Tutor profile: Meagan H.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What does the phrase "vocal minority" refer to?
In a 1969 speech defending his international policy of "political realism," President Richard Nixon coined the term "silent majority" as an oppositional force to the "vocal minority." Nixon claimed that, in contrast to the "silent majority" of Americans who quietly supported his strategies, it was simply a "vocal minority" of rabble-rousers who made the news with their boisterous protests, especially those against the Vietnam War. Because this group made a lot of noise with demonstrations, marches, and other political acts, they appeared to be a much larger percent of the population than they actually were, especially once amplified by news media. The "vocal minority" continues to have both a real and rhetorical effect in US politics. People and groups with strong opinions are more likely to respond to surveys and polls, skewing statistical results, and are more likely to engage in political action, such as attending town hall meetings with their representatives. They are even more likely to vote. This can have the effect of pushing policy to a fringe view, even if it is held by only a small number of constituents. However, this leaves an opening for politicians to simply claim, true or not, that results or political actions are only demonstrative of a "vocal minority," and therefore can be ignored as not the real views of their constituency.
Subject: US History
What were some of the causes leading to the Trail of Tears?
“All preceding experiments for the improvement of the Indians have failed. It seems now to be an established fact they can not live in contact with a civilized community and prosper. Ages of fruitless endeavors have at length brought us to a knowledge of this principle of intercommunication with them. The past we can not recall, but the future we can provide for.” – Andrew Jackson, Seventh Annual Message to Congress. In 1828 General Andrew Jackson, a war hero and a common man, was elected to be president of the United States. In 1838, eight years after the signing of the Indian Removal Act and six years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee in “Worcester v. Georgia”, the Cherokee Nation was forcibly moved from Georgia to Oklahoma. Western expansion, always a crucial part of the American identity, was at its height in the 19th century. The country was growing, as was industry, making more room both a desire and a necessity. In Georgia in 1830 land was needed for growing cotton, and rumors had spread about gold on the Cherokee land as well. The government, by selling this land to settlers, could satisfy this need, as well as minimize a problem that had been plaguing the American government since its inception. The Cherokee were part of what was known as “the Five Civilized Tribes”, along with the Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole. This classification was based on the effort and ability of the Cherokee to assimilate into western culture. The Cherokee had created a written language and a newspaper, a government based on the United States Constitution, and in some cases converted to Christianity. It was not enough to erase the history of tense relations between the United States and Native American tribes. Andrew Jackson gained recognition and power through fighting in the Indian Wars and winning the battle of New Orleans. He harbored a particular sentiment for policies detrimental to Indian tribes, pushing the Indian Removal Act through congress and ignoring the court’s decisions regarding the tribes’ sovereign status and influenced Georgia to do the same. Indian tribes had, for a long time, been encouraged to relocate beyond the Mississippi River. Under astronomical political and cultural pressure, the Cherokee signed a treaty agreeing to move away from their ancestral lands in exchange for compensation and the cost of relocation and settling.
Define the rhetorical device "pathos" and give an example of its use in literature.
Pathos is to invoke the feeling of sympathy and is used predominantly in “Trojan Women” by Euripides. The use of pathos by Euripides is especially effective, considering the writer’s aim and medium. Euripides’ goal with the performance of the play was to create sympathy for the people of Minos, the victims of Greece’s latest war. By showing the plight of the women of Troy, Euripides emphasized an aspect of war not often considered by peoples like the Greeks, especially when the Greeks are the victors and the war takes place in a land far from the civilian’s homes. The medium of a play also facilitates the use and goal of pathos. In more recent history, the way people viewed war was changed when those people could see, not just visualize the actual conflict and aftermath. This was demonstrated by both the United States Civil War with cameras and the introduction of video footage in the Vietnam War. Plays were the most visual medium for a cause in ancient Athens. While just a recreation of a legendary war, the original viewers of “Trojan Women” would most likely emphasize with the actors on stage.
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