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Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)

OVERVIEW
Our group decided it would be an interesting topic to research on the
motivation of America regarding intervention in humanitarian crisis. The two
options one could choose from was whether America should be motivated by
our morals, or whether America should be motivated by our interests. We
gave out a survey and asked for some of the citizens opinions.
HYPOTHESIS
In my opinion, I thought the majority of people we surveyed would
answer that America should be motivated by our personal interests and wellbeing. The reasoning behind this is so America can be safe economically
first, so it can start spending money on other countries to help them. If we
just start spending money that we dont have on other countries before we
can help ourselves, it would cause our economy to collapse because we
dont know how to spend money correctly. If America has a solid foundation,
and is safe from any economic downfall, than it would be a no brainer to help
out those foreign countries. However, to my surprise, this was not the
answers we got.
METHODOLOGY
Originally, the survey was intended to target high schoolers opinions.
However, I thought it would be more interesting to spread our margins and
include middle schoolers, and grown adults. We printed out our question and
distributed the questions to these various groups. Then we gathered our
information for analysis. The specific question we asked was: Should America
be motivated by our morals (saving innocent civilians in crisis, doing what is
right) or by our interests (trade, economy, will America benefit from it,
international relationships), regarding intervention in humanitarian crisis
where innocent civilians are at risk? i.e. genocides, civil wars, etc. This
question was too broad and had too much information packed into it to
warrant a single answer of morals or interests. So our group decided to
require an explanation as to why each person chose the choice they did. This
allowed us to gather even more information concerning the peoples opinions
regarding humanitarian crisis. We also thought it would be interesting to hear
what people thought, and to hear across the age spectrum and their points
of view.
RESULTS
The results that we got were surprisingly one sided, on the fact that
18/20 people thought that America should be motivated by our morals.
Though 90% of these people thought it vital for America to be motivated by
their morals, the reasoning behind their choice is very peculiar.
One middle schooler's opinion at the age of fifteen claimed that doing
the right thing and helping others is what makes us human. Though this

Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)

opinion may be overly simplified, it serves an important principle. We all


have a set of morals, and helping each other is what defines people. It gives
them character. However, seeing as this opinion is only that of a middle
schooler. This particular person may not entirely grasp the massiveness of
the question at hand, and the consequences of sacrificing resources in order
to help another country.
Another middle schooler of the age of fifteen claims that America was
built on morals and values. This person claims that we should stay true to
that principle. She also claims that money and economic values are
important, but not as important as doing the right thing. Trying to come
from as much of an unbiased approach as possible, it can be hard to do the
right thing without the adequate amount of money. Then again, this is only
the perspective of a middle schooler who doesnt have the greatest amount
of education.
On another account, another middle schooler of the age of fifteen also
claims that America should be motivated by our morals. This person thinks
that by utilizing our forces towards the helping of people would give a huge
decrease of problems. He also claims that we wouldnt be as successful in
trade and economy, we would be more successful in other important areas.
Though his answer is somewhat vague, he brings up a good point. Doing
good to other countries, may actually be beneficial for America economically.
This middle schooler could have implied that investing money into other
countries to better their economy, might help us in the long run because
they are able to help us in our time of need if the need ever arises. It is like I
scratch your back, you scratch mine type deal. Helping others would also
cause us to be successful in our rapport with every other nation in the world.
They will look upon us as a force for good. It is possible however that other
countries would take advantage of that fact. They could act as if they are
wounded, and we would send aid, be it financially, militarily, or medically,
our forces could be spread thin, then that particular country could use that to
their advantage and strike us leaving us helpless. This is where his
assumption of a huge decrease in the amount of problems we have would
be incorrect. But there is no correct or incorrect opinion, because this is a
hypothetical scenario.
This next person of the age of fourteen brings up another thought
provoking point. She says that Money is not worth more than a human. She
also says that we should do the right thing because innocent people are
dying right in front of our eyes.
She says that we should do something,
but doesnt specify what that action is that we should do. Think about it. How
much is an actual human life worth? Can you peg a price on it? Surely, in the
early years of America slavery was a popular lifestyle. This point of view
causes conflict with the reasoning of another person that was surveyed. That
person said that America was based off of these morals, so we should hold
true to them now. She may have thought that America was founded upon

Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)

morals, but in all reality, it was based off of Americas interests. America was
more interested in divorcing itself from Great Britain, this may not have been
morally sound to Great Britain, but it was for the best interest in America.
Also, if America was based off of morals, than slavery would not have been
such a major part of our history. However, the interests of the American
economy was more prevalent then, and so slavery became an object of
reality. This was not morally a correct thing to do, but economically, it was
invaluable. Was there a way for America to gain its wealth by other means?
Possibly, but there is no changing the past, and slavery was indeed a part of
our history. This is proof that America valued money more than people. Or at
least it was true of the south. It wasnt until years after the civil war that
people were becoming more morally situated by banishing slavery. Perhaps
this was Americas way of becoming economically sound before becoming
more of a moral place by getting rid of slavery. But this person who said
money isnt worth more than a human, has a common opinion of everyone
else who took the survey.
One final teenager of the age of fifteen, who also voted for morals has
another reason that he shared. He thinks that America will always have other
opportunities to get more money, and that we should not stand idly by and
let people die. By other opportunities he could have meant by trading with
other countries, for example, if a country is committing genocide, we
wouldnt want to trade with them, he suggests that we spend money to stop
that genocide, and trade with other countries elsewhere. He suggests that
even though we are spending money on saving these people, we wont
necessarily be putting our own wealth at risk. This is a good point, because
helping people is not where all of Americas expenses lie. That suggest some
sort of flaw within the question being asked itself. Is there really a difference
in Morals and interests? That could be a subject of research for another time.
As for the next piece of research. The adult, older generation and their
point of view. For this next individual of the age of 24, he had quite the
opinion to be voiced. He claimed that ultimately America should be
motivated by morals. He said that everyones morals are all defined
differently from one person to another. One person may think that one thing
is moral and others may think that it is not. But the main part of his
argument was targeted towards investing in other countries. He said that in
the long run, you are going to get what you give. This principle is true, if you
help a country out with their humanitarian crises and then they get on their
own feet, we are going to benefit. One, we will have a good rapport with that
country, and we will be better able to establish trade relations which will
ultimately benefit the economy. So we must invest our money in our moral
standards first, to be rewarded later on.
Another educated citizen of the United States of the age of 38 had his
opinion to offer. He also agrees that we should be motivated by our morals.
He says that if we believe as a country that all people have the right to Life,

Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)

Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Then when we as a country see people
who have those rights being taken away from them, it is our responsibility to
help them regardless if they are citizens of this country. He also says that we
shouldnt fight for freedom only for citizens of this country, but for all. He is
right that we should not be selfish in our ways of relishing in our own civic
rights. He thinks that having these rights is good, because it is good for him.
He also thinks that these rights should be imposed/granted to others. This is
where we as a people of America have to be careful. If we just start to go
imposing our culture on others, it could be received as an act of aggression
to other cultures. It is not very likely, but it could happen. We just have to be
careful what rights people will be offended of, and make sure that it is for
their best interest, not for ours.
Another citizen of the age of 49 agrees that America should be
motivated by our morals. She claims that no matter what, America should
stop genocides from ever happening. But when it comes to civil wars, she
says that there are too many factors, and that they need to duke it out
themselves. She also made a comment on immigration, she does not agree
with it. She thinks that countries should figure out their own problems. She
also says that we should help provide safe havens for the innocent civilians
who truly need help and try to do this within their own country. We dont
need to completely discount our interests, however we should not be
capitalizing on others problems. One final comment was made, that we
need to be moral humans and take care and protect those vulnerable to
inhumanity. It all boils down to how you define morality, and humanity. Who
gets to define these principals? America? No, but the people of the world. If
we collectively agree upon a sound set of morals of helping out others, our
world might be filled with less strife.
Upon asking an elderly citizen of the age of 70 of the United States, a
more contested answer was given. She said that it is easy to say we should
be motivated by our morals in saving innocent civilians, but talking
internationally it is more difficult. The United States is where our energy
needs to be directed, she says. We need to be strong economically and that
we need to control our own destiny. She is more leaned towards the interests
of America but isnt discrediting morality either. If we are not strong
economically than we will not have the money therefore, the opportunity to
help others quickly diminishes. Our own country would diminish too, and we
would fall and become like those countries who are in need of humanitarian
aid. If we can gain control of our destiny, and make sure we do not fall as a
nation, then we would be a very strong force to reckon with because we will
have good relations with other countries because we can actually afford to
spend the time and resources on them so we can reap the benefits and
favors that are owed to us. If we have a strong foundation, we can help
others without falling into their own demise.

Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)

The last opposing opinion of morality is a middle aged citizen of 47


who claims that America should be first motivated by our interests. We need
to make sure we have a strong nation and economy and that we return to
our founding principles. Lets strengthen our Nation first and then when we
are strong and are or have returned to sound constitutional principles that
we will be in a much better position to reach out globally. If our Nation, its
people, the body of politics etc. are strong and guided by principles that have
worked (historically speaking), we will have a strong economy and we can
then teach other peoples and nations to do the same. We will be far more
effective during humanitarian or other crisis with a strong foundation. We
ought to at such times respond to any or all invitations of come and help.
These opinions from the interest point of view seem more educated. They
do want to help other people and things like that, but they also think that we
cannot readily sacrifice our own well-being to give it to others. We have to
secure it, and then reach out to others.
Both groups who supported the moral side and the interest side,
agreed that it was a good thing to help other people out. The difference
between the two groups was the order in which the help is administered. In
the moral aspect, the people said that we should help no matter what the
repercussions are, because ultimately we are going to get back what we
give. That is not guaranteed and that speculation is where the difference is
drawn between the moral group and the interest group. The interest group
are interested in our own wellbeing and the security of our own rights before
we reach out to help others, because reaching out to foreign people can be a
risky thing. It can go many ways. It can help you in the long run, or you could
unknowingly be cradling up a country who is hell-bent on seeking retribution
to those who may have caused their strife in the first place. And if that
country is hostile, and we did not secure our own economy and country, we
would be easy pickings for them.
CONCLUSION
Over all, the majority of the people who responded were in favor for
our moralistic values to be offered to other countries first, and not our
interests. Our survey could have gone better if we found more opinions on
the matter and had a bigger range of people. The opinions of teenagers
arent the best opinions to be basing your project off of, because not all of
them are educated to a full level of comprehension. Targeting an older
population could be beneficial because you get more of a thought out
response. Further suggestions include having a better written question. Many
of the people we surveyed complained that the question was way to vague
and was a tricky question to answer because there really isnt a huge
controversy to interests and morality. So make the question easier to follow
and more specific.

Poli Sci Project 1

Ben Wright
(With Jen Ha & Quinten Gish)