Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back-of-your-hand essay topics

If you know these ten topics, you'll be able to write good essays about almost any thematic essay that's given to you!  Know them like the back of your hand!

Back of your hand topics:
Louisiana Purchase
Homestead Act/Transcontinental RR
Slavery/abolitionism/Civil War
Progressivism/The Jungle
New immigrants
New Deal
Atomic/nuclear energy
MLK/Brown v. Board
Korematsu v. U.S.

Louisiana Purchase
Historical background: early 1800s
-Jefferson was president
-U.S.’s western border was Mississippi River, but farmers wanted to be able to expand
-Louisiana Territory was controlled by France, as was the port of New Orleans
-Napoleon ruled France and wanted to sell Louisiana to pay off his debts

-Jefferson decided to buy entire Louisiana Territory for $15 million
-He made the deal, even though the Constitution didn’t give him explicit power to do so—example of loose interpretation of the Constitution

-doubled the size of the U.S.A.
-gave U.S. full control of Mississippi River and port of New Orleans
-Lewis and Clark were sent to explore the new territory
-Pioneering farmers moved west
-Fueled a belief in manifest destiny that later led to Texas Annexation, Mexican War, etc.

Homestead Act/Transcontinental RR
Historical background:
Manifest destiny: U.S. got land from Atlantic to Pacific
Acquired land through La. Purchase, Mexican War, Texas Annexation, treaty for Oregon

Western land has:
Raw materials, land for farming, Native Americans, buffalo

Govt. action: Homestead Act
-Govt. gives land to people who will pay an application fee and farm land for 5 years
Pacific Railway Act
-Govt. gives money to help build transcontinental RR

-Native Americans forced to leave homes, forced onto reservations, loss of buffalo, Dawes Act forces them to assimilate
-farmers get new land and grow food
-people move west
-western cities develop
-more territories become states
-railroads formed monopolies
-farmers lost money and started Granger Movement

Slavery, abolitionism, Civil War
Slavery: Africans were enslaved in America since colonial times, transported from Africa via Middle Passage route in inhumane conditions, auctioned when they arrived, labored on plantations, grew rice and cotton, whipped and beaten, denied the ability to read and write

Causes of Civil War:
Sectionalism: North industrialized and depended less on slave labor, while the South became more dependent on slaves and plantations when the cotton gin made cotton production easier.
Abolitionism: Frederick Douglass (book), Harriet Tubman (Underground RR), Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) fought to end slavery in USA
Slavery in territories: N & S competed over expansion of slavery into territories, compromises (Missouri, 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act) were meant to keep peace between N & S, but Dred Scott decision forced North to accept slavery in all territories
States’ rights: South said federal govt. was intruding on their power
Election of Lincoln: Republican

Lincoln’s actions during war:
-fought war to preserve and protect Union
-made Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in states in rebellion, thereby making abolition a goal of the Civil War

13th Amendment—abolished slavery
Presidential Reconstruction—lenient treatment of South led to black codes
14th and 15th Amendments—gave blacks citizenship, equal protection of laws, suffrage
End of Reconstruction-->Jim Crow laws

Progressivism/The Jungle
Historical circumstances:
U.S. industrialized after Civil War
-corporations grew and became monopolies and trusts led by “robber barons” (Carnegie, Rockefeller) who charged high prices and paid low wages
-Immigrants moved to USA to work in factories and live in tenements
-Cities grew and became overcrowded, unsanitary, and politically corrupt
-Manufactured products included unhealthy ingredients (e.g. pharmaceuticals that were mainly alcohol or cocaine)

Action of reformer:
Muckraker Upton Sinclair went undercover to a meatpacking factory in Chicago.
His book, The Jungle, exposed the unsanitary conditions and poor treatment of workers.

Many people read book, including Pres. T. Roosevelt.  He supported the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (required accurate labeling of products and regulation of industry by FDA)
This was part of a larger Progressive Movement, in which the govt. took responsibility for regulating industry, public health, corrupt politics, etc.  Other reformers included: Jacob Riis, Ida Tarbell, Jane Addams, Mother Jones, Alice Paul, etc.

New Immigrants
Historical circumstances that led to immigration:
Push factors: civil wars in home countries, poverty, crowded/poor land, persecution
Pull factors: factory jobs (industrialization), economic opportunity, prosperity
Time period: late 1800s, early 1900s
From: S+E Europe: Greece, Italy, Armenia, Russia

Immigrants move to tenements
--dirty, crowded, unsanitary, poor sewage treatment, 10 people per room
How the Other Half Lives—book of photos and facts about immigrant life in the Lower East Side of NYC
Economic: long hours, low wages, child labor, unsanitary conditions, meatpacking factories from The Jungle, Triangle Shirtwaist fire
Political: nativism, opposed for cultural differences “failure to assimilate,” argument for quotas—limits on immigration
-Chinese Exclusion Act
-Quota Acts of 1921 and 1924—after WW1, Red Scare—communism
Sacco and Vanzetti trial

Historical circumstances:
Problems with drinking: domestic violence, inability to provide for family, religious opposition
Temperance movement: people first tried to get friends and family to stop drinking so much
Examples: Washingtonian Society, Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

Govt. Action:
18th Amendment prohibited alcohol in the U.S.—1919

-Bootleggers, moonshine, bathtub gin, speakeasies
-Organized crime: Mafia and other groups step in to provide alcohol—increased crime, violent crime, gangs, etc.
-21st Amendment repealed Prohibition in 1930s
-Unpopular laws that try to legislate morality are difficult to enforce

New Deal
Historical circumstances:
Great Depression
--caused by stocks being bought on margin, overproduction, stock market crash, risky behavior by banks and in stock market
--Hoovervilles, extreme poverty, bank runs and bank failures, Hoover blankets, unemployment at 25%, hunger, foreclosure of home, lower birth rate, marital stress, suicide
--Dust Bowl: drought and overfarming in Great Plains lead to Dust Bowl, famine, poverty for farmers, migration to California

Govt. actions:
--led by FDR
--Relief: CCC, money for needy families
--Recovery: AAA
--Reform: FDIC, Social Security, SEC, National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act)

-Fed govt. took greater responsibility for well-being of Americans
-Power of fed. govt. and president grew
-Deficit spending was accepted (govt. borrows money to spend and support economy during recession)
-Great Depression didn’t end until WW2

Korematsu v. U.S.
Historical circumstances:
World War II:
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.  US declared war
-US suspected Japanese Americans of espionage (spying), despite NO EVIDENCE that J-A were spying
-FDR issued an executive order that J-A on the West Coast would be put in internment camps for national security
-Motivated by security but also by nativism/racism

Court decision:
Korematsu disguised himself and was arrested
-He sued, saying his 14th Amendment right to equal protection was violated
-Court said internment WAS CONSTITUTIONAL
-Justification: In times of war, civil liberties can be limited for national security

-J-A were released after war
-1980s: U.S. Congress officially apologized and J-As and their families were given $20,000 each

Atomic/Nuclear Energy
Historical circumstances/causes:
·        Manhattan Project: government research to create atomic bomb
·        During WW2 Einstein warned FDR that Hitler might build a bomb
·        Bomb uses uranium and plutonium-radioactive
·        1945 the US created an atomic bomb and told Truman

Decision: Truman ordered bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Positive effects:
·        ended WW2—Japan surrendered
·        saved American lives that would have been lost in Japanese invasion
·        prevented future wars
·        used for nuclear power plants

Negative effects:
·        Deaths of thousands of Japanese
·        Radiation poisoning
·        Arms race cost millions of dollars
US is only country to drop atomic bomb on humans

MLK/Brown v. Board
Historical background:
-segregation—Jim Crow laws
-“separate but equal” was acceptable according to Plessy v. Ferguson
-economic: poor sharecropping—blacks work plots of land, and they pay a share of their crop as rent
-political: literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clause kept blacks from voting
-terrorized by Ku Klux Klan
-Jim Crow South: 1877-1960s

-Brown v. Board: 14th Amendment requires equal protection of laws, so school segregation must be unconstitutional (NAACP argued the case)
-nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience: led by MLK
Montgomery Bus Boycott, sit-ins, Freedom Rides, demonstrations, March on Washington—“I Have a Dream”

-integration of schools, buses, public facilities, etc.
-Civil Rights Act of 1964: bans Jim Crow
-Voting Rights Act of 1965: bans literacy tests
-24th Amendment: bans poll taxes
-affirmative action: minorities receive advantage in job apps and colleges

Quick Review of Regents U.S. History ESSENTIALS

Virginia House of Burgesses/Mayflower Compact early democracy, rep govt, consent of the governed
mercantilism colonies produce for British; British regulate trade—colonies make raw materials
“No taxation without representation” British taxes: Tea Act, Stamp Act, etc. colonial responses: boycott, etc.-->war
Declaration of Independence Locke: if govt doesn’t protect natural rightsàoverthrow it (T. Paine/Common Sense)
Articles of Confederation plan of union w/weak central govt.  One success: Northwest Ordinance—plan for new states

Great Compromise big vs. small states over rep in Congressàdeal: bicameral legislature HR by pop, Senate-equal
3/5 Compromise North vs. South over counting of slaves as pop for reps in HR
Federalism power divided btwn nat’l (delegated powers) and state (reserved powers)
Checks and balances 3 branches check each other’s power
Flexibility elastic clause, amendments, judicial review
Bill of Rights 1st 10 amendments, protects rights of individuals, illustrates limited govt
Unwritten Constitution political parties, Cabinet, judicial review
Ratification Federalists vs. Antifederalists; compromiseàadd Bill of Rights

New Nation
Washington’s presidency precedents: Cabinet, two terms, neutrality—Farewell Address
Marshall Court as chief justice, judicial review and power of fed govt. grew—Marbury v. Madison
Louisiana Purchase Jefferson bought it—loose interpretation of Const—got control of Mississippi R. and New Orleans
Andrew Jackson democracy increased, Indian Removal Act, spoils system—jobs to friends
manifest destiny God-given right to expand to Pacific, ex: Mexican War, Texas annexation, Oregon treaty
Monroe Doctrine Europe must stop colonizing Latin America
Civil War
Sectionalism people have loyalty to North or South more than USA
Abolitionism abolish slavery; examples: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Dred Scott decision slaves are property so all territories must permit slavery
Lincoln’s election Republican presidentàSouth secedesàCivil War
Lincoln’s goal for war preserve and protect the Union
Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Confederacy, made abolition a goal of war

13th Amendment abolished slavery
black codes result of Presidential Reconstruction—lenient, take away blacks’ rights
14th Amendment equal protection of laws, birthright citizenship
15th Amendment blacks’ right to vote
Andrew Johnson lenient on South, impeached but found not guilty in Senate trial
Compromise of 1877 Hayes became president; Reconstruction ended
Plessy v. Ferguson separate but equal is constitutional—permitted Jim Crow laws
Westward Expansion
Homestead Act U.S. gave free land in West to farmers
transcontinental railroad improved trade, govt helped pay for it, leads to monopolies
Grangers farmers who demand regulated railroad rates
Interstate Commerce Act regulates railroad rates
Dawes Act forced assimilation of Native Americans (cut up reservations into family plots)

monopoly/trust corporation/group that takes over an industry and prevents competition
robber baron ex: Rockefeller, Carnegie—monopolists who used unfair business practices to be successful
urbanization growth of cities because of factory jobs, immigration, poor farming options
labor unions improve working conditions, demand higher pay, govt sides with business against them in late 1800s
laissez-faire economics govt doesn’t get involved in business
muckraker journalists who expose problems in society e.g. Upton Sinclair, Jacob Riis, Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens
Sherman Antitrust Act law that broke up trusts; TR used it for trustbusting
referendum/recall/initiative growth in democracy (also 17th Amendment: direct election of Senators)
progressive income tax richer get taxed at a higher rate—16th Amendment
19th Amendment women’s suffrage—right to vote (result of Seneca Falls Convention, Susan B. Anthony)

Reasons for imperialism desire for raw materials and new markets
yellow journalism exaggerated news, led to S-A War, inaccurate reporting of sinking of U.S.S. Maine
Spanish-American War imperialistic war; U.S. got Cuba, PR, Philippines, Guam
Roosevelt Corollary/big-stick diplomacy US will intervene in Latin America; corollary to Monroe Doctrine
Panama Canal Roosevelt Corollary used to help Panama gain independence, easier to get from East Coast to Asia

World War I
freedom of the seas U.S. opposed Germany’s unrestricted sub warfare (U-Boat) and sinking of LusitaniaàUS entered war
Schenck v. U.S. draft protester arrested—SC said free speech can be limited when it poses clear and present danger to USA
Fourteen Points Woodrow Wilson’s plan for lasting peace, including League of Nations
Treaty of Versailles made Germany pay for WWI, included League of Nations, Senate rejected it (isolationism)

Roaring Twenties
Quota Acts Red Scare and nativism lead to limits on immigration
Great Migration/Harlem Renaissance blacks moved to north, displayed culture e.g. L. Hughes, D. Ellington
flapper independent women, rejecting tradition, new style
Prohibition WCTU opposed alcohol, 18th Amendment, results: organized crime, rejection of unpopular moral law (21st repeals it)
Scopes trial tradition vs. modernity—should evolution be taught in schools?
consumer goods new appliances, assembly line, cars improved economy

Great Depression
buying on margin buying stocks on credit; among many risky financial actions; led to stock market crash
Hooverville Pres. Hoover blamed for homelessness—he refused to use fed govt to solve problem
Dust Bowl drought in Midwest/Great Plains; led to worse depression and migration to California
New Deal FDR’s plan included Relief, Recovery, Reform
Social Security payments for elderly and unemployed
FDIC insured bank deposits; prevented bank failures and bank runs
court packing FDR wanted to add supportive justices to SC; threat to checks and balances; didn’t happen
legacies fed govt provides for people’s welfare, deficit spending accepted, fed govt grows in power

World War II
Neutrality ActsàLend-Lease Act shift from U.S. neutrality to support for democratic allies (e.g. Great Britain)
Korematsu v. U.S. Pearl Harbor leads to US fear of Japanese, J-A interned, SC says it’s okay in time of war
war bonds/rationing/victory gardens support from home for WW2
Manhattan Project project to create atomic bombàTruman dropped it on Japan to save American lives and end WW2

Cold War
containment U.S. foreign policy: stop spread of communism
examples of aid 1940s: Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Airlift, Eisenhower Doctrine        ALSO: NATO—alliance
Korean War 1951-53 UN involved, war not declared by Congress, contain communism in Asia
Cuban Missile Crisis after Bay of Pigs failed to overthrow Castro, USSR put nukes in Cuba, close to nuclear war, JFK blockaded Cuba to keep more weapons from getting in 1962
Vietnam War 1963-73 contain communism in SE Asia, war not declared by Congress, unpopular
détente ease tensions with communist governments—Nixon 1970s
end of the Cold War fall of Berlin Wall, breakup of USSR

GI Bill aid to veterans for education and housing
baby boom after delay in marriage due to WW2 and GD, people had babies
suburbanization move to suburbs because of highways, cars, desire for home ownership
Interstate Highway Act Eisenhower’s govt paid for highways for nat’l security, more suburbanization
McCarthyism fear of communism led to invasion of civil liberties (also: loyalty review boards, HUAC)
Sputnik Soviet satellite leads to space race, more US funding for science and math
Great Society LBJ’s plan to end poverty, included Medicare and Medicaid

Civil Rights Movement
Treatment of blacks segregation, Jim Crow, literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clause, sharecropping
Brown v. Board school segregation unconstitutional, reversed Plessy v. Ferguson, argued by NAACP
civil disobedience MLK, sit-ins, Freedom Rides, Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington
Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans Jim Crow
Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned literacy tests
24th Amendment banned poll taxes

War Powers Act at end of Vietnam War, Congress said president needs permission to send troops overseas longterm
Watergate burglary at DNC HQ led to Nixon cover-up and lies, U.S. v. Nixon said no man is above the law, Nixon resigned, people lost confidence in govt leaders
OPEC oil embargo 1973, 1979 OPEC refused to sell oil to USA to protest treatment of Israel, inflation, recession
Camp David Accords peace in Middle East, Pres. Carter deal between Israel and Egypt
Reaganomics less regulation and less taxes on rich/corpsàbetter economy, more wealth inequality

Current Events: Foreign Policy
Persian Gulf War war against Iraq to insure steady supply of oil (Saddam had invaded Kuwait)
Bosnian War fought to stop human rights abuses—ethnic cleansing/genocide
9/11 al-Qaeda attacked WTC and Pentagon
Results of 9/11 Dept of Homeland Security, PATRIOT Act limits civil liberties, wars
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight Islamic terrorism and keep Iraq from getting weapons of mass destruction

Current Events
Move to the Sunbelt Americans move Southàmore political power in South
Aging of baby boomers Cost of Social Security and Medicare roseàled to growth in national debt
Clinton impeachment impeached for perjury, found not guilty in Senate
2000 presidential election Gore won popular vote but Bush won electoral vote; Supreme Court helped decide
Technology development more computers, Internetàloss of privacy

Current Events: Economics
corporate downsizing corporations send jobs overseas
shift to a service economy less manufacturing jobs
NAFTA free trade—globalization—lower tariffs
trade imbalance with Japan and China, US imports more than it exports

2008 economic crisis led to greater federal involvement in economy