AP US History DBQ
Prompt: Evaluate the extent to which economics, politics, culture, and America's role in the world from 1998-2015 contributed to maintaining continuity as well as fostering change in the United States.
Thesis: The period from 1998-2015 in the United States was a time of both great change in political relationships and culture as well as continuity in areas of America's role as a world power and the relationship between the government and its citizens. This was brought about by changes in how the United States managed its own affairs as well as its relationship with the rest of the world.
Adam A. Sofen
17 December 1998
Clinton Orders Airstrikes In Iraq / Texts (News Article) / America in the World / 2015
President Clinton ordered what he called a "strong, sustained series of airstrikes" against Iraq yesterday in response to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of U.N. weapons inspections.
Meanwhile, Harvard affiliates with foreign policy and military expertise said to attack would be of dubious value in hindering Iraq's long-term military capability.
The attack, which began without warning at about 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, was designed to cripple Iraq's ability to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Clinton said in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office.
In Baghdad, witnesses said to missiles hit the capital after midnight Iraqi time, one near one of Hussein's biggest palaces. A defiant Hussein issued a statement that "wicked people" had bombed several targets, and he urged the Iraqi people to "fight of the nation, enemies of humanity."
"Operation Desert Fox", as the Pentagon dubbed the assault, was intended to last up to four days and involved American and British aircraft and U.S. warships. The Pentagon announced that extra aircraft and ground troops were being sent to the area.
Historical Context: This news article was written at a time when the United States had extremely aggressive relations with the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and President Bill Clinton was preparing to take an offensive against him. Meanwhile, Clinton was also being heavily criticized at the time due to a scandal involving an affair with his intern.
Purpose: The purpose of this article was to inform readers of the actions being taken by leaders in the United States and the United Kingdom to combat Saddam Hussein.
Reflection: This news article is just one example of the United States entrance into the Middle East as the new focus of its foreign military policy. This article fits with the theme America in the World as it gives a basis how even back in 1998 the United States was shown to be a large enough power to intervene in conflicts of other countries. At this point the United States is shown to be a large presence in the world and is a large military force. It may be deemed important by historians in the future due to its representation of the early days of the United States' activity in Iraq. It might be seen as one of the trigger points that led to future activity in the area for the next few decades.
16 June 2004
Election 2004 Cartoon / Visual Materials (Political Cartoon) / Politics & Power / 2015
Historical Context: This political cartoon was made during the campaign for the 2004 presidential election. It displays the disapproval in both candidates felt by most voters at the time of the election.
Point of View: This political cartoon appears to have been created by someone who was displeased with both of the candidates of the 2004 election. He displays one candidate with a lack of intelligence and descriptive ability, while the other one is displayed as long-winded and with a lack of meaning in his words.
Reflection: This political cartoon shows how the United States has been a place where leaders can be criticized and debate over the government is quite common. This piece fits into the category of Politics & Power as it delivers a representation on the political landscape of the early 2000's as well as the freedom of speech enjoyed at that time. It shows the people's view on the political process, and the leaders in office. This may be deemed important by historians due to its representation of the open criticism of leaders that was quite commonplace. Also, it shows some of the major thoughts and opinions held by voters at the time of the 2004 election.
24 February 2009
Address to Joint Session of Congress / Recordings (Sound) / Work, Exchange, & Technology / 2015
Historical Context: From 2008 to 2009 the United States was hit with a hard economic recession that affected a large number of Americans. The economy was one of the major issues of the 2008 election and the newly elected President Obama made his primary objective at the beginning of his presidency to solve the economic crisis.
Intended Audience: The group that Obama is speaking to in this speech is the general American public. He is trying to quell any fears about the economic hardships and attempts to convince the public that he knows what to do to improve the economy.
Reflection: This speech delivered by President Obama is representative of actions taken by the government to improve the lives of individual Americans. It fits in the theme of Work, Exchange, and Technology as it shows the role taken by the government during the turn of the decade in directly intervening with the work and economic situations of Americans. At this point, the role of government in regulating the economic life of Americans has been greatly strengthened. Historians may find this piece important in the future due to this point's time as a strongly commanded point in America's history. It also gives great background on the economic situation experienced by the United States around this time.
20 October 2009
Empire State of Mind / Recordings (Music) / Culture / 2015
Historical Analysis: This song was created at a time of great change in the United States. After a period of decline in the nation's reputation due to economic hardships and troubles in the middle-east, American nationalism began to rise and the views of the way Americans lived began to become more positive.
Purpose: This song was created and performed as a way for the artist to honor his background, and pay his respects to the place he considered home. He attempts to shine a positive light on an area that in the past had experienced a poor reputation.
Reflection: This song performed by Jay Z gives readers a look at the overall feeling of national identity was at this time. It fits in the category of culture due to its cultural significance in society as well as its popularity in the American public. The song is an example of the relationship between politics and society at the time, as an improvement in domestic and foreign issues has led to an improved national identity. One way this source could be deemed important by historians in the future is as an example of popular culture and entertainment used in the late 2000's. Also, it could be used when charting American feeling about their domestic surroundings at this time.
25 July 2011
Washington's Spending Binge is Over / Archive (Speech) / Politics & Power / 2015
"Good evening. I'm John Boehner. I serve as Speaker of the whole House -- of the members of both parties that you elect. These are difficult times in the life of our nation. Millions are looking for work, have been for some time, and the spending binge going on in Washington is a big part of the reason why.
Before I served in Congress, I ran a small business in Ohio. I was amazed at how different Washington DC operated than every business in America. Where most American business make the hard choices to pay their bills and live within their means, in Washington more spending and more debt is business as usual.
I've got news for Washington -- those days are over.
President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual -- yet another routine increase in the national debt limit -- we in the House said "not so fast." Here was the president, asking for the largest debt increase in American history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history." - John Boehner
Historical Context: During the time John Boehner wrote this speech, the Republican Party had recently been elected into a majority of the House of Representatives, despite the United States having a Democratic President. The Republicans largely disagreed with massive government spending, while the President advocated for government spending.
Intended Audience: The intended audience of this speech was the American public in an attempt to defend the House of Representatives' recent actions against President Obama's wishes. It was also directed towards Obama in order to send the message that they would not back down in their personal views that opposed the President's.
Reflection: This speech is yet another example of the changing political landscape in the United States. It is an example of Politics & Power in the United States due to its display of the changing power relationship between two branches of the government. While Congress had been controlled by the Democrats during the first few years of Obama's presidency, Obama was in near complete control of the government but once the Republicans took back the House, the relationship became one of Obama needing to come to Congress for help. This could be important to a historian analyzing the shift in power experienced between the executive and legislative branches of government. It could also be used to analyze the relations of the different political parties during the early 2010's and their respective roles in government.
8 November 2012
Marijuana Legalization Passes in Colorado, Washington / Text (News Article) / Work, Exchange, & Technology / 2015
Voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the biggest victory ever for the legalization movement.
"The significance of these events cannot be overstated," said NORML, a pro-legalization organization, in a news release. "Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis."
But in many ways, it's just the beginning of the battle. Marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, which overrules states' rights.
"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, in a statement. "This is a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly."
The Drug Enforcement Administration reiterated its stance that marijuana is an illegal drug and that possessing, using or selling it is a crime.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," said the DEA in a press statement. "In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I control[ed] substance. The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives and we have no additional comment at this time."
The Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office released an identical statement, saying that its position on marijuana as an illegal drug is "unchanged."
The voter approval of legal weed in Colorado and Washington could lead to a Supreme Court battle with the federal government, according to Jeffrey Miron, senior lecturer of economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, where he has conducted economic studies on nationwide drug legalization.
"[The feds] will do whatever they can to interfere with marijuana legalization in any state," Miron said on Tuesday, before the initiatives passed.
Analysts had projected the Washington voters would approve their legalization ballot, because it proposes a heavy tax for marijuana that made the proposal attractive to budget hawks. The Washington initiative calls for a 25% tax rate imposed on the product three times: When the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer, and when the retailer sells it to the customer.
Historical Context: For decades, marijuana had been illegal in the United States, only being legally used recently for medicinal purposes. Growing acceptance in marijuana brought about a new movement to both decriminalize and legalize recreational marijuana in the United States.
Point of View: This news article seems to be relatively neutral to the subject of legalizing marijuana, although the author does appear to show a more positive light on the legalization and does not describe any of the costs of this decision.
Reflection: This news story shows a massive change in the way that illicit drugs are regulated in the United States. This story fits in the topic Work, Exchange, & Technology as it deals with a major change in policy of work and exchange of drugs in the United States. After years of taking a harsh stance on illicit drugs, the government's policy on the sale of a common drug was changed. A historian may deem this source important due to its description of the legalization of recreational cannabis after its long-time ban. It could also be used as an example of individual state power at this point in history.
10 September 2014
President Obama's Speech on Combating ISIS and Terrorism / Archive (Speech) / America in the World / 2015
"Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved -- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America's core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order." - Barack Obama
Historical Context: Obama gave this speech at a time when the was a resurgence of tension in the middle-east, brought about by a new terrorist organization known as ISIL. Obama began advocating for military-like action in the middle-east, despite being extremely opposed to this in the past.
Intended Audience: The speech is intended towards the general American public. Obama is attempting to justify his actions in the middle-east, despite such actions being increasingly unpopular.
Reflection: This speech is another example of the strong military presence exerted by the United States. It fits in the category of America in the World as it shows the continuation of foreign policy and American power throughout the world. The airstrikes called for Obama reflect the airstrikes called by President Clinton about 15 years prior, revealing very little change in the United States' situation in the Middle East throughout the years. A historian may find this source important as it shows the role of our military at this point in history and its use by the government. It could also be used to show the continuity maintained throughout the past three presidencies for foreign policy in the Middle East.
Saturday Night Live
16 May 2015
Summertime Cold Open / Visual Materials (Television Show) / Culture / 2015
Historical Context: This video was produced at a time when public discussion of the 2016 presidential election was growing. One of the major candidates was Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton.
Purpose: This piece was created in order to satirize the amount of focus the 2016 presidential election was getting, despite it only being early 2015. The video uses the enjoyment of summer as a contrast to the uptight election talk, represented by a portrayal of Clinton.
Reflection: This video is an example of the role and views of politics in the culture and society of 2015. This source is an example of Culture as it shows the topics covered by television during this time period. It shows the way that popular culture affects the leaders in the United States through its use of Hillary Clinton, as well as the effect of politics on our society. Historians may find this video important due to its representation of politics in our society and the relationship between the public and the government at this time. It could also be deemed important by its background of the early campaigns for the 2016 presidential election.