Final Exam Questions

9 September 2016

On the day of the final, the students will be told which two prompts they will be required to respond to in blue books that the students have provided to the instructor. Essays should show a great deal of thought and range between “short answers” and formal essays, leaning closer to the idea of an essay. The student may have one page of handwritten notes on a standard size sheet of paper (8? X 11). Bring this sheet with you to the final. 1) The events at the 1968 Democratic national Convention in Chicago suggested to many that the nation was disintegrating.

But, as the authors of the textbook have noted, the tensions that seemed so palpable that summer had been long in developing and had “revealed deep cracks” in the postwar liberal consensus. How real was the postwar consensus? What caused such a seismic breakdown in social harmony? In other words, why did the optimism and idealism that had characterized the 1950s and early 1960s give way to disillusionment and polarization? 2) Tracing the development of the “modern Era” of the United States, what were the four most compelling events that shaped the move to contemporary America? How did these four events that you choose, shape modern America?

What geopolitical forces drew the United States into World War II? Was it different from the issues that drove us into World War I? How did the American attitude toward the world change as a result of the war? 4) Progressive reformers called upon the American government to be an active partner in reforming American Society. In what ways was Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and FDR’s “New Deal” a continuation of the progressive thrust? In what ways are they substantially different? 5) In a 1969 address, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew discussed the “importance of the television news medium to the American people.

” He noted that “it must be recognized that the networks have made important contributions to the national knowledge- for news, documentaries, and specials. They have often used their power constructively and creatively to awaken the public consciousness to critical problems…The networks have a directness and an immediacy that’s the gift of their medium. ” But he also suggested that news anchors may “allow their biases to influence the selection and presentation of the news. ” Indeed, he even charged that the views of the majority of anchors “do not – and I repeat, not – represent the views of America. ” Evaluate Agnew’s contention.

In what ways did the medium of television news shape U. S. public opinion from 1945 to 2000? In what ways did various groups use the news to advance their causes? Did television news dictate America’s foreign and domestic policy? Ultimately, was the power of the television news a positive or a negative force in American history? 6) Why did the American nation become embroiled in Viet Nam? Was it following the same impulse that led the United States into the forefront in Korea, or was it something different? Did we commit to the engagement with certainty, or was it something that we backed into reluctantly, but had no real choice?

Many of the “Great Society” programs of LBJ are still part of the American fabric today. Discuss four programs from the “Great Society” that still benefit America today. How “progressive” were these programs? Were they radical in their nature, or long overdue? 8) FDR had hoped that the wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union would continue in the postwar world. Yet the two nations soon became locked in a global conflict that came to dominate international relations for the next forty years. This cold war also had profound implications for U. S. domestic policy and culture.

Discuss the ways in which heightened tensions with the Soviets influenced America’s national scene from 1945 to 1989. What were the benefits and losses of this “great fear” in American culture? 9) Many historians cite the 1920s as the decade in which America entered the “modern era. ” What new issues did Americans face in the 1920s? In what ways did Americans respond to modernism? Why did some embrace modernism and others reject it? 10) What was the 60s really all about? Why did the United States experience this seismic breakdown in the social realm during this turbulent decade? Why did it eventually include most Americans?

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