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The role of the historian is to analyze and interpret the facts of history. But one important fact of history is that there are always multiple sides to a single story. Historical actors often have differing perspectives on the issues they face in their own time. Students will explore one of the following historical debates, put that debate into historical context, and analyze the ways in which that debate has evolved into the modern day.

  • Step 1: Summarize the main points of each primary source related to your chosen topic. Include the basic factual information and describe the main issue being discussed along with the argument made by each source.
  • Step 2: Using the questions listed in the chosen topic description, explain the context in which these documents were written.
  • Step 3: Using the resources listed with your chosen topic, answer the questions listed in your topic description to identify how the issue in the documents relates to American life today.

Topics: Choose ONE of the following topics and associated documents to complete the project.
Reaganonics: Click here and here for the documents.
Questions:

  1. Summary (40 points): Summarize the substance of the Economic Recovery Tax Act as explained by Reagan. Then, summarize The New York Time’s estimation of the reality of the Economic Recovery Tax Act’s impact.
  2. Context (40 Points): What problems with the American economy was Reagan trying to solve with the Act? How well did this reflect the economic reality of America in the 1980s?
  3. The Issue Today (30 Points): Have the key points in the debate about the role of taxes in economic recovery changed since the 1980s? If so, how? If it hasn’t changed, why do you think that is? Be sure to use specific examples.
  4. Resources:
    1. Greenbert, S., J. Olson, & S. J. Entin. (2016). Modeling the economic Effects of Past Tax Bills. Retrieved from Tax Foundation: https://taxfoundation.org/modeling-economic-effect…
    2. Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Economic Analysis: A GOP Tax Cut in 2017? Lessons from History. Retrieved from Tax Analysts: http://www.taxanalysts.org/content/economic-analys…
    3. Fisher, T. (2017). How past income tax rate cuts on the wealthy affected the economy. Retrieved from Politico: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/gop-tax…
    4. Lewis, N. (2017, November 8.) Did Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut supercharge the economy? Retrieved from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/w…

The Gulf War: Click here and here for the documents.
Questions:

  1. Summary (40 points): Summarize Bush’s positions on American involvement in Iraq. Summarize the position put forward by the protesters.
  2. Context (40 points): What were America’s stated foreign policy objectives in the early 1990s? How does the Gulf War fit into those foreign policy objectives? What does that tell us about how Americans understood the nation’s role in the world?
  3. The Issue Today (30 points): How do these foreign policy objects compare to American foreign policy today? Would the Presidents of the 2000s have made the same choice that the George H.W. Bush administration made? Why or why not? Be sure to use specific examples.
  4. Resources
    1. Bush Foreign Policy. (2017). Retrieved from Department of State: Office of the Historian: https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-…
    2. Foreign Policy. (2017). Retrieved from WhiteHouse.Gov: https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/
    3. Nelson, M. (2017). Barack Obama: Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from the Miller Center: https://millercenter.org/president/obama/foreign-a…
    4. Horsely, S. (2016, September 20.) Patient Diplomacy and a Reluctance to Act: Obama’s Mark on Foreign Policy. Retrieved from National Public Radio: https://www.npr.org/2016/09/20/494625983/patient-d…
    5. Riley, R. (2017). Bill Clinton: Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from the Miller Center: https://millercenter.org/president/clinton/foreign…

The Rise of Conservatism: Click here and here for the documents.
Questions:

  1. Summary (40 points): Summarize Buchanan’s main points about the state of America. Summarize Clinton’s main points about the state of America.
  2. Context (40 points): According to Buchanan and Clinton, what were the major issues facing the nation? What does this tell us about Americans’ major concerns when casting their ballots in 1992?
  3. The Issue Today (30 points): Have these debates between liberals and conservatives changed in the last quarter century? If so, how? If not, what is still the same? Be sure to use specific examples.
  4. Resources:
    1. Political Ideology: Crash Course Government and Politics #35. (2015). Retrieved from YouTube:
    2. Douthat, R. (2010, December 6). The Changing Culture War. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/opinion/06douth…
    3. Hunter, J. D. (2017, September 17). How America’s Culture Wars have Evolved into a
      Class War. Retrieved from The Washington Post:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything…
    4. Crimmins, T. (2017). Reevaluting the Culture Wars. 1(4).
      Retrieved from the American Affairs Journal: https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/11/reevalu…

Fall of the Berlin Wall: Click here and here for the documents.
Questions:

  1. Summary (40 points): Summarize the main points of Reagan’s speech. What were Reagan’s reasons for calling for the fall of the Wall? Summarize the main points of the news coverage. What were the immediate reactions and consequences to the fall of the Wall?
  2. Context (40 points): Why do you think the Berlin Wall fell when it did? Was the fall of the Berlin Wall a victory for democracy over communism? What had been the consequences of the wall? What good things did people think would come from the fall of the wall?
  3. The Issue Today (30 points): The fall of the Berlin Wall was the symbolic end to the Cold War. What have American relations with Communist countries been like since the turn of the 21st century? Is the Cold War really over or has it changed? Be sure to use specific examples to support your points.
  4. Resources
    1. Hart, G. (2011, December 12). Russia and the United States in the 21st Century. Retrieved from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/…
    2. U.S. Relations with China: 1949-2018. (2018). Retrieved from the Council on Foreign Policy: https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-relations-china
    3. Bader, J., D. Dollar, & R. Hass. (2017) U.S.-China Relations, 6 months into the Trump Presidency. Retrieved from The Brookings Institute: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/20…
    4. Felter, C. & D. Renwick. (2018). U.S.-Cuba Relations. Retrieved from the Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-cuba-relations

All sources used to complete this project should be cited using APA format, both in-text citations and references.
Use the template provided here to complete the assignment.

References will vary based on topic.

500 WORDS!!

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