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Kyle Welling

Professor Thomson

HIST 153

June 24 2018

Ask Not What History Can Do For You,


But What You Can Do For History

Throughout the duration of this class, I don’t think I ever felt annoyed to have to

read about the history of this great country. My mind has constantly wondered about why

things are the way they are and the events that took place to get us here. With the wide

range of topics covered in this class, I would say that I had many of my questions

answered. In my opinion, the thing that makes a country successful and a society peaceful

is one where everyone contributes not only for the betterment of themselves, but for their

neighbors. This is statement can be interpreted a few ways, but my interpretation doesn’t

go as far as socialism. My definition shines light on the importance of unity as a country

and patriotism. Some of the times where this country was booming the most is when the

citizens were behind every move and the government and people were more unified than

they ever would be. This idea of unity stems from the background of religion, morality,

and the traditions of the United States.

One of the major examples of this is the total war country the United States was

during World War II. I believe that during this time, even though we were involved in a
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very bloody war, the U.S. was at a state of unity that they haven’t seen before. If this was

the case today, I think that many problems would not have even risen. For example,

almost all able bodied men volunteered for this war, even though they had to leave their

families. The men, my grandfather being one of them, felt that they had an obligation to

fight for the freedoms they have to preserve them for future generations. When the men

left for war, the women in the U.S. stepped up to support the infrastructure and contribute

as much as possible to the war effort. In June of 1941, an executive order was passed that

stated “no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or

Government because of race, creed, color, or national origin” (Brock, 2015). As the

country became unified in this great fight, legislation was even passed to support it.

Every American, regardless of race or any other master status, was not discriminated

against and was accepted if they were willing to contribute to this national effort.

This unity, becoming a tradition for Americans, can also prove to separate. You

might wonder how that’s possible, but if you look back into history it is clear and simple.

The Vietnam Era was a time for change and progressiveness. With a new generation of

teenagers, many were adopting new traditions and became a bit more vocal about some

more controversial topics. Many people did not support the war, and this may prove to be

the downfall of the U.S. in the Vietnam war. When you don’t have support from your

citizens in these affairs, things go downhill. The count of people willing to volunteer to

fight goes down and the willingness of people to support the war financially plummets.
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All of this would lead to the initiation of conscription and this would make the situation

only worse.

The attacks in New York City on September 11th, 2001 were a tragedy and every

single person in the United States was impacted. People suddenly realized how close our

enemies can come to home and this forced our population to unify and become one

standing guard for freedom. Everyone was proud to be an American and this lead to an

overall decrease in crime by over 100,000 violent cases per year (Uniform Crime

Report). Due to the unity of the nation and the focus on securing our nations way of life

caused people to lean away from crime and this number would continue to drop all the

way until 2015. In present day, things are a bit different. With the amount of people who

despise police and are fed information, end up wanting to hurt them to make some impact

on this country. When things happen such as this, there is a ripple effect that spreads and

people want to commit more crime to follow suit.

The Idea of unity in our country is one of the most important things to guarantee

success in all of our endeavors. History has proven time and time again that when we are

united this country can do amazing things and when we aren’t, every turns against one

another and that does not lead to a population who is willing to contribute to the rest of

society for lack of initiative to contribute to their neighbor who they now hate because of

separation. This is a key American value and is very prominent in almost every religion

in the world because unity is always the way to establish peace. They really meant it

when they came up with the phrase “United we stand, divided we fall”.
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References

Brock, Julia, et al. Beyond Rosie : A Documentary History of Women and World War II, University of

Arkansas Press, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central,

http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/gvsu/detail.action?docID=2007822.

“U.S.: Reported Violent Crime 1990-2016 | Timeline.” Statista,

www.statista.com/statistics/191129/reported-violent-crime-in-the-us-since-1990/.