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Defining the American Welfare State Essay


Name and describe three (3) major events that vaulted the U.S. into becoming a world power in the 20th century

The US was determined in establishing a long lasting peace and stability in the world during the 20th century. However, its effort was slowed down by major events taking place at that time. To stick to the path of becoming a world power, the US was not deterred by these events; it laid down strategies to pacify other nations. These strategies included the Wilson Fourteen Points, the Treaty of Versailles, dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and ending the Cold War. These strategies were significant in propelling the US to superpower status some time later.

The Wilson’s Fourteen Points prompted the US to enter into the WWI.1 The US was provoked by the actions of the Germans, which had announced unobstructed submarine combat and sinking US ships. The US Wilson’s Fourteen Points stressed on defending US maritime interests besides ending the WWI to perpetuate its ideologies of justice and peace in the world.

Similarly, the Treaty of Versailles was important in making the US a world power in the 20th century. The US was skeptical about the terms of the treaty because of the inclusion of the League of Nations. The US was wary of its foreign policies being undertaken by a foreign body, hence, rejecting the treaty.2

The US was also instrumental in ending the Cold War. It contributed to the fall of communist regime by establishing stronger ties with the Soviet Union in 1990. It also reduced US troops in Europe, and held countless discussions on ways of unifying West and East Germany, as well as the Arms Control in the Soviet Union. This action by the US made the Soviet renounce its wartime rights and support Germany unification.

The US action of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was motivated by one major reason; its aim was to warn Stalin and weaken his involvement in the Pacific war besides denying him peace the US was advancing in Japan. The US considered that by allowing the invasion of Japan, more lives would be lost.

The strategies employed by the US, such as the Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Treaty of Versailles, ending the Cold War and dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima were significant to the US quest to be a world super power. These strategies by the US ensured that peace and stability prevail, and justice is supported across the world. Due to these facts, the US managed to become the world superpower.

What were the critical events of 1968 that have led historians to describe it as a “watershed year”?

Various historians pinpoint that the year 1968 was a decisive year in the US history. The country was engulfed in unprecedented political occurrences that resulted in appalling events, such as the murder of Martin Luther King Jr and the war in Vietnam among others. These events that happened in 1968 prompted the historians to label the year the “watershed year”.

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr was a crucial period in the US history.3 King was killed in Memphis while addressing the plight of sanitation employees. His killing led to protests contributing to the rise of the Chicano movement.

This period was also characterized by the war in Vietnam. The Americans regarded the war in Vietnam as having no sense to the nation because a lot of troops were being killed.4 However, President Johnson upheld his stance that he would never let Communism occupy Vietnam. Thus, he increased the number of troops in Vietnam causing uproar among the US citizens.

The events of 1968 were damaging to the US leading historians to refer 1968 as “watershed year”.5 The assassination of leading figures and the war in Vietnam shaped the political landscape urging for major social and political reforms in the country. Thus, Americans were on the path to recovery.

What were the sources of the American economic recovery of the 1980s and 1990s? Which segment of society benefited from it and which did not, and why was that the case?

The scourge of the downturn in the US between 1980-1990s was disadvantageous to the economy. More businesses became ruined, farmers’ exports worsened, interest rates surged and crop prices skyrocketed. To tame the situation, the US government adopted various measures to reinvigorate the economy. These measures included allowing big corporations to buy others or small ones, cutting taxes and slashing social programs. Though these measures were helpful, the wealthier population benefited most than the common people.

One source which the government used to recover from the recession was allowing corporate organizations to buy others, and either restructuring or dismantling them into pieces. This action by the US was important because it helped both the government and the owners to revive the corporations back to profitability. Also, by selling these corporations, the owners were able to recover their profits and reinvest in other productive ventures. Although it was a significant move by the US, it benefited the wealthy in the society, hence, the common people were affected by losing their jobs.

The Reagan’s government was large, hence, he cut taxes and slashed social programs. Its size also compeled the use of more resources. Besides, military spending was also huge; to balance the spending, the US canceled laws that touched on the environment, workplace and the consumers, which alleviated citizen’s worries on the cost of living. The practice of cutting taxes mainly benefited the wealthier people because they had disposable incomes which the ordinary person did not have.

The measures adopted by the government were critical for improving the economy helping support struggling corporations and allowing owners to benefit. Also, slashing social programs and tax cut ensured fair distribution of resources. Despite these efforts, the measures benefited more affuent people than the ordinary man.

Explain how, having lost the popular vote in the 2000 Presidential election, George W. Bush nevertheless became president

The procedure of the US presidential election is unique because a candidate who wins the popular vote may fail to clinch the presidency if he fails to win the electoral college vote. The electoral college has the final say on who becomes the president. It is through the Constitution that George W. Bush became the US president despite losing the popular vote in 2000.

The US constitution is specific in terms of presidential elections. It highlights that a presidential candidate who clinches more than 270 of the electoral college votes becomes the US president, even if he loses the popular vote. 6 Al Gore was an ultimate winner of the popular vote in 2000 defeating Bush with over half a million votes. Al Gore did not become the US president because he he did not win the electoral college vote.

The constitution has also given some states the “ winner takes it all” rule.7 This provision indicates that a presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in a given state also wins the state’s electoral votes. However, some states such as the Maine and Nevada are exempted from this rule. It is on such basis Bush was awarded electoral college votes of Florida to win the presidency with 271 votes.

The US constitution highlights that a presidential candidate who clinches most votes in the electoral college is the ultimate winner of the presidency. A candidate for the presidency requires a total of 270 and above to win the presidency; thus, Bush had a total of 271 of the electoral votes, winning the US presidency in the year 2000.

Bibliography

Hakim Joy.A History of Us: Book 9: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918- 1945.Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2002.

Katz Michael B. The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State. Pennsylvania:University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

Office of the Historian. “Miletones: 1914-1920.” Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Web.

Rising George. Clean for Gene: Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 Presidential Campaign. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997.

US Electoral College. “. Electoral College and the National Archives. Web.

Footnotes

  1. Joy Hakim,A History of Us: Book 9: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2002), 37.
  2. Joy Hakim,A History of Us: Book 9: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2002), 40.
  3. Michael Katz B, The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008),78.
  4. George Rising, Clean for Gene: Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 Presidential Campaign, (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997), 46.
  5. US Electoral College, “What is Electoral College?.Electoral College and the National Archives. Web.
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IvyPanda. "Defining the American Welfare State." January 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/defining-the-american-welfare-state/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Defining the American Welfare State." January 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/defining-the-american-welfare-state/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Defining the American Welfare State'. 12 January.

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