crazy how someone could believe that they could become successful just by trying to ‘fit in,’ yet everyone was expected to ‘buy’ the story of the golden American dream anyway. Concern with gold was certainly heightened by U. S. money being minted in scarce gold coins. In addition, gilding, in the sense of gold plating, is often done to make objects beautiful that must also be strong and durable, because gold itself is a soft metal. This might reflect an American sentiment of that era that their efforts toward culture and refinement were just a veneer over a strong but coarse base.

In the 1800s America was a second-rate power. Most Americans who looked overseas were interested in expanded trade, not territorial possessions. In 1893, the depression that heightened the belief that a more aggressive foreign policy was necessary to stimulate American exports began. At the time, Cuba had been fighting for independence since 1868, and the United States intervened and went to war with Spain to gain Cuba’s liberty and freedom. This resulted in The Splendid Little War. The most highly publicized land battle of the war took place at San Juan Hill, outside Cuba.

This is where Teddy Roosevelt charged up the hill with his fleet known as the Rough Riders, only to find a black regiment had already preceded them. In the treaty with Spain ending the war, the United States acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific island of Guam. America’s interest in its new possessions had more to do with trade than gaining wealth from natural resources or large-scale American settlement. Many believed that American participation in the destruction of Spanish rule would lead to social reform and political self-government.

The American rule of more territory also brought with it American racial attitudes. America’s triumphant entry into the ranks of imperial powers sparked an intense debate over the relationship among political democracy, race, and American citizenship. The Foraker Act of 1900 declared Puerto Rico an “insular territory,” different from previous territories in the West. Americans spread racial views to new colonial possessions and embraced the idea of the white man’s burden paternalism while other nations influenced by U. S. attitudes and policies The cost of the Spanish American War was 6. billion, but the growing economy gained also, a permanent lease on naval stations in Cuba, including what is now Guantanamo Bay. America’s interest in its new possessions had more to do with trade than from gaining wealth from natural resources or large scale American settlement. The Philippine War cost the lives of well more than 100,000 Filipino’s and 4,200 Americans. The aftermath allowed for the expansion of railroads, harbors, brought in school teachers, public health officials, and sought to modernize agriculture. The Progressive Era in American history was a time of great change and reform in the United States.

It was marked by a series of political and social reforms aimed at problems that arose as a consequence of urban growth and the Industrial Revolution. Activism, new federal laws, and a series of constitutional amendments marked this era of change. There were many problems during the Progressive Era. They included poverty and unsanitary slums in American cities, poor working conditions including child labor in factories, corporate trusts that eliminated competition and raised prices with impunity, discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, and corruption in the so-called urban political machines.

During the Progressive Era, women and African-Americans were effectively barred from political participation. In addition, African-Americans in the South were subjected to mandatory segregation and “Jim Crow” laws. Susan B. Anthony led the movement for women’s suffrage, which resulted in the 1920 ratification of the nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which extended voting rights to women. Labor unions grew in opposition to unfair labor practices and dangerous working conditions in American factories. Journalists began writing stories about unsanitary meat packing facilities.

In result, “The Jungle,” an expose of America’s meat-packing factories written by Upton Sinclair, intended to generate public sympathy for America’s working class; instead, the attention focused on the safety of meat. Congress later passed food-and-drug safety legislation. In addition to the various reform laws passed by Congress during the Progressive Era, this period of history saw the ratification of four constitutional amendments: the sixteenth, the seventeenth, the eighteenth, and the nineteenth. The sixteenth authorized a graduated income tax to fund government operations, and the seventeenth provided for direct election of Senators.

The eighteenth amendment banned the sale and importation of alcohol, and the nineteenth amendment extended voting rights to women. The eighteenth amendment failed because prohibition fueled the rise of organized crime and had little public support as time passed. It was repealed in 1933. The Progressive Era included other reforms as well. The U. S. government exercised greater control over the banking system through the creation of the Federal Reserve System. After multiple wars, conflicts, and controversies, the United States is well on its way to becoming and advanced and industrialized new world.

The Progressive Movement was an effort to cure many of the ills of American society that had developed during the great spurt of industrial growth in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Although not all individuals were equal, it is still not even that way today, but what mattered was that there were improvements being made. African Americans were no longer enslaved, and were free to start their own business, open their own schools and churches, and educate themselves; something that would have been unheard of just forty years ago.

The nation had also grown tremendously in the aspect of modernization and industrialization. New factories were popping up along with coal mines, and railroads were being built all across the country to transport goods and create national brands. A downfall to this was that the rich were becoming richer, and the poor were becoming poorer. The nation was also making itself stronger by acquiring more territory such as, Guam, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Not to mention gaining permanent naval stations in Cuba. As a whole, the United States grew quickly and prospered tremendously, regardless of their rocky start.

Categories
Free Essays

Topic: the United States Home Front During World War Ii

Topic: The United States Home Front During World War II Essential Question: “How important was the home front to the United States’ victory in World War II? National Standard for United States History: Era 8, Standard 3 The origins and course of World War II, the character of the war at home and abroad, and its reshaping of the United States role on world affairs. Instructional Objectives:

Students will be able to: 1. Explain and evaluate extensive economic and military mobilization on the home front by the United States during World War II and its impact of the success of the war effort. 2. Explain how the whole country, across all economic and social levels, was involved in a unified effort to produce the goods of war and of the common sacrifice made by every citizen through rationing, victory gardens, bond drives, etc. 3. Analyze and assess the effects of World War II on culture, family, gender roles, and technology in American society.

Background Description/Historical Significance: Although there were no military battles fought on the mainland of the United States, World War II had a profound effect on the nation as the Federal government mobilized its economic, financial, and human resources to defeat Axis aggression. This war returned the nation to economic prosperity after a decade of dismal depression, promoted the growth of big business, and enhanced a close relationship between industry and the military.

Politically, the power of the presidency and influence of the Federal government increased, and socially and economically, the war, through common sacrifice made by all, became a vehicle for improving the status of Americans. In short, the war became a catalyst for significant economic and social change whose impact extended well-beyond its duration. For example, before the war women had traditionally played a secondary role in the job market and men had dominated the industrial job sector.

However, with millions of men being drafted or joining the military, women were needed to man the factories and supply centers producing goods for the war. (Over 400,000 women also served in the military during World War II. ) They also had traditionally faced job discrimination and lower pay levels, but some of these inequities began to fade as they took on more and more responsibility in factories and production centers. Posters extolling “Rosie the Riveter” were printed, recognizing the need and importance of recruiting women for the work force.

Between 1941 and 1944, the number of women working outside the home rose by 5,000,000. By 1944, 72% of the female workforce were married women and their average age was over thirty-five. The war could not have been won without them. The war also began to create a more level playing field for minorities who had traditionally faced discrimination. All Americans were needed in the war effort and so black American, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans (where in California whole families had been sent to military detention camps), were being drafted and joining the military.

In the case of African and Japanese Americans, separate and segregated military units were created… yet, they fought on the same battlefields with their fellow citizens. Changes also occurred on the home front. Factory workers were needed in the industrial north, and a migration of black workers to northern factories began and would continue until many years after the war had ended. What happened in the country during this time was really remarkable.

America’s entry into the war had brought the Nation together, united in a common and just cause, like at no other time in its history. The sacrifice being made by families and citizens was equally and fully shared. At the same time, social change was occurring which would carry over into the post-war years and ultimately result in more equal rights for everyone. What was happening on war front was linked to the home front. The combination would result at war’s end with America emerging as the world’s pre-eminent economic super power.

Instructional Activities and Primary Source/Document Excerpts: The following document excerpts, photographs, and posters can be selected, read, discussed, analyzed, and assessed by students, either individually for subsequent general class discussion, in a pair-and-share format, or in small groups with a cooperative learning activity. At the discretion of the teacher, document excerpts, photographs, and posters could grouped at designated “stations” in the classroom, and small groups of students could rotate from station to station during the instructional period.

As the groups of students examine, explain, and evaluate the pictures and texts of the following selected documents, they will begin to ascertain and assess the pivotal role that the American home front played in the Allied victory in World War II. The teacher can select (as a menu) which of the following photographs, posters, and document excerpts are most appropriate for the instructional needs of their students on this historical topic. Following these photographs, posters, and document excerpts there is a menu of thought-provoking questions to stimulate student discussion and interaction.

As a discussion prompt for either small group or whole class discussion, the teacher can present the following adage to the students: “If ‘every picture tells a story,’ describe what story about the American home front in World War II is being told by the following photographs and posters. ” The photographs and posters of women and African Americans during World War II have been selected from the following websites:www. womenshistory. about. com and www. archives. gov/research/african-americans/ww2 [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] [pic] Document “A”: Whereas it is the policy of the United States to encourage full participation in the national defense program by all citizens of the United States, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin, in the firm belief that the democratic way of life within the Nation can be defended successfully only with the help and support of all groups within its borders, and Whereas there is evidence that available and needed workers have been barred from employment in industries engaged in defense production solely because of considerations of race, creed, color, or national origin, to the detriment workers’ morale and of national unity: Now, therefore, . . .

I do hereby reaffirm the policy of the United States that there shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin, and I do hereby declare that it is the duty of employers and of labor organizations . . . to provide for the full and equitable participation of all workers in defense industries, without discrimination because of race, creed, color, or national origin. . . . All contracting agencies of the Government of the United States shall include in all defense contracts hereafter negotiated by them a provision obligating the contractor not to discriminate against any worker because of race, creed, color, or national origin. ” —– Executive Order 8802, June 25, 1941 by President Franklin Roosevelt Document “B”: It is the policy of the Government of the United States to encourage full participation in the National Defense program by all citizens, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin in the firm belief that the democratic way of life within the nation can be defended successfully only with the help and support of all groups within its borders. The policy was stated in my Executive Order signed on June 25, 1941. The order instructed all parties making contracts with the Government of the United States to include in all defense contracts thereafter a provision obligating the contractor not to discriminate against any worker because of race, creed, color, or national origin. Questions of race, creed, and color have no place in determining who are to man our ships.

The sole qualification for a worker in the maritime industry, as well as any other industry, should be his loyalty and his professional or technical ability and training. ” —– Letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to Mr. Joseph Curran, President of the National Maritime Union, January 14, 1942 Document “C”: “I welded . . . lying on the floor while another welder spattered sparks from the ceiling and chippers like giant woodpeckers shattered our eardrums. I . . . have sat at a bench welding flat and vertical plates. . . I did overhead welding, horizontal, flat, vertical. . . I made some good welds. . . I had a good taste of summer today, and I am convinced that it is going to take backbone for welders to stick to their jobs through the summer months.

It is harder on them than on any other of the workers—their leathers are so hot and heavy, they get more of the fumes, and their hoods become instruments of torture. There were times today when I’d have to stop in the middle of a tack and push my hood back just to get a breath of fresh air. It grows unbearably hot under the hood, my glasses fog and blur my vision, and the only thing to do is to stop. . . . Yet, the job confirmed my strong conviction. . . [that] what exhausts the woman welder is not the work, nor the heat, nor the demands upon physical strength. It is the apprehension that arises from inadequate skill and consequent lack of confidence, and this can be overcome by the right kind of training. I’ve mastered tacking now, so that doesn’t bother me.

I know that I can do it if my machine is correctly set, and I have learned enough of the [ways] of machines to be able to set them. And so, in spite of the discomforts of climbing, heavy equipment, and heat, I enjoyed the work today because I could do it. ” —– Augusta Clawson, a female welder in a shipyard, quoted from Augusta Clawson, Ship Diary of a Woman Welder (New York: Penguin, 1944). Document “D”: In the figure below the development of the United States labor force by gender during the war years. |Year |Total labor force (*1000) |of which Male (*1000) |of which Female (*1000) |Female share of total (%) | |1940 |56,100 |41,940 |14,160 |25. | |1941 |57,720 |43,070 |14,650 |25. 4 | |1942 |60,330 |44,200 |16,120 |26. 7 | |1943 |64,780 |45,950 |18,830 |29. 1 | |1944 |66,320 |46,930 |19,390 |29. 2 | |1945 |66,210 |46,910 |19,304 |29. | |1946 |60,520 |43,690 |16,840 |27. 8 | Source: Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States (1976), Chapter D, Labor Series D 29-41. Document “E”: “It is nearly five months since we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. . . . Since then we have dispatched strong forces of our Army and Navy, several hundred thousand of them, to bases and battlefronts thousands of miles from home. We have stepped up our war production on a scale that is testing our industrial power, and our engineering genius and our economic structure to the utmost. . . . This is a tough job—and a long one. . . To build the factories, to buy the materials, to pay the labor, to provide the transportation, to equip and feed and house the soldiers, sailors and marines, and to do all the thousands of things necessary in a war—all cost a lot of money, more money than has ever been spent by any nation at any time in the long history of the world. We are now spending, solely for war purposes the sum of about one hundred million dollars every day in the week. . . . All of this money has to be spent. . . if we are to produce within the time now available the enormous quantities of weapons of war which we need. . . . All of us are used to spending money for things that we want, things which are not absolutely essential.

We will all have to forego that kind of spending. Because we must put every dime and every dollar we can possibly spare out of our earnings into War Bonds and Stamps. Because the demands of the war effort require the rationing of goods of which there is not enough to go around. Because the stopping of purchases of non-essentials will release thousands of workers who are needed in the war effort. . . . I know the American farmer, the American workman, and the American businessman. I know that they will gladly embrace the economy and equality of sacrifice, satisfied that it is necessary for the most vial and compelling motive in all their lives—winning through to victory. . . As we here at home contemplate our own duties, our own responsibilities, let us think. . . hard of the example which is being set by our fighting men. . . . They are the United States of America. That is why they fight. We too are the United States of America. That is why we must work and sacrifice. It is for them. It is for us. It is for victory. ” —– President Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Radio Chat, April 28, 1942 Document F “In late May 1940, with the fall of France imminent, [President] Roosevelt requested huge funds for the development of military and naval requirements. On December 20, 1940, he established the Office of Production Management with industrial leader William S. Knudsen as Director….

On December 29, 1940, in a fireside chat on the radio, he called for a national production effort that would make the United States the world’s “arsenal of democracy”. [After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,] at the beginning of 1942 Roosevelt announced a compulsory production program: ‘Let no one say that this cannot be done, and we are committed to doing it. ’ He issued a clarion call for 60,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 antiaircraft guns, 500,000 machine guns, and 8 million tons of merchant shipping in one year…. The entire world was amazed by the pace of American production. By 1943, the production schedule was increased to 125,000 planes, 75,000 tanks, 35,000 antiaircraft guns, and 10 million tons of merchant shipping….

During the course of the war the productive capacity of the United States gave the allied coalition more than half its armaments, 35% of those used against Nazi Germany, and 86% of those employed against Japan. While providing the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, and Nationalist China with arms and loans, the United States at the same time doubled its industrial output. ” Louis L. Snyder’s Historical Guide to World War II Greenwood Press: Westport, Conn: Louis Snyder: 1982 Sample Thought-provoking Questions To Develop Student Group or Whole-Class Discussion: 1. If the adage, “Every picture tells a story,” is applied to each of the above-listed photographs and posters, how did World War II affect the lives of women and African Americans? ” 2.

How did World War II affect American family life? 3. Explain the meaning of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802, and how did this Executive Order affect African Americans? 4. To what extent did Executive Order 8802 lay the foundation for the upcoming civil rights movement in the years after World War II? 5. Describe the experiences of women who worked in factors during World War II. (Example: female welders). Why was it important for woman to work in factories during World War II? 6. How did the contributions of women on the home front contribute to the American victory in World War II? 7. How did World War II serve as a catalyst for social change in American society? Prior to discussing Question 8 provide a brief overview and background as to the role of A. Philip Randolph, the most important African American labor leader of the time, and how he threatened to organize a March on Washington if the Defense Industries were not desegregated. 8. Explain the meaning and significance of the following quotation and slogan of A. Philip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1941, in proposing a massive March on Washington: “WE LOYAL NEGRO AMERICAN CITIZENS DEMAND THE RIGHT TO WORK AND FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY. ” Why did Randolph cancel the march after President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802?

Do you think that Randolph made the right decision? Explain your viewpoint. 9. How did World War II end the Great Depression and return the United States to economic prosperity? 10. Why did President Roosevelt describe the United States as an “arsenal of democracy? ” Summary: The teacher can refer the students back to the “essential question” which was posed at the start of the lesson: “How important was the home front to the United States’ victory in World War II? ” The students are directed to respond and take a position (develop a viewpoint) on this historical issue concerning the pivotal role that the home front played in the victory of the United State in World War II.

At the teacher’s discretion, the pupils’ responses can be presented orally as closure to small group and/or whole-class discussion, or in written form, such as a response to an essay prompt or a journal entry into a “learning log” to bring effective closure to the lesson. Thus, as a circular approach to teaching and learning, the lesson was “opened” with a thought-provoking “essential question” as its primary learning objective at the start of the instructional period, developed through an examination, explanation, and evaluation of primary source document excerpts through group work, cooperative learning, pair-and-share, etc. , and closed with a critical assessment through the lens of the lesson’s evaluative “essential question. ”

Application (“Transfer Task”): Students can compare the pivotal role and significant impact of the American home front to military victory in World War II to the role and impact of the American home front today as the as the United States fights wars against terrorism and to promote democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Students can also compare the roles of women and African Americans in the armed services today with the roles and opportunities that were presented to them during World War II. World War II at the Memorial: [pic] 1. Study the images of sculptor Ray Kaskey’s bas-relief panel that depict the following: • Lend-Lease/War Declared • News of Pearl Harbor Men and Women at Work/Aircraft Construction • Agriculture • West Coast Shipbuilding • War bond Parade 2. How does Kaskey’s relief panel capture the essence of the heroism of the men and women who worked on the home front in factories and on farms to secure Allied victory? Do you think Kaskey’s panels reflects what you learned in this lesson? If, so explain how. 3. Study images of the two types of ornamental wreaths used around the memorial on the fifty six pillars. The oak leaves represent American industrial strength and the wheat sheaves represent America’s agricultural ability to feed the world. Why do you think Kaskey chose these particular metaphors for the home front? 4.

Examine the image of the pillars of states and territories. Notice that they are all connected by ropes. What does this tell you about the memorial’s design based on what you have learned in this lesson? What does this design tell you about the nation and the American people from 1941-1945. 5. Read the memorial inscription by Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby. (marker stone on northeast side of the plaza, south face). How is what you have learned in this lesson reflected in Hobby’s quote? [pic] 6. Read the memorial inscription by President Franklin Roosevelt (marker stone on northeast side of the plaza, west face). How is what you have learned in this lesson reflected in Roosevelt’s quote? [pic]

Image 1: Pacific Victory Arch and State and Territory Pillars [pic] Image 2: Atlantic Victory Arch and State and Territory Pillars [pic] Image 3: Bas-relief panel “Lend-Lease/War Declared” [pic] Image 4: Bas-relief Panel “News of Pearl Harbor” [pic] Image 5: Bas-relief panel, “Men and Women at Work/Aircraft Construction” [pic] Image 6: Agriculture [pic] Image 7: Bas-relief panel “West Coast Shipbuilding” [pic] Image 8: Bas-relief panel “War Bond Parade” [pic] The Friends of the National World War II Memorial would like to thank the generous support of the AT&T Foundation, General Motors Foundation and USAA as major sponsors of our education program who helped make these lesson plans possible.

Categories
Free Essays

Latin and United States

Apush Revolution is a huge change of power under a very short period of time. The world revolution comes from the Latin language and is defined as “a turn around”. It is an overthrow of government by the human population being governed. It is a very sudden event, which can last from 5 months to ten years. Changes occur regardless over a short period of time. America was a revolution whether we like it or not. It went through many changes under such a short period of time, which would consider it a revolution. America has hosted many revolutions. The country itself has been an entire revolution.

We still go through many changes as a country, as we grow and build. In addition, America has grown incredibly quick since it was found by Christopher Columbus in 1492. We have become diverse. Take slavery, which was abolished and now nonexistent in this country. We have the ability to change drastically which is a beautiful thing. Standing up for our rights is what has changed our country incredibly. Unfortunately, people claim America was never considered a revolution. These humans do not look deeply under the surface of the situation though. Take all of the arguments and battles that we have been through.

Take example, pilgrims settling in America for the first time. They formed communities, to towns. We then populated over the entire United States. Our country is the epitome of change. In conclusion, the United States of America will always be considered a revolution all on its own. Too many changes have occurred in this country for it not to be a revolution. People are welcome to argue the point, but everyone in the end knows the real answer. We should be happy with the fact of our country being able to change so well. It is something not many countries our capable of.

Categories
Free Essays

Death Penalty Mush Be Abolish in the United States

The death penalty must be abolished in the United States. Outline I. Death penalty must be abolished world A. Death penalty is the sentence of death for a person convicted of a capital offence, is currently used in 58 countries around the world, and is also legal sentence in 33 states. (Harrison, Tamony P2) B. Abolished to end the observance or effect. (www. merriam-webster. com) C. Preview 1. Background information of death penalty 2. Arguments between death penalty and human rights 3. Death penalty mistakes 4. Government financial burden of death penalty. 5. All I Can See proof

II. Background information of death penalty A. History of death penalty B. Current debates on death penalty III. Arguments between death penalty and human rights A. The human rights organization opposes death penalty because of the inhumanity of this punishment 1. Human rights omissions 2. Moral issue B. The death penalty deprives criminal’s human of rights. The death penalty is against religion’s principle of Buddhism. IV. The mistakes of the death penalty Death penalty cause innocent people after the execution. B. Unfairness of death penalty. 1. Race bias in the death penalty . Gender discrimination in the death penalty V. Government financial burden on the death penalty A. The death penalty costs are larger Government pays for the bill of execution of death penalty VI. All I can see part Brown land is a dead land; it referred to the influence of death penalty. VII. Death penalty must be forbidden in the world The death penalty must be abolished in the United States. “The death penalty, the sentence of death for a person convicted of a capital offence, is currently used in 58 countries around the world, and is also legal sentence in 33 states. Harrison, Tamony. P. 2)  One hundred and thirty nine countries in the world have abolished the death penalty under their systems of law. Clearly, the majority of the world already understands that the death penalty must be abolished. This paper will prove the necessity of abolishing the death penalty. For the purpose of this paper, death penalty is defined in accordance with Harrison and Tamony. Abolish is defined as the end to the observance or effect of something (www. merriam-webster. com).

Three main arguments will be put forward: the fact that the death penalty violates human rights, un-reversible errors have been and can be made in assigning the death penalty, and finally that it is a financial burden on the governments who still adhere to it. A literary proof based on the novel All I Can See will also be put forth to strengthen the case against the death penalty. In the seventeenth century, the death penalty was the major punishment to sentence criminals who committed capital crimes. In seventeen century, England government was authorized to hang criminals in public as a major punishment.

However, the truth is the death penalty was not only used for the person who broke the law, it was also used to eliminate political opponents. In Europe, before the modern prison system completed, the death penalty was used to sentence general criminals. During the time of Henry VIII, over 72,000 people are estimated to have been executed. During the year 1820 in Britain, about 160 crimes were punished by death, including crimes such as shoplifting, petty theft, stealing cattle, or cutting down trees in public place. ( Bedau.

Hugo Adam, 3) Since World War II, the world set off a wave of abolishing the death penalty. According to information published by Amnesty International, 97 countries had abolished capital punishment altogether, 8 had done so for all offences except under special circumstances, and 36 had not used it for at least 10 years or were under a moratorium. The other 57 retained the death penalty in active use. (Amnesty International, 10 June 2008. ) However, death penalty was always not use in heinous crimes. (See Table 1, Bedau.

Hugo Adam, 7) Table 1: Capital crime in the united states, by execution and number of jurisdiction, 1965 Type of offense| number of jurisdiction| Executions carried out between 1930 and 1965| Capitally punishable homicide| 44| Yes| Murder| 40| Yes| Other homicide| 20| Yes| kidnapping| 34| Yes| Treason| 21| No| Rape| 19| Yes| Carnal knowledge| 15| No| Armed robbery| 10| Yes| Perjury in a capital case| 10| No| Bombing| 7| No| Assault by a life-term prisoner| 5| Yes| Burglary| 4| Yes| Arson| 4| No| Train wrecking| 2| No| Train robbery| 2| No| Espionage| 2| Yes| Bank robbery | 2| Yes|

Sabotage| 1| Yes| Desertion in wartime| 1| Yes| Other| 14| No| *source: Bedau 1982:9 From the table, it is clear that some non-homicide crimes still can be sentence to dead, such as assault by a life-term prisoner or bank robbery. On the contrary, other dangerous crimes are not to be used in the death penalty field, such as bombing and arson. In 1972, at the time of Supreme Court’s Furman, the majority of public tends to agree with the death penalty. The major reason for support of the death penalty was the serious violent offenders need to be executed in the interest of public safety.

However, according to a Gallup poll, supporter for the death penalty dropped from 76 to 53, public started to against the death penalty. Since then, the world has the trend toward of abolishing the death penalty. The right to life is the most basic right for human beings. “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights1 (ICCPR) prohibits the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment to deprived criminal liberty, which is referred to the death penalty. (Mukherjee Amrita, 2) In the past, hanging was the common method of capital punishment.

Other methods including, crucifixion, drowning, beating and burning. Now, even lethal injection is the capital punishment, but prisoners may have experienced torturous pain during their executions. In the United States, New Jersey is the only states that allows public to watch the whole process. In the thirty-six states, “the same three-drug sequence for lethal injections: sodium thiopental to render the condemned inmate unconscious; pancuronium bromide to paralyze the condemned inmate’s voluntary muscles; and potassium chloride to rapidly induce cardiac arrest and cause death. (Fellner, J and Tofte, 23) However, according to Hyman Rights Watch research, this three-sequence puts prisoners at a high risk situation if the drugs does not affect. Yet to change the drugs sequence, government still chooses the old method by follow the policy. Moreover, inmates placed and unusual circumstances (death penalty diminishes the humanity of everyone it touches. ) and death row inmates will cause criminal’s mental illness and mental disabilities. Similarly, the European Convention on Human (ECHR) also claims that “no one shall be subjected to torture or other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. (Mukherjee Amrita, 5) Moreover, unusual circumstances and mental pressure may lead to innocent people committed made-up crime. Moreover, the state of Michigan was the one of the earliest governments in the world to abolish the death penalty in 1846. But still, there is a hot debate about if law says kill people is a crime, but government still using the death penalty to sentence criminals, it is also seen as a broken law behavior. The death penalty is a serious moral error. The two points approach to the death penalty morality are consequentialist and deontological.

The consequentialist theory believes that the death penalty accord with the human moral principles because it prevent potential murder. Sometimes, the government uses “aggregate welfare” as an excuse to using the death penalty. The welfare is using death penalty to deter potential criminals in order to achieve the purpose for reducing crime. At the same time, no one can guarantee that government follows the “aggregate welfare” rule to using capital punishment. “The government authorizes its agents to inflict capital punishment, but does not authorize private parties to murder; indeed it forbids murder. ” (Sunstein, Cass R. and Adrian Vermeule. 13) This is an obvious moral contradiction between what government allows itself to do and what is disallows its citizens to do. The public regards the government action as a moral standard, the decision government made influences public opinion. On the other hand, the deontologist’s supporters believe that any killing is against moral principle. Life-life tradeoff is the key of the moral issue. This method is best way “to the extent that a refusal to impose capital punishment yields a significant increase in the number of deaths of innocent people” instead of risk-risk tradeoff. Sunstein, Cass R. , and Adrian Vermeule. 6) Authorize private parties to murder; indeed it forbids murder. A survey from Gallup about Values and Beliefs in American moral views of social issues shows that in 2012, only 58 people saying the death penalty is morally acceptable, and this number down from 65% compare with 2011. The dramatic drop shows that along with the society development, more and more people are tends to against death penalty. Another important survey exposes in 2010, this survey is about public opinion of whether put murders in the death penalty or stay in the prison for life.

Less than half (49%) chose the death penalty, while 46% chose life without parole. (gallup. com) not everybody agrees abolished the death penalty, but from the statics, most citizens support to abolish the capital punishment. “For some such consequentialists, killings are, under ordinary, circumstances, a violation of rights, and this point is highly relevant to any judgment, about killings. ” (Sunstein, Cass R. , and Adrian Vermeule. 15) The death penalty is a cruel punishment that should be abolish to accord with public opinion. The death penalty is against the moral principle of Buddhism.

Considering that Buddhist take most of proportion of the world’s population, especially in Asian nations. ( Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Wang Hsiao-Ming. 2) Compare to western religion, such as Christianity, the Buddhism focus on life meaning. The “Four Noble Truths” are the essential principle in Buddhism, first is” all life is characterized by suffering”; second, “ignorance, attachment, and anger cause human suffering”; third, the cause of suffering can be terminated; and the forth one is “suffering can be overcome through the “Noble Eightfold Path. These four rules is the basis of Buddhism morality, which decide what is good or bad. (Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Wang Hsiao-Ming. 4-6). For the death penalty, the death row is obvious unacceptable for the Buddhist. Even death penalty been use to punish criminals, but before the execution, the longtime death row will cause criminals mental illness. In Buddhism principle, all the creatures are have life, and needs to be respect, the memory and imagination makes people different from animals. (Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Wang Hsiao-Ming. ) The Buddhist follows up the rules of do not killing while the government sentence prisoners to death. Buddhism monks avoid to use violence, but in death penalty, even drowning, hanging was exist in the past, but the death row and metal torture still counts as violence. “Buddhist doctrines hold nonviolence and compassion for all life in high regard(Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Wang Hsiao-Ming. 13) Because the death penalty disrespect life value, abolishing is necessary. Since the justice system is not mistake-free, so an error will leads to an innocent person being executed.

Based on Michael J Berwanger article, “Death Is Different: Actual Innocence and Categorical Exclusion Claims under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act,” there are two types of innocence: “one claiming actual innocence of the underlying offense, and the other claiming innocence of the penalty. (Berwanger Michael J Page 3) However, both types of innocent people can be sentenced in death. A study from Columbia University, release by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Professor James Liebman says that “thousands of capital sentences that had been reviewed by courts in 34 states from 1973 to 1995.   There is a clear sign to show that justice system still have many mistakes. No one can guarantee the absolute justice. Moreover, Liebman also mentions that “”An astonishing 82 percent of death row inmates did not deserve to receive the death penalty,”” At last, he concludes that “‘One in twenty death row inmates are later found not guilty. ’” (ACLU. org) From the statics, it is clear there is no way to revise the death penalty mistake. Also, a survey from American Civil Liberties Union shows that until February 2004, 113 inmates had been found innocent and released from death row. ACLU. org) More than half of these have been released in the last 10 years. That means one person has been exonerated for every eight people executed. Yet for others who do not have a chance to release from death row are being executed. There have been over 1,000 people executed since 1976 also innocent. Hence, there is a list from a project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law about known exonerations in the United States ? to support that the death penalty must be abolished.

The death penalty is racist and gender bias According to an article “Racial Discrimination in the Administration of the Death Penalty: The Experience of the United States Armed Forces (1984-2005),” the race bias in the death penalty directly impeded justice. As we know, racial discrimination is a historical issue since the 19th century, which year is the blooming period of slave trade. Hundreds of years later, the discrimination between different races still exists. A report released by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2001 mentions that the death penalty possible use as a primary punishment for crime murder a white victim.

The report proves that the race influences the judicial fairness; the race cannot determine the crime. Furthermore, a survey from The U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says “Of the 18 prisoners currently on federal death row, 16 are either African-American, Hispanic or Asian. ” The color of one’s skin determined the severity of the punishment. Ironically, 84% of victims in death penalty cases are white, although only 50% of murder victims are white. (ACLU. org)  It is ridiculous and unacceptable that the color of a defendant has great influence on decision who receiving the death penalty.

Besides that, the death penalty is also associated with gender discrimination. The female victim cases more likely leads defendant to sentence death than the male victim cases. (Marian Williams R, Demuth Stephen and Holcomb Jefferson E. 3) Although the society advocates gender equality, the current justice system clearly violates this principle. Moreover, another debate between female and male is “female homicide victims may be perceived as engaging in less disreputable or contributing conduct associated with their own victimization compared with male victims. ” Marian Williams R, Demuth Stephen and Holcomb Jefferson E. ) Race and gender play significant roles in today’s judicial system instead of laws; it is inevitable that the country abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is a financial burden on the government. Before the defendant is sentenced to death, there are many appears and re-trails. Generally, even the little mistake will raise the outcome. In the article “Minority Practice, Majority’s Burden: The Death Penalty Today”, there is a static to shows that death cases may spend more money than expected, and the figure could be as high as 78%. (Liebman, James S. ; Clarke, Peter.

Page 51 ) Moreover, the death penalty costs a significant more amount of money than keeping criminals life in prison without parole. A research from California says that “California taxpayers pay at least $117 million each year at the post-conviction level seeking execution of people currently on death row, or $175,000 per inmate per year. ” (Minsker Natasha 3) These statics shows how expensive to execute criminals instead of keep them in prison for life. On the other hand, the costs of general prison is $59 million a year, it is much cheap compare with the costs of death penalty.

In addition to that, “everyone involved in a death penalty case must be specially ‘qualified’ as capable and experienced, including the defense attorney, the judge and the jury. ” (Minsker Natasha. 7) Which means the government must spend a large amount of money to hire qualified person to inspect every death penalty cases. In fact, a research from federal system reveals that “prosecution costs were 67 percent higher than defense costs in death penalty cases. The same study found that defense costs in death penalty cases were four times higher than in non-death penalty cases. ” (Minsker Natasha. ) The government should use the higher cost of the death penalty money on other programs of public safety. In the novel All I Can See, there are some literary proof to support that death penalty must be abolished. In brown land, the brown butterfly was sparkly sentenced to death but he was innocence, and the brown land was a death row. When the beautiful fragile butterfly came, and told the brown butterfly the scenery of green land, actually she offers hope, which like reprieve to the brown butterfly, but he refuse to took it because he thought the chance that can be removed from death row is very small. Don’t be silly, flowers can’t be red, all the flowers are blue. I have seen some of my land is green too, but positively flowers can only be blue. ” (Bloom. 10) Similarly, the beautiful butterfly’s strong shadow can be seen as convicted crime, so the fish ask her to come down that she can get a reprieve. “A shadow…and that is not good at all…You must know, little one, it is not good to break the flow, and especially not by creating strong shadow. ” (Bloom. 26) from those two scenarios, it is clear that the capital punishment will threaten innocent people to accept plea bargaining to avoid death.

Moreover, the world of green land is flourishing because there is no death penalty, so the beautiful fragile butterfly has the rainbow color bespeckled wings, and the bee also live in the green land. In the contrast, the brown land is a dead land, just the brown butterfly live there and he does not want to leave this land under death penalty pressure. “Yes, I am from this land, but no, I have not traveled beyond my land, and here I see only me. ” The death penalty caused great mental damages to criminals, and leads decay of the society. From the material shown, it is obvious that the death penalty must be abolished.

The inhuman execution method is a cruel torture that deprives criminals of their basic human rights. There is no way to reverse existing injustices which have led directly to the death of innocent people, and such mistakes prove that the death penalty must be abolished. Moreover, race bias and gender discrimination still exists today. Furthermore, keeping inmates on death row costs a larger amount of money in government finance, so abolishing the death penalty is the most efficient way to help government to unload this financial burden.

In addition to that, from analyzing the book All I Can See, we can clearly see that the pressure the death penalty caused innocent people death by analysis the journey of butterfly cross the ocean. In order to preserve the people’s human rights and maintain the stability of the country, the death penalty must be abolished. Abolishing the death penalty is the only way to ensure justice and control criminal costs. Citation 1. Bedau. Hugo Adam. “The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. ” Oxford University Press 1997. google book search. June 24 2012.

June 24, 2012 <http:/books. google. com> 2. Mukherjee, Amrita. “The Death Penalty as Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment. ” Criminal justice. Journal of Criminal Law, Dec2004, Vol. 68 Issue 6, p507-519, 13p. The ICCPR as a ‘Living Instrument’: June 24, 2012 <http://web. ebscohost. com. rlib. pace. edu/ehost/detail? sid=2c86e0ad-589a-4af8-9a4f-2c36005768ce%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=cja&AN=15073123 > 3. Fellner, J, and Tofte, S. “So long as they die: Lethal injections in the United States. ” 2006, 65p.

Criminal justice. June 24, 2012 <http://web. ebscohost. com. rlib. pace. edu/ehost/detail? sid=b718459c-f05c -428e-b284-15f3a0ce6fd7%40sessionmgr115&vid=1&hid=127&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=cja&AN=CJA0400020001469s > 4. Sunstein, Cass R, and Adrian Vermeule. “Is capital punishment morally required? ” Acts, omissions, and life-life tradeoffs. ” Stanford Law Review Dec. 2005: 703+. Criminal Justice Collection. Web. 10 July 2012 <http://go. galegroup. com. rlib. pace. edu. Orhttp://www. law. uchicago. edu/files/files/239. crs-av. apital-punishment. pdf > 5. Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Wang Hsiao-Ming. “Mercy and Punishment: Buddhism and the Death Penalty. ” Social Justice 28. 1 (2001): 231. Criminal Justice Collection. Web. 10 July 2012. < http://web. ebscohost. com. rlib. pace. edu/ehost/detail? sid=b1ef5f32-9e10-4cae-b8a9-ab941ce370e8%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=125&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=cja&AN=5376332 > 6. Berwanger, Michael J. “Death Is Different: Actual Innocence and Categorical Exclusion Claims Under The Antiterrorism And Effective Death Penalty Act.  New England Journal On Criminal ; Civil Confinement 38. 2 (2012): 307-337. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Web. 10 July 2012. ( http://web. ebscohost. com. rlib. pace. edu/ehost/detail? sid=606d7b0d-5e02-4b278512310e443c2da9%40sessionmgr115;vid=1;hid=127;bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=cja;AN=77479856) *http://www. law. umich. edu/special/exoneration/Pages/browse. aspx 7. Newell Richard, et al. “Racial Discrimination in The Administration Of The Death Penalty: The Experience Of The United States Armed Forces (1984-2005). “Journal Of Criminal Law ; Criminology 101. (2011): 1227-1335. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Web. 10 July 2012. ( http://web. ebscohost. com. rlib. pace. edu/ehost/detail? sid=80aef264-f53f-4c62-8534-fd4b54d079f8%40sessionmgr112;vid=1;hid=127;bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=cja;AN=73365192) 8. Marian Williams R, Demuth Stephen and Holcomb Jefferson E. “Understanding the Influence of Victim Gender in Death Penalty Cases: The Importance of Victim Race, Sex-Related Victimization, and Jury Decision Making. ” Criminology 45. 4 (2007): 865-891. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Web. 10 July 2012.

Categories
Free Essays

Moral Issues in the United States Navy

The United States Navy is a branch of the United States armed forces. The USN has a goal of educating and preparing combat-ready naval forces. The United States Navy’s mission is to produce naval forces that are proficient and skilled in combat mission especially in winning wars and able to sustain freedom of the seas. In addition to this, most of the naval operations are under their responsibility. It traces its origins to the Continental Navy, and nowadays, there are over 335,000 personnel and operates 280 ships on active duty.

The military professionals, including those in the navy are expected by the society to follow a higher moral standard. It is the mission and the image that people or the society sees upon these professionals. As such, there is a need for the strict implementation of professional ethics and moral codes. Generals or commanders always enforce their troops or subordinates to follow moral goodness.

If moral failure occurs or when an officer was not able to follow direct orders given to him, they give reprimands and even punishments. The punishment can either be suspension, dismissal from service, demotion or being jailed in a military prison. Furthermore, because of these expectations and high moral standards, moral problems of the slightest case are treated immediately. Actions are done in order to correct whatever mistake was committed that may put a blemish on the name of the navy.

In an article by Sara Corbett, which was published on March 18, 2007 at the New York Times, a female United States Navy faced melancholy and turmoil due to a simple moral problem that she committed. The United States Navy at that time had to depart or be deployed in Iraq for the war. Due to personal reasons, Suzanne Swift who was a 21-year-old, went AWOL or absence without official leave.

She did not report on her duties for two days and stayed away hiding from the navy through the help of her friends. She continuously received messages and calls from her superiors and fellow soldiers during her AWOL but still, she did not report on her duties. By the month of April, after the departure of the ship where Suzanne Swift was supposed to board, she returned to her family’s home (Corbett, 2007).

By the 11th of June, there were two local officers who visited her family’s home and found her painting her toenails. The local officers arrested Suzanne Swift and brought her to county jail. After two days, she was taken to Fort Lewis wherein she would be charged with being AWOL. Unable to continue her duties as a soldier, she was placed on a room in the barracks where she performed desk jobs. The military procedures when it comes to AWOL soldiers are really established that actions taken are promptly.

Utilitarianism refers to the doctrine of ethics wherein the action considered or taken is in the form of consequentialism. In addition to this, the course of action that is taken is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility. In simple terms, it is for the “greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Mill, 1998). In the case of Suzanne Swift, the navy left without her because it is the right thing to do, for them not to delay their mission and contribute to the benefit of the many.

On the other hand, it was not morally right for Swift to abandon her duties since she was merely thinking of herself and not the benefit of others. In the field, she could help her fellow soldiers and even aid in their cause, but she chose not to. Suzanne Swift has the right for a lawyer and the right to defend her stand, but if utilitarianism is considered as basis for judging her, then she would be instantly convicted guilty.

Works Cited

Corbett, Sara. “The Women’s War.” The New York Times  (March 18, 2007). January 14, 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18cover.html>.

Mill, John Stuary. Utilitarianism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

 

 

Categories
Free Essays

Modern Day Slavery in the United States: An Invisible Shadow

When thinking of modern day slavery, it is impossible for the average person to comprehend that it is still going on within our own country today.  The issues of slavery and inequality have been a major part of the history of the United States, and the fact that they are still hidden behind walls of ignorance and fear are more than can be grasped by the human mind.  Modern day slavery  “exists not because today’s workers are immigrants or because some of them don’t have papers but because agriculture has always managed to sidestep the labor rules that are imposed upon other industries” (Bale, 1984, pg. 5).

It has always seemed as if morality was what our country had originally fought for when struggling with the issues of slavery, but the very fact our government and local politics have refused to accept the existence of migrant slavery in our country, due to the web of financial greed by layers of major industries, proves to be a major source of discrimination against the migrant workers who have entered our country to elevate their standards of poverty life.

Over the years, many of our activists have approached the morality issues of slavery in the United States with the image of slavery coming to mind of trade ships bringing African slaves to our country, forcing them into slave labor against their will. What does not come to mind, which is why so many people find it hard to acknowledge slavery today, are images of Immokalee migrants living in housing owned by “the town’s largest landlord, a family named Blocker, owns several hundred old shacks and mobile homes, many rusting and mildew-stained, which can rent for upward of two hundred dollars a week, a square-footage rate approaching Manhattan” (Bale, 1984, pg. 2).

Another image of slavery is of the migrant’s payday after working eight to twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week, “After charging workers a check-cashing fee, the brothers (the bosses) then garnished for rent, food, work equipment, the ride from Arizona (where they were picked up), and daily transportation to and from the fields. Whatever remained was usually spent on food at La Guadalupana” (Bale, 1984, pg.3). After this, the workers barely broke even. In addition, no utilities were provided in the rent for migrants, so this was also deducted.

The labor contractors “exert near-absolute control over their workers’ lives; besides handling the payroll and deducting taxes, they are frequently the sole source of the workers’ food and housing, which in addition to the ride to and from the fields, they provide for a fee”. (Bale, 1984, pg. 2). Females themselves had their own brand of slavery which included rape and forced prostitution, “In 1998, Rogerio Cadena and fifteen others, including several relatives, were charged with smuggling twenty women and girls, some as young as fourteen, into the United States from Mexico with promises of jobs in housekeeping, landscaping, and child care.

The women were made to pay a smuggling fee of more than two thousand dollars each and held in sexual slavery in trailer-home brothels in South Florida and the Carolinas”. (Bale, 1984, pg. 5) These women “were required to perform between fifteen and twenty-five sexual acts per day”, and “victims who became pregnant were forced to have abortions and then return to work within weeks; the cost of the abortion was added to their debt”. (Bale, 1984, pg. 5-6)

The problem with all of this was that a migrant agriculture worker was “paid only 40 cents a bucket, which weighs thirty-two pounds” (Bale, 1984, pg. 2) which hardly made any of it worth it, if they had only known in advance. To calculate wages, a worker would have to pick 125 buckets a day to make a daily wage of $50. For the average citizen of the United States this would seem desolate wages, but for the Haitians, poor whites, Mexicans, and African-American migrant workers it was a fortune, as quoted by one migrant worker, “Farmwork in Mexico pays about five or six dollars a day – – when it’s available” (Bale, 1984, pd. 3).

What they were not told is that once they arrived in the rich country of the United States, they would barely make a dime due to the high prices their bosses would charge them for living expenses “that were never discussed”. (Bale, 1984, pg. 3).

Forced unknowingly into a slave life, the conditions of these migrant workers are the same as slaves earlier in our history. Similar to the African slaves, they are sold to owners or bosses, “the workers saw Nino write out a check to El Chaparro. They were told that the bosses had paid a thousand dollars for each of them” (Bale, 1984, pg. 3). They receive little, if any wages, as previously stated. And they become at the complete mercy of these abusive individuals, where “workers were forced to work six days a week, netting at most fifteen dollars a day. According to one Flores victim, female camp residents were raped, and gunfire was often used by guards to keep order”. (Bales, 1984, pg. 5).

The sense of community of these migrant workers was nonexistent due to the language barrier of individual races, different cultures, and fear of reprisal from their bosses — of  “owners” who used threats of violence against them if they did not do as they were told. If it had been there, communication would have allowed them to seek help, which some actually did out of sheer desperation with many of the dying.

Knowing these facts, it is almost difficult, if not impossible, to purchase products from companies such as Taco Bell, Tropicana, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Wendy’s, and many others – – recognizing that their profit and products arrive through such “sweatshop like situations” (Bale, 1984, pg. 4) in our country. Many people have boycotted these products, such as Taco Bell, but only 1,000 workers have been rescued out of half-a-million migrant workers living in the United States in the year 2003.

Appearing futile, the term “moral beauty” seems a laughable situation as we look back in retrospect. What is beautiful and moral about struggling migrant workers who are exhausted, hungry, and worried to death about the financial status of their families they have left in their home countries – – with no way out? But more than that, what is beautiful and moral about a country, whose stepping-stones of democracy were equality and anti-slavery, yet who now refuses to acknowledge such situations?

Facts prove that migrant slavery exists in our country today, with people dying who were attempting to better themselves. What would have happened if we had welcomed by the same type of individuals when we first came to our new country, to “better our lives”? Would we have been more understanding and more apt to help the migrant workers in their plight? Or would we still look the other way until the slavery was so blatant we were forced to do something about it “so we would look good to those watching”.

References

Bales (1984). “Nobodies: Annals of Labor”, The New Yorker. The Conde Naste

Publications, Inc.

Categories
Free Essays

Migration from Mexico to united states

Migration is a subject that is studied on all levels when dealing with humanity and its idiosyncrasies. In order to understand migration we must understand the various components involved in migration, including internal migration, external migration, immigration and both refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. We must attempt to understand the reasons to migrate and how laws affect the various forms of migration and if there would be solutions to this practice of migration. The objective is to study the problems, the solutions and the reasoning behind migration as a whole.

In order to understand the reasons behind migration of people we must first define the various components of migration. Migration refers to the movement of an individual from his or her home country, also known as the source country to another country as his or her destination. The two main movements are involved include immigration and emigration.

Immigration would be the movement of individuals into a country. Emigration is the movement of individuals from their home country. The balance between emigration and immigration would be known as net migration and this can be either positive or negative. Positive would be when immigration exceeds emigration and negative would be the reverse of that process. (Kar, 2006, 187)

There are many different influences and consequences relative to migration for anyone that moves from where they originated. Factors that would have to do with migration include the economic growth and development of the country that people are leaving, specifically GDP, the level of domestic development, and finally income and quality of life within the countries.

Another two factors include how urbanized an area would be and variations in that consideration along with levels of education that would in fact be available for children across the country of origin in place of isolated areas. Occasionally, the amount of US influence on a country can either adversely or conversely affect the amount of migration.

We see this today as we build walls along the US and Mexican border. We see it in the denials for migrants that are entering this country from all over the world as the numbers increase exponentially. The US has gone so far as to create the Homeland Security office to ensure that human trafficking is policed, and have created new laws to create fencing between the US and Mexican border to prevent more immigrants from entering the country illegally.

An attempt at appeasement for Mexico in regard to what was known as the bill to create a guest worker program failed in gaining the necessary acceptance. (Fletcher, 2003, 343) Migration from Mexico has generated a sizeable Mexican-born population in the United States. Mexican estimates compute this population in the range of 8 to 8.5 million, of which the non-authorized component is estimated between 3 and 3.5 million. The US Census Bureau estimates that there are more than nine million Mexican immigrants living in the United States. Of these, approximately 4.7 million, or over half, are undocumented. However, about 1.6 million, or one in five Mexicans, are naturalized US citizens (MPI, 2002, 1).

Regulation and policing will only go so far in slowing the amount of migration. Force rarely facilitates the ability to have residents of one country to remain in that country and there have been no recent incentives to have many of them stay in their own countries. The US may provide aid, and this may actually end up causing further migration in place of bringing a halt to it. Aid is not always the answer, unless that aid is universal in content coming from many donors in place of one.

References

Fletcher, R; (2003); Beliefs and Knowledge: Believing and Knowing; Howard & Price.

Kar, P; (2006); History and related application of Migration; Dasgupta & Chatterjee.

Migration Policy Institute (MPI). (2002) Mexico: A Crucial Crossroads. Retrieved 1/9/2007

 

Categories
Free Essays

Health Care Delivery System in the United States

Abstract The United States health care delivery system is comprised of a complex, unorganized and flawed health system, compared to that of Australia’s health care system. The four components of the inefficient system in the United States are categorized into a quad-functional model. Financing, insurance, deliver and payment are the four flawed components. Australia’s efficient and organized system is based on a national health system, which consists of one central agency; the government. The United States health system is comprised of countless public and private entities.

Australia’s health care system is superior to that of the United States. Table of Contents Title Page……………………………………………………………………………………1 Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………… 2 Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………3 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………. 4 References…………………………………………………………………………………… 9 Introduction The quality of health care is vital to a nations well being. The United States is comprised of one of the most complex health care delivery systems throughout the world.

The complexity of the United States health care delivery is comprised of countless individuals and organizations, which include both public and private entities. Unlike the health care delivery system of Australia, the network of interrelated components of the U. S. health care system does not work together in an organized and efficient manner. Some of the components tend to overlap one another. The United States health care delivery system is based on the quad-function model, which consists of four components that are categorized into financing, insurance, delivery and payment.

The fact that the United States health care system is not governed by a single central agency, opposed to Australia’s national health system, countless Americans endure physical and emotional suffering from the inefficiency of the system. Financing is one of the most important components of health care delivery system in the United States. This component pertains to the methods of paying for costly diagnostic tests, procedures, hospitals visits and treatment. Demand and supply has inflated the cost of health related services.

Paying for health services is extremely costly without health insurance. Thanks to the a majority of employment establishments, most employed Americans, as well as their dependent children and spouses, are provided affordable health insurance. Although most employed Americans are provided health insurance, the United States health delivery system is fragmented and lacks to provide much needed health insurance for the majority of the unemployed American population. The second component of the quad-functional model pertains to insurance.

Ownership of a health insurance plan protects individuals against health related issues. Insurance is very beneficial during occurrences when needing costly health care services. Insurance policies also determine the extent of health services the insured individuals are entitled to receive. Most insurance policies specify details of the health care policy holders are entitled to receive. Unlike Australia, the citizens of America, except for the elderly who receive Medicare, must obtain their own insurance. The third component of the United States quad-functional model pertains to delivery.

In terms of delivery, the quad-functional model refers to the proviso of health care services, along with the receipt of insurance payments for the health related services received. The payments are paid to providers who deliver health care supplies and services. The recipients of payment consist of doctors, therapists, hospitals, diagnostics and imaging clinics, and suppliers of health care related equipment. The difference between the health care systems of the United States versus the health care system of Australia is that Australia’s healthcare system is based on a national health care program.

The highly organized and efficient system mainly consists of private practitioners (Hall 1999; Podger 1999). The fourth and final component of the United States quad-functional model pertains to payment. The payment function deals with reimbursement to providers for services delivered. Reimbursement is the determination of how much to pay for a certain service. The fact that Australia’s health care system is based on a national health care program, individuals who receive health related services are not overwhelmed with stress of worrying about making payment the providers of health services.

Australia’s government handles all aspects of health care. The four components of the United States health care system dramatically vary from the components of the health care system in Australia. The health care system of Australia is classified as a national health care system. Unlike the United States, Australia’s health care system is referred to as a single-payer system or a system that is governed by a single central agency; the Australian government. The government finances health care through the means of general taxes, even though health care is delivered by private providers.

The benefit of a central agency governing the health care system is that it eliminates the complexity by eliminating components that exists in the multi-payer system of the United States health care system. Although the citizens of the United States are free to choose the method of obtaining health care, countless individuals are left without any means of health care. There are many negative characteristics that differentiate the United States health care delivery system from that of other countries, such as Australia. These characteristics result in fragments and inconsistencies within the system.

The United States health care system is flawed based on the fact that it is not governed by a central agency, health care services are limited to the confined terms of the insurance policy, multiple public and private entities results in lack of efficiency, and extremely high cost of health care services. Australia spends 8. 7 percent of its GDP on health care and covers everyone, irrespective of their employment status (Grant 1987; Lapsley 1987) Due to the complexity and inefficiency of the United States’ health care delivery system, many people in the U. S. go without much needed health care.

The extremely high cost in the U. S. results in countless uninsured American from having the financial ability to receive access to health care services. More than two-fifths of lower-income adults in the U. S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year (Davis 2007; Schoen 2007; Holmgren; Shea 2007). The uninsured have options to receive services at county hospitals and government establishments, but their quality of services is much lower. The finding from my in depth research indicates that many changes need to be implemented into the health are delivery system in the United States, to improve the complex and fragmented system. The private health insurance covers care received in private hospitals (Australian Government 2004). To improve quality of life, the system in the United States should be changed from a multi-payer to a single-payer system, which is classified as a national health system or NHS. Aquiring private health insurance is voluntary, but strongly encouraged by the Australian government through tax subsidies for purchasers and tax penalties for non-purchasers (Healy 2002).

The government will manage the overall infrastructure of the health system, without any regard to capitalism. All entities who seek personal financial gain will not be included in the NHS. This change will terminate most of the components that bring injustice to the citizens who are excluded, which mostly consists of unemployed individuals. The United States economy is driven by capitalism, where the where motives behind actions derive from pursuit of monetary gain. In a loosely organized system, countless entities and individuals seek monetary gain, without regard or compassion for human life.

Greed is the main element in the United States complex health care delivery system. In 1998, the death rate pertaining to the health care delivery system was 25 to 50 percent higher in the United States than in Australia. Australia ranks highest on healthy lives, compared to the United States (Davis 2007; Schoen 2007; Holmgren; Shea 2007). The implementation of a national health care system, similar to that of Australia, will foster ethical practices and equality for all citizens of the United States.

This change will impact health professionals greatly. Most likely their salaries will be reduced drastically and their employers will be the national government. In my opinion, most physicians are overpaid currently. Price inflation based on a free market economy will be more controlled. References Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing (2004). Australia: selected health care delivery and financing statistics. Davis, K. , Schoen, C. , Schoenbaum, S. C. , Doty, M. , Holmgren, A. L. , Kriss, Shea, K. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (2007): An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care, The Commonwealth Fund, 3. Grant & Lapsley (1987). The Australian Health Care System, 1987, 139, Table 7. 15 Hall, J. 1999. Incremental change in the Australian health care system. Health affairs 18, no. 3:95-110 Healy, J. 2002. Australia. In Dixon, A. , and E. Mossialos, eds. Health care system in eight countries: trends and challenges. London: The European Observatory on Health Care Systems, London School of Economics & Political Science, 3-16.

Categories
Free Essays

United States Undemocratic

During the nineteenth century, the United States of America was both democratic and undemocratic. As a newly independent country from Great Britain, the U. S tried to stay away from the tyrannical government which they had before. America believed that by giving people a say in the government and granting more rights to citizens, they would prove to be a successful government. However, although they seemed to be democratic, the United States still had some undemocratic aspects.

The United States during the mid-1800s believed that by giving people the right to vote on government issues and the right to vote for legislatures made their government democratic. However, not everyone was given the right to vote. During the mid-1800s, women were deprived from the right to vote. At the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, women gathered together to fight for the right to vote. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton both stated that “He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise; He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice…” (Document 2).

Women were treated as inferiors to men and had very little rights. Harriet Martineau describes the status of the American women in her 1834 visit to the United States (Document 6). She quotes that “every man in the towns an independent citizen; every man in the country a landowner”, however the woman of American were granted no such rights. By holding women back from the right to vote, the United States was undemocratic. As America began to expand, the need for more workers increased. The states in the south needed more workers to farm, while the north needed workers in factories.

The Southerners used slaves to take care of their massive plantations. These slaves were given no salary, improper food, and improper living conditions. The slaves worked hard, long hours and were whipped if their job did not satisfy their owner. Slavery was so bad that many tried to escape using different unique methods. Henry “Box” Brown desired freedom so much that he shipped himself in a small box to a slave free state (Document 1). Many believed that inside the crate there were dry goods, however to their surprise, an African American man appeared and was now a free man. Unlike the South however, the North rejected the idea of slavery.

They believed that it was against the Constitution and should be abolished. However, the Northerners needed people to work in their factories. Although they believed slavery was worse, they hired children and adults to work in the factories for long hours with little pay. Working in a factory was dangerous; many workers were abused and due to their working conditions were often sick. From the 1840’s cartoon contrasting slavery in the American South with “wage slavery” in the American North, there is very little difference from the way the workers and slaves were treated (Document 4).

Slaves and factory workers had no control over their lives and thus made the American system undemocratic. Slaves and factory workers were not the only people who were treated as inferiors. Stereotyping of immigrants became a popular trend during the mid-1800s. As more immigrants arrived, the American citizens believed they were superior to such people and treated with utmost disrespect. The Irish were depicted as drinkers and uneducated, while the Germans were also associated with drinking. Many Americans became known as nativists. Nativists were those that favor the ideas of people already living in the land as opposed to immigrants.

These people tried to protect the ballot from Irish and German immigrants. The nativists felt that the immigrants stole the ballots because they were unaware of their new land and government and were taking ballots away from those that were living in America for years. In the illustration of an Irish immigrant and a German immigrant, we see them stereotyped as drinkers by the barrels surrounding their bodies, and it shows them actually stealing the ballot (Document 5). This steered a sense of hatred for the immigrants by the American citizens.

These new immigrants were treated as second-citizens in this undemocratic nation. Even people native to the land were still treated without respect. In the painting of “the Trail of Tears”, innocent men, women and children were thrown out of their land because they Native Americans (Document 3). The U. S government showed no sympathy for them and forced them to move to a new location. On this voyage known as the “Trail of Tears”, many Native Americans lost their lives because of improper food and health care.

Forcing the Native Americans out of their homes showed other nations that the U. S government was not very democratic as it preached. Although the United States was seen as unfair in some aspects, the United States was still considered democratic during the mid-1800s. The United States was still viewed as a land of freedom and pride. During the Jacksonian era, it was the fight for the common man to have a say in the government. The United States did not want powerful and rich civilians to be running the government, but hoped that the common man would help America become a stronger nation. In the painting “Canvassing for a vote”, it is the role of the common man to have a say in the government.

The United States proved its democratic status through the vote of the common man. In the early 1800’s, the United States was a fairly new country. After being ruled under a tyrannical government, the United States feared that by giving the government so much power it would lead to a government like Great Britain. The United States was known as a democratic nation, where the people had a great say in the government. However, citizens considered this new nation to have some undemocratic ways. Still the United States was considered a land of freedom and prosperity.

Categories
Free Essays

Should America and Canada Have a Common Economy

People have always wondered what it would be like to step in the shoes of others – people that are completely different from them and see the differences and similarities in their lives. These days even countries are thinking of the same question. For example, what if, Canada started sharing its economy with the US? Canada and the United States have different economic systems even though the countries are geographically close to each other. In the economic continuum of planned, mixed and market economies, Canada has a mixed economy, and U. S has a market economy.

Generally speaking, Canadians and Americans are very different people. Creating a single economy could have disastrous effects on the lives of the people and should not be done. First off, with less government involvement Canada would no longer have the things that Canadians celebrate. Secondly, the switch would go down hard on the homeless people of Canada who would now not have the government help that they desperately need and in a colder climate like that of Canada, it would be very hard for them to survive with the new economy not helping them much.

And lastly, Canada already has the North American Free Trade Agreement which gives Canada, good cooperation with the United States and obviates the necessity of such a move. If the Canadian economy integrated into the American economy, the future of Canada would be destined to collapse because of the things that the people would lose. At the moment, Canada is a welfare state, where there are things such as senior pension plans, free healthcare and free education from K-12. If the economy converted, these would be no more.

That would lead to the start of these services being commercialized which would make the prices skyrocket (refer to figure 1). Cost of living would go up. Health conditions would deteriorate and the workforce would not be as skilled due to higher cost of education. Also immigrant and refugee population would drop. That will adversely affect Canada’s workforce. To sum up, the Canadian economy will suffer heavily. In the United States, the government, leaves much of the economy to the private sector and this leads to a higher cost of living.

To the homeless people of Canada this is bad news. First of all, Canadian homeless people live in a very cold climate where they have to buy winter jackets and such. With a higher cost, the homeless people simply cannot afford the all the things to survive winter and will have lots of problems. This would add approximately 300,000 homeless protesters that would go against the integration along with the others that want free healthcare back and would cause big problems to the government.

In 1994, The North American Free Trade Association started to be implemented and free trade started between Canada, America and Mexico. Canada has the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) that makes Canada, United States and Mexico very good cooperative nations and together they have made the largest free trade area. [1] John McCain from the Republican party[5] said “Last year alone, we (U. S. ) exchanged some 560 billion dollars in goods, and Canada is the leading export market for 36 of the 50 United States. [2]

The countries have agreed to many things that they will do for each other such as strengthen the special bonds of friendship and cooperation among their nations, contribute to the harmonious development and expansion of world trade and provide a catalyst to broader international cooperation and many more things[3] NAFTA has created a very strong foundation for future and created good cooperation for the three economies. So why does Canada need to share economies? In fact, what Canada gets from it, is not worth the expenses and risks it faces during the transition.

So as a summary, making such an integration possible could lead to devastation, and a lot of struggle for the people. So this should not be done. Making the switch, takes away the joys that we celebrate such as free healthcare and makes big problems in the lives of people that depend on these services. This also raises the prices of the goods in the market making a problem for not only the common people but even more drastically for the homeless people of Canada. Also, due to NAFTA, we have very good cooperation with the United States. Is all this really worth the change? Are we going to get enough back by doing this change?

Categories
Free Essays

Afghan Women Revealed

In the year 2001 2002 the United States of America engaged in a political campaign for the war in Afghanistan. In her essay “To unveil the threat of terror”, Dana Cloud accuses the United States government to construct a hypocritical justification for the war in Afghanistan. The United States used the picture of veiled woman and children and presented them to the united citizens as oppressed and needing help. Dana Cloud argues that the real motif of the war was to obtain economical and geopolitical control of the territory of Afghanistan.

In this essay we will analyze one of the photographs that played a big important role in the Afghanistan war campaign of the United States. Our goal here will not be to discuss the real reason of the war but to determine if the pictures really represented Afghan women and children as oppressed and needing help. We will then try to determine if the united states where in fact able to help this women. Based on our conclusion we will propose a more parsimonious property of these images: a property that all photographs possess and that Morris calls an express train to error.

The afghan woman is a photograph of a young afghan girl taken by National Geographic photographs in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. The girl in the photograph is wearing a red torn burka and her piercing eyes are gazing at the viewer. Some say that she looks angry, others that she looks desperate and needs help. The truth is that we will never really know what she felt at that moment. But what we can be sure of in that picture is that if the United States had not gone to war in afghan we would not have been able to gaze at her photograph for the simple reason that in afghan culture, women are not allowed to show their faces.

In an American perspective, the United States had helped this young afghan girl to be free and express her identity. Ironically although the picture promotes individuality and freedom, the picture also oppresses individuality and freedom as well. It possesses a dimension of individuated aggregate. They were no name in the photograph just “the afghan woman”. By naming the photograph the Afghan woman and publishing it in the United States Press, the photograph served as a representation of all the afghan women and thus ignored the specific individual represented in the photograph.

An American citizen ignorant of afghan culture and proud of his own culture and belief will automatically perceive the girl in the photograph as freed and experience what Dana Could referred to as paternalism: a need to protect her. Thus we find that Dana could argument that the United States spread an image of savior during the 2001-2002 war campaign. Did they really save this girl, or the other afghan woman? The eyes of the Afghan girl had captivated the world so much that the National Geographic photograph that had taken her photograph was sent to search for her.

Mc Curry says that he went first with his search team to the original place where the photograph was taken: the refugee camp of Nasir Bagh. A man who heard about the search told them he knew the girl in the picture. He claimed she was his childhood friend and that she had returned to Afghanistan near Tora Bora.. Mc curry was informed by the team that He told them that she was a childhood friend and that she went back to Afghanistan and in she had returned to Afghanistan years ago, he said, and now lived in the mountains near Tora Bora.

When McCurry got to the place and saw her walk I the room he told himself: this is her. Thus “the girl with the piercing green eyes” or “the afghan girl” was identified. Her name was Sharbat Gula, and she was Pashtun, one of the most violent tribe of Afghanistan. Mc Curry took a new photograph of her and her eyes were still burning with ferocity. Her eyes were still sea green, big haunted and haunting green eyes. In them you could read the tragedy of a land drained by war not the relief and freedom that the United States should have brought with them.

If the United States had helped this girl and the other women by going in war with the Taliban, this girl her eyes would have looked happier, less angry, or simply different. We would have noticed a change, but the only change we notice is the change of a girl into a woman. This change is not relevant to the United States going to war with afghan but to nature. When observing the afghan girl one should not make biased assumption. Although being unbiased is thorough, it is not impossible. While looking at the photo of the afghan girl a viewer should see all facets of the photograph or image being observed.

While the photograph of the afghan woman portrays the oppression that afghan women experience, it also expresses the tragedy and struggled experienced by women in war. As Ell Morris described in his…. Photographs and images are an express train to error and believing is seeing. When one observes the photographs of the afghan women, one sees what he wants to see: a women that need help from the united states,a women that is angry, a women that is ravaged by a war ,a woman that is ashamed to show her face,a woman that is revolted. hey are so many interpretation that can be drawn from the afghan woman,but none of them can really grasp the reality that the photographs bring. it is just as ell morris said. While photograph reveals important some things, they hide or misrepresent others. Thus the photograph of the afghan woman has one very parsimonious property. a property that all photographs share: to represent a blurry reality. However although the photograph is not a real representation of afghan woman, it remains true that they are oppressed and ravaged by the tragedy that is war.

Categories
Free Essays

The United States Became an Industrial Power

The United States became an industrial power by tapping North America’s vast natural resources, including minerals, lumber and coal, particularly in the newly developed west. Industries that had once depended on waterpower began to use prodigious amounts of coal. Steam engines replaced human and animal labor, and kerosene replaced whale oil and wood. By 1900, America’s factories and urban homes were converting to electric power. Dependence on fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas), which powered machines of unprecedented speed and strength, transformed both the economy and the country’s natural and built environments.

What is vertical integration? Vertical integration is a business model in which one company controlled all aspects of production from raw materials to finished goods. Once his engineers designed a cooling system, swift invested in a fleet of refrigerator cars and constructed a packing plant near Chicago’s stockyards. What is horizontal integration? Horizontal integration is a strategy pioneered by Rockefeller. Like swift he pressured competitors through predatory pricing, but when he had driven them to failure, he invited rivals to merge their companies into his conglomerate.

The roles the government played in this story were in an effort to attract corporate headquarters to its state, New Jersey broke ranks in 1889, by passing a law that permitted the creation of holding companies and other corporate combinations. Despite reformers’ efforts, a huge wave of mergers in the 1890s further concentrated corporate power. By 1900, America’s largest one hundred companies controlled a third of the nation’s productive capacity.

Such familiar firms as DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and singer had assumed dominant places in their respective industries. The immense power of these corporations would henceforth be a recurring political concern. Roles that the government could have played but didn’t was that distressed by the development of near monopolies, reformers began to denounce “the trusts” and that some states outlawed trusts as a legal form. The nineteenth century’s industrial philosophy dates, actually, from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776.

This is really the “capitalist bible” in which the notion that greed has a socially useful role is first popularly put forward. It also puts forward the notion of the “invisible hand” that guides the market to improve the standard of living of everyone, without regard to the actual intentions of its participants. This is the “magic of the marketplace” many capitalists are so fond of referring to. But, by the late nineteenth century, these concepts of Adam Smith had been distorted and fused, to some extent, with the ideas of Charles Darwin about evolution.

This led to the extremely pernicious and largely discredited concept of “Social Darwinism”, related to Nazism, in the twentieth century. Social Darwinists believe that only those who are socially successful and powerful should have the right to survive, and that providing assistance and support to the “weak” is, actually, antisocial. According to this view, society can only progress if the “strong” exploit, suppress and, eventually, destroy the “weak”. The factors that I don’t really agree with are the Ideas of social Darwinism.

I don’t think that the strong should not help the weak because what if were the strongest person in the world with the most money and were at the top and we refuse to help someone who is at the bottom like the very bottom were in there’s no more down only way is up at that point say we become the weak party and them the strong party what if we need the help they need and the refuse us that help because we believe in social Darwinism as an whole and we didn’t help them reach the top when we were up there so why should they help us.

Industrialism changed the nature of work and in many respects caused an uneven distribution of power Among interest groups in American society. Industrial workers were employees rather than producers, And repeating specialized tasks made them feel like appendages to machines. The emphasis on quantity Rather than quality further dehumanized the workplace. These factors, in addition to the increased Power of the employer, reduced the independence and self-respect of workers, but worker resistance only led employers to tighten restrictions. Industrialism also brought more women and children into the labor force.

Although job opportunities Opened for women, most women went into low-paying clerical jobs, and sex discrimination continued in the workplace. Employers also attempted to cut wage costs by hiring more children. Although a few States passed child-labor laws, such laws were difficult to enforce and employers generally opposed State interference in their hiring practices. Effective child-labor legislation would not come until the Twentieth century. As the nature of work changed, workers began to protest low wages, the attitude of employers, the hazards of the workplace, and the absence of disability insurance and pensions.

The effectiveness of Legislation designed to redress these grievances was usually limited by conservative Supreme Court Rulings Out of frustration, some workers began to participate in unions and in organized resistance. Unionization efforts took various directions. The Knights of Labor tried to ally all workers by creating Producer and consumer cooperatives; the American Federation of Labor strove to organize skilled Workers to achieve pragmatic objectives; and the Industrial Workers of the World attempted to Overthrow capitalist society.

The railroad strikes of 1877, the Haymarket riot, and the Homestead and Pullman strikes were all marked by violence, and they exemplified labor’s frustration as well as its active and organized resistance. Government intervention against the strikers convinced many workers Of the imbalance of interest groups in American society, whereas the middle class began to connect organized working-class resistance with radicalism. Although this perception was by and large Mistaken, middle-class fear of social upheaval became an additional force against organized labor.

Not only did industrialization affect the nature of work, it also produced a myriad of products that affected the everyday lives of Americans. As America became a consumer-oriented society, most of its Citizens faced living costs that rose faster than wages. Consequently, many people could not take advantage of the new goods and services being offered. But, as noted above, more women and children Became part of the paid labor force. Although many did so out of necessity, others hoped that the Additional income would allow the family to participate in the consumer society.

The Nativists didn’t take too kind to the wave of new immigrants. The reason most industrial workers put up with the difficult conditions of their work because factory owners, especially those involved in the steel industry and in the coal mine industry, often would build company towns. Workers were given cheap rent in these towns to go along with their low wages. In essence the worker was trapped. The company town afforded him a place to live and without the job he couldn’t live there.

Categories
Free Essays

American Agriculture

Analyze the ways in which technology, government policy, and economic conditions changed American agriculture in the period of 1865-1900. in your answer, evaluate farmers’ response. The period of 1865-1900 was one of the most crucial times in American history. It was a time period, in which America was mending, repairing, improving, reshaping, and reconstructing its society, economy, culture, and policies. Basically it was changing everything it stood for. This continual change can be seen in the following events that took place during this time.

These events are both causes and effects of why America is what it is today. During the Civil War the economy in the North boomed — a continuation of the industrial advances from the 1840s. Technology was rapidly moving, economic conditions were rapidly changing, everything in the United States was booming—population, expansion, industries, etc. Technology was probably the most vital aspect of this time period. Railroads was/is the most influential thing that happened to the United States. If it wasn’t for railroads, America wouldn’t be what it is today.

The railroads were a positive chain reaction. It changed American agriculture, delivering goods from state to state, sea to shining sea, etc. Railroads opened and expanded business in the Far West, where not much has been developed. There was much controversy concerning government policy and economic control. Individual enterprises fought diligently to dominate economic affairs but the government was obligated to intervene when unjust activity was apparent. It was unanimously believed, among businessmen, that the government should have very little say in economic issues, the basis for Laissez-Faire.

Laissez-Faire was definitely incorporated in every issue concerning government policy. Many people are outraged with the political speakers. The people are saying that the political leaders have misled them. The Interstate Commerce Act was enacted to limit the freedom and wrongful capital gain of railways to benefit the people. The Senate passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, heavily influenced by the monopolies. The purpose of the act was to oppose the combination of entities that could potentially harm competition. Economic conditions during this time period were extreme.

The Depression of 1893 was the most serious blow to the United States politics during the Gilded Age was the five-year depression that began in 1893. When the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad collapsed, a stock market panic ensued. Banks, railroads, & businesses closed, 20% unemployment; led to 1,400 labor strikes in 1894. Coxey’s Army in 1894 demanded government action to end the depression & job creation programs. Technology, government policy, and economic conditions changed American agriculture for better and for worse.

Farmers had many problems during this time. Farmers were plagued by falling prices, high railroad & mortgage rates, & deflationary policies. Farmers usually lashed out at Eastern bankers, railroads, and U. S monetary policies, as well as the continued debate over gold and silver currency. Farmers were generally outraged about overproduction and how they don’t earn enough. There is a lot of supply, but the demand is very low. This time period was probably one of the most changing times in American History.

Categories
Free Essays

United States Imperialism

Imperialism is defined as the policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political control over other nations; the notion of a globally stretching “American Empire” with such connotations was first made popular after the Spanish-American War of 1898 with the US annexation of the Philippines. Although previous US expansionism shares many similarities with this “new” age of expansionism, they also diverged from one another in several key ways.

This new stage of American expansionism took place through the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century and was quite analogous to the original or traditional type expansionism conducted by the US throughout its history proceeding this time period in several aspects. The first of which was the strong belief that expanding was a destined duty supported by God.

When the US first gained its independence in 1776 span most of the east coast with the exception of Florida and extended only minimally into the mainland continent, but by the late 1800s the nation stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific adding new states and territory and expanding across the entire continent. This relatively quick and vast expansion was a result of the idea known as Manifest Destiny, coined by columnist John O’Sullivan in 1845. The idea basically articulated that belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Pacific Ocean.

As a result of such a belief the US government did everything within its power to make this growth possible. This ranged from the buying of and making deals for territories from other foreign powers, like the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, to the taking of California and parts of New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico after the US Victory in the Mexican American War. This type of belief that imperialism was a necessary duty held true for the new age.

This was not exclusive to the US and was widely accepted throughout most of the colonizing European powers as well. People at the time believed that God had made the “white race”; in the US special emphasis was put on the Anglo Saxon race, superior to all others as evidenced by their grander civilizations, numbers, wealth, and Christian beliefs. They saw these advantages as evidence that God wanted them to spread over the world imposing their rule on other races and lesser civilizations of the globe when inevitably the world’s supply of unoccupied land was depleted.

This was especially the view of missionary minded Americans such as Reverend Josiah Strong, who called for Christian missions spanning the entire globe; their ideas stemmed from the Social Gospel (Document B). The Social Gospel involved the use of Christian ideals to help cope with the problems of the time, many of which were caused by rapid industrialization. This entitled way of thinking again helped inspire the United States to expand as well as convincing its people that such an expansion was rightful and meant to be, and again they did so because of these ideas and quite successfully so.

The next ways in which the old and new ages were alike was in the treatment of the native peoples of the regions that the United States expanded into. During both time periods US policy toward the people already residing in any area newly acquired was biased and insensitive with little to no regard of the for the good or desires of the natives. During early American expansion the victims of such actions were almost exclusively Native Americans. As Americans pushed west they came into contact with a myriad of different tribes inhabiting different parts of the North American continent.

The US government and these Indian tribes began to clash with each other quickly and soon what is widely seen as an unofficial extermination campaign began. This campaign carried on for decades until the US had spread a completely across the continent fighting and weakening individual tribes until they submitted to US dominance. Even after this Native Americans were still treated unfairly, having to contend with horrific US anti-Indian legislation.

For Instance the Indian Removal Act, which took away Indian land and forced onto plots of land mandated for them do reside in, known as reservations. The most famous of which was the trial of tears, during which the Cherokee people were forced to march the one thousand mile distance from Georgia to Oklahoma under horrible conditions resulting in the deaths of 4,000 Cherokees. Another injustice toward the Indian peoples was their excluded from US citizenships and the rights and protections that come with it until 1924 with the passage of the Snyder Act.

The treatment of those in the territories and colonies of the United States during this time during the late 1800s and early 1900s in that they again like the Native Americans were subject to harsh military action. This occurred shortly after Spain sold the Philippines to the United States for 20 million dollars. The Filipino people were under the mistaken assumption that after the withdrawal of Spain they would receive their independence, so as the US began to institute its rule in the colony Filipinos revolt under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo.

The US government responded not by granting the Philippines its independence but instead by engaging in an armed conflict called by the American Anti-imperialist League, founded by Mark Twain in 1898, a “war of criminal aggression”. Although the US eventually won out due to far superior military might the process of doing so many Filipinos were slaughter putting Filipino blood on American hands (Document D). Inhabitants of the new age US imperial holdings were just as their Native American counterparts of the past denied rights and privileges and citizens.

It was decided during this period that Congress would be granted jurisdiction over US foreign colonies and territories and control over the civil rights and statuses of those in them. This resulted from the Supreme Court case Downes vs. Bidwell, where a Puerto Rican exporter sued over the fact that he had to pay an import duties on his goods arguing that he was not technically importing them seeing as how Puerto Rico was a US territory. As Congress never saw fit to make grant such inhabitants of the “US Empire” they were not given rights under or protected by the Constitution as US citizens were (Document H).

This lack of rights for natives in these lands opened the door to abuses and despotism from the United States government as well as other entities for instance big business, trying to serve their own needs and desires at any cost. The similarities between both states of US expansionism are represented both in its attitude toward its own expansion and in its handling of the existing populaces in the areas acquired. The more recent imperial period beginning in the late 1800s was also in numerous key facets a departure from previous US policies and preceding expansionism.

To begin there was a major difference in venue between the two periods. During the early era US expansion was limited to the North American continent only spreading out and making larger the already existing American nation to the surrounding area. This mostly consisted of westward extension toward the Pacific Ocean, and the settling largely wooded country side that was quite relatively scarcely populated with only a number of Native American Indian tribes. However the latter era was a more global form of expansion.

Instead of having growth limited to the continent and immediate area the US began to obtain colonies and territories thousands of miles away in other parts of the world such as the Philippines, the only official colony, Puerto Rico, and Guam. According to the father of the modern US navy, Admiral Alfred T. Mahan the US had to start looking outward to distant territorial options due to the increasing need for raw materials and other growing production needs, an expansionistic desire form the American public, and the geographic position of the nation between the Atlantic and Pacific (Document C).

The perceived need to keep up with the growing colonial possessions and therefore wealth and power of the European nations was also a driving force behind this colonizing outward look. The US had fallen behind in this arena as shown in works like Thomas Nast’s “The World Plunderers”, which shows the dominant European nations of Germany, England, and Russia taking land off different regions of the globe. The US is not however represented here among these powerful colonizing nations, serving to show how far behind the US was in that way and how it did not play as large or powerful role as these other countries (Document A).

These new colonial territories were not made up of under populated wilderness ready for settlement, but instead were populated and held developed native societies with their own customs that the US government had to deal with. This type of new era colonial style interaction is exemplified in events like the Filipino revolt against their American rulers for independence. Not only did US expansion change becoming more global, but US diplomatic expansionism foreign policy changed as well.

During the initial time of expansionism the US foreign policy was focused on expansion through the gaining of land. While during the later time the US was still fixated on the attainment of land gains they began to also focus on expansion through the expansion of American influence throughout the world. During this time the US became somewhat less isolationist and introverted and looked to expand trade with other nations and sway over other nations rather than real “colonial” control.

The goal of the United States was according to Senator Albert J Beveridge in the 1900 to use its colonial possession of the Philippines to control the Pacific Ocean, which he believed to be “the ocean of the commerce of the future”. This control over the Pacific would supposedly allow the US unrestricted trade with Asia, making it “the power that rules the world” (Document E). This idea in practice resulted in the institution of the open door policy. This policy nvolved the forceful persuasion of China by the United States to engage in trading with the US and other European powers. To keep from fighting between these powers separate “spheres of influence” were set up for each colonial power in which they could trade and conduct business as they pleased. This policy worked well making the US arguably the largest and most important foreign power in the region as shown by the political cartoon “American Diplomacy” (Document G).

The United States also opened up Japan to trade with the Commodore Perry’s expedition to the nation in 1853. These types of influence foreign diplomacy were not only employed by the US in the Pacific but in the Latin America as well with particular regard to Central America. This was known as the Roosevelt Corollary, President Roosevelt’s interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine that required the US to interfere in the affairs of countries affected by wrongdoing and or impotence of the Western Hemisphere not for land but for the “welfare” of such countries (Document F).

The Platt Amendment helped to support and legitimized the Corollary by guarantying US participation in Cuban dealings, both foreign and domestic and appeared to be at the time quite a success. The practice of dollar diplomacy took US influence over the Latin American to a new level by using both political and military authority to safeguard US citizens’ investments in the regions. This was used when President Taft sent US marines into Nicaragua in 1912 in order to keep safe American business interests.

Such policies served to expand American control through increase in indirect influence instead of an increase in land and colonization. The variances between the old and new ways of expansion manifest themselves primarily in the change from continental territory gains to globally and the shift from a singular expansion attention on land to a attention on influence based expansion. United States expansionism has undergone changes throughout the years and at the same time stayed constant in many respects.

Expansionism from the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century was a continuation of past expansionism in that the religious and superiority driven attitude toward expansionism and the treatment of those already occupying the colonized areas remained the same. However it was a departure from previous expansionism because of its more global connotations and its focus on diplomatic influence as opposed to land. It is evident that regardless of their specific differences the old era of US expansion and the new era are their own distinct entities.

Categories
Free Essays

Progressivism from the Grassroots to the Whitehouse

Progressivism from the Grass Roots to the White House (1890-1916) Political movements in history coincide with momentous revolutions. Here in the United States, the industrial boom brought about the growth of large railroads, development of corporations, rapid expansion in urban areas and new socio-economic defined groups. In 1886 progressivism began in the United States in response to the rapid modernization and the accompanying social ills. Progressivism was defined as the “political movement that addresses ideas, impulses and issues stemming from modernization of American society.

Emerging at the end of the nineteenth century, it established much of the tone of American politics throughout the first half of the century” (Harriby, 1999). The United States was experiencing a period of urban growth, economic distress, labor unrest, unemployment, low wages, unfair labor practices, and deplorable living conditions. Large numbers of international immigrants arrived daily to work in this newly established industrialized society, while escaping the harsh realities of their native countries.

As the shift from agriculture to industry/manufacturing droves of people relocated from rural to urban northern communities. As in most societies, the focus had moved to commerce versus the needs of the people. In the midst of a religious awakening after visiting the settlement house in London, England, Jane Addams noted how this new movement was impacting London and challenged social Darwinism’s theory of survival of the fitness. Families were bettered because of the social work being done. She and a fellow seminary student, Lillian Wald started the Hull House in the Chicago ghetto.

This mansion became the center of life for thousands of immigrants, launching the settlement house movement in the United States. The houses confronted the social problems by reforming individuals and society. Efficiency and expertise became the watchwords of the progressive vocabulary. Children’s services were provided, namely nurseries, kindergarten and afterschool programs, mothers were taught simple skills and working women later formed trade unions for laborers. Training programs were developed to ensure that welfare and charity work would be undertaken by trained professionals.

Child labor laws were enacted giving children the opportunity t to go to school, organized labor unions were formed supporting goals of eight-hour work days, improved safety and health conditions, workers’ compensation laws and minimum wages for women. The movement picked up momentum and was joined by church leaders seeking social purity by pushing prohibition. Progressivism became prominent at every level of government, giving voters direct voice in legislative and judicial matters with initiatives, referendum and recall.

Some of the notable politicians who subscribed to the progressivism philosophy were: Mayor Thomas Lofton Johnson from Cleveland, Ohio who fought for fair taxation. Hiram Johnson, California Governor (1911-1917) and U. S. Senator (1917-1945), promised to return the government to the people free of corruption and corporate influence. The focus became to give honest public service. From 1901 to 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt steered away from the persistent passivity of his predecessors and promised the American people a Square Deal, emphasizing that the average citizen would get a fair share under his policies.

He demonstrated his willingness to challenge large corporations (trusts) by using the power of the government to control businesses. He championed the railroad reform giving power to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), the establishment of the Pure Food and Drug Act (banning impure or falsely labeled food and drugs from being made, sole and shipped) and the Meat Inspection Act (banning misleading labels and preservatives that contained harmful chemicals).

One of his most lasting legacies was his significant role in the creation of 150 National Forests, five national parks, and 18 national monuments, among other works of conservation. In total, Roosevelt was instrumental in the conservation of approximately 230 million acres (930,000 km2) of American soil among various parks and other federal projects (I. E. Cadenhead, 1974). Initially the Progressive movement sought to improve the lives of white middle class citizens, it than expanded to include women and lower classes.

Many of the core principles of the Progressive Movement focused on the need for efficiency in all areas of society. Purification to eliminate waste and corruption was a powerful element” (DeSantis, 2000). Jane Addams once said, “Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation” (Jane Addams). Now the movement encompasses persons whose civil rights are challenged, such as the minorities, such as: GLBT (Gay rights), immigrants, and Socialists.

The self applied term is generally used by people to the left of the Democratic party. Some of the well known progressives include Cornel West, Al Gore, John Edwards, Ralph Nader, the late Ted Kennedy. Modern issues for progressives can include: electoral reform, environmental conservation, pollution control, same-sex marriage, reproductive rights, universal health care, death penalty, and affordable housing.

Categories
Free Essays

China’s Threat to the United States Economy

For the last twenty eight years, China has been quickly growing into one of the largest economies in the world. China has accomplished this feat, in part, by radically changing their policies on trade and free market interactions with other countries. During this process, China has bought approximately one hundred trillion dollars of United States debt in the form of Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and Inflation Protected Securities (Amadeo). This debt has given China leverage against the United States which has enabled China to keep the value of the United States dollar high, while keeping the value of the Chinese yuan low.

As the inflation of the dollar continues to negatively affect the United States economy, China has become an economic superpower. Recently, concern has risen that China is a threat to the economy of the United States. China has become a perceived threat to the United States economy because of the increasing trade deficit between the two countries, the ability to undercut production costs of similar products produced in the United States, and the amount of leverage that China has over the United States due to the amount of money that has been lent by the Communist nation.

Trade deficits between countries are caused when a country imports more goods from one country than they export to that same country. In the case of the United States and China, there is approximately a two hundred and twenty five billion dollar trade deficit (Prassad). The United States imports nearly three hundred and thirty five billion dollars worth of goods and services from China, while exporting only a little more than eighty billion dollars worth of goods and services to the growing economic power (CRS).

The disparity in trade between the two countries results in a flooding of Chinese made products that force their United States competitors to lower production costs. In many cases, lowering production cost of domestic products results in either the closing of these businesses or the outsourcing of jobs. Both of these cause the loss of jobs in the United States. One of the reasons that the United States has been unable to lessen the trade deficit is China’s ability to undercut production costs of similar products made in the United States (Elwell 27) China’s overall cost of living is much lower than their United States counterparts (Amadeo).

Therefore, they are able to produce goods and hire labor at a much lower price. One of the main reasons for this economic statistic is China’s population. It is nearly three times that of the United States, giving China a much larger work force to produce electronics, automobiles, and clothing at a fraction of the United States production cost (CIA). Not only does this negatively affect employment in the United States, but it also impacts their ability to compete on the global market.

Industries that involve manufacturing, such as automobiles, computers, and electronics have decreased by thirty four percent since 1998 (Prasad). This has a negative effect on the amount of goods that the United States can export. Finally, China has gained a certain amount of leverage affecting the United States economic policies, due in part, to the amount of money that China has loaned the United States. Starting in the early 1980’s, every time the value of the dollar would drop, China would buy Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and Inflation Protected Securities to keep the dollar stable in value (Elwell 36).

After nearly thirty years of this practice, the United States has come to depend on Chinese loans to maintain its currency value and China has come to own a majority of United States debt. This imbalance of debt has created a number of different scenarios that could bring about potential political and economic problems for the United States. China could theoretically cash in their treasuries and bonds tomorrow, which would cause the United States dollar to suffer massive inflation. While this scenario is not necessarily in China’s best interest right now, the possibility should concern the United States government.

Instead, China could use their debt leverage to impact foreign trade policies and more importantly domestic political policies that budget how the United States spends its tax dollars (Elwell 22). China has become a perceived threat to the U. S. economy because of the increasing trade deficit between the two countries, their ability to undercut production costs of similar products produced in the United States, and the amount of leverage that China has over the United States due to amount of money that has been lent by China.

Although the United States has taken steps to close the trade deficit, such as convincing China to raise prices on their exports, there is still a considerable gap (Prasad). The United States government continues to print money that they simply can’t afford, therefore, relying even more heavily on China sustaining the value of their currency. Unless the United States is able to close the trade deficit and regain control of our economic flexibility, the problems caused by foreign countries owning our debt will remain eminent.

Categories
Free Essays

Challenging Obstacles for Immigrants

Many people migrate to the USA for several reasons, to get better life. As we all know the USA is highly developed economically and technologically, and it can become a different world to most immigrants. Thus, immigrants face various challenges during the first and second year of their entrance in to the USA. Among the challenges, language, getting a job and culture are common for most of immigrants. The first challenge for immigrants is the language barrier. Since English is the second or third language for most immigrants, they face a lot of problems to communicate.

Although, immigrants have some knowledge of English, the pronunciation of most words is different. So they can’t understand and communicate very easily. Furthermore, the accent of native speakers, Mexicans, Black Americans, and Chinese is different. This complicates the communication and creates stress for immigrants. For example, I came to the USA recently. I have some knowledge of English, but when I took my kids to the hospitals, go to shopping, and even when I was applying to this college, I found people who use different pronunciation and accent.

Sometimes, I heard 50% to 90% of what people said and likewise they were not able to understand me, even though I was talking in English. As a result, “I’m sorry”, “say again”, “pardon” were my day to day words I used and heard for a couple of months. Therefore, language is the first big challenge that all immigrants face. The second challenging obstacle for immigrants is getting a job. Since language is a problem for immigrants, most of them failed in job interviews. Even though they are educated and professionals in their home country, it costs and takes time for their education to be accepted here.

Thus, getting a job is tough. Especially now, following the economic crisis of the world, there are many layoffs and getting a job is like a miracle to most immigrants. In addition, the jobs available for immigrants are manual labor jobs that are tiresome. These jobs may also have fewer hours and surely have minimum pay. Therefore, immigrants will be forced to find another tiresome job to cover their living expenses. But getting another job is another worry for immigrants. Here I am going to give my husband’s experiences.

As soon as we reached America and got our social security numbers, my husband tried to search and apply for jobs. After several months and trial, he got a part time job with minimum wage. His salary is not enough to cover our expenses, and now he is searching another job, but none has been found. Thus, following the language barrier, getting a job is a big challenging to immigrants. Culture is the third challenge that immigrants face here. Immigrants have their own cultures and living styles in their home country.

The culture of dressing, talking, eating, social life etc… is different here from immigrants’ home country. For example, here man and woman can kiss on the lips anywhere, but this is taboo in my country, Ethiopia. Another example is the way girls’ dress, here girls can wear whatever they like such as shorts and mini dresses. However, in my country, this is not accepted and girls should wear clothes that don’t expose their body. Thus, they should wear shorts and dresses which are below to their knees. The other thing here people eat their food anywhere; they can even eat walking on the street.

However, in my country people, especially girls, cannot walk on the street while eating or drinking. There are several customs here that are counted as taboo in my culture. Therefore, the cultural differences make immigrants to be confused and shocked until they accustomed to it. As time passes, immigrants will manage and defeat the obstacles through several exposures and practice. Then, after passing through the obstacles, immigrants will enjoy a better life and even be in higher positions like senators, vice-presidents and also president of America.

Categories
Free Essays

How the American Revolution Got Started

The events that took place before the American Revolution affected history in such a way giving the British and colonists the need to have a Revolution. The French and Indian war is the name for the war that took place between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. The aftermath of this war was a big part leading up to the American Revolution. The war changed economic, political, and social relations between the three European powers (Britain, France, and Spain) their colonies and colonists, and the natives that occupied the territories they demanded.

The war finally ended with the signing of the treaty of Paris in 1763. France and Britain suffered financially because of the war. The stamp act came along in 1765, this was a direct tax imposed by the British parliament on the colonies. The act required that almost all printed materials must be produced on stamped paper. This consisted of legal documents, magazines, newspapers etc. The purpose of this tax was to pay for troops stationed in North America after the British Victory in the seven years’ war. The stamp Act congress was a meeting of representatives from the thirteen colonies.

They discussed and acted upon the stamp act that was passed by the governing parliament of Great Britain, and did not include any representatives from the colonies. The congress then put together the declaration of the stamp act congress, which was fourteen points of colonial protest. They issued it to the king and parliament in hopes of repealing the stamp act. The Townsend acts were a series of laws passed beginning in 1767 by the Great Britain parliament in relation to the British colonies in North America, The acts being named after Charles Townshend who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Overall this was an internal tax on economic activity within a single colony; Townsend wanted the external taxes which was an economic activity that goes through a colony and into other parts of the country. Such as paint, glass, tea etc. He thought we should use the money to pay the colonial governor, other parliaments and the king’s salaries. Another event was the Boston massacre, an incident that happened in March of 1770. It started out as a street fight, the civilians being mad at the British for taxing everything and ended in Britain redcoats killing five civilians.

This caused a lot rebellion in the British American colonies leading us towards the American Revolution. Five years later Shots were heard around the world. Paul Revere on April 18th yelled out the British regulars are coming! The first shot was fired by the British in Lexington, and then they went to Concord. Then our militia stopped them and turned them back to Boston. This was the start of the revolution, minute men were ready to stand in a minutes warning. The colonists were not going to stand for the British taking over their land and taxing them on all of their goods, so they fought for their rights.

US constitution There were proposals at the philadelphia constitution convention in 1787. These proposals were the virginia plan, and the new jersey plan that people did not like. The US contitution was ratified after the Great compromise came into effect. Otherwise known as the conneticut plan. This consisted of a strong national government (tax, raising an army, regulated trade, and supremed laws). Another was the seperation of powers between legislative and executive. Also there would be two houses of congress, the senate and the House of Representatives.

The states would be able to choose their US senators. Lastly there was the slavery 3/5th compromise meaning a slave counts as 3/5 of a person. When the U. S. Constitution was presented to the states, many people chose to be either Federalists or Anti-Federalists. Virginia and many other states were against the Constitution because there was no bill of rights included in it. James Madison was known as the “Father of the Constitution”, and he and Alexander Hamilton were two Federalists who supported the Constitution and explicated it in the Federalist papers (1788).

On the other side George Mason, an Anti-Federalist, opposed the Constitution. Federalist (James madison) wanted a stronger government and argued to ratify the constitution. The US constitution will control factions which is a group of people with a common interest and economic seek to control government for own benefit. 1. ) Also the bigger the better in a national government, multiple factions will cancel one another out. 2. ) WE will choose the best among us to govern for the common good (republicanism) Anti Federalists – opposed to ratifying the constitution

Partrick henry thought things were okay before the philadalphia convention and we were at peace. He also thought a large government would have to resort to tyranny to control everything menaing a loss of individual rights. He thought we should have lumped the states into a consolidated government. Samuel bryan thought governing over such a large area would be unable to address local concerns. Richard henry lee didn’t know it would be such a huge change.

Categories
Free Essays

Pilgrim Fathers

The pilgrim fathers where different to other colonists because when they arrived in America they did not explore the land. The pilgrim fathers stayed at the beach, set up camp and survived badly. The pilgrim fathers where extremely religious. They would not sing any song or do any dance because it distracted their memory when they talked to god. The pilgrim fathers where ordinary people with ordinary jobs such as a black smith or farmers. When the pilgrim fathers travelled to America they had a lot of problems.

They travelled with about 20 people on a very small boat. This made many people sick. The boat was so cramped that 2 men died and a baby was born! On the journey they didn’t have any materials with them so they could not do anything to fix the boat. They struggled heavily. It took them 65 days to travel across the ocean and land in America. They arrived on January the 4th 1920. It was extremely cold where they stayed. When the pilgrim fathers met Squanto it was like meeting god for them. This is because Squanto was fluent at English and he knew how to survive.

Squanto taught the pilgrim fathers how to fish herring, how to plant corn his way and how to survive the winter. The Indians respected the land and shared it with everyone. No one owned any piece of land. However, the English wanted to trade land and keep it for themselves. The Indians did not like this because they considered their land as a god. The native Americans (Indians), taught the English to eat pumpkin pie and corn. This was very strange for the English because it wasn’t part of their usual diet. This is remembered on the 25th of November in America. They call it ‘thanks giving’.

Categories
Free Essays

The Impact on Americanization Process

The impact on Americanization process involves enormous movements of people across oceans and continents bringing different cultures into contact and sometimes into conflict (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009 p. 391). They all searched for better lives and more freedom. Native Americans and poor immigrants were pushed aside by continuing the westward expansion (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009 p. 391). Parents and tribal leaders protested the brutality of this coercive Americanization but they were no way to stop it (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009 p. 394).

Some Native American women earned English and other skills in the boarding school programs they had. Some got jobs and worked for reservation agencies and became teachers. For example, Susan la Flesche became the first white trained Native woman physician. She was also the first person to receive federal aid for education. Sussette la Flesche was a writer and speaker on behalf of Indian causes (DuBoise & Dumenil, 2009 p. 395). Americanization program became harsher especially during WWI. I believe this is why some women resisted and other supported.

Immigrant mothers and daughters confronted America very differently (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009 p. 408). Young immigrant women did domestic labor and factory work. Mexicans, Germans, Polish met the demand for servants. Most of these young workers lived with parents or relatives and had to give the earnings to them. Immigrant mothers had responsibility to preserve the way to become Americanize themselves and their families. They cooked traditional foods and followed religious beliefs while the husbands made a family living (DuBois & Dumenil, 2009 p. 410).

The immigrant’s journey women had many obstacles during their journey. It took ten to twenty days to cross and it was in unhealthy conditions as well. I could imagine women that were pregnant or with little ones and how hard it was. I am Hispanic I have seen many immigrants’ women trying to cross and some don’t even survive now days. It is hard and some get abused on the way in crossing. I guess many things haven’t changed but it is better than before. In conclusion Native American women had it hard. I believe African American women had it the worse. Boarding schools helped many along the way.

Categories
Free Essays

North American Free Trade Agreement and Company Fruit

1. Why did many textile jobs apparently migrate out of the United States in the years after the establishment of NAFTA?

Jobs migrated out of the United States because where the average labor for US was $10 to $12 an hour compared to rates in Mexico at $10 to $12 a day. For example, the company Fruit of the Loom Inc. would benefit more and increase their revenue by paying their employee’s less to perform the job. It is also stated that NAFTA was credited with helping crease increase political stability in Mexico. So this could be another reason for the Jobs migrating out of the United States.

2. Who gained from the process of readjustment in the textile industry after NAFTA? Who lost?

Due to this readjustment in which the United States jobs migrated to Mexico had a major effect on workers in the textile mills in the United States. But indeed had a great benefit on consumers in the US. It stated that employment in textile mills dropped from 478,000to 239,000, employment in apparel plummeted from 858,000 to 296,000. This shows that a great amount of workers were left empty handed searching for new employment. But on the other hand, this adjustment made it more reasonable for people like myself.

Due to textiles moving to Mexico, prices dropped on clothing. Now it makes it easier for consumers to buy clothing at a cheaper price rather than spending a lot of money just to do so. This shows that the market will grow because people can and willing to spend more money at the cheaper rate. In this case, Mexico and U.S will benefit. Mexico would increase jobs as low cost production moves south. And U.S will increase a prosperous market and lower the prices for consumers from goods produced in Mexico. Especially when prices are at a discounted rate.

3. With hindsight, do you think it is better to protect vulnerable industries such as textiles, or to let them adjust to the painful winds of change that follow entering into free trade agreements? What would the benefits of cost of protection be? What would the costs be?

I have a two-sided opinion on this matter. I feel that in a way we should protect industries such as the textiles because jobs would be lost and wages levels would decline tremendously in the United States and Canada. Mexican workers would emigrate north and pollution would increase due to Mexico’s more lax standards. And also Mexico would also lose its sovereignty which is not an important factor. But on the other hand, we shouldn’t protect because this would prosper in the market & benefit the consumers.

Categories
Free Essays

Women in Congress

Why do you think so few women and racial minorities have been elected to Congress? That is a question that can come with many different answers. In my opinion, I believe that there is a different reason between women and minorities for their lack of success in Congress. Both reasons involve the past, but in different ways.

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 members in the House of the Representatives. The Senate has 100 members. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election.

The main reason why women and minorities are not popular in Congress is because of descriptive representation. Descriptive representation is a belief that constituents are represented effectively by legislators who are similar to them (Challenge of Democracy). The characters that qualify are race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. That is the main factor why there are so few women and minorities in Congress. Due to the past, the demographic characteristic is a white male.

As far as African American activity in government goes, a lot of progress has been made. In the past slavery kept blacks from being involved at all. They slowly made progress when they were counted as 3/5th of a person. Then they moved on to being free persons, and from then the African Americans moved on. There were many influential blacks to America. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were two very important people. They changed America for the better and helped African Americans advance in life.

African Americans began serving in Congress during the Reconstruction Era after slaves were freed and granted citizen rights. Free black men gained political representation in the South. White Democrats took back political power and tried to return white supremacy. Legislatures lowered voting for blacks by passing tougher voter laws. As a result of the African American Civil Rights Movement, Congress passed laws to end segregation and protect civil rights and voting rights.

When Congress changed the Voting Rights Acts in 1982, the states made districts that put minorities together. They thought it would make it a better chance for African Americans and Hispanics to be elected into office. They fixed the “make-up” of the districts.

Women were never seen as a necessity in the business world in the past. They were not useful when it came to farming in men’s eyes. They were always needed to do the household chores and making sure the kids were being taken care of. Men believed that women were not as strong as men. It was as if they were not as important as men. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920, and before then not many women were involved in the government (Women in Congress). If you could not choose who was going to make decisions for you, why would you even be concerned? There was only one state, New Jersey, who allowed women to vote for 17 years (1790-1807). The only way they could vote was if they fit the land requirements.

I believe though that the reason why there are so few women and minorities in Congress is because America is not ready to change. They are stuck on the way things were before and never trying new things. People are not willing to even give a woman the time of day, even if she has great ideas. It would be someone they brush off because women aren’t smarter than men.

Minorities are not even considered an option in Congress just because of their title as a “minority”. There are a minor amount of minorities and it is hard to find the ones that are determined to better themselves in life. It is almost as if they’ve given up on trying to become an image breaker. Everyone believes in the descriptive representation and that is why minorities are not involved in the government (Congress vs. Minorities).

As the years have progressed though there is one man that I must give credit to for making a huge advancement for minorities in government, Barack Obama. He had many obstacles to overcome to get there. There were many people that told him he didn’t stand a chance in the race. He was determined and he now is sitting in the office as President of the United States.

Demographic groups have always been a large role in Congress. The groups consist of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. The groups vote for people that are in the considerable same group as them. For example, if a Catholic runs against a Jew, most Catholics would vote for the Catholic.

In 2050, there will be remarkably many different things going on in the world. There is a chance that a black woman will be the President. A Hispanic male might be the Speaker of the House. Global Warming could be done for, and New Orleans could possibly be submerged underwater. All possibilities of what the world could be like in 40 years.

I believe that the world will have a new outlook on things and demographic groups will not exist so prevalently. I think people will be able to make decisions based on their own likings and not what their “group” is doing. People are becoming more independent in their choices in 2010, so 40 years from now the world’s mindset will be free.

To support my reasoning on people being independent now is through the example of Obama winning the presidential election. I believe that people stepped out of their demographic group on their voting choice. Yes, most African Americans voted for Obama, but even the African Americans affiliated with a different religion voted for him. White people stepped out of their religion and race to vote for Obama.

I still believe demographic groups will exist, just not so commonly. Those that are stuck to traditions and keeping things the way they were will still be apart of the group. They will consist of less people, but there will be enough to rock a vote. Hopefully, the demographic groups will just completely wipe out and let people use their minds.

I want Americans to be able to make their own decisions. The reason why there are so few women and minorities in Congress has to do with choices made my Americans. African Americans that want to run for a position in Congress probably find it pointless due to the demographic groups. They feel that they shouldn’t waste their time since they already know the outcome especially if they run against a white male. Hopefully having Obama in office will give other minorities and women incentive to pursue their dream to be involved in the government.

The entire controversy will continue for years though. These have just been my personal opinion mixed in with facts. The ideas for the future I have are very well thought out, and I hope to see the progress in the future. If African Americans can go from being slaves to running the United States; I think it is more than possible for people to become more independent in their own thoughts and decisions.