Tutor profile: David G.
Subject: US History
[using primary sources - analyzing pictures and tying to historical context] Why did the U.S. government undertake such a large propaganda effort during World War I, and how did it go about doing this? Be specific and be sure to identify at least one method of appealing to American citizens from the primary sources given.
The U.S. government undertook a massive propaganda campaign as a way to mobilize public opinion for the war. President Woodrow Wilson initiated this by establishing the Committee on Public Information (CPI) in 1917. Prior to that year, the United States was neutral. However, the United States had several concerns. Because the United States conducted over $800 million in trade with the Allied nations, and only $170 million with the countries composing the Central Powers, Wilson felt that a naval blockade of the Allied countries would severely impact the U.S. economy. Furthermore, President Wilson and his cabinet already had pro-British biases. Coupled with Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the Zimmerman telegram that sought to bribe Mexico into declaring war on the United States, Wilson reluctantly entered the war. Because the United States had just witnessed a large influx of immigrants in the early twentieth century, society was increasingly becoming heterogeneous. According to the 1920 census, over two million people were either born in Germany or in other Central Powers countries. Furthermore, the country was racially divided, with African Americans experiencing discriminatory Jim Crow laws. Many American citizens felt that the United States should remain neutral and focus on its own domestic problems. In response to the widespread discontent associated with entering the war, the United States launched a large propaganda effort to mobilize public opinion, but also to homogenize a very diverse population. To do this, Wilson launched the CPI, seeking to mobilize public support, enlist men in the Armed Forces, and unify Americans, despite their nationalities or previous countries of origin.
Subject: European History
[simulation] Picture this. You are a French citizen during the early 1790s who is participating in what will become known as the French Revolution. You have been so devoted to the cause that you have no written to your family in over three years. Write a letter to your family describing the events in your country of France, and describe your role as a French revolutionary.
[partial example] Dear Family, There have and will be big changes in France. King Louis XVI’s monetary problems have led to his desire to levy new taxes a few years back. To find a solution to the king’s problem, the French monarch reluctantly summoned the Estates-General at Versailles in 1789. In June of 1789, the Estates-General, specifically the Third Estate, proclaimed itself the National Assembly even in light of King Louis XVI’s opposition. Just a couple years earlier in 1789, Paris had been ravaged by food shortages and hunger. As I am sure you all are aware, some Frenchmen, myself included, took to the storming of the fortress, Bastille. The failures of monarchial authority have led to resentment of King Louis XVI and have initiated amongst us a call for change. As we are called, revolutionaries, it is to our benefit that the class of the common people of the Third Estate have assembled themselves into a representative assembly. I am happy that this new National Assembly has declared itself the representatives of the common people and is not unequally represented by the high clergy or nobility, as has previously been the case. The National Constituent Assembly, as it is formally called, passed the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" in 1789 and took an oath not to disband until a new constitution was put forth....
Subject: African History
[Introductory question - deconstructing myths] When you hear the word "Africa," what comes to mind?
Myths have largely consumed popular imagination about Africa and its history. Because of historic processes such as colonization, exploitation, and transplantation, many think of African history as beginning with European contact and paint a picture of uncivilized village societies that lacked the cultural "superiority" of their European counterparts. This line of thinking has been sustained, in part because we often tend to view the world in a "post-colonial" mindset, or what occurred to people after Western colonialism. However, to think about African history in such a way is to be ahistorical. It completely misses the complexity and sophistication associated with Africa and its people. African peoples had developed societies with complex cultural, social, and economic systems, and they had been living in a variety of efficient political systems – ranging from village democracies to vast empires that stretched across areas larger than the United States. There was also not one monolithic group of “Africans." Rather, a multitude of ethnic groups and identities existed, each with its own unique history, language, culture, and religious beliefs. Before the Atlantic Slave Trade, many of these groups were linked through complex networks of trade, religious practices, professional associations, and intermarriage.
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