Week1 - Discussion Questions

  • Question

Following the Discussion Conference Requirements, please answer ONE question below.

1. Who were the Progressives? Analyze the relationship between their role and the industrialization and explosive growth of cities between 1900 and 1917.

2. Some observers consider Theodore Roosevelt an anti-business president. Do you agree? Why or why not?

3. What was President Wilson’s vision of the postwar world, and how did he specifically propose to achieve it? How did European leaders react to Wilson’s ideas? Why did the U.S. Senate refuse to ratify the peace treaty?

  • Answer

2. Some observers consider Theodore Roosevelt an anti-business president. Do you agree? Why or why not?

I don't agree with the idea that Theodore Roosevelt was an anti-business president. Of course, he just didn't put the economy ahead of all else. Actually, he tried to control monopolies by antitrust laws to eliminate domination by a handful of corporations.

In the late 19th century, the American economy was growing rapidly by the Second Industrial Revolution. Thomas Edison's great inventions brought many innovations to the industry. Furthermore, additional new-technology innovations were created during his eight years as a president, For example, Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company and Wright brothers invented the airplane. Under such circumstance, he felt the need for new regulations to correct sickness or inefficiency of the economy.

After he became a president, he actively proceeded with regulatory reform of rail industry. He filled a lawsuit against the Northern Securities Company, which a giant railroad combination with the aid of J.P. Morgan, with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. He also enacted Elkins Act of 1903 and Hepburn Act to prevent from hiking unreasonable railroad fare (Miller Center., n.d).

According to Mayer, D. (2010), a monopoly is a good thing when it is a natural monopoly or a technological monopoly. Natural monopoly exists when consumers take advantage of economies of scale by a single producer. Those companies such as electric power companies and railroad companies. Under this form of monopoly, government usually regulates the prices and encourages low-cost production to prevent from price increase. Technological monopoly exists when a company has a patent and trademarks to protect intellectual property. However, a monopoly can harm consumers and competitors when it is a pure monopoly. Under this form of monopoly, monopolies easily control the prices.

Although he adopted many of pro-labor policies, he was not always an enemy of companies. He just aimed truly fair and free economy. Actually, when the Panic of 1907, caused by the downfall of Knickerbocker Trust Company, began, Roosevelt approved of the U.S. Steel's acquisition of the Tennessee Coal & Iron (Frydman et. al., n.d).

Some people consider Roosevelt was a conservationist, but he just tried to prevent from overexploitation of the natural resources to achieve sustainable resource use.

References
  • Mayer, D. (2010). The Everything Economics Book: From theory to practice, your complete guide to understanding economics today. Avon, MA: Adams Media. ISBN 1440506027

Week2 - Discussion Question

  • Question

Using the guidelines previously put forth, answer ONE of the following questions and respond to your classmates.

1. Why is the election of 1912 important? Describe the differences and similarities between the New Nationalism and the New Freedom.

2. Who were the Progressives? Analyze the relationship between their role and the industrialization and explosive growth of cities between 1900 and 1917.

3. Describe the debate between imperialists and isolationists in the period from 1900 to immediately prior to the United States' entry into World War I. How did these different views shape foreign policy? Provide specific examples.

4. Woodrow Wilson believed that the United States should be true to its democratic principles in dealing with Latin America. How would you rate Wilson’s approach when he applied it to the Mexican Revolution?

  • Answer

1. Why is the election of 1912 important? Describe the differences and similarities between the New Nationalism and the New Freedom.

The presidential election of 1912 was a historic three-way struggle among Theodore Roosevelt who was a former president and founder of Bull Moose Party, William Howard Taft who was the incumbent president and won the Republican nomination, and Thomas Woodrow Wilson who was won the Democratic nomination (Miller Center., n.d).

"New Nationalism" was advocated by Roosevelt and followed by Taft. Under the political philosophy, both of the presidents promoted centralization of power in Washington for the powerful federal government. They were against unfair competition by strongly administrative government, so that they actively regulated big business by Sherman Antitrust Act. Especially, Roosevelt laid the first foundation of New Nationalism through his establishing Bureau of Corporations in 1903, the Federal Trade Commision's predecessor (Federal Trade Commision, n.d). Therefore he was known as the great trustbuster (Miller Center., n.d).

In foreign policy, both of them took a position of isolationism; however, Taft promoted dollar diplomacy toward Latin American countries instead of Roosevelt's big stick diplomacy (United States Department of State, n.d). Furthermore, although Roosevelt focused on public interest under his slogan of square deal, Taft always took an antimonopolistic stance. The conflict between them caused the Republican party split; consequently, it helped Wilson to win the election (Miller Center., n.d).

"New Freedom" was advocated by Wilson. He promoted decentralization for the limited federal government. Same as Roosevelt and Taft, Wilson also regarded monopoly is evil, but his approach to solve the problem was different from them. He was against unfair competition by constitutional government. Actually, he enacted Underwood Tariff Act of 1913, and Federal Reserve Act in 1913, and Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. By the Underwood Tariff Act, He implemented tariff reduction, and the act also imposed a graduated income tax on U.S. residents. Therefore he achieved to change the country's revenue from tariffs to income tax. In foreign policy, he ended the traditional isolationism and took a position of imperialism. He actually promoted missionary diplomacy (The White House, n.d).

References

Week4 - Discussion Question

  • Question

Answer ONE of the following questions and respond to your fellow students:

1. List the reasons for and describe the effects of both the stock market crash and the Great Depression. Include both domestic and foreign relations issues in your discussion.

2. Identify the major elements of the New Deal and the new political alliances that arose during the 1930s. Don't stick to the pat answer that the US entered a new era of social welfare; discuss what happened in Congress and the Supreme Court.

  • Answer

1. List the reasons for and describe the effects of both the stock market crash and the Great Depression. Include both domestic and foreign relations issues in your discussion.

After World War I, American economy was facing an age of prosperity by urbanization, motorization, and other innovations. Personal consumption was boosted by returned soldiers and women's participation in society. Export to European nations was also increased due to the postwar reconstruction.

Under such circumstance, a speculative bubble spread widely. The increase in stock prices indicated Standard & Poor's 500 Stock index between 1923 and 1929 was 17.0 percent per annum.

In October 1929, the bubble economy eventually bursted, and Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by nearly 90 percent from $381.17 to $41.22 (Dow Jones Industrial Average (1920 - 1940 Daily)" n.d.).

After that, the president Herbert Hoover enacted Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, that raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record level to protect the nation's economy. This law was very controversial. As a result, many countries retaliated with their own increased tariffs on U.S. goods. Finally, its trade plunged by more than half. Actually, between 1929 and 1932, national income produced fell by over 50 percent and national paid out fell by 40 percent (Howarth and Becke 2005).

Because the U.S. and many of European countries adopted the gold standard system at that time, the Fed tightened the money supply by raising interest rate to keep the system (Gordon 2005).

In the 1920s, with the economic growth of the U.S., too much of a good was produced. In addition to this, protective trade and tightening financial policy made the situation worse. Those policies eventually caused serious deflation.

The panic in 1929 was merely a trigger; however, fiscal and financial policies by the government and the Fed deepened the issue contrary to what they intended. Actually, the year-on-year consumer price inflation in 1930 was -2.3 percent, but that was -9.0 percent in 1931 and -9.9 percent in 1932 ("Consumer Price Index" 2014).

The stock plunge ended to have a devastating impact on the nation's real economy. Fully 24 percent U.S. workers were unemployed between 1929 and 1931 (Marcuss and Kane 2007).

In conclusion, the biggest reason for the Great Depression was excessive credit uneasiness triggered by the stock market crash in 1929. Unfortunately, the uneasiness rapidly spread to European nations which were dependent on the U.S..

Biography

Week6 - Discussion Question

  • Question

Using the usual guidelines, answer ONE of the following questions and comment on TWO fellow students:

1. What was the legacy of the New Deal? Which was more successful, the First or Second round of legislation? How did FDR craft these government programs to preserve the US' capitalist society?

2. Did President Roosevelt try as hard as he could to avoid American involvement in World War II or did he actually seek American involvement? Defend your answer.

3. What differentiated the US from the European countries that fell to fascism, Italy, Germany, and Spain?

4. Discuss US reaction to the Jewish Holocaust. What factors contributed to US action or inaction?

  • Answer

2. Did President Roosevelt try as hard as he could to avoid American involvement in World War II or did he actually seek American involvement? Defend your answer.

I think President Roosevelt actually sought American involvement in World War II because he had originally the idea that America should break away from Monroe Doctrine isolationism and should change to internationalism, as President Wilson pursued. Because Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Wilson's presidency, he saw Wilson's mistakes on the concept of League of Nations. To Roosevelt, Wilson's politics was a lesson that the most important thing is to bring home to the congress and people (Fromkin 1994). Roosevelt was a realist, in contrast to Wilson who was an idealist, so that he did not promote internationalism openly during 1930s. Actually, he carefully kept an ear close to the ground. In addition to his pursuing ideals, in his New Deal, he tried to take aggressive fiscal policy by issuing of huge sums in deficit-covering government bonds. Participating in the war could be a motive to promote the policy. Since support of public opinion for internationalism had grown considerably, in his annual address to congress in 1941, he insisted that the country should prepare for serious threats by the conquerors; therefore, the country needs driving increase in its armament production to prevent the future and the safety of the country and of the democracy from dictators ("KEY PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES ON DEMOCRACY" 2009).

Biography
  • 2009. "KEY PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES ON DEMOCRACY." Democracy In U.S. Security Strategy 109-132. Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 23, 2014).
  • Fromkin, David. 1994. "What is Wilsonianism?." World Policy Journal 11, no. 1: 100. Political Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 23, 2014).

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Last-modified: 2014-05-31 (土) 21:23:55 (1453d)