“The year 1968 is considered one of the most turbulent, and pivotal, twelve month periods in American history. This single year was a flashpoint for many of the social, political, and cultural transformations for which the overall decade of the 1960s is known. During these years, the United States became entrenched in an unpopular war in Vietnam abroad, while unrest, experimentation, violence, and outspokenness raged throughout the nation. The Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, sit-ins and riots became commonplace, leaders were assassinated on a seemingly regular basis, and social experimentation and psychedelic music became the rage in San Francisco and elsewhere.
Many consider these years divisive, others shameful, yet some believe they were necessary to galvanize change in America. The slowly building upheaval of the 1960s reached an apex in 1968. The tension that had been increasingly brewing over the previous years finally came to a head, exploding across 365 days of violence, uprising, and mourning. Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated, riots broke out at the Democratic National Convention, and the media coverage of the Tet Offensive exposed the gruesome underbelly of the Vietnam War. Together, these events signaled the powerful cultural, economic, and social changes that still reverberate today.
The History Channel documentary 1968 with Tom Brokaw is a two-hour special presentation featuring extensive video footage and mesmerizing new interviews. Brokaw, a young journalist in 1968, takes us through the year’s most important events, aided by testimonies from those closest to the action. Brokaw speaks to key leaders and participants in these events including Andrew Young-- the former Mayor of Atlanta who was standing next to Martin Luther King when he was assassinated, Rafer Johnson—a close friend of Robert Kennedy who tackled the senator’s assassin in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, and musicians Bruce Springsteen, Arlo Guthrie, and James Taylor. Together, their insights help capture this dynamic and fascinating year in history, bringing viewers a fresh and incisive view of 1968, and what it all means today. Covering the political and personal, the cultural and scientific, 1968 with Tom Brokaw explores and deciphers this critical year in American History. Educators and their students will find this documentary to be a riveting retrospective of this era and its consequences for our lives today.” (History)
Curricular context: “This documentary fulfills the following standards as outlined by the National Council for History Education: (1) Civilization, cultural diffusion and innovation, (2) Human interaction with the environment, (3) Values, beliefs, political ideas and institutions, (4) Patterns of social and political interaction, and (5) Conflict and cooperation.” (History)
Assignment: Watch the documentary 1968, and answer at least three of the following questions and post at least one comment on the answer of a classmate. There is no minimum word count but I expect your to answer each question thoroughly, thoughtfully, and using academic grammar. Please specify which question you’re answering in each post.
1. What were some of the major cultural and political events that directly preceded 1968? How did they influence the events, which occurred in 1968?
2. What was the Tet Offensive? What did it reveal about the conflict in Vietnam and why was it particularly shocking for Americans?
3. How was Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant” a commentary on the draft? What message was Guthrie trying to convey, and why? Is there still a draft today?
4. What was at stake for those who dodged the draft? By going to Canada to escape the draft and military service, were people breaking the law? Do you think some draft dodgers were justified, or not? Discuss.
5. Why do you think the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco was the destination and home for so many in the counter-culture movement? How would you characterize this movement, and what is the actual definition of a “hippie”?
6. Why do you think the Smothers Brothers were so popular? By the same token, why do you think they were considered so controversial? Is there a need for personalities like John Stewart and the Smothers Brothers to “take off the veil” for society?
7. Why was George Wallace such a polarizing figure in politics? Why do you think he garnered such support, and how did his viewpoints compare with those of the other presidential candidates in 1968?
8. What was the Orangeburg Massacre? What were the repercussions of this violent event, and how do you think it influenced and affected the Civil Rights, and even the anti-war Movements?
9. What incited the various sit-ins and protests at Columbia University? How would you describe the make up of these protestors and what ultimately happened to them? Do you think that anything of this size and nature could happen today? Why or why not?
10. What were the various reactions to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King jr.?
11. Why do you think Robert Kennedy was such an influential and widely liked candidate, especially among minority groups such as migrant farm workers? What set him apart from Eugene McCarthy? Finally, why was the Senator assassinated?
12. What were the repercussions of the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention? Can you think of any recent event that was covered and exposed so extensively on television?
13. What was the “silent majority” and why were they significant? How did this contingency ultimately affect the results of the 1968 Presidential Election?
14. Apart from the political, what were some of the other major events that took place in 1968?
15. Former Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan considers 1968 one of the most divisive years in American History. Why? Do you agree? If so, would you characterize this divisiveness as detrimental, beneficial, or somewhere in between?
16. What was the legacy of the 1960s, or specifically 1968? What did we gain from this decade?
Post 1 (200 – 300 words): Discuss the accomplishments of oneof the Civil Rights leaders by including the following:
Post 2 (100 – 150 words): Of all of the leaders you’ve learned about (by reading the other blog posts), who do you think was the MOST INFLUENTIAL and why? Complete this post by replying to the classmate who wrote about this leader.
Find a song from the 1960s or early 1970s that protests either 1960s foreign policy, the Vietnam War, or civil rights oppression in the US. Make a new comment on the USH blog and EXPLAIN the following in paragraph form. Please note: You should include important lyrics and separate them out from the paragraph.
Information to include:
Message/Significance (bigger than the obvious):
Is the song emotionally effective (why/why not)?:
Helpful essay: 1960s Protest Music
US-North Korea relations research: Using the links below, write a well-organized paragraph that includes the following:
(1) the state of relations after the 1953 ceasefire
(2) attempts, if any, to improve relations on the part of either party
(3) issues that have strained the relationship
(4) current state of affairs
US-North Korea Relations: a timeline (PBS)
US Relations with North Korea (US State Department)
North Korea Profile (BBC)
North Korea-South Korea relations since 1953 (Stanford)
US & North Korea: a brief history (World Economic Forum)
Post your paragraph here by Friday, April 26 (250 words min).
Answer one of the following three questions (indicate which you’re answering in a separate post). Respond to another classmate who answered a different question.
1. What is Zinn’s thesis in this chapter (HINT: how was the average American affected, what did he or she need)?
2. According to Zinn, how did socialist critics view the causes of the Great Depression?
3. According to Zinn, “the spirit of rebellion was growing” in the early 1930s. Explain, using three specific examples.
Answer one of the following four questions (indicate which you’re answering in a separate post). Respond to another classmate who answered a different question.
4. Describe the events that led to incidents between veterans and the Bonus Army?
5. What strikes took place during the 1930s? What were the workers hoping for and how did businesses respond?
6. Explain the creation and operation of at least one new government agency Zinn discusses (NRA, AAA, SS, etc.). Include his thoughts about its success/results.
7. What did African Americans gain from the New Deal? What remained the same?
Answer one of the following two questions (indicate which you’re answering in a separate post). Respond to another classmate who answered a different question.
8. How does Zinn view the New Deal in its entirety? What does he think is the legacy of the New Deal?
9. “When the New Deal was over, capitalism remained intact. The rich still controlled the nation’s wealth, as well as its laws, courts, police, newspapers, churches, colleges. Enough help had been given to enough people to make Roosevelt a hero to millions, but the same system that had brought depression and crisis – the system of waste, of inequality, of concern for profit over human need – remained.” Do you agree with Zinn’s analysis? Why or why not? (Include specific examples in your response.)
6 posts total (3 initial responses, 3 appropriate comments that addto the discussion)
As always, all posts should be grammatically correct, answer all parts of the question, and be academically appropriate in terms of length and content.
Please complete at least two of the following questions within the forum (200 words min). In addition to your initial posts, respond to at least two of your classmates' responses to other questions (75 words min). All responses are before class on March 4th. Please include the number of each question in each response. Please do not mirror the answer of another classmate. Instead, attempt a different question.
Proper grammar and academic writing is expected. All posts must be your own to receive credit.
4 posts total.
1. Why might Teddy Roosevelt have thought that the US needed a war in 1897?
2. Why did Senator Henry Cabot Lodge believe that the United States needed to control the balance of trade in the Pacific? Which island and countries did he believe were key acquisitions toward attaining such a goal?
3. Senator Albert Beveridge argued in 1897 that “the trade of the world must and shall be ours.” What might his motivations and reasons have been for making such a statement?
4. What was McKinley's ultimatum to Spain? How did the Cuban rebels react?
5. What were labor’s arguments against going to war with Spain? Why did most unions not oppose the war once it was declared?
6. Why were the Cuban rebel leaders shut out of the negotiations for peace?
7. What was the Teller Amendment, and to what extent was it honored by the US government?
8. How did the Filipinos respond to the US decision to take over their country?
9. How did Beveridge justify American cruelty toward the Filipinos in 1900? Why did the US government resort to such brutality? (Consider the following when answering the previous question: race relations in the US; the Filipino population’s relationship to the Guerrillas; and the US government’s goals of the Spanish-American War.)
10. According to an open letter to President McKinley by a “group of Massachusetts Negros,” what was the federal government’s response when whites attached and murdered blacks for two days in Wilmington, North Carolina?
Post 1 (300+ words): Discuss the accomplishments of oneprogressive leader by including the following (everyone needs to choose a different leader):
Post 2 (100 – 150 words): Of all of the Progressives you’ve learned about (by reading the other blog posts), who do you think was the MOST INFLUENTIAL and why? Complete this post by replying to the classmate who wrote about this leader.
All information should be written in your own words. Academic grammar and vocabulary is expected. Please cite at least one source in MLA format at the end of your post.
Please complete at least three of the following questions within the forum (200 words min). In addition to your initial posts, respond to at least two of your classmates' responses to other questions (75 words min). All responses are before class on Monday, January 28th. Please include the number of each question in each response. Please do not mirror the answer of another classmate. Instead, attempt a different question.
5 posts total.
1. What was the technology that transformed the work-place from 1865-1900? What economic and social effects did the new technology have on American society?
2. Why did it “take money to make money” during the period of rapid economic expansion after the Civil War? What are the implications of this for the potential for social mobility?
3. What methods did each of the following men use to amass his fortune?
A) Morgan (banking, railroads, and steel)
B) Rockefeller (oil)
C) Carnegie (steel)
4. Are there any facts surrounding the presidential election of 1884 and its outcome (Cleveland defeats Blaine) that supports Zinn’s assertion that “Whether Democrats or Republicans won, national policy would not change in any important way.” Do the policies or legislation during either of the two Cleveland administrations or Benjamin Harrison’s administration support any or all parts of Zinn’s statement above? How persuasive in Zinn on this point? Explain.
5. What were proposed solutions to the unequal distribution of wealth? What evidence indicates that these ideas were popular at the time?
6. What were obstacles to worker unity in the 1880s?
7. What evidence exists that the Knights of Labor recruited women and/or blacks? Why was the IWPA (International Working People’s Association) a “powerful influence” within the Central Labor Union of Chicago? Why would a worker belong both to the IWPA and the CLU?
8. Were the executions of Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel a tactic on the part of business and government to damage the effectiveness of the labor movement? If it was, did it work and why or why not?
9. What successes did the labor movement score in the 1880s and 1890s?
10. Why did steel workers strike at the Homestead steel plant in Pennsylvania? What was Henry Clay Frick’s strategy to break the strike? Did the plan work? What is the evidence to support your answer?
11. Why were black workers reluctant to support the Pullman strike? Why did the strike at the Pullman plant in Chicago become a nationwide strike? On what pretext did the federal government side with the railroad owners?
12. When did Eugene V. Debs become a socialist? Why did he convert to that ideology? What was attractive about it to workers? How strong was support for the socialist agenda during this time?
13. Zinn writes: “C. Vann Woodward points to the unique quality of the Populist experience in the South: ‘Never before or since have the two races in the South come so close together as they did during the Populist struggles’” How “close” was that? Why would creating an alternative culture be a priority for both the Alliance and Populist movements? (How did Alliance and Populist teachings differ from the official teachings in the public school system?)
14. During the period from 1865 to 1898, how did the political/economic elite:
A) contain the demands of blacks for equal rights
B) contain the demands of farmers and laborers for economic justice
C) and respond to Indians’ desires to be allowed to exist?
Post 1 (300 words min): Discuss the accomplishments of oneCivil War leader by including the following:
Please include at least one citation in MLA format (8thed) at the end of your post.
Post 2 (100 – 150 words): Comment on the post of at least one other classmate indicating the extent to which their leader was influential.
Each student must choose a different leader. No duplicates!
Directions: After reading Chapters 6 & 7, answer at least four of the following questions on the US History blog (200 words minimum). Two questions should be from Chapter 6, and two should be from Chapter 7. In addition to these answers, comment on at least two posts of two other classmates by either agreeing or disagreeing with them and adding additional perspective (150 words min). 6 posts total. (This is not a typo. Quiz grade.)
Please indicate which question you're answering by pasting it within the top of the comment box, and then answering in it complete, grammatically correct sentences. As a class, please try to answer all questions.
Please write in your own words. Plagiarism = zero.
1. For what reasons does Zinn state that it is possible to forget on half of the population in the US? What is a sign of women’s submerged status? According to Zinn why is the oppression of women so “hard to uproot”?
2. Why were women in matrilineal societies more equal than in European societies? What examples does Zinn cite? What was the Middle Passage like for female slaves? In what ways were women treated as their husband’s property? How was this different for slave women?
3. How did women participate in the American Revolution? When women are discussed in history books, authors tend to focus on a select few? Which group of women are sometimes mentioned in history books? Why do you suppose this is? What did Abigail Adams urge her husband to do? Where were women given the right to vote after the American Revolution? What happened to this right?
4. What was the “women’s place”? Why did this term arise in the early to mid 19thcentury? What did heavy female clothes represent? According to an 1808 sermon what were some wifely duties? What were the “Cult of Domesticity” and the “Cult of True Womanhood”?
5. Where were early labor strikes led by women held? What were working conditions in factories like for women? Compare and contrast the lives of the women at Lowell to the women of high society Philadelphia. What experiences do they share?
6. What four areas of reform did women take up? Who led the way in reforming prisons and asylums? Women put enormous work into what reform movement? Who sat with the women who attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London? How were the struggles for abolition and women’s suffrage intertwined?
7. Why did Elizabeth Cady Stanton decide to convene a Women’s Rights Convention? What did the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention Declaration of Principles paraphrase? Explain the main point of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. In the midst of many 1830s – 1850s reform movements, what exploded?
8. What evidence does Zinn cite to illustrate the overall impact of Indian removal?
9. Contrast Thomas Jefferson’s views as Secretary of State concerning Indian policy with those during his presidency. Why did his views change?
10. How does Andrew Jackson’s early political/military career foreshadow his Indian policies as President? Discuss Jackson’s Indian-related activities and their significance prior to his presidency (treaties, land speculation, etc.).
11. How does Zinn’s view of the War of 1812 contrast with traditional histories?
12. Explain Zinn’s view of Arthur Schlesinger’s The Age of Jacksonand Marvin Meyers’ The Jacksonian Persuasion. Describe evidence Zinn utilizes to assess the views of Lewis Cass in regards to Native American policy.
13. What was the fate of major Southeastern Indian tribes?
14. To what extent did the Cherokee nation change its culture in order to survive within the U.S?
15. For what purpose does Zinn juxtapose the Nullification Controversy of 1832 and the enforcement of Worcester v. Georgia?
16. Explain the significance of the phrase: “As long as grass grows or water runs.”