1: Even after gaining the right to vote, women in the United States have faced numerous social, cultural, economic, and political injustices over the past century; new feminist or women’s movements have in turn endeavored to advocate for women’s issues and causes. What are some of these issues and causes? What differences and similarities can we note between earlier feminist movements and more modern ones? How have feminists advocated for women’s rights, what have they fought for, and how do their concerns and tactics change over time?
2: Individuals that we would currently identify or label as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender have always existed, yet it is during the 20th century that a recognizable American queer or LGBT+ movement and identity became visible. What oppression or prejudices did LGBT+ Americans face? How can we understand their activist movement in relation to other social justice movements? How did they advocate for their rights? Be specific.
3: This course is bisected by the midterm, which covered U.S. history from 1865-WW1. The world Americans lived in post WW1 looked very different than the one they lived in before. In your own words, describe what you think are the largest, or most significant, transformations that occurred during the period covered since the midterm exam. Explain your choices and reasoning. What makes “modern American history” look so different than what came before?
4: Immigration legislation and the nation’s sentiments regarding immigrants have been sources of national pride and, paradoxically, national shame. This is true both historically and in our contemporary moment. Using examples of immigration legislation and immigrant issues that we have covered in class, answer the following questions – how have American sentiments around immigrants transformed over time? What groups are targeted and why? With what other national interests or concerns does immigration overlap?
5: Capitalism, or more specifically, the U.S. economic model and ethos, has transformed significantly over the 20thcentury, looking very different from the industrial 19th century economic landscape covered pre-midterm. Describe some of these transformations – how and why did American capitalism evolve over the 20th century? Do NOT focus on material covered pre-midterm.
6: The Cold War encompassed decades worth of international tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as incredible American domestic transformations. Identify and explore some of the ways in which the Cold War changed, challenged, transformed, or redefined the United States regarding domestic life, foreign policy, and imperialism.
Part 2 (60 points total): Below are 2 long answer questions. Please select 1 and answer it to the best of your ability. NOTE: ‘long answers’ are 4-6 paragraphs long. Answer the questions with specific examples. These are argument-driven questions – have a thesis, and evidence to support your claims.
1: One midterm exam essay prompt asked you to consider American wars or conflict as a generative or transformative force. Similarly, this prompt asks you to reconsider how war/conflict continued to shape or change the United States. How have the wars/conflicts we have covered in the course brought about change differently from one another? Use specific examples. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of understanding history from the perspective of conflict? (Please provide at least three examples of war/conflict, with only 1 example coming from material covered before the midterm).
2: The period that this class has covered, roughly 1865-2001, bore witness to incredible social, cultural, and political transformations in the United States. Some of the greatest transformations have happened along the lines of race and racism. Please answer – how have Americans attempted to understand, justify, or combat racial inequality? How has racism and the understanding of race itself changed over time? What activist movements or other watershed moments ushered about important change? How do these racial justice activist movements look similar or different from one another?