Université Sidi Mohamed BenAbdellah Faculté Des Lettres et Sciences Humaines- Saiss * Fes Culture & Society of the U.S. in a Globalized World (Spring 2012, S2)

―We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.‖ -The Declaration of Independence

―We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.‖ -Preamble to the United States Constitution


Université Sidi Mohamed BenAbdellah Faculté Des Lettres et Sciences Humaines- Saiss * Fes Culture & Society of the U.S. in a Globalized World (Spring 2012, S2)
Professor : Ms. Maddie Koch Course Description
This course will give you a solid background in the basis of American ideology and political systems, including opposition and civil rights movements. We will focus on excerpts from original texts such as the Constitution and presidential speeches. We will also use newspaper articles to analyze American politics and position in world affairs. In addition, this course will address the US economy and educational system, as well as the vocabulary associated with all of the topics above. The curriculum assumes that students already have a basic understanding of American culture and history.

Required Materials to bring to class every week
-an English dictionary -this course packet -notepaper, pen/pencil

Honor Code.......................................................................................................................................................... 4 Cheating........................................................................................................................................................... 4 Plagiarism ........................................................................................................................................................ 4 The Basis of American Government .................................................................................................................... 6 The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) ............................................................................................. 6 The Constitution of the United States of America (1787) ............................................................................... 7 The Bill of Rights (1791)................................................................................................................................... 8 ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World (2011) ........................................................... 9 American Rhetoric: Presidents & Their Speeches ............................................................................................ 12 Farewell Address, Washington (1796) .......................................................................................................... 12 The Gettysburg Address, Lincoln (1863) ....................................................................................................... 13 First Inaugural Address, FDR (1933) .............................................................................................................. 14 Inaugural Address, JFK (1961) ....................................................................................................................... 16 Address to the Nation, G.W. Bush (2001) ..................................................................................................... 17 “A New Beginning,” Obama (2009) ............................................................................................................... 19 American Opposition & Civil Rights Movements .............................................................................................. 22 “A Woman’s Right to Suffrage” (1873).......................................................................................................... 22

“I Have a Dream” (1963)................................................................................................................................ 23 “The Times They are A-Changin” (1964) ....................................................................................................... 25 The Occupy Movement (2011) ...................................................................................................................... 27 Education in America ........................................................................................................................................ 29 The Pledge of Allegiance (1942) .................................................................................................................... 29 Major Debates in Education .......................................................................................................................... 29 Education Debates- Chart.............................................................................................................................. 33 US Economy ....................................................................................................................................................... 34 Advertising & Consumerism .......................................................................................................................... 34 Corporate Taglines ........................................................................................................................................ 36 Visual Guide to the 2008 Financial Crisis....................................................................................................... 36 2012 Elections: Parties, Debates and Special Interests ..................................................................................... 40 Republican Party History ............................................................................................................................... 40 Democratic Party History .............................................................................................................................. 41 American Political Parties- Chart ................................................................................................................... 43 Stump Speech, Mitt Romney (2011) ............................................................................................................. 44 The American Position in the World: Global Hegemon or Declining Superpower?.......................................... 47 The Rise of the Rest (2008)............................................................................................................................ 47 Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline (2012) .................................................................... 51 American Decline: Causes and Consequences (2011) ................................................................................... 56 Additional Exercises........................................................................................................................................... 59


Honor Code
Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated in this class. If you are found plagiarizing or cheating you will automatically fail this course. Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else‘s ideas, words, or work as one‘s own. ―Helping‖ a friend does not mean allowing them to copy your work. If you are having trouble, ask for help. Do not rely on others to do the work for you.

Cheating refers to any unauthorized aid on any quiz, assignment or exam. During quizzes and exams students cannot:  Give or receive any aid to another student. This includes discussing the test with your neighbor or sharing answers with your neighbor.  Refer to or use any reference works or study aids. References works, like dictionaries, cannot be used during exams. Notes, handouts, or homework from this class or another cannot be used during an exam.

Plagiarism refers to submitting someone else‘s work as your own. This can mean copying your classmate‘s homework or using a source in a paper and not citing the source properly. Students must acknowledge the sources they use to complete their homework assignments and essays. This is the first paragraph of the ―Automobile‖ article on Wikipedia. An automobile, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor. Most definitions of the term specify that automobiles are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods.[1] However, the term automobile is far from precise, because there are many types of vehicles that do similar tasks. This is an example of plagiarism from a student‘s paper: Cars, or automobiles, play a huge role in the daily life of people on Earth. An automobile is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor. Most definitions state that automobiles are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods. However, the term automobile is not precise, because there are many similar types of motor vehicles. This is plagiarism because the student fails to show the origin of the information about automobiles. By failing to do so, the student is attempting to submit Wikipedia‘s information as his own. This is an example of proper citation: Cars, or automobiles, play a huge role in the daily of people on Earth. Wikipedia defines an automobile as: ―a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor.‖ The article goes on to say that most automobiles run primarily on roads, can accommodate one to eight people, typically have four wheels and are made to transport people instead of goods. The article also states that this

definition is not precise because other types of motor vehicles do similar things. (―Automobile‖, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile) This is proper citation because the student (1) uses quotations to indicate a direct borrowing of the source text, (2) paraphrases the rest of the information while acknowledging the source text, (3) names the source text at the end of the paragraph, including the name of the article, the name of the website and a link to the webpage. Why are cheating and plagiarism bad? Cheating and plagiarism are bad for many reasons:  They are dishonest practices. Cheating and plagiarism are equivalent to lying about one‘s work  Cheating and plagiarism prevent students from learning. A student who uses another‘s work as his own, does not learn because he does not utilize his own knowledge, practice that knowledge, or reinforce that knowledge.  Cheating and plagiarism are disrespectful to fellow students, teachers and researchers. Cheating gives some students an unfair advantage over others. It is also disrespectful to teachers. Plagiarism is disrespectful to the authors of the work that is plagiarized.


The Basis of American Government
The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
Full Text: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/ When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness… The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world… For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: For imposing taxes on us without our consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury… For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments: For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever… He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people... We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united

7 colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context? What was happening in the United States in 1776?

2. What are ―unalienable rights‖? Name three from the text.

3. What are five complaints that the United States has against Britain?

The Constitution of the United States of America (1787)
Preamble We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Interactive Constitution: http://ratify.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/index_no_flash.php


The Bill of Rights (1791)
Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause… Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…. nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed… and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. Amendment VII …the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9 Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is an amendment?

2. Which amendments are antiquated? In other words, which amendments are no longer necessary?

3. Which amendments concern criminal investigations and trials? Whose rights do these amendments defend?

4. Rewrite the First Amendment in your own words.

„We the People‟ Loses Appeal With People Around the World (2011)
by Adam Liptak (The New York Times, 7 January 2011) The Constitution has seen better days. Sure, it is the nation‘s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning. In 1987, on the Constitution‘s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that ―of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.‖

10 A quarter-century later, the picture looks very different. ―The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,‖ according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia… There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution‘s waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige… In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. ―I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,‖ she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights. The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber. As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in ―Our Undemocratic Constitution,‖ ―the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today.‖ … Other nations routinely trade in their constitutions wholesale, replacing them on average every 19 years. By odd coincidence, Thomas Jefferson, in a 1789 letter to James Madison, once said that every constitution ―naturally expires at the end of 19 years‖ because ―the earth belongs always to the living generation.‖ These days, the overlap between the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and those most popular around the world is spotty. Americans recognize rights not widely protected, including ones to a speedy and public trial, and are outliers in prohibiting government establishment of religion. But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care. Mr. Barak, for his part, identified a new constitutional superpower: ―Canadian law,‖ he wrote, ―serves as a source of inspiration for many countries around the world.‖ The new study also suggests that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982, may now be more influential than its American counterpart. The Canadian Charter is both more expansive and less absolute. It guarantees equal rights for women and disabled people, allows affirmative action and requires that those arrested be informed of their rights. On the other hand, it balances those rights against ―such reasonable limits‖ as ―can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.‖ There are, of course, limits to empirical research based on coding and counting, and there is more to a constitution than its words, as Justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. ―Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights,‖ he said. ―The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours,‖ he said, adding: ―We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal. They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is

11 caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!‖ ―Of course,‖ Justice Scalia continued, ―it‘s just words on paper, what our framers would have called a ‗parchment guarantee.‘ ‖

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the conclusion of the study cited at the beginning of the article?

2. Explain in your own words why Thomas Jefferson thought that constitutions ―naturally expire at the end of 19 years.‖

3. What is one of the biggest criticisms of the U.S. Constitution?

4. According to Justice Scalia, what is the difference between the U.S. Bill of Rights and the former Soviet Union‘s Bill of Rights?


American Rhetoric: Presidents & Their Speeches
Farewell Address, Washington (1796)
President George Washington Full Text: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant … The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. …it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness… and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts. …Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes... To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable…This government, the offspring of our own choice… Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government... I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now … warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally… Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence… the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it…


Comprehension Questions
1. George Washington was the first president of the United States. Why would his ―farewell‖ address be so significant?

2. Washington gives the American people some important advice. In your own words, what is his advice on… (a) the unity of the nation

(b) following the Constitution and federal laws

(c) political parties

(d) relations with foreign nations

The Gettysburg Address, Lincoln (1863)
President Abraham Lincoln (November 19, 1863) *The following is the complete text of the Gettysburg Address. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context? In other words, what was happening in the United States in 1863?

2. What happened at Gettysburg? Where is the speaker? What type of speech is this?

3. Reread the last paragraph. What does Lincoln want?

4. The Gettysburg Address is often considered the greatest American speech of all time. Why might that be?

First Inaugural Address, FDR (1933)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933) Full Text & Audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstinaugural.html … This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen… More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment. …Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. … These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

15 …Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing great -- greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources… And finally, in our progress towards a resumption of work, we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order. There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end to speculation with other people's money… The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not nationally -- narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States of America -- a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that recovery will endure.… I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require…But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe… We do not distrust the -- the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context? In other words, what is happening in the United States in 1933?

2. What does Roosevelt mean when he says, ―the only thing we have to fear is fear itself‖?

3. How does Roosevelt plan to fix the economic problems in the U.S.? Do you find any similarities with the current economic crisis?

4. What does ―broad Executive power‖ mean? When would Roosevelt use this?


Inaugural Address, JFK (1961)
President John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961) Full Text & Audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkinaugural.htm We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal, as well as change… The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans … To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support -to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run. Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course -both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war. So let us begin anew -- remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. …In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course… In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

17 My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context? What was happening in the world in 1961?

2. JFK addresses multiple audiences in his speech. In your own words, summarize what he says to each one: (a) the United Nations

(b) the Soviet Union 3. Name two phrases in which JFK refers to ―nuclear weapons‖ without actually saying those words.

4. ―Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country‖ is a famous American quote. What does it mean? How has it become an important American philosophy?

Address to the Nation, G.W. Bush (2001)
President George W. Bush (September 20, 2001) Full Text & Audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gwbush911addresstothenation.htm In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people… Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate...Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died

18 with our own: dozens of Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India; men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan; and hundreds of British citizens… On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack… I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends... The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated… Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network…From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack… This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom. We ask every nation to join us... Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all. Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives… I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat. I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith… After all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face… As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty… It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. … Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing…

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context of this speech?

19 2. Why does Bush say that ―it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear‖? Explain.

3. What national policy does Bush describe in his speech? What are your criticisms of it?

“A New Beginning,” Obama (2009)
President Barack Obama (Cairo, June 4, 2009) Full Text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/NewBeginning I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions… Al-Azhar … and Cairo University … I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum… I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like AlAzhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment… I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. … And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.… And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library. … And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words – within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

20 …Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. … Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared. The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms…The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world…The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons… The fourth issue that I will address is democracy…America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere. The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom…The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights…Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity. The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek… All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings. It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew… It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today. We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another." The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace." The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.


Comprehension Questions
1. What is the main purpose of Obama‘s speech?

2. What seven issues does Obama address? In your opinion, which issues are most important? Why?

3. What does Obama say about stereotypes of Muslims and Americans? Do you agree?


American Opposition & Civil Rights Movements
“A Woman‟s Right to Suffrage” (1873)
Susan B. Anthony Full Text: http://www.nationalcenter.org/AnthonySuffrage.html Friends and Fellow Citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote. It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen's rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any State to deny. The preamble of the Federal Constitution says: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…‖ It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people … women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government--the ballot. For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is to pass a bill of attainder, or an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are for ever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex… this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household-which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation. Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office. The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several States is today null and void, precisely as in every one against Negroes.

Comprehension Questions
1. Who is Susan B. Anthony? Why was she arrested?

2. What does she argue in this speech?


3. What are three reasons why woman should be able to vote, according to Anthony?

“I Have a Dream” (1963)
Dr. Martin Luther King (August 28, 1963) Audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation… But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. … One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. … But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: …We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force... There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹ …Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

24 I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2 This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. … And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring! And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York… But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

25 And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the ―Emancipation Proclamation?‖

2. What is the context of this speech? What was happening in the U.S. in 1963?

3. Name three of Dr. King‘s criticisms of American society.

4. Rewrite two of Dr. King‘s dreams in your own words.

“The Times They are A-Changin” (1964)
by Bob Dylan Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone

26 For the times they are a-changin'. Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won't come again And don't speak too soon For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin' For the loser now Will be later to win For the times they are a-changin'. Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There's a battle outside And it is ragin' It'll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin'. Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don't criticize What you can't understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly agin' Please get out of the new one If you can't lend your hand For the times they are a-changin'. The line it is drawn The curse it is cast The slow one now Will later be fast As the present now Will later be past The order is Rapidly fadin' And the first one now Will later be last For the times they are a-changin'.


Comprehension Questions
1. What is the context? What was happening in 1963?

2. How have times changed in America, according to Bob Dylan?

3. What does he ask his audience to do?

The Occupy Movement (2011)
―Revolution Number 99‖ Vanity Fair, Feb 2012 http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/02/occupy-wall-street-201202 ―Direct Democracy‖ New York City General Assembly www.nycga.net/about

Statement of Purpose
Source: www.occupwallst.org Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants. This #ows movement empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up. We want to see a general assembly in every backyard, on every street corner because we don't need Wall Street and we don't need politicians to build a better society.

Call to Action (September 17, 2011)
This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves, we bring this call for revolution. We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

28 Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system. A system based on the existence of have and have nots, where inequality is inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar. We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. Some will readily blame the federal reserve, but the political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding. We need to address the core facts: these corporations, even if they were unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still remain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to find themselves as part of the corporate elites. We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether. And so we call on people to act 1. We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousness, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system. 2. We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together. 3. We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community. 4. We call for the organization of people's assemblies in every city, every public square, every township. 5. We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them. We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is the main purpose of the Occupy Movement?

2. Who are the 1%? The 99%? Explain why this concept is important.

3. Name three actions encouraged by the Movement.


Education in America
The Pledge of Allegiance (1942)
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Major Debates in Education
―What Do School Tests Measure?‖ The New York Times, August 3, 2009  What We Really Need by James Comer Test scores are widely accepted in our country as a measure of student and school effectiveness. But the expressed purpose of education is to help prepare students to be successful in school and in life; to protect and promote their own health, development and learning, to be highly competent workers in school and beyond, to be competent and responsible family members (parents if they choose) community members and citizens capable of finding gratification and meaning in life. These outcomes are the product of a good developmental experience, and varied and rich curricular, instructional and assessment programs, in a caring school environment or culture created by adults who are selected, prepared and supported well in doing so. There is significant evidence that teachers and administrators, adequately prepared and supported, can provide such experiences, raise test scores and meet the true purpose of education, and in turn the needs of society. An almost exclusive focus on raising test scores usually leads to teaching to the test, denies rich academic content and fails to promote the pleasure in learning, and to motivate students to take responsibility for their own learning, behavior, discipline and perseverance to succeed in school and in life. Test driven, or force-fed, learning can not enrich and promote the traits necessary for life success. Indeed, it is dangerous to focus on raising test scores without reducing school drop out, crime and dependency rates, or improving the quality of the workforce and community life. Students, families and groups that have been marginalized in the past are hurt most when the true purposes of education are not addressed. The focus on raising test scores without an even greater focus on preparation and support of the education workforce will continue to distract from providing those in greatest need and the nation with the world-class education system we all need. ―What Do School Tests Measure?‖

30 The New York Times, August 3, 2009  What Tests Can and Should Do by Lance T. Izumi In the wake of widespread state testing following the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, critics have claimed that teachers are simply teaching to the tests. Yet this argument is overly simplistic and ignores the benefits that come from good tests. Opponents of testing try to have it both ways. When test scores are low they argue for a holistic view of student achievement that focuses on non-test indicators of performance rather than teaching to the test. When results are high, as in the recent rise in New York City scores, they counter that the scores are suspect because teachers are just teaching to the test. If a state test is well conceived, both these arguments fail to hold water. If tests are reliably aligned with rigorous state academic content standards, then teachers are right to teach to the test. Susan Philips, a professor of education at Michigan State University and one of the nation‘s leading testing experts, has testified that well-developed standardized multiple-choice tests give more individual examples of student knowledge and skills, are more consistent in scoring, are capable of measuring higher-order thinking and are fairer than other non-standardized assessments. Since standardized testing can accurately assess the ―whole‖ student, low test scores can be a real indicator of student knowledge and deficiencies. If tests are reliably aligned with rigorous state academic content standards, then teachers who teach to the standards are teaching to the test, and there is nothing wrong with that. E.D. Hirsch, author and University of Virginia education professor, notes that ―grade-by-grade standards and some form of fair grade-by-grade tests are logically necessary for monitoring and attaining grade-by-grade readiness.‖ Many teachers at high-performing, high-poverty schools have said they use student test scores as diagnostic tools to address student weaknesses and raise achievement. While inappropriate use of test materials should not be countenanced, a valid standardized test linked to tough standards is a critical tool for measuring and improving student performance. Assuming New York has such a test, when Joel Klein says that if test prep means ―teaching people to read and understand paragraphs, that‘s what I think education is about,‖ then he‘s right.

―Is Learning a Language Other than English Worthwile?‖ The New York Times, January 29, 2011  ―‘Getting By‘ Isn‘t Enough‖ by Clayton Lewis The assertion that English has become the global language may be true, but the notion that native English speakers will get by relying either on their Chinese, Brazilian or German counterparts' ability to speak English or on machine translators is shortsighted. Knowing two or more languages is an advantage, not a burden.

31 Setting aside any of the numerous studies showing the benefits of bilingualism, knowing a language is key to understanding culture -- a skill that is often underestimated. The American who has a nuanced ability with languages will hold a distinct advantage in negotiations or social exchange, and will thereby attain a deeper, richer experience. Years of learning a language, as well as the history and society of places where that language is spoken, develops a student with a truly multicultural outlook. Our global society is increasingly in need of individuals who look at issues with a broad perspective. ―Getting by‖ with languages simply isn‘t good enough. Would we apply the same kind of thinking to learning science and mathematics? Learning a second or third language does require a significant investment of time, but the payoff is undeniable, both in terms of how it enriches the learner and in the example it offers. For Englishspeaking Americans to acknowledge the value in learning Spanish or Japanese also belies the cultural imperialism that has too often incensed others. Let‘s recognize what the Chinese, Brazilians and Germans have learned: that knowing two or more languages is an advantage, not a burden.

―In Texas, a Line in the Curriculum Revives Evolution Debate‖ by James C. McKinley, Jr (The New York Times, January 21, 2009) The latest round in a long-running battle over how evolution should be taught in Texas schools began in earnest Wednesday as the State Board of Education heard impassioned testimony from scientists and social conservatives on revising the science curriculum. Dick Neavel also attended the hearing in Texas. Legislators in six states have considered legislation requiring classrooms to be open to ―views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory.‖ The debate here has far-reaching consequences; Texas is one of the nation‘s biggest buyers of textbooks, and publishers are reluctant to produce different versions of the same material. Many biologists and teachers said they feared that the board would force textbook publishers to include what skeptics see as weaknesses in Darwin‘s theory to sow doubt about science and support the Biblical version of creation. ―These weaknesses that they bring forward are decades old, and they have been refuted many, many times over,‖ Kevin Fisher, a past president of the Science Teachers Association of Texas, said after testifying. ―It‘s an attempt to bring false weaknesses into the classroom in an attempt to get students to reject evolution.‖

―Do We Spend Too Much on Education?‖ The New York Times, August 23, 2011  ―Is it a Priority to Teach to the Poor?‖ by Pamela Burdman

32 To understand what value our society actually places on education, we can start by asking how Americans with money spend it on their children‘s schooling: generally, they either invest in private school education or buy homes in more affluent communities with the best public schools. Their children don't qualify for financial aid, and yet they go to college, paying full tuition. We should ensure that all schools and colleges deliver better learning, especially for the least advantaged. These families apparently think education is worth the money, that it will enhance their children‘s futures, ensuring not just economic security but also a fulfilling career and civic life. To ask whether we are spending too much time and money on education is really to ask whether the children of less-advantaged Americans are also worth educating. For them, public schools are the only option and student loans are often necessary to finish college (lest a full-time workload interfere with their studies). The answer depends on what kind of society we wish to inhabit. If some degree of equality – economic and political – is important, we need more education, not less. Under-educated Americans not only struggle to earn a living wage, but also are ill-equipped to exercise their political rights. Furthermore, they are more likely to pose costs to society for social welfare and incarceration. Disinvesting in their education is not a solution. At the same time, money alone will not cure all the ills of public education, especially when existing resources are not always well spent. Too many students who graduate from U.S. high schools lack the skills they need to participate meaningfully in public life or support their families. And many students earn college degrees with no evidence that they‘ve learned anything. Resources need to be focused on building strong schools with visionary leaders and teams of educators who are continually innovating and improving their practice so that students learn more. Rather than looking to spend less on education, we should be focusing on ensuring that all schools and colleges use the resources they have to deliver better learning, especially for the least advantaged.


Education Debates- Chart
Directions: Complete the following chart, using what you have learned from the previous articles AND your own reasoning or research. TOPIC THE QUESTION POSITION #1 & REASONS Assessments Are standardized Yes, exams can be an accurate exams an accurate assessment because… assessment of students and schools? POSITION #2 & REASONS No, exams are not an accurate assessment because…


Should Americans be required to learn foreign languages?


Should Darwin‘s Theory of Evolution be taught in schools?


Is it a priority to teach to the poor?


US Economy
Advertising & Consumerism



Corporate Taglines
―Think Outside the Box.‖

―The Power of All of Us.‖

―The World on Time.‖

General Electric
―Imagination at Work.‖

―Don‘t be Evil.‖

―One for One.‖

Comprehension Questions
1. What is a tagline? 2. What do all of these companies sell? or do? Research online if needed. 3. Explain what each tagline means. What American philosophy, value or trend might each tagline represent?

Visual Guide to the 2008 Financial Crisis
(See following two pages) source: http://www.mint.com/blog/trends/a-visual-guide-to-the-financial-crisis/




Comprehension Questions
1. Define the following words: bailout mortgage investment recession mania 2. Name two causes of the recession in America.

3. Why would a ―crisis of confidence‖ hurt the economy?

4. Why do you think the government bailout was so controversial?


2012 Elections: Parties, Debates and Special Interests
Republican Party History
Source: www.gop.com It all started with people who opposed slavery. They were common, everyday people who bristled at the notion that men had any right to oppress their fellow man. In the early 1850‘s, these anti-slavery activists found commonality with rugged individuals looking to settle in western lands, free of government charges. ―Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men,‖ went the slogan. And it was thus in joint opposition to human enslavement and government tyranny that an enterprising people gave birth to the Republican Party. In 1856, the Republicans became a national party by nominating John C. Fremont for President. Four years later, with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the Republicans firmly established themselves as a major political party. The name "Republican" was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. In 1861, the Civil War erupted, lasting four grueling years. During the war, against the advice of his cabinet, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. The Republicans of the day worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the laws; and the Fifteenth, which helped secure voting rights for African-Americans. All of these accomplishments extended and cemented the fundamental freedoms our nation continues to enjoy today. The Republican Party also played a leading role in securing women the right to vote. In 1896, the Republican Party was the first major political party to support women's suffrage. When the 19th Amendment finally was added to the Constitution, 26 of 36 state legislatures that had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeanette Rankin from Montana in 1917. So it was by hardworking Republican hands that color and gender barriers were first demolished in America. Republicans believe individuals, not government, can make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home. These basic principles are as true today as they were when the Party was founded. For all of the extraordinary leaders the Party has produced throughout its rich history, Republicans understand that everyday people in all 50 states and territories remain the heart and soul of our Party. Presidents during most of the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were Republicans. The White House was in Republican hands under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the United States won the Cold War, releasing millions from Communist oppression, in true anti-big government Republican spirit.

41 The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. During the mid term elections in 1874, Democrats tried to scare voters into thinking President Ulysses S. Grant would seek to run for an unprecedented third term. Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper's Weekly, depicted a Democratic donkey trying to scare a Republican elephant - and both symbols stuck. For a long time, Republicans have been known as the "G.O.P." with party faithful believing it meant the "Grand Old Party." But apparently the original meaning (in 1875) was "gallant old party." When automobiles were invented it also came to mean, "get out and push." That's still a pretty good slogan for Republicans who depend every campaign year on the hard work of hundreds of thousands of everyday volunteers to get out and vote and push people to support the causes of the Republican Party. Abolition. Free speech. Women's suffrage. These were all causes the Republican Party adopted early on. So, too, were reducing the size of government, streamlining bureaucracy, and returning power to individual states. With a core belief in the primacy of individuals, the Republican Party, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals' rights in opposition to a large, intrusive government.

Democratic Party History
Source: www.democrats.org The history of our country is a history of change. Year after year, we have evolved, innovated, and overcome the major challenges of our time. America‘s genius throughout has been its ability to renew our promise to provide citizens the opportunity for a better life—and though our own history isn‘t perfect, the mission of the Democratic Party has been to make that promise a reality. Founded more than 200 years ago, the Democratic Party was born in response to the idea that government should represent the people and that wealth and status should not be an entitlement to rule. Change is the inescapable driver of history in the United States. Our party‘s founders believed then, just as we do now, that being a Democrat means meeting the challenges of changing times so that all Americans can prosper. That‘s why the people of this county have always turned to Democrats when times got tough. In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin Roosevelt to end the Great Depression. President Roosevelt offered Americans a New Deal that put people back to work, stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities. Under President Roosevelt, Social Security established a promise that lasts to this day: growing old would never again mean growing poor. In 1944, FDR signed the G.I. Bill -- a historic measure that provided veterans with the opportunity to go to college and help move our country forward. These investments helped restore America‘s promise to be the land of opportunity and offered new avenues to expand the middle class.

42 Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By integrating the military, President Truman helped to bring down barriers of race and gender and pave the way the way for civil rights advancements in the years that followed. In the 1960s, Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. And after President Kennedy‘s assassination, Americans looked to President Lyndon Johnson, who offered a new vision of a Great Society and signed into law the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. President Johnson‘s enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America‘s history that redefined our country‘s commitment to our seniors—offering a new promise that all Americans have the right to a healthy retirement. In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. In 1992, after twelve years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, high unemployment, and increasing crime, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. As President, Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history. And in 2008, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Obama to reverse our country‘s slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many. Under President Obama‘s direction and congressional Democrats‘ leadership, we reformed a health care system that was broken and extended health insurance to 32 million Americans. We reined in a financial system that was out of control and delivered the toughest consumer protections ever enacted. We reworked our student loan system to make higher education more affordable and won the fight for equal pay for women. We passed the Recovery Act, which created or helped to save millions of jobs and made unprecedented investments in the major pillars of our country. From America‘s beginnings to today, people have turned to Democrats to meet our country‘s most pressing challenges. We are America's best hope to foster the promise and opportunity ingrained in our history. And we will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth.


American Political Parties- Chart
Directions: Fill in the following chart, using what you know from the previous two articles about the history of the Democratic and Republican Parties AND your own research. REPUBLICAN PARTY SYMBOL DEMOCRATIC PARTY






Barack Obama


Stump Speech, Mitt Romney (2011)
Mitt Romney (December 20, 2011) Audio: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/03/us/politics/gop-stumpspeeches.html?ref=politics Thanks you guys. Thank you so much for being here this evening. I appreciate your coming out on a cold winter night… Six months ago, as you know, I launched my campaign for the Presidency… I spoke of an America in peril, under a President who had disappointed even his own supporters and was clearly failing. Since then, as you know, the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high. More Americans have lost their homes and more Americans have slipped from the middle class into a world of poverty they never imagined they‘d see. Our soldiers return from war unable to find a decent job. …. Even in these very difficult times, the worst economy since the Great Depression, I‘ve found Americans refusing to believe that these troubled days are our destiny… We are Americans. And we will not surrender our dreams to the failures of this President. We are bigger than the misguided policies and weak leadership of one man. America is bigger than Barack Obama‘s failures. This America of long unemployment lines and small dreams is not the America you and I love. It is not a ―Live Free or Die‖ America. These troubled years are President Obama‘s legacy but they are not our future. This is an election not to replace a President but to save a vision of America. It‘s a choice between two very different destinies. Four years ago, many Americans trusted candidate Barack Obama when he promised to bring Americans together. But now we‘ve learned that President Obama‘s idea of bringing us together is not to lift us up but instead to use the invisible boot of government to bring us all down… I am tired of a President who wakes up every day, looks out across America and is proud to announce, ―It could be worse.‖ It could be worse? Is that what it means to be an American? It could be worse? Of course not. If I am President I will wake up every day and remind Americans that not only must we do better but also that we can do better, because I believe in America. President Obama boasts that he will ―fundamentally transform‖ America. I want to restore America to our founding principles. I believe that our founding principles are what made America the greatest nation in the history of the earth. Among those core principles is what the founders called the "pursuit of happiness." We call that opportunity, or the freedom to choose our course in life. That principle is the foundation of a society that is based on ability, not birthright. In a merit-based society, people achieve their dreams through hard work, education, risk-taking, and even a little luck. An opportunity society produces pioneers and inventors; it inspires its citizens to build and create. And these people exert effort and take risks, and when they do so, they employ and lift others and create prosperity.

45 … President Obama sees America differently. He believes in an entitlement society…President Obama‘s entitlement society would demand a massive growth of government. To preserve opportunity, however, we have to shrink government, not grow it… President Obama has reversed John Kennedy's call for sacrifice. He would have Americans ask, ―what can the country do for you?‖ The result of President Obama‘s approach is a staggering list of failures. It took eighteen tax increases just to get Obamacare off the ground. Our growing welfare state is slated to cost $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years, that‘s $72,000 a household. I will take a different path. First, I will repeal Obamacare… And, I will strengthen Medicare by empowering the next generation of seniors to choose the solutions that are right for them. And I‘ll send Medicaid back to the states because the states know best how to serve their own citizens. My administration will create an environment where the private sector can thrive and where American businesses can reach their full potential. I‘ll reduce federal regulation, open up new markets to our goods, and fully exploit our energy resources. I‘ll cut taxes, cap spending and finally, finally get America on track to balance our budget. Now, this time next year, all the yard signs will have come down, hopefully… It‘ll be safe to watch television again… The path I lay out is not one paved with ever-increasing government checks and cradle-to-grave assurances that government will always be the solution. If this election is a bidding war for who can promise more benefits, that‘s a battle I‘m not going to join… This is a time when we look beyond who we are today and ask who we will become tomorrow. Not far from here, an idea called America was born. It came in a moment when a peaceful people realized they could not continue on the same path. Those farmers and merchants, aristocrats, blacksmiths, they put aside their fears to take up arms against the greatest power in the world. There was not a single rational reason to believe they could succeed. But they believed in God and they believed in themselves. They believed that the guiding force in their lives should not be fear, but rather a strong belief that life without freedom is slow death and an abiding conviction that they could build a better world. That world is America. And tonight, I ask each of you to remember how special it is to be an American. I want you to remember what it was like to be hopeful and excited about the future, not to dread each new headline. When you spent more time looking for a house to buy than searching for a new job; when you spent more time thinking about a vacation with your family than how to make it to the end of the next paycheck. That America is still out there… This election, let‘s fight for the America we love. Because we believe in America. Thank you so much. Great to be with you tonight. Thank you.

Comprehension Questions
1. What is a ―stump speech?‖


2. Identify the main issues upon which Mitt Romney‘s campaign is based.

3. How does Romney attack his opponent, Obama?

4. How does Romney appeal to the emotions of his audience? Give examples of specific words or phrases.

5. What famous quotes does Romney use? What speeches or documents are they from? Why does he use them?


The American Position in the World: Global Hegemon or Declining Superpower?
The Rise of the Rest (2008)
by Fareed Zakaria (The Daily Beast, 3 May 2008) Full Text: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/05/03/the-rise-of-the-rest.html Americans are glum at the moment. No, I mean really glum. In April, a new poll revealed that 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the "wrong track." In the 25 years that pollsters have asked this question, last month's response was by far the most negative... There are reasons to be pessimistic—a financial panic and looming recession, a seemingly endless war in Iraq, and the ongoing threat of terrorism. But the facts on the ground—unemployment numbers, foreclosure rates, deaths from terror attacks—are simply not dire enough to explain the present atmosphere of malaise. American anxiety springs from something much deeper, a sense that large and disruptive forces are coursing through the world. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people. Look around... Once quintessentially American icons have been usurped by the natives. The largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. The largest casino is in Macao, which overtook Las Vegas in gambling revenues last year. America no longer dominates even its favorite sport, shopping. The Mall of America in Minnesota once boasted that it was the largest shopping mall in the world. Today it wouldn't make the top ten. In the most recent rankings, only two of the world's ten richest people are American. These lists are arbitrary and a bit silly, but consider that only ten years ago, the United States would have serenely topped almost every one of these categories. These factoids reflect a seismic shift in power and attitudes. It is one that I sense when I travel around the world. In America, we are still debating the nature and extent of anti-Americanism. One side says that the problem is real and worrying and that we must woo the world back. The other says this is the inevitable price of power and that many of these countries are envious… so we can safely ignore their griping. But while we argue over why they hate us, "they" have moved on, and are now far more interested in other, more dynamic parts of the globe. The world has shifted from antiAmericanism to post-Americanism. I. The End of Pax Americana During the 1980s, when I would visit India—where I grew up—… People would often ask me about … Donald Trump. He was the very symbol of the United States—brassy, rich, and modern. He symbolized the feeling that if you wanted to find the biggest and largest anything, you had to look to

48 America. Today, outside of entertainment figures, there is no comparable interest in American personalities. If you wonder why, read India's newspapers or watch its television. There are dozens of Indian businessmen who are now wealthier than the Donald. Indians are obsessed by their own vulgar real estate billionaires. And that newfound interest in their own story is being replicated across much of the world. How much? Well, consider this fact. In 2006 and 2007, 124 countries grew their economies at over 4 percent a year. That includes more than 30 countries in Africa... Antoine van Agtmael, the fund manager who coined the term "emerging markets," has identified the 25 companies most likely to be the world's next great multinationals. His list includes four companies each from Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan; three from India, two from China, and one each from Argentina, Chile, Malaysia, and South Africa. This is something much broader than the much-ballyhooed rise of China or even Asia. It is the rise of the rest—the rest of the world. We are living through the third great power shift in modern history. The first was the rise of the Western world, around the 15th century… The second shift, which took place in the closing years of the 19th century, was the rise of the United States... For the last 20 years, America's superpower status in every realm has been largely unchallenged—something that's never happened before in history, at least since the Roman Empire dominated the known world 2,000 years ago. During this Pax Americana, the global economy has accelerated dramatically. And that expansion is the driver behind the third great power shift of the modern age—the rise of the rest. At the military and political level, we still live in a unipolar world. But along every other dimension—industrial, financial, social, cultural—the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance… The post-American world is naturally an unsettling prospect for Americans, but it should not be. This will not be a world defined by the decline of America but rather the rise of everyone else. It is the result of a series of positive trends that have been progressing over the last 20 years, trends that have created an international climate of unprecedented peace and prosperity… II. The Good News … The underlying reality across the globe is of enormous vitality. For the first time ever, most countries around the world are practicing sensible economics. Consider inflation. Over the past 20 years hyperinflation, a problem that used to bedevil large swaths of the world from Turkey to Brazil to Indonesia, has largely vanished, tamed by successful fiscal and monetary policies. The results are clear and stunning. The share of people living on $1 a day has plummeted from 40 percent in 1981 to 18 percent in 2004 and is estimated to drop to 12 percent by 2015. Poverty is falling in countries that house 80 percent of the world's population. There remains real poverty in the world—most worryingly in 50 basket-case countries that contain 1 billion people—but the overall trend has never been more encouraging. The global economy has more than doubled in size over the last 15 years and is now approaching $54 trillion! Global trade has grown by 133 percent in the same period. The expansion of the global economic pie has been so large, with so many countries participating, that it has become the dominating force of the current era. Wars, terrorism, and civil strife cause disruptions temporarily but eventually they are overwhelmed by the waves of globalization. These circumstances may not last, but it is worth understanding what the world has looked like for the past few decades. III. A New Nationalism Of course, global growth is also responsible for some of the biggest problems in the world right now. It has produced tons of money—what businesspeople call liquidity—that moves around the world.

49 The combination of low inflation and lots of cash has meant low interest rates, which in turn have made people act greedily and/or stupidly… The most immediate effect of global growth is the appearance of new economic powerhouses on the scene. It is an accident of history that for the last several centuries, the richest countries in the world have all been very small in terms of population. Denmark has 5.5 million people, the Netherlands has 16.6 million. The United States is the biggest of the bunch and has dominated the advanced industrial world. But the real giants—China, India, Brazil—have been sleeping, unable or unwilling to join the world of functioning economies. Now they are on the move and naturally, given their size, they will have a large footprint on the map of the future. Even if people in these countries remain relatively poor, as nations their total wealth will be massive. Or to put it another way, any number, no matter how small, when multiplied by 2.5 billion becomes a very big number. (2.5 billion is the population of China plus India.) The rise of China and India is really just the most obvious manifestation of a rising world. In dozens of big countries, one can see the same set of forces at work—a growing economy, a resurgent society, a vibrant culture, and a rising sense of national pride. That pride can morph into something uglier… As economic fortunes rise, so inevitably does nationalism. Imagine that your country has been poor and marginal for centuries. Finally, things turn around and it becomes a symbol of economic progress and success. You would be proud, and anxious that your people win recognition and respect throughout the world. …Such divergent national perspectives always existed. But today, thanks to the information revolution, they are amplified, echoed, and disseminated. Where once there were only the narratives laid out by The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, the BBC, and CNN, there are now dozens of indigenous networks and channels—from Al Jazeera to New Delhi's NDTV to Latin America's Telesur. The result is that the "rest" are now dissecting the assumptions and narratives of the West and providing alternative views. A young Chinese diplomat told me in 2006, "When you tell us that we support a dictatorship in Sudan to have access to its oil, what I want to say is, 'And how is that different from your support of a medieval monarchy in Saudi Arabia?' We see the hypocrisy, we just don't say anything—yet." The fact that newly rising nations are more strongly asserting their ideas and interests is inevitable in a post-American world. This raises a conundrum—how to get a world of many actors to work together… IV. The Next American Century Many look at the vitality of this emerging world and conclude that the United States has had its day. "Globalization is striking back," Gabor Steingart, an editor at Germany's leading news magazine, Der Spiegel, writes in a best-selling book. As others prosper, he argues, the United States has lost key industries, its people have stopped saving money, and its government has become increasingly indebted to Asian central banks. The current financial crisis has only given greater force to such fears. But take a step back…The United States is currently ranked as the globe's most competitive economy by the World Economic Forum. It remains dominant in many industries of the future like nanotechnology, biotechnology, and dozens of smaller high-tech fields. Its universities are the finest in the world, making up 8 of the top ten and 37 of the top fifty, according to a prominent ranking produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University…

50 But America's hidden secret is that most of these engineers are immigrants. Foreign students and immigrants account for almost 50 percent of all science researchers in the country. In 2006 they received 40 percent of all PhDs. By 2010, 75 percent of all science PhDs in this country will be awarded to foreign students…If these people are allowed and encouraged to stay, then innovation will happen here. If they leave, they'll take it with them. More broadly, this is America's great—and potentially insurmountable—strength. It remains the most open, flexible society in the world, able to absorb other people, cultures, ideas, goods, and services. The country thrives on the hunger and energy of poor immigrants. Faced with the new technologies of foreign companies, or growing markets overseas, it adapts and adjusts. When you compare this dynamism with the closed and hierarchical nations that were once superpowers, you sense that the United States is different and may not fall into the trap of becoming rich, and fat, and lazy. American society can adapt to this new world. But can the American government? Washington has gotten used to a world in which all roads led to its doorstep. America has rarely had to worry about benchmarking to the rest of the world—it was always so far ahead. But the natives have gotten good at capitalism and the gap is narrowing… American parochialism is particularly evident in foreign policy. Economically, as other countries grow, for the most part the pie expands and everyone wins. But geopolitics is a struggle for influence: as other nations become more active internationally, they will seek greater freedom of action. This necessarily means that America's unimpeded influence will decline. But … If China, India, Russia, Brazil all feel that they have a stake in the existing global order, there will be less danger of war, depression, panics, and breakdowns. There will be lots of problems, crisis, and tensions, but they will occur against a backdrop of systemic stability. This benefits them but also us. It's the ultimate win-win. To bring others into this world, the United States needs to make its own commitment to the system clear. So far, America has been able to have it both ways. It is the global rule-maker but doesn't always play by the rules… Americans—particularly the American government—have not really understood the rise of the rest. This is one of the most thrilling stories in history. Billions of people are escaping from abject poverty. The world will be enriched and ennobled as they become consumers, producers, inventors, thinkers, dreamers, and doers… Yet just as they are beginning to do so, we are losing faith in such ideas. We have become suspicious of trade, openness, immigration, and investment because now it's not Americans going abroad but foreigners coming to America. Just as the world is opening up, we are closing down. Generations from now, when historians write about these times, they might note that by the turn of the 21st century, the United States had succeeded in its great, historical mission—globalizing the world. We don't want them to write that along the way, we forgot to globalize ourselves.

Comprehension Questions
1. Who are ―the rest‖? Specifically, which countries or groups of people?


2. What are some advantages of American society? Disadvantages?

3. What does Zakaria suggest America do?

4. What does ―post-Americanism‖ look like?

5. Reread this essay and write a summary sentence for each paragraph.

6. Who is the author, Fareed Zakaria?

Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline (2012)
by Robert Kagan (The New Republic, 17 Jan 2012) Full Text: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2012/0117_us_power_kagan.aspx Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power?… …The perception of decline today is certainly understandable, given the dismal economic situation since 2008 and the nation‘s large fiscal deficits, which, combined with the continuing growth of the Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Turkish, and other economies, seem to portend a significant and irreversible shift in global economic power. Some of the pessimism is also due to the belief that the United States has lost favor, and therefore influence, in much of the world, because of its various responses to the attacks of September 11. The detainment facilities at Guantánamo, the use of torture against suspected terrorists, and the widely condemned invasion of Iraq in 2003 have all tarnished the American ―brand‖ and put a dent in America‘s ―soft power‖—its ability to attract others to its point of view. There have been the difficult wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which many argue proved

52 the limits of military power, stretched the United States beyond its capacities, and weakened the nation at its core… …Powerful as this sense of decline may be, however, it deserves a more rigorous examination. Measuring changes in a nation‘s relative power is a tricky business, but there are some basic indicators: the size and the influence of its economy relative to that of other powers; the magnitude of military power compared with that of potential adversaries; the degree of political influence it wields in the international system—all of which make up what the Chinese call ―comprehensive national power.‖ And there is the matter of time. Judgments based on only a few years‘ evidence are problematic. A great power‘s decline is the product of fundamental changes in the international distribution of various forms of power that usually occur over longer stretches of time. Great powers rarely decline suddenly. A war may bring them down, but even that is usually a symptom, and a culmination, of a longer process. The decline of the British Empire, for instance, occurred over several decades. In 1870, the British share of global manufacturing was over 30 percent. In 1900, it was 20 percent. By 1910, it was under 15 percent—well below the rising United States, which had climbed over the same period from more than 20 percent to more than 25 percent... Over the course of that period, the British navy went from unchallenged master of the seas to sharing control of the oceans with rising naval powers… Some of the arguments for America‘s relative decline these days would be more potent if they had not appeared only in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Just as one swallow does not make a spring, one recession, or even a severe economic crisis, need not mean the beginning of the end of a great power. The United States suffered deep and prolonged economic crises in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1970s. In each case, it rebounded in the following decade and actually ended up in a stronger position relative to other powers than before the crisis. The 1910s, the 1940s, and the 1980s were all high points of American global power and influence. Less than a decade ago, most observers spoke not of America‘s decline but of its enduring primacy... In 2004, the pundit Fareed Zakaria described the United States as enjoying a ―comprehensive unipolarity‖ unlike anything seen since Rome. But a mere four years later Zakaria was writing about the ―post-American world‖ and ―the rise of the rest,‖… The answer is no. Let‘s start with the basic indicators. In economic terms, and even despite the current years of recession and slow growth, America‘s position in the world has not changed. Its share of the world‘s GDP has held remarkably steady, not only over the past decade but over the past four decades. In 1969, the United States produced roughly a quarter of the world‘s economic output. Today it still produces roughly a quarter, and it remains not only the largest but also the richest economy in the world… Optimists about China‘s development predict that it will overtake the United States as the largest economy in the world sometime in the next two decades. This could mean that the United States will face an increasing challenge to its economic position in the future. But the sheer size of an economy is not by itself a good measure of overall power within the international system. If it were, then early nineteenth-century China, with what was then the world‘s largest economy, would have been the predominant power instead of the prostrate victim of smaller European nations… Military capacity matters, too, as early nineteenth-century China learned and Chinese leaders know today. As Yan Xuetong recently noted, ―military strength underpins hegemony.‖ Here the United States remains unmatched…


…But what about the ―rise of the rest‖—the increasing economic clout of nations like China, India, Brazil, and Turkey? Doesn‘t that cut into American power and influence? The answer is, it depends. The fact that other nations in the world are enjoying periods of high growth does not mean that America‘s position as the predominant power is declining, or even that ―the rest‖ are catching up in terms of overall power and influence… Wealth matters in international politics, but there is no simple correlation between economic growth and international influence… When gauging the impact of the growing economies of other countries today, one has to make the same kinds of calculations. Does the growth of the Brazilian economy, or of the Indian economy, diminish American global power? …. Overall, the fact that Brazil, India, Turkey, and South Africa are enjoying a period of economic growth—which may or may not last indefinitely—is either irrelevant to America‘s strategic position or of benefit to it… II. … Much of today‘s impressions about declining American influence are based on a nostalgic fallacy: that there was once a time when the United States could shape the whole world to suit its desires, and could get other nations to do what it wanted them to do, and, as the political scientist Stephen M. Walt put it, ―manage the politics, economics and security arrangements for nearly the entire globe.‖ If we are to gauge America‘s relative position today, it is important to recognize that this image of the past is an illusion. There never was such a time. We tend to think back on the early years of the Cold War as a moment of complete American global dominance. They were nothing of the sort… But what about ―soft power‖? Wasn‘t it true, as the political scientist Joseph S. Nye Jr. has argued, that the United States used to be able to ―get what it wanted in the world‖ because of the ―values expressed‖ by American culture as reflected through television, movies, and music, and because of the attractiveness of America‘s domestic and foreign policies?... Again, the historical truth is more complicated. During the first three decades after World War II, great portions of the world neither admired the United States nor sought to emulate it, and were not especially pleased at the way it conducted itself in international affairs. Yes, American media were spreading American culture, but they were spreading images that were not always flattering… If one wanted to make a case for American decline, the 1970s would have been the time to do it; and many did. The United States, Kissinger believed, had evidently ―passed its historic high point like so many earlier civilizations.... Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed. History is a tale of efforts that failed.‖ It was in the 1970s that the American economy lost its overwhelming primacy, when the American trade surplus began to turn into a trade deficit, when spending on entitlements and social welfare programs ballooned, when American gold and monetary reserves were depleted. …A ―rise of the rest‖ began in the late 1970s and continued over the next decade and a half, as Japan, along with the other ―Asian tigers,‖ South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, seemed about to eclipse the United States economically. In 1989, the journalist James Fallows argued that the Japanese state-directed economy was plainly superior to the more laissez-faire capitalism of the United States and was destined to surpass it. Japan was to be the next superpower… …Even popularity was elusive in the 1990s. In 1999, Samuel P. Huntington labeled America the

54 ―lonely superpower,‖ widely hated across the globe for its ―intrusive, interventionist, exploitative, unilateralist, hegemonic, hypocritical‖ behavior. The French foreign minister decried the ―hyperpower‖ and openly yearned for a ―multipolar‖ world in which the United States would no longer be dominant. A British diplomat told Huntington: ―One reads about the world‘s desire for American leadership only in the United States. Everywhere else one reads about American arrogance and unilateralism.‖ This was nonsense, of course. Contrary to the British diplomat‘s claim, many other countries did look to the United States for leadership, and for protection and support, in the 1990s and throughout the Cold War. The point is not that America always lacked global influence. From World War II onward, the United States was indeed the predominant power in the world. It wielded enormous influence, more than any great power since Rome, and it accomplished much. But it was not omnipotent—far from it… Today the United States lacks the ability to have its way on many issues, but this has not prevented it from enjoying just as much success, and suffering just as much failure, as in the past… So the record is mixed, but it has always been mixed. There have been moments when the United States was more influential than today and moments when it was less influential. The exertion of influence has always been a struggle, which may explain why, in every single decade since the end of World War II, Americans have worried about their declining influence and looked nervously as other powers seemed to be rising at their expense. The difficulties in shaping the international environment in any era are immense. Few powers even attempt it, and even the strongest rarely achieve all or even most of their goals…

III. The challenges today are great, and the rise of China is the most obvious of them. But they are not greater than the challenges the United States faced during the Cold War. Only in retrospect can the Cold War seem easy… Today, in the case of China, the situation is reversed. Although China is and will be much richer, and will wield greater economic influence in the world than the Soviet Union ever did, its geostrategic position is more difficult… It will have a hard time becoming a regional hegemon… …Some argue that while Paul Kennedy‘s warning of imperial overstretch may not have been correct in 1987, it accurately describes America‘s current predicament. The fiscal crisis, the deadlocked political system, the various maladies of American society (including wage stagnation and income inequality), the weaknesses of the educational system, the deteriorating infrastructure—all of these are cited these days as reasons why the United States needs to retrench internationally, to pull back from some overseas commitments, to focus on ―nation building at home‖ rather than try to keep shaping the world as it has in the past. Again, these common assumptions require some examination. For one thing, how ―overstretched‖ is the United States? The answer, in historical terms, is not nearly as much as people imagine… In 1953, the United States had almost one million troops deployed overseas—325,000 in combat in Korea and more than 600,000 stationed in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere… Today, when there are half a million troops deployed overseas, the American population is 313 million. The country is twice as large, with half as many troops deployed as fifty years ago.


What about the financial expense? Many seem to believe that the cost of these deployments, and of the armed forces generally, is a major contributor to the soaring fiscal deficits that threaten the solvency of the national economy. But this is not the case, either… The cost of remaining the world‘s predominant power is not prohibitive. Perhaps the greatest concern underlying the declinist mood at large in the country today is not really whether the United States can afford to continue playing its role in the world. It is whether the Americans are capable of solving any of their most pressing economic and social problems. As many statesmen and commentators have asked, can Americans do what needs to be done to compete effectively in the twenty-first-century world? The only honest answer is, who knows? If American history is any guide, however, there is at least some reason to be hopeful… There have been many times over the past two centuries when the political system was dysfunctional, hopelessly gridlocked, and seemingly unable to find solutions to crushing national problems… Success in the past does not guarantee success in the future. But one thing does seem clear from the historical evidence: the American system, for all its often stultifying qualities, has also shown a greater capacity to adapt and recover from difficulties than many other nations, including its geopolitical competitors. This undoubtedly has something to do with the relative freedom of American society, which rewards innovators, often outside the existing power structure, for producing new ways of doing things; and with the relatively open political system of America, which allows movements to gain steam and to influence the behavior of the political establishment… In sum: it may be more than good fortune that has allowed the United States in the past to come through crises and emerge stronger and healthier than other nations while its various competitors have faltered. And it may be more than just wishful thinking to believe that it may do so again. But there is a danger. It is that in the meantime, while the nation continues to struggle, Americans may convince themselves that decline is indeed inevitable, or that the United States can take a timeout from its global responsibilities while it gets its own house in order. To many Americans, accepting decline may provide a welcome escape from the moral and material burdens that have weighed on them since World War II. Many may unconsciously yearn to return to the way things were in 1900, when the United States was rich, powerful, and not responsible for world order. …Unfortunately, the present world order—with its widespread freedoms, its general prosperity, and its absence of great power conflict—is as fragile as it is unique. Preserving it has been a struggle in every decade, and will remain a struggle in the decades to come. Preserving the present world order requires constant American leadership and constant American commitment. In the end, the decision is in the hands of Americans. Decline, as Charles Krauthammer has observed, is a choice. It is not an inevitable fate—at least not yet. Empires and great powers rise and fall, and the only question is when. But the when does matter. Whether the United States begins to decline over the next two decades or not for another two centuries will matter a great deal, both to Americans and to the nature of the world they live in.


Comprehension Questions
1. Kagan argues that American power is not necessarily declining. Name five reasons that you can find in the article that prove this.

2. What historical comparisons does Kagan make? Why does he use historical references?

3. At the end of the article, Kagan writes, ―decline, as Charles Krauthammer has observed, is a choice.‖ Explain.

4. Reread this essay and write a summary sentence for each paragraph.

5. Who is Robert Kagan?

American Decline: Causes and Consequences (2011)
by Noam Chomsky (Al Akhbar, August 24, 2011) Full Text: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20110824.htm In the 2011 summer issue of the journal of the American Academy of Political Science, we read that it is "a common theme" that the United States, which "only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal -- is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay." It is indeed a common theme, widely believed, and with some reason. But an appraisal of US foreign policy and influence abroad and the strength of its domestic economy and political institutions at home suggests that a number of qualifications are in order. To begin with, the decline has in fact been proceeding since the high point of US power shortly after World War II, and the remarkable rhetoric of the several years of triumphalism in the 1990s was mostly selfdelusion. Furthermore, the commonly drawn corollary -- that power will shift to China and India -- is

57 highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite America's decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power. To review briefly some of the relevant history: During World War II, US planners recognized that the US would emerge from the war in a position of overwhelming power… At the war's end, the US had half the world's wealth and unmatched security… The ensuing 'Cold War' consisted largely of efforts by the two superpowers to enforce order on their own domains: for the USSR, Eastern Europe; for the US, most of the world… subversion and massive violence continued elsewhere in the effort to maintain what is called 'stability,' meaning conformity to US demands. …Twenty years later the USSR collapsed. Washington's reaction teaches us a good deal about the reality of the Cold War. The Bush I administration, then in office, immediately declared that policies would remain pretty much unchanged, but under different pretexts. The huge military establishment would be maintained, but not for defense against the Russians; rather, to confront the "technological sophistication" of third world powers… The Clinton administration declared that the US has the right to use military force unilaterally to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources." It also declared that military forces must be "forward deployed" in Europe and Asia "in order to shape people's opinions about us," not by gentle persuasion, and "to shape events that will affect our livelihood and our security…" There was indeed a period of euphoria after the collapse of the superpower enemy… nothing stood in the way of the "idealistic New World bent on ending inhumanity," which could at last carry forward unhindered the emerging international norm of humanitarian intervention. Not all were so enraptured. The traditional victims, the Global South, bitterly condemned "the so-called 'right' of humanitarian intervention," recognizing it to be just the old "right" of imperial domination… …But far more serious would be moves towards independence in the Middle East. Post WWII planning recognized that control of the incomparable energy reserves of the Middle East would yield "substantial control of the world," in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle... A further danger to US hegemony was the possibility of meaningful moves towards democracy. New York Times executive editor Bill Keller writes movingly of Washington's "yearning to embrace the aspiring democrats across North Africa and the Middle East." But recent polls of Arab opinion reveal very clearly that functioning democracy where public opinion influences policy would be disastrous for Washington. Not surprisingly, the first few steps in Egypt's foreign policy after ousting Mubarak have been strongly opposed by the US and its Israeli client. While longstanding US policies remain stable, with tactical adjustments, under Obama there have been some significant changes. Military analyst Yochi Dreazen observes in the Atlantic that Bush's policy was to capture (and torture) suspects, while Obama simply assassinates them, with a rapid increase in terror weapons (drones) and the use of Special Forces…As these and many other developments illustrate, though America's hegemony has declined, its ambition has not. Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted… The eminent American philosopher John Dewey once described politics as "the shadow cast on society by big business," warning that "attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance." Since the 1970s, the shadow has become a dark cloud enveloping society

58 and the political system. Corporate power, by now largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate. For the public, the primary domestic concern, rightly, is the severe crisis of unemployment… The costs of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to run as high as $4.4 trillion -- a major victory for Osama bin Laden, whose announced goal was to bankrupt America by drawing it into a trap. The 2011 military budget -- almost matching that of the rest of the world combined -- is higher in real terms than at any time since World War II and is slated to go even higher . The deficit crisis is largely manufactured as a weapon to destroy hated social programs on which a large part of the population relies. Though the deficit crisis is manufactured for reasons of savage class war, the long-term debt crisis is serious… for now, it is the crisis of unemployment that is the gravest concern… The self-inflicted blows, while increasingly powerful, are not a recent innovation. They trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy underwent major transformations, bringing to an end what is commonly called "the Golden Age" of (state) capitalism. Two major elements were financialization and offshoring of production… In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional leadership positions. The post-Golden Age economy is enacting a nightmare envisaged by the classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Both recognized that if British merchants and manufacturers invested abroad and relied on imports, they would profit, but England would suffer. Both hoped that these consequences would be averted by home bias, a preference to do business in the home country and see it grow and develop… In the past 30 years, the "masters of mankind," as Smith called them, have abandoned any sentimental concern for the welfare of their own society, concentrating instead on short-term gain and huge bonuses, the country be damned -- as long as the powerful nanny state remains intact to serve their interests. By shredding the remnants of political democracy, they lay the basis for carrying the lethal process forward -- as long as their victims are willing to suffer in silence.

Comprehension Questions
1. Who is Noam Chomsky?

2. How is American decline ―self-inflicted?‖

3. Chomsky says that ―there is no competitor for global hegemonic power,‖ but he does not portray America positively. What are some of his criticisms?


4. How might democratization of the Middle East be ―danger‖ to American hegemony?

5. Reread the text and write a summary sentence for each paragraph.

Additional Exercises
Source: About the USA by Elaine Kirn Page 19 13-16 79-85 86-100 118-120 121-124 Topic Martin Luther King, Jr. Famous Presidents The U.S. Constitution Branches of American Government U.S. Citizenship Voting

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