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Tutor profile: Ricardo M.

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Ricardo M.
Senior Analyst, United States Congress
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Questions

Subject: US Government and Politics

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Question:

How did World War II and the Cold War change government and politics in the United States?

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Ricardo M.
Answer:

Before World War II and the Cold War, American government was small, uninvolved in the economy, remaining neutral in world affairs, and did not maintain a large standing military. In general, the two major parties, the Democratic and Republican Parties, agreed on the government's size and role. During World War II, the American government led the entire country -- its economy and all of its citizens -- in organizing for the massive war effort against Nazi Germany and its allies. The success of this effort, which helped revive the country after the Great Depression, and the determination to prevent another threat to world peace, led American leaders to re-shape the government. Going forward, the American government would provide economic assistance and guidance. Furthermore, the American government established the Department of Defense to manage the military - now the most powerful in the world. Lastly, the United States assumed leadership of the free world against the communist bloc led by the Soviet Union. Going forward, America would take a leadership in the United Nations and involve itself in issues around the world. The Democratic and Republican Parties also shifted from their earlier support of a smaller government absent from world affairs to a large government ready to confront communism around the world. This consensus stood for two decades before the Vietnam War led to new positions on the role of government and how the country interacted with the world.

Subject: US History

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Question:

To what extent did the Mexican War contribute to the eruption of the Civil War?

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Ricardo M.
Answer:

The Mexican War in 1848 played a major role in the crises that led to the Civil War in 1861. Before the Mexican War, northern and southern states had compromised on the status of slavery in territories joining the Union. Under the existing compromise, slavery would generally remain in the southern half of the country. After the Mexican War, the country gained Texas and new territories in the southwest, which reintroduced the question as to whether slavery would be expanded westward. This expansion meant slave-holding states might gain more power in Congress and ensure the preservation of slavery. Northern states opposed the expansion of slavery; in some states, local Northern leaders were determined to end slavery. The north and south came to another compromise in 1850 but neither section were confident the other section would leave the matter of slavery alone. In time, Americans became polarized over the issue, and over the next decade, new events - such as the raid on Harpers Ferry and the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision - added to the divisions. Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, who signaled his opposition to slavery, the southern states decided to secede, or leave the Union. Within a month of Lincoln taking office, northern and southern states began fighting, marking the start of the four year Civil War.

Subject: European History

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Question:

How did the unification of Germany impact European history?

Inactive
Ricardo M.
Answer:

The unification of Germany impacted the balance of power in Europe. In the place of Prussia, Bavaria, and many other lesser states, the new Imperial Germany emerged as a major military and economic power. Furthermore, its leadership's reliance on the military to accomplish unification led other European powers, such as France and Russia to fear German aggression in the future. In response, France and Russia became allies, which then led other nations, such as Germany and Austria, to form opposing alliances. By 1914, the competition between Europe's two alliances meant all European countries would go to war. In July 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated an Austrian royal. Austria declared war on Serbia, which was allied to Russia, who then declared war on Austria. This cycle of declarations eventually led to World War I in Europe, which ravaged the continent and marked the beginning of the European powers' decline.

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