1) Why do the authors of Document 1 and Document 2 believe it is necessary to strictly define Americans, and promote efforts to assimilate, or “Americanize,” immigrants in the United States? How do President Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Smith’s arguments differ? Do you find their arguments persuasive? Why or why not? Based upon Document 3, how might Woody Guthrie respond to each of those proposals?
2) The turbulent 1960s saw numerous attempts to identify the root problems within American society and the role of citizens in resolving them. In examining Document 4, Document 5, and Document 6, what common problems are identified within American society? What are some of the differences? What role did each of these documents suggest Americans should play in achieving social justice? Are their arguments persuasive? Why or why not?
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3) The last several decades of the Twentieth Century saw the emergence of new groups of Americans claiming rights as citizens. To what extent does the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (Document 7) to be ratified, but the signing of Title IX (Document 8) into law, signal about the changing role and rights of women in modern America? After reading President George H.W. Bush’s remarks (Document 9), why do you believe it took so long for the country to acknowledge and protect the rights of the disabled?
4) How does Maya Angelou’s inauguration poem (Document 10) reflect upon the identity of “hyphenated Americans” by the early 1990s? In reading Document 11, how does President-Elect Barack Obama define Americanism? Looking back over documents 1-13, did his election, as the first person of color to become President of the United States, resolve the questions and crises surrounding the definition of an American citizen? In a post-9/11 world, has America progressed in its inclusiveness? Why or why not?
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