Tutor profile: Jason A.
What is the most important step in writing any document?
Nearly every well-written essay, book, policy, or other piece of literature has started with an outline. Putting thoughts on paper for the writer to see allows them to create an overarching structure to their document. They can develop clear organization, and cut any extra pieces of content not relevant to their piece. An outline can take as little as 60 seconds or as much as an hour. A good outline makes the actual writing process faster and more efficient. Not outlining at all will create hours more work for the writer.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What is gerrymandering and what effect does it have on elected government?
Gerrymandering is the creation of electoral districts that favor a particular political party. Rather than creating simply shaped districts (like a Congressional district) that group constituents together based on their geography, gerrymandering produces a complex shape that groups people together based on their voting patterns. For example, a town that is otherwise a whole geographic unit - sharing a mayor, all paying taxes together, facing the same day-to-day issues - might be split down the middle in a gerrymandered district in order to keep Democrats in a Democratic district and Republicans in a Republican district. Gerrymandering came about because there is no one legal way to create an electoral district in the US. Each state is allowed to set their own rules. Some states have created independent expert-led or citizen-led commissions that create electoral districts. Other states rely on their court system to do the job. But many allow the state legislature and governor to create the district lines, meaning whichever political party is in power is allowed to create lines that favor their party. Allowing political parties the power to create electoral lines has been shown to lead to more polarization in government, less electoral accountability of elected officials, less representation overall, and it makes it harder for racial, ethnic, and religious minorities to be elected. Gerrymandering creates a less representative and less responsive government.
Subject: US History
What is the Gilded Age and what was life like as an American in that time?
The Gilded Age is roughly the 1870s through about 1900. The term "Gilded" is used because there was rapid economic growth and wealth creation for the upper class while the poor and working Americans struggled to get by. Like many times in US history, there was a clear duality of life. Scientists like Edison, Telsa and Bell were creating new inventions like the lightbulb, AC and DC electrical currents, the telegraph, refrigeration and more. Industrial capitalists and speculators turned bankers like Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt started their empires. The American government directly supported companies like Standard Oil, American Telephone and Telegraph, and US Steel Co. Looking at top level economic data - GDP and total wealth of the nation - would suggest a country on the rise. However, "Gilded" means "gold on the outside". Beneath the surface, Americans faced dire conditions. Many working Americans were shuffled into factories, paid just a few cents per day, and worked 10-12+ hours a day 7 days a week. Child labor was rampant, with children being used in factories for their small hands to service machines. Black Americans, at first breaking into Government in the South after the Civil War, saw a calculated racial backlash -- there were thousands of Black elected officials in the early to mid 1870s and by 1900 there were less than 100 in the nation. The US government consistently attacked Native American tribes, killing tens of thousands and forcing more on to reservations. Immigrants from Europe faced poverty and squalor in the East. Immigrants from China faced horrible working conditions and death in the West. The complete lack of humanity for anyone but the very rich during the Gilded Age led directly to worker uprisings across the nation in the early 1900s, known as the "Progressive Age".
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