May 14, 2020 in Politics Essays

American Politics Essay Example

1. What Significance Does Wealth Have in the American Political Imagination? In Constructing Your Response, You Must Refer to Benjamin Franklin, Booker T. Washington and Andrew Carnegie

The most critical concern of America’s political imagination is not the high rate of inequality in income and their negative effects on opportunities, but how this inequality is replicated in the system. In the USA, the flow of funds into politics by the wealthy increasingly becomes more vibrant. Wealth has great significance in the American political imagination in numerous ways (Fishel, 1997).

Booker T. Washington was a renowned leader of America’s black community who advocated development through the acquisition of material wealth. He urged his fellow blacks to excel in industrial and farming skills in order to be emulated by white Americans (David, 2012). By becoming wealthy, Booker believed that whites would soon accept blacks and grant them full American citizenship by virtue of being their business counterparts. 

Carnegie argued that over time, in America’s history, the wealthy people were a serious threat to democracy. The wealthy people were closer to the politicians, and therefore, they played a part in manipulating national decision for their own benefit rather than that of other citizens. Thus, two main factors contributed to this influence of the wealthy - the increased centralization of economic resources and their ease of access by the political system.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States and the sixth president of Pennsylvania. He was a wealthy diplomat, author, printer, and a scientist before joining politics. Franklin is well known for his facilitation of civic organizations, scientific discoveries and theories. It was argued his wealth and multiple skills had greatly contributed to his political career. Evidently, wealth was and still is very significant in the American political imagination (Chamber & Broder, 2008).

2. Present an Analysis of the Debate Between W.E Dubois and Booker T. Washington. Ultimately Whose Perspective on the Emancipation Do You Find More Persuasive? In Your Response, You Must Make Reference to the Historical Circumstances Related to Their Debate

W.E Dubois and Booker T. Washington were one of the most vocal people in the American Black Community in 19th and 20th centuries. They were united in eradicating both class and social injustice; however, besides this unity in fighting for blacks, they strongly opposed each other’s policies and philosophy on the social and economic development for blacks.

Booker T. Washington was a reformer and an educator in addition to being the most influential leader in the black community. His philosophy was based on helping oneself, racial cohesion, and accommodation. Washington advised his fellow blacks to submit to discrimination from whites but put more effort in raising their status by working hard and attaining material possessions. Washington had a strong affiliation towards craft education, farming, and industrial skills. He believed that nurturing virtues of tolerance, venture as well as prudence would earn them respect.

W.E Du Bois was a political thinker, learner, and an intellectual leader of the black community. He vehemently opposed Washington’s philosophy and argued that that it would only affect and fuel the oppression of blacks by whites. Instead, he advocated a political battle in achieving civil rights that were to cut blacks and whites, and for this purpose, he founded NAACP.

Du Bois, unlike Booker T. Washington, believed that social change and equality could also be achieved by instilling more wisdom and rationality on the young educated blacks from college. He referred to these small educated groups as "the Talented Tenth". Du Bois’ ‘Conservative’ and Booker’s ‘Radical’ created division among blacks. Du Bois’ argument appeared to be more persuasive than Washington’s since it drew whites’ attention to blacks’ needs.

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3. Write a Critical Exposition of the Most Salient Points in Betty Friedan the Feminine Mystique. Does Her Argument Remain Significant Today? Use Your Own Examples to Corroborate or Challenge the Points That Friedan Makes

Betty Friedan wrote a book in 1993 titled The Feminine Mystique. Friedan is highly acknowledged for starting the second phase of feminism in America. In her book, Friedan starts with an introduction that she refers to as "the problem that has no name" that mainly focused on how most women across the global were unhappy despite having children in marriage and material wealth (Chamber & Broder, 2008).

In the early chapters of the book, Friedan talks about how the average age for marriage has dropped while birthrate has increased among women in 1950s. Despite the American culture, which argued that women could find their fulfillment in marriage, women themselves testified that they needed something more than just marriage and family life (Fishel, 1997). Women remained to be unhappy regardless of being portrayed in the articles, edited by men, as happy and satisfied.

Friedan also points out how she has abandoned her psychology career in order to raise her children and put more concentration on the family life. In her study on women’s marriage satisfaction, she found out that most women struggled with critical decisions on career and raising children. She also found out that most women dropped out of school in order to be married. Thus, women feared being educated more than men and consequently, not attracting most men (Jacobson, 1990).

Friedan’s argument is still significant since the number of school dropouts is still high among school girls as compared to that of boys. Most girls get married at an early age, and as a result, they jeopardize their education. Additionally, most young women fear getting older than the perceived marriage age and therefore not studying for long. The belief that a woman’s beauty declines by age also plays a major part on women’s preference of getting married at an early age (Taylor & Bailey, 1981).

4. Describe the Complex Role That the State Has Played in Increasing or Diminishing Freedom in America? In Constructing Your Response, You Must Reference to Frederick Jackson Turner, Helen Jackson, Henry David Thoreau, James Madison and Jacob Riis

The United States has played a very critical role in entire America’s freedom. It has increased freedom by improvement on the government’s transparency by minimizing racial discrimination and eradicating other forms of criminal behaviors in the criminal justice system. 

Turner conducted a research for 40 years on the frontier and he presented his ideologies to graduate seminars where he was credited for being a peace ambassador. His works influenced the history of religion. Unlike before, whereby racial segregation was common, Turner’s call for peace and freedom culminated in the establishment of new denominations such as the Mormons, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Disciples of Christ. His frontier positively influenced the U.S institutions like itinerant preaching, camp meetings, and revival (Jacobson, 1990)

Helen Hunt Jackson was an American poet and writer who constantly expressed the adverse impacts of the US government on the citizens in her writings. Due to her lack of fear of the government, her writings attracted the attention of many people. The government was forced to align their deeds with expectations of the citizens and other countries in order to avoid being defamed by Hunt (Chamber & Broder, 2008). For instance, Hunt courageously attacked federal officials for their injustices on the American Indian as well as the Ponca tribes.

Both Thoreau and Jacob Riis were authors and development critics who kept the government in tonus and advocated freedom for all. Riis’ book titled How the Other Half Lives brought a change in the social reform. James Madison was one of the U.S founding fathers and fourth President who also fought for the freedom of his fellow countrymen. Inasmuch as these individuals promoted freedom, there were still instances of freedom infringement.

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5. Write an Exposition of the Concept of Checks and Balances as It Appears in Federalist 47 Through 51

The concept of checks and balances was based on the separation of powers. Initially, the powers were accumulated and controlled by one body. The powers included the legislative powers, executive powers and judicial powers. According to James Madison (1788), the accumulation of all powers was a form of dictatorship regardless of being acquired through democracy, hereditary, or self-imposed.

Most people were against the founding fathers who had clinched to power without giving others the opportunity to lead and bring new developmental ideologies. They argued that the accumulation of power by a single individual or a group was a threat to liberty, social, and economic development. The greatest element of check and balances was the constitution that was to provide for the distribution of powers to different individuals and designated bodies.

According to the Aristotle (350 B.C), any governing body was to consist of three separate branches with three distinctive functions. These were deliberative function, magisterial function, and judicative function. In contemporary terminology, these functions are law-making, law-enforcing, and law interpretation. It is worth noting that Aristotle’s argument did not specify whether the three bodies were to be under one management. The concept of the separation of powers was to be put into practice decades later (David, 2012).

Check and balances provided for an independent legislature, whose functions were not to be interfered with by other bodies. They were to make laws aimed at enhancing the welfare of everybody and not for their own self-interest. The judiciary and the executive, which consisted of the iconic leaders, including the President, were also to be independent in enforcing laws. Despite this separation of powers, the three bodies were answerable to the common citizens (Chamber & Broder, 2008).

6. What Role Has Violence Played in Shaping the American Political Imaginary? In Constructing Your Response Refer to Paine, Turner, Thoreau, Jackson, Du Bois and Friedan

Violence was a common asset in the acquisition of equality, freedom, and fair trial among many countries across the globe. Without violence, the USA would not be the way it is today.  According to Paine, forceful means towards establishing equality and peace are always productive. He analyses how the oppressive party is always the one to pay for the loss caused by the opposing party (Cotter, 2013). For instance, in the case of a looting of goods by angry citizens, the government will be the one suffering the losses.

Similarly, Friedan, who is well known for her insistency in fighting for women’s rights, also advocated an aggressive way of achieving one’s needs. She urged women to be more aggressive in obtaining what they wanted instead of being tolerable of what they disliked. Her 1950s and early 1960s study showed that most women were unhappy despite being married with children and living in material comfort because they needed something more than just being subjected to married life. They had also yearned for good careers, just like men.

Du Bois, who was very vocal in the quest for fair treatment of blacks by whites, also preached the gospel of violence. He started the ‘Radical’ movement that urged blacks to fight for their rights and not be lured by Washington’s philosophy. He argued that Washington’s strategy was only to draw them closer to the white oppression. Du Bois mobilized his supporters in criticizing the ‘Conservative’ movement by Washington (Chamber & Broder, 2008).

According to Thoreau and Jackson, strikes and demonstration are a key weapon in drawing attention of the target group (Green & Shea, 2015). Acting suddenly in a violent manner always disrupts the smooth running of society, and therefore, the government will react in an attempt of restoring, maintaining, or improving societal welfare.

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