Philosophy Essay: Against Representation

**This was for my ARTI/PHIL/PSYC 3550 class as my final essay and in summary, this essay argues against the classical models of cognitive science where representation is seen as essential to artificial intelligence. Final grade was a B+, so there are points where there might be thin spots, but overall, if y’all have any thoughts or points of disagreements, leave’em in the comments below. :)**


Throughout much of our study and development of human cognition and its replication in the various forms of artificial intelligence, there has been an underlying assumption from which we have based our work on– that to replicate intelligent thought and intelligent behavior requires extensive representation. However, representation isn’t only unnecessary but that it would actually be detrimental to our efforts to create true artificial intelligence and our understanding of our own cognition if we keep the level of representation that we currently implement in our machines.

Embodied Cognition

“A machine can exist in an abstract plane where it can crunch numbers detached from the physical world. We, on the other hand, are enmeshed in it.”

A key difference between us and the machines we create is in our embodiment. A machine can exist in an abstract plane where it can crunch numbers detached from the physical world. We, on the other hand, are enmeshed in it. Our bodies constantly feed us information about the environment and we have no way of disconnecting from it. Our cognition is fundamentally embodied and our bodies affect the way we think and vice versa. 

This can be shown in our use of language. Language is a cognitive tool that both permits the expression of and the limitations of our cognition and how we use it tells us a lot about how we think. Since so much of our cognition is expressed and shaped within the constraints of our language, Language shows us just how much of our cognition is rooted in our bodies. For example, warmth is associated with affection (“warming up to someone”), weightiness is associated with value and importance, and exposure to immoral or unethical instances causes a feeling of uncleanliness [1]. In these cases, it shows that there is a reciprocal relationship between our cognition and our physiological form. 

This strong connection between body and mind means we often never have to completely hold our thought processes in our brains. For example, if we are working out a math problem, we can write it down and refer back to earlier steps to help complete later steps. This way, we only have to store the current step of the process in our brain, make the immediately relevant calculation and then the information can be stored and kept track of on an external medium. Since our brains are limited in its energy stores, it saves a lot of energy by processing information in small chunks and to externalise it like this. Rather than wasting time and energy replicating a model of the problem space internally to manipulate, we can just reference reality to inform us on what to do next. This ties back to cognitive technology [2] where external mediums can be used to bolster our cognitive processes and therefore, become an extension of our cognition. It makes sense, then, that since we can save energy, increase our cognitive abilities and make use of a body we were born with, a lower level of representation and a more embodied cognitive process will allow us to make better use of the body we possess and our energy resources and therefore, is a much more efficient way than the fully representational classical models. We will see how this need for efficiency means that, in our brains, just the minimal level of representation is used to allow us to “scrape by”.

Efficiency Argument

The human brain and its mysterious inner workings that we try to replicate in artificial intelligence have been shown to use far less representation than we thought. We can see this in all the ways that the brain fails to notice what should have been significant details like in the famous Gorilla Experiment [3] where participants, upon being asked to watch a clip of a basketball game, fail to spot when a person in a gorilla suit walks through the middle of the game. If the brain used the same level of representation as our machines, then all the participants should have made a complete internal model of the basketball game and noticed the gorilla. Instead, it seems that the brain is selective in its attention and by doing so, restricts the amount of information it needs to process at one time and is, therefore, more efficient.

” Rather, it seems that, for the most part, our brains can get by with as little representation as possible to be functional and be generally correct when it comes to problem-solving.”

Besides incomplete representation, the brain is also prone to a phenomenon called gist memory[4] where our memory can be, at times, approximative and at worst, unreliable. In a task where participants are asked to remember words with similar associations like “ice”, “snow”, and “winter” from a list, participants often say they remember a word, like “cold”, that wasn’t present on the list but also shared those associations. Other shortcomings like the notoriously unreliable eyewitness testimony have further exposed just how little our brain represents from the world. Rather, it seems that, for the most part, our brains can get by with as little representation as possible to be functional and be generally correct when it comes to problem-solving.

Evolution Argument

However, we are not the only ones capable of exhibiting intelligent behavior. In fact, much of intelligent behavior doesn’t need a brain but rather an interlocking system of simple operations that, when viewed gestalt, suggest intelligence. Roboticist Rodney Brooks coined the term “subsumption architecture”[5] to describe such a structure. We need to look no further than our own bodies for an example. Our immune system possesses remarkable adaptability and complexity[6] that, if we didn’t know any better, we might have thought that the individual cells within our body possess their own intelligence. From the outside, the operations of the cells that make up our immune system seem to be a conscious, coordinated effort but each cell is actually just responding to certain stimuli released by other cells like proteins or hormones. 

This sort of organisation can be seen in organisms like ants where they use very simple chemical markers that elicit simple behaviors that, when repeated within a colony of thousands or millions of members, can forage for food, wage war, maintain fungus farms and aphid herds, and build floating rafts to survive floods. Brooks himself built creatures based on crickets that showed how intelligent behavior like finding mates which require pathfinding and spatial reasoning can actually be the result of very simple physiochemical reactions within the body[5].

Therefore, not only is representation not needed at all for certain intelligent behaviors but even for the human brain, representation is only very minimally used. However, there is more to our intelligence than merely problem-solving and so far, it doesn’t seem like they’ve been accounted for. 


Imagination, for one, hasn’t been accounted for. Imagination, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality”. This means that, necessarily, to be able to imagine means that the things we imagine must not already exist and therefore unable to be represented. It can be argued that our imagination is actually just a composite of previous experiences (representations) put together in novel ways to make something technically “new”. However, it must be considered that just because representations of something exists doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily real. For example, illusions and hallucinations causes a person to represent something that isn’t actually there. I am of the thought that the false representation of a non-actual object cannot be truly considered to be represented the same way we represent what’s real[see 7]. In the same vein, although I cannot yet explain the presence of these false representations, I argue that imagination, due to its focus on the non-actual, does not in fact rely on representations or at least, the type of representation as we currently understand it to be.

“We don’t know why it is so, it just feels right.”

Second, our memory, it might seem, also depends on representations. After all, memory is formed through the encoding of past experiences. However, I argue for limited representation, not the total elimination of representation. It is true that a certain type of memory (fact-based, non-phenomenal memory) may be represented but it still doesn’t account for other types. Muscle memory, for example, is formed through repetition of a movement and once formed, is accessed without conscious effort. This is different from the explicit content that makes up represented memories. Similarly, ability-based memory also seems to lack representation. For example, when teaching another to drive, it is hard to articulate the feeling of the car, how to know how far to turn or how far the hood extends past the steering wheel. Perhaps a better example can be found in our use of language. We can usually go about our day and communicate with no problem but once we are forced to slow down and explain the finer details of grammar or convention, we are often stumped. We don’t know why it is so, it just feels right. Efficiency once again plays a role here. By cutting out the thinking part of certain operations like driving a car or figuring out grammar before speaking, the brain doesn’t need to waste resources “reinventing the wheel” and rather, just knows that certain stimuli should entail certain reactions. You don’t need to think, “the light is green and green means go” before pressing the gas pedal. You do it automatically. This way, the process cuts out thinking and representing entirely and can go straight from sensing to reacting.

It was given for a long time that the representational theory of mind would be the basis on which we can produce higher cognition in our own creations but now we know better than to let that be the end-all-be-all. With a better understanding of the reciprocal relationship between our bodies and our cognition, studies that reveal just how little our own brains rely on complete representation, and the fact that not everything that looks intelligent is intelligent, it seems that representation is actually a rather inefficient and insufficient explanation for all the miracles we are capable of.


[1] McNerney, Samuel. “A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain.” Scientific American Blog Network, Scientific American, 4 Nov. 2011,

[2] “Chapter 9: Extended Minds?” Mindware: an Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, by Andy Clark, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 192–211.

[3] Simons, Daniel, director. Selective Attention Test. YouTube, YouTube, 10 Mar. 2010,

[4 ]Makin, Simon. “What Happens in the Brain When We Misremember.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 9 Sept. 2016,

[5] Brooks, Rodney A. “Intelligence Without Reason.” The Artificial Life Route to Artificial Intelligence, 2018, pp. 25–81., doi:10.4324/9781351001885-2. 

[6]Chaplin, David D. “Overview of the Immune Response.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2010,

[7] Loar, Brian. “Transparent Experience and the Availability of Qualia.” Consciousness and Meaning, 2017, pp. 273–290., doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673353.003.0016.

Plato’s Republic Books I-IV: An Analysis Essay

*This is for educational purposes only. All who plagiarise or otherwise attempt to reproduce this content will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. *

This is an essay with multiple prompts which will be separated onto different pages. This was written for a PHIL2010 class and I didn’t get a 100% on it so if in doubt, please refer back to the original material. 

Glaucon’s Account of Justice

Discuss what kind of a good justice is according to Glaucon’s account of its genesis through social contract.

In the Republic, three types of good are described; the good practised for its own sake, the good practised for its consequences and the ultimate good that is practised both for its own sake and for its consequences (Book 1, 357b-d). The discussion of justice starts off with Glaucon’s account of justice where he explains why justice is a necessary good that people only practice begrudgingly for its consequences. First, he establishes that to suffer injustice at the hands of others is an evil that no one is willing to suffer while to commit injustice benefits the unjust. He argues that justice came from the recognition that the gains of committing injustice are far outweighed by the potential losses sustained from being the recipient of others’ unjust acts. Those who’ve been wronged or who fear being wronged then band together to create a compromise that prevents its participants from committing injustices against others but at the same time keeps them safe from receiving injustice (Book 2, 358e). To achieve this end, they make laws and separate those who follow the laws into the just and unjust, thus he concludes that justice is a manmade construct that leads to the least unhappiness for those involved at the cost of maximum happiness (Book 2, 359a). Therefore, no one would willingly bind themselves to such a construct if not for its effects (Book 2, 359b). He follows up by proposing two thought experiments to show that the natural inclination of man is towards injustice. One of the examples he came up with looked at how both the just and unjust would act if consequences were removed for their actions. Both of them would end up committing injustice but while the unjust man would be able to get away with his injustices, the just man would be caught. This shows that humans are naturally inclined to do what is best for themselves and the laws prevent us from carrying out our natural urges so no one will practice justice willingly (Book 2, 359c). Furthermore, a completely just man who is just for its own sake must endure all injustice directed towards him but cannot avenge himself or commit injustices and appear unjust while a completely unjust man will take every plausible opportunity to benefit himself at the expense of others while appearing to be just. Therefore, the completely just man would be deprived of reward while the completely unjust man would appear just while reaping all the rewards. So, according to Glaucon, there is no intrinsic value to practising justice because to lead a just life is always an unhappier life than to have one of injustice so justice is a good that is practised only for its benefits (Book 2, 360e-362c).

Plato’s Apology, Crito and Phaedo: An Analysis Essay

Hey y’all. Here I am again recycling old content I wrote for school. If y’all ever have the chance to take philosophy classes in college, take them! Even though a lot of the ideas and beliefs that were the basis of the philosophies of the olden times have been proven false or incorrect now, it is still worth a study because philosophy teaches you how to think and how to build an argument about something you have little information on based on logic. If nothing else, it will make you question what knowledge you take for granted.
With that said, the following is an essay analysing certain aspects of three of Plato’s books listed in the title. Let’s begin. I will separate each part of the prompt by starting a new page. Also, I haven’t completely proof-read this so there might a mistake here or there. Let me know if you spot any and when in doubt, always refer back to the original material.
*This is for educational purposes only. All who plagiarise or otherwise attempt to reproduce this content will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. *

Socrates’ Stance on Authority (The Apology)

Socrates suggests that we should consider the pursuit of justice as a craft. If this is true, Socrates implies, we should not heed the opinion of the many, but seek direction from knowledgeable experts. Reconstruct in your own words the arguments that support these suggestions of Socrates.

During the dialogue between Meletus and Socrates where Socrates is accused of corrupting the youth, Socrates asks who then improves the youth and Meletus answers everyone else but Socrates; in other words, that the majority improves the youth while the individual corrupts them (Apology, 24d-25a). Socrates then makes the point that people as a majority cannot claim to improve the youth but knowledgeable individuals can. He likens the situation to horses and the horse trainers, saying that only horse trainers can have a positive influence on the horse while most other people will have a negative influence (Apology, 25b). Later, in The Crito, Socrates brings up another example on who we should listen to when it came to health. Obviously, we should take the expert opinion and advice of a doctor or a trainer over any opinion or advice from the general public or else we would suffer harm to the body (Crito, 47b-d). When Crito brings up the fact that the majority still has the power to harm individuals, Socrates counters by saying that we shouldn’t harm ourselves with unjust acts because we fear persecution from the majority (Apology, 32a-33b) because what is important isn’t that one lives, it is that one lives a good, just life and to follow not the majority in matters like justice but to follow the expert (Crito, 48a-b). Just like other crafts that need craftsmen with special knowledge, justice can be considered a craft and should be practised only by experts in the field.

Castigation or Correction: The Aftereffect of Our Prisons | A Research Paper

As history has progressed, mankind has had to develop factors that contributed specifically to the functionality of their society. One of the most prominent factors has been the addition of laws which set boundaries for the civilization as a whole. However, when laws are broken there must be some reinforcement that emphasizes the authority of these rules. In the American society, the correctional system is the basis in which individuals are supposed to be “enrolled” in, thus helping them reform their ways and become better contributors to humanity.

However, in this day and age, the American correctional system has become privatized to relieve the pressure on citizen tax dollars. Due to this, the correctional system has been reduced to punishment, isolation and almost indentured servitude instead of the reformation that was originally intended. In addition, when individuals are sent to prison they are left with the reduced ability to be able to receive a legal job. This matter has left a significant amount of minorities, immigrants and otherwise socially handicapped people unemployed, on welfare, and usually ending right back into prison. As a descendant of immigrants and a minority whose lived in areas with a high population of former inmates, this subject is daunting especially to myself. When I consider all of the good people that made mistakes, were forced into situations based on their circumstances or people who were just trying to survive, I can’t imagine how their experiences in prison have not only tainted their perspective on humanity but have also tainted their futures. When a portion of our population has been subjected to this dehumanizing treatment and left with limited options in their progression the question now becomes, to what extent does our present correctional system affect a person’s ability to successfully function in society?

For the sake of this examination, the definition of success will be limited to “maintaining the necessary income to live above the poverty line, while remaining in good legal standing, as well as having the opportunity to advance in life”. While this definition may seem simplistic, difficulties meeting this goal can arise for even the most educated and able individuals. Thus when persons of a social status that are already less likely to successfully go through the system, their results are drastically different. In all actuality, the American correctional system inhibits the progression of an individual’s functionality in society due to the fact that not only is the person in question now limited in their possible economic advance but also in their social standing and experiences. In order to examine the validity of my thesis, I will analyze statistics provided by the American government in regards to the demographics of those who have been previously incarcerated. In addition to this, I will break down personal accounts from people who have been in prison as well as those who haven’t to compare the social experiences of both groups. By doing this I will be able to correlate the evidence that our government has gathered to the events that people have encountered.

There was a time when treadmills were used as punishment in prisons.

In order to discuss how the prison system has deviated from its original intentions, it is imperative that I give background on the origins of said system. Before the 18th century there wasn’t a well-defined prison system, instead, people who were accused of committing crimes would be held in crude dungeons and held in torturous restraints. However, these areas weren’t for long-term holding, these caverns were set aside for temporary holding until the accused would be either acquitted of their crime or found guilty. During the colonial times in America, a guilty verdict could be punished by ranges of castigation. From public humiliation to branding, to lashings and hangings. However, it was very rare for a person to be held as a form of punishment. Nevertheless, as time progressed these methods of penalization became seen as barbaric and in the 1800’s a new form of criminal “reformation” was introduced. A grander reflection of our implementation of solitary confinement, the prisoners of the 1800’s were sent to factories where they silently reflected on their sins. Communication with other prisoners was strictly forbidden and being caught in the action would result in additional punishment. This method of rehabilitation was favored because not only was it responsible for the breakdown of an individual’s spirit, it would give way to mental illnesses that incapacitated the criminal. Furthermore, inmates were subject to strenuous labor without pay or concern for their safety. During this time, obedience and hard work were the markers of criminal rehabilitation although during this time reformation of the prison system had begun in Pennsylvania which would influence the impending 1900’s.

Two of the major pioneers in the improvement of the correctional system during this time were Dorothea Dix and Enoch C. Wines. Dorothea Dix strove for the refinement of the way mentally ill people were treated in prison. This eventually led to the separation of the mentally ill into asylums where they could be educated and receive treatment. Enoch Wines focused on the betterment of the correctional system for all; Wine’s conclusion that the current prison methods were actually severely ineffective led to the implementation of new policies regarding sanitary conditions, women’s participation and education in prison. As the progressive era emerged these two reformers were given greater consideration and eventually the 1900’s became the era of prison restoration. Progressives shifted their focus from hard punishment and social isolation to psychological methods of rehabilitation. During this time prisoners were sentenced to indefinite sentences and were released when they could prove that had been purged of the criminal tendencies. This method would lead to our contemporary version of probation and parole. With this major revolution, the correctional system was set to rehabilitate its inmates and lead to the betterment of society’s “deviants”.


However, during the late 20th century American encountered a “prison boom”, a massive increase in the prison population (Porter, Lauren). This explosion in the number of people under the guide of the correctional system was due to the expansion of the American law enforcement agencies. Prison sentences for minor crimes were being increased and new laws were instituted leading to an increase of things considered illegal. Eventually, the state budgets allocated to prison growth were drained and politicians were floundering for a way to make good on their promises to crack down on crime. In order to supplement this growing population, the US prison system began to privatize their jails to exclusive third-parties. The first third-party company to profitize the prison system was the Corrections Corporation of America. This method of prison expansion has been a major source of controversy due to the fact that these corporations run at least 10% of America’s prison for profit (Pauly, Madison). In essence, the issue lies with the fact that when a company is running for profit, the end goal is money, whereas the end goal of the correctional system should be correction of society’s deviants. In all actuality, these groups aren’t focused on educating or reforming our criminals, instead, they stand to gain monetary awards when the prison population is increased.

Now with a foundation established on the previous ineffectiveness of the correctional system and a brief summary on the history of America’s most controversial prison system, I can examine the effects our contemporary system has on the individuals within it. Now the validity of my conclusion is based on my ability to prove that the correctional system hinders two factors that contribute to an individual’s ability to succeed in society: the economic and social advancement of an individual. The economic aspects that contribute to a person success in America include employment and financial stability. The social factors that contribute to a person’s success include location and education. In order to defend my thesis, I will argue that our current correctional system 1) causes former inmates to lose job opportunities, 2)lowers the average income of former inmates, 3)contributes to the likelihood of former prisoners staying in a bad environment, and 4) lowers the chances of a former prisoner being educated.
To begin with, I’d like to review the statistical data on employment after prison. As of 2008, the percent of former inmates that was unable to meet income through employment was 70% (Vischer, Christy), the methods of income varied over means such as governmental assistance, assistance from friends and family as well as informal work coming in at the top 3.

As the prison population grew and political tension in America rose during the election of Obama, the number of post-inmates unemployed increased to 75% in 2013, after Obama’s re-election (Gramlich, John). As stated by a director of Columbia Law School’s department of Prisoners and Families clinic, “You can almost look at incarceration as a contagious disease,” Genty said. “Once somebody has that taint, they are just looked at differently. It’s not even at the rational level.” This bias can be found in various media, including news outlets, and it is only worsening the stigmas associated with former inmates. For instance, on a popular show named “Everybody Hates Chris” one character is often shown to be stealing and eventually being detained and sent to jail. Even though this character has been previously incarcerated, he maintains his socially deviant behavior, which induces the thought that he isn’t capable of rehabilitation. In other instances, such as on “Boyz n the Hood”, former convicts are stereotyped as being violent, stubborn and overall malicious. Despite 59% of convictions being nonviolent, this image of former inmates is portrayed in pop culture and employers fear ‘dangerous felons’ ruining their business reputations (Neyfakh, Leon). Despite most media being fictional, many people are conditioned to understand society- and specific factions- by what they see on television.

In this case, employers see that this individual has repeatedly gone through the correctional system and yet continues their crimes, which makes an employer not want to hire them. In reality, news outlets also perpetrate these thoughts. When someone is suspected of committing a crime one of the first things the media will examine is their criminal history. To employers this seems correlative, a former inmate or convict is suspected of committing another wrongdoing, thus they will continue to commit more crimes (Vega, Tanzana). A former inmate even says that “[he felt] his job applications were going into a “black hole.” This is due to the fact that more in today’s society, jobs are beginning to evaluate the criminal history of prospective employees. In more cases than some, employers aren’t even looking at what the crime was, instead, simply having a conviction makes you a less likely candidate.
When defining success, I used the poverty line as a marker of indication. To be precise in my analysis, the poverty line- as determined by the Federal Government- is $12,060 for an individual ( It can be assumed based on the analysis of post-incarceration employment rates that former prisoners have a lower average income. A mean decrease of 11% was found between the annual income of post-incarcerated individuals as opposed to their income before incarceration (Freudenberg, Nicholas). However, many other circumstances influence the low income of former inmates. To begin with, many convicts are released early but have to pay monthly fees for parole or probation. On the average, convicts are paying $30-$80 a month, not including court fees or the costs of drug testing and driving for parole check-ups (Schou, Solvej). When individuals aren’t able to pay their parole costs, they are subject to several different consequences. The most frequent “alternatives” are community service and revocation of license until payment can be made. Yet, since the majority of inmates were in poverty before they were convicted, it is likely they will be even more impoverished and lack the resources, such as a car or work, to meet their alternatives.

In addition, like our current correctional facility, probation is also being privatized. Due to this privatization, the focus becomes less on rehabilitation and more on increasing revenue. Revenue that is generated by the recidivism, the relapse of committing crimes, of former inmates. However, this is simply the surface of how probation plays a role in lowering the income of convicts. It is human nature to become concerned with the power and control that one possesses over the environment and in the relationship between probation officer and parolee, the results aren’t exclusive. On an episode of Law and Order: SVU, the interactions between several probation officers and their parolees are dramatized. Probation officers are seen being threatening, aggressive and extorting money from former convicts with threats of falsifying parole violations. However, in real life, cases of probational system corruption are beginning to crop up more frequently. Especially in well-populated cities, where criminal activities occur more, probational misconduct is rampant and has severe consequences for convicts trying to make a new life for themselves. For instance, in the city of Nashville, 2015 was the year many parolees lost their cars, gave up their disability checks, or even foreclosed on their homes(Schou, Solvej). These individuals found themselves being threatened with excessive jail time or increased probation fees if they couldn’t pay their probation officer. In conducting an interview with an individual recently released from prison, Mark* shared his concerns of the correctional system in regards to probation. “Paying probation fees may seem like small costs for your freedom but I have a kid. Providing for a baby and yourself, the pressure is high, man. I’ve thought of selling dope a thousand times since I’ve been out. If I can’t pay probation, I’m back in jail anyway.” (personal communication, [1]2017). This was one of the most emotional accounts, on my behalf, that I received because Mark is only 19. To consider the fact that someone so young is already entrapped in the vicious cycle of crime is daunting. The system of probation is supposed to be a transition between prison and society, yet, it seems to be an increasingly cyclical route of recidivism and less income.

“Section 8 isn’t available to anyone who has a criminal record. Whether or not you serve jail time, you are immediately evicted from your apartment and there aren’t many other places you can go,” said an individual who had her housing assistance revoked. The options left are expensive and require extensive application fees and security deposits. Thus, even if the individual was able to maintain their finances, money would be spent primarily on housing. Many convicts will then find themselves regressing into criminal acts due to lack of support from their community. Due to the lack of community resources, these areas run rampant with criminals and, in the underground world, there is always room for another drug dealer or gang member. Thus, when inmates are released there is an immediate pressure to recede into their old lives, in addition to defensive measures, but also in order to provide for themselves.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. – Nelson Mandela.

This quote has increased in validity since the speaker first said it. As the United States continues to grow and innovate, education becomes more and more a separation between poverty and stability, success and failure. Many inmates, depending on the severity of their crime, have access to a high school education within prison walls. However, education isn’t limited to the simplicity of a high school diploma. Instead many employers look towards college degrees as a symbol of reputability and intelligence. Yet, a very few have access to degree-granting courses and those that do are at risk of losing them due to the high cost of these programs. This is despite the fact that by offering college courses, some correctional facilities have seen their recidivism rate drop by 16% (Westervilt, Eric). Inmates have been determined as being 42% more likely not to recede back to prison. Withholding economical reasons, a college education benefits society as a whole by increasing the rehabilitation factor of prison. Unfortunately, many prisons don’t offer these initiatives and instead, post-prison educational pursuits are harder due to various factors. The most significant reason is that former convicts lack access to basic educational programs. In a growing society of immigration, most urban cities provide little to no formal language assistance. In addition, many convicts simply aren’t afforded the time as they are required to see probation officers frequently as well as trying to actually provide for themselves.

As inmates are released from our correctional facility they are promptly thrust back into an environment that encourages their misconduct. Areas that have high incarceration rates hosts large ghettos that breed malicious intent. For instance, the Miami Dade prison population is the 8th largest in the country with its gang population being the 7th largest in America (Munzenrieder, Kyle.). Even though an inmate may have rehabilitated, crime affiliation follows and this individual may become associated with their criminal history. This can lead to gang members, drug dealers or other offenders preemptively striking in order to maintain criminal hierarchies. In many cases, previous inmates will regress into their criminal activities in order to have protection. Rather than continuing the rehabilitation process, former inmates are cornered into a fight or flight response without the ability to escape. Moreover, in many cases, those who have been previously incarcerated also have family and friends that take part in illegal activities. “I had to give up many of the boys I’ve been down with forever. I just knew that they were going to bring me back to a place I couldn’t be in.” Mark stated. Losing these connections can leave former inmates vulnerable and without the support system they’ve had for years. In addition to the retaliation from other offenders, released inmates have to worry about racial and criminal profiling. Due to over 60% of the prison population being minorities, most noticeably Blacks and Hispanics, a level of racial profiling is obvious (Hagler, Jamal). However, racially profiling released inmates leads to police officers checking criminal databases, in turn, increasing harassment. Being associated with a criminal record gives police an excuse to pursue individuals simply for having a record. In areas with heavy crime, law enforcement is more present and more likely to assume criminal records of the inhabitants. Moreover, when considering their low budgets, these heavily populated cities also lack the necessary resources to integrate former convicts. Coupled with the lack of employment, many of these offenders will take to criminal activities in order to maintain homes and child care.

This is especially concerning as police are becoming increasingly “better equipped”. Image from

In the case of economic endeavours and advancement opportunities, post-secondary education is on the brink of becoming a requirement. Statistics show that those who have a college degree are more than 14% likely to have a job that is career oriented vs a job to “simply get by”( Having a college degree puts a former inmate at an advantage against the 66% of America that has no degree, increasing their chances of retaining a career ( Thus, without education, the majority of former inmates would never have the opportunity to advance. In addition, higher education also contributes to disparities in income between those have had their high school diploma and those who have a college degree. The median annual income difference between a high school graduate and a degree holder is $17,500( When comparing this to the previous generations median annual income difference of $15,780, there is a gap of $1,720. This contributes to fact that education has not only grown more essential in order to maintain a career but also to remain above the poverty level in our current economy. When considering the likely chances of a former inmate having a lower income, education becomes a necessary tool to prevent recidivism and increase a former inmates chance of success.
As racial and economic divisions deepen, prison has become a place of punishment doubling as an income generator for private companies. The original purpose of reformation has been deformed into simply sheltering what society refuses to fix. Despite the overwhelming evidence of inefficiency, politicians, private companies and upper-class individuals believe that the correctional system provides opportunities for inmates that they would have never otherwise receive. Granted that many inmates are released gaining a high school diploma in the process, their costs from prisons such as probation and court fees, is likely to offset the advantage of a diploma. In addition, many supporters of our current correctional system emphasize the fact that prison shouldn’t be a reward but instead a consequence. However, this prompts the question of to what extent is prison a negative consequence? In many cases, inmates arrive in jail or prison for non-violent offences and yet when they are released, their crimes are usually more heinous and weigh more on society. In effect, society is punished for its failure to correctly reform the prisoner.

However, the most significant claim of those who support our correctional system is that society is no longer forced to deal with those who have deviated from our norms. Yet, this line of thinking results in a chain of animosity, poverty and increased segregation. As families are broken and children grow in poverty, our youth will see crime as an outlet for rebellion or simply a means of getting by. This becomes a vicious cycle, rarely broken and demonstrated mostly by the minorities in our prisons thus increasing stigmatisms associated with various races. In the end, our correctional system has been outdated for decades and currently is undermining efforts of humanitarians and those who seek to release others from poverty. By reforming the issues analysed in my essay, with a focus on education, our correctional system would begin to change for the better.
Despite including what would be most important in answering my question, I realised that there were several directions I could have taken in the meaning of function. My analysis focused more on economic success rather than mental growth which would also affect an individual’s ability to succeed in life. Understanding the extent of influence prison has on the psychological state on an inmate would allow me to determine if many of the results of prison were from fractured mental states or from reasons entailed in my essay. However, based on my analysis of data and my evaluation of interviews with former inmates, prison has a high negative association with inhibiting the success of those previously incarcerated.

See next page for Bibliography

Recent Introspections | Short Essays

Hello, everyone! Today’s post isn’t about the greater world, it will be about me. These two short essays were written for my UGA application, which was the last application I finished. I suppose you can use these as example essay for UGA’s writing portion of the application. So, this will be a bit of something to help understand me better– a memoir, if you will.

Essay #1:

The college admissions process can create anxiety. In an attempt to make it less stressful, please tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself that you have not already shared in your application. Respond in 200-350 words.

I’ve once had a “near-death” experience involving some geese and an old, gnarly pine tree.

A mostly clear sky, a little breeze, the temperature at a balmy seventy-five degrees — a perfect spring day for climbing. Up through the crooked branches, one hand and foot at a time, I would often find my quiet place nestled among fragrant needles. There, the drudgeries of a too-ordinary life for a too-imaginative mind would fall away and I would be free to fancy myself as a character in whatever world I was currently immersed in. Only the slight stickiness of the tree’s numerous small wounds anchored me against the solid bark. It was a portal. Being neighbors, so to speak, I also had quite a few run-ins with geese around the area.

The geese were plentiful during the spring and they bring with them natural alarm clocks and fertiliser for everyone’s lawns. They also come to lay eggs and when a goose has little goslings, you better stay away or else a pecking is going to be the least of your problems.

So, on that day, I was up in the tree and it started raining. Just as I was about to hop down from the last branch, two parents and their gaggle of waddling children passed right underneath and decided to take shelter there. They noticed me but still didn’t move. It was a shock to me, I suppose, being stuck on that last branch as it began to rain harder and not knowing what to do. I don’t remember how I got down. I suppose I just jumped down and booked it before an angry mama geese had the chance to charge at me. Before I had the courage to jump, though, I stayed frozen on that last branch for what seemed like an eternity, torn between fear and urgency.

It is ironic now that I look back at it. Maybe it was a warning that whatever story I placed myself in, it isn’t the real world and that if I went too far, I might not be able to come back.

350 words


Essay #2:

For this essay, you had several prompts to choose from. Since I’m an artist and a writer, I chose to go with the creativity one.

Creativity is found in many forms including artistic avenues, intellectual pursuits, social interactions, innovative solutions, et cetera. Tell us how you express your creativity.

I am an artist and a writer. My chosen medium is a pencil. It only comes in one color but with a skillful hand, you can create many shades with it, enough to illustrate an entire world. With a pencil, just black squiggles, you can also write entire histories. When I’m bored, I created meaning. When I was bored, I created stories. When I was bored, I drew and wrote. This was what kept me going as a child when I didn’t know how to speak the language and was limited to staying at home and going to school and this has kept me going when I feel like I’m about to burst and not having somewhere to release.

In creating, whether it be characters or interpretative art pieces, I can give a little of myself to the real world and felt it as an affirmation of my existence because it was a manifestation of my thoughts. I think therefore I am. Books told me that I wasn’t alone in the thoughts I was having and that despite not knowing how to communicate efficiently, there were others that wrote like me and thought like me. Others that wished to create a world and develop meaning. I suppose what nurturing I missed from my family as a child was instead provided to me through the indirect sympathies of the characters that I read about. Creativity to me is something that drives me on because then I know I can affect the world permanently when I feel invisible.

When I write or draw, I try to create layers. Beyond syntax and grammar, there is subtext. Beyond lines and shadowing, there is interpretation. I try to tackle universal themes. I write about politics and history through the lens of a psychology student. I try to capture the underlying uncertainty of existence in my art. I try to present to people some sort of self-awareness because those were things I thought about a lot growing up in a low-stimulus environment. It’s a thank-you to those who came before me and I’m passing it on.

350 words

AP Lang Essay Prep: How Your Essay Should Look

Welcome y’all.

So, as you all should know, there are three essays that you need to write for AP Lang.

  1. Synthesis
  2. Argumentative
  3. Rhetorical Analysis



If you’ve taken an AP history class, then you are in for an easy ride.

Synthesis is exactly like the DBQ except a whole lot easier because you’re only required to use three documents instead of the usual six. So your layout would look something similar to the DBQ, which is something like this:

  1. Intro (+2 points for contextualization)
  2. Thesis (+1 point for thesis/argument)
  3. Body
    1. Introduce/cite document (ex: [Doc A]) after summarizing
    2. HIPPO* (+1 point for HIPPO; required 4 out of 6 documents for full credit)
    3. Relate back to how document proves thesis (+1 point for cohesive argument)
    4. Repeat for however many docs you have
  4. Outside Knowledge (+1 point for knowledge not mentioned in text helping argument)
  5. Conclusion
    1. Restate thesis
    2. Restate each body paragraph into one sentence each

Except your synthesis should look something like this: (Keep in mind that there is no rubric for this so your essay is based on your rhetoric and organization more than a DBQ would be.)

  1. Intro
  2. Thesis
  3. Body
    1. Introduce/cite document
    2. Analyze and explain (kinda like HIPPO)
    3. Relate back to how document proves thesis
    4. Repeat for only 3 documents!!
  4.  Conclusion
    1. Restate thesis
    2. Restate each body paragraph into one sentence each
    3. End conclusion with broad and deep message that resonates throughout the audience

* Historical context, Intended audience, Purpose, Point of view, Outside information



Again, for argumentative essay, it’s exactly like the LEQ for AP US. You’re legit pulling knowledge out of your butt to argue for a claim. This is similar to synthesis except for the fact that you don’t have documents to facilitate your claim. This can be good or bad. Good because you’re not required to waste time on finding the documents that help your argument. Bad because you have to come up with your own evidence. There’s less structure for an argumentative essay, but the basic outline goes like this:

  1. Intro
  2. Thesis
  3. Body
    1. Clearly state the purpose of this body paragraph
    2. Analyze evidence you have provided
    3. Relate back to how evidence proves thesis
    4. Repeat for however much evidence you want to include, but remember the time limit!
  4. Conclusion
    1. Restate thesis
    2. Restate each body paragraph into one sentence each
    3. End conclusion with broad and deep message that resonates throughout the audience

Because an argumentative essay prompt can go in infinite directions based off of the evidence that you provide, this is a little vague, but an argumentative essay can easily be the most difficult one or a breeze depending on the prompt and how you want to structure your essay.


Rhetorical Analysis

This one is, in my opinion, the hardest one because I don’t have experience with this as I do with the other two in different classes. I ONLY FOUND OUT MUCH LATER THAT THIS IS YOUR USUAL SAT ESSAY. Done SAT before? Then no problem. Haven’t done SAT yet? You need this. My suggestion is that you should separate the analysis into beginning, middle, and end. What does the author do at the beginning of the passage to be persuasive? How does the author sound convincing in the middle of the passage? In what way does the author conclude his/her piece that’ll make the audience see his/her perspective? I usually outline my essay like this:

  1. Intro (SOAPS* it: introduce the document that you are analyzing)
  2. Thesis
  3. Body (analyze the most important persuasive tactics used—ask yourself, does that negligible metaphor used to persuade me more than the loaded words used to elicit some sort of feeling from me? Remember, you are on a time limit. Prioritize which rhetoric you want to go in-depth with.)
    1. Beginning
    2. Middle
    3. End
  4. Conclusion
    1. Restate thesis
    2. Restate each body paragraph into one sentence each
    3. End conclusion with broad and deep message that resonates throughout the audience

You can draw multiple parallels between many of the essays that I mentioned. Here are some pointers to always, always, ALWAYS remember when writing your essay.

  • You want to be flowery with your language a little. Show off. Throw a few words like “juxtaposition” or “plethora” or “effervescent” here and there. Utilize that vocabulary.
  • But don’t be too verbose. Do not overstep your boundaries. While you want to sound sophisticated, you also want to be succinct. Passive tone, being verbs, bland adjectives—all unnecessary. (NO “to be able to”!!)
  • Power of three. Reread the point above. “Passive tone, being verbs, bland adjectives”, it all just sounds so right. When listing items, don’t list two or four. Listing three gives a sort of unknown power that makes your writing sound… correct. There’s some sort of science behind this, I just don’t think it’s been figured out yet. This is an actual thing, though. Search it up.
  • Scaling along with being too wordy, try to avoid using the words “logos”, “pathos”, and “ethos” in your essay. While you are trying to show how an author uses these three points to persuade their audience, you can easily say how the author does so without explicitly saying it. Your grader will know what you’re talking about. Spend time analyzing what the author is doing rather than summarizing what the author is doing using these three terms. Show, not tell.
  • While these points seem counterintuitive and contradictory to each other, more practice will allow you to find that happy medium that will achieve all these points in no time! You just have to believe!!

*Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject

Thanks for taking your time to read my lecture to you. Good luck to you all on the exam!

APUSH Essay Prep Unit X: Late 1900s

Due to it being the last unit of the year, our teacher gave us a choice on which prompts we have to prepare for so here are the three I chose to do.

(1) In what ways did the Great Society resemble the New Deal in its origins, goals and social and political legacy. Use specific programs and policies to support your argument.

Synthesis: The Affordable Care Act

Contextualisation: Civil Rights Movement


  • Origins and Goals
    • Both were passed in a situation where Congress would be hard-pressed to fail them
    • Helped the poor and unfortunate.
    • New Deal
      • Response to Great Depression
      • Expanded federal power dramatically (usually not something appreciated)
        • supported by the fact that Hoover did nothing about the situation
      • Provided jobs, made farming somewhat profitable again, stabilised prices
      • Advocated for by Roosevelt in his Fireside chats
      • The promise of it was so popular that FDR carried all but 6 states
    • Great Society
      • “War on Poverty” and also racial inequality (with the various 1960s movements in full swing, especially civil rights)
      • LBJ used Kennedy’s name to provide sympathy for his cause
      • LBJ’s insider status in Congress
      • Democratic majorities in both chambers
    • Both were made when their president was insanely popular, the national situation wasn’t so good and their presidents were really good at manipulating the public in favor of their programs.
  • Social Legacies
    • FDR and New Deal
      • 1st female cabinet member, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins as well as more than 100 women in other federal positions
      • FDR’s Black Cabinet
      • As a result of ND, by 1935, 25% of blacks were provided assistance
      • By 1936, 90% of black voters were voting Democrat, opposite from before
      • Indian Reorganisation Act(‘34)- collective land ownership for Indian tribes
      • TVA-targeted poor areas for improvement
    • LBJ and Great Society
      • Apps Development Act- like TVA
      • Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966
        • Similar to TVA except for urban areas
      • Medicare (‘65) for the elderly
      • Economic Opportunities Act (‘64)- to provide education and eliminate poverty by giving people the opportunity to get better jobs
      • Although not really part of the GS, the Civil Rights Act (‘64 and ‘68) and the Voting Rights Act (‘65) both expanded civilian rights for minorities
    • Both tried to improve the lives of minorities and the poor
    • LBJ actively wanted to leave the GS as his legacy and wanted to mirror FDR’s ND, becoming the next FDR
  • Political Legacies
    • In both, the federal gov’t expanded its power over the economy considerably
      • Both FDR and LBJ ran up the deficit by their spending on new programs
      • GS expanded on and continued ND’s healthcare legacy (not very successful as both the Wagner National Health Act of 1939 and the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill died in committee) with Medicaid and Medicare, making the GS one of the only successes in US history in getting healthcare legislation passed (does SS count? It’s not exclusively reserved for medical purposes so…)
    • The failure of either of them to keep their influence is an ever continuing fight even to today between progressivism, war and conservatism
      • Like I said with the Wagner healthcare legislations I mentioned above)
      • Conservative Supreme Court vs New Deal
      • Vietnam eating into Great Society
    • Even through the failures, though, both expanded what the gov’t is capable of and could provide the precedent for future attempts and social and economic reforms like Obamacare 

(2) Describe and account for changes in the American Presidency between 1960 and 1975, as symbolized by Kennedy’s “Camelot”, Johnson’s “Great Society” and Nixon’s “Imperial Presidency”. Address powers of the presidency and the role of the media in your answer.

Synthesis: Jefferson and Hamilton’s view of what America should be like. As widespread media wasn’t available back then, what people heard were only local news and both sides depending on their geographical location would be convinced that the other side would betray the nation’s foundation

Contextualization: TV was becoming more popular in the meantime and its importance could be seen in the Kennedy v Nixon debate. Fun fact: Was probably what convinced politicians to start getting body language coaching.


  • Kennedy
    • Power of president increased under Kennedy
      • Cold War required a strong leader (Castro in Cuba, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam)
      • Increased size of federal gov’t (continuation of prior legislation like New Deal as well as his own New Frontier)
      • Democratic majorities in Congress allowed for easier passage of laws
    • Media strengthened Kennedy’s image
      • Appeared youthful, energetic and “glamorous” on TV (can be seen in the post-debate polls in 1960)
      • The image of the “perfect Kennedy family”
      • His death was used to cement his legacy by the media (and Johnson)
  • Johnson
    • Presidential power peaked but then declined
      • Good at “twisting arms” in Congress to get what he wants passed
      • Continuation of Cold War, again, strong leader needed
      • However, backlash came from people who didn’t like his policies (civil rights, GS, Vietnam etc) and his power declined after that
    • LBJ less successful than Kennedy in maintaining his public image
      • Not as good-looking on TV
      • Loss of trust due to credibility gap between his report of Vietnam War vs what the media reported
      • Bad atmosphere (riots and domestic disturbances) in the 60s and extensive coverage of it showed Johnson as someone ineffectual and out-of-touch
  • Nixon
    • Contrary to his “Imperial Presidency”, presidential power actually decreased
      • Democratic control of Congress made it hard for him to fulfill his agenda
      • Slow to disengage from Vietnam when anti-war sentiments were high
      • Used executive action against his enemies, real or perceived (his enemy list)
      • Watergate… Oh, Watergate. Pretty much all of it was propagated by the media (Woodward and Bernstein) and “…I am not a crook.”
      • Increased Congressional oversight of president through the investigation of Watergate
    • Media and Nixon administration hostile towards each other
      • His appeal to the “silent majority” saw his 50% approval rating go up to the 80s
      • Vietnam (invasion of Cambodia, 1970) and unrest at home (Kent State, also 1970) covered by media, bad for Nixon
      • His paranoia about his enemies put the media on the list when they started digging into Watergate and only made suspicions worse

(3) Explain the causes and consequences of immigration and ONE of the following population movements to the United States in the United States during the period 1945–1985 (2011).

Suburbanization    The growth of the Sun Belt

Synthesis: 1916 Great Migration

Contextualization: Sun Belt– jobs, good climate, cheaper land, lots of people moved here, increased pop.



  • Causes:
    • Lifting of restrictive immigration laws pre-WWII
    • Refugees from the War, Korean, Vietnam, Cuba etc
    • Immigration Act (‘65)- opened immigration quotas to non-Europeans
    • Post-war prosperity
    • BRACERO program
    • Influx of immigrants led to:
    • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (McCarran–Walter Immigration Act)
      • Reestablished national origins quotas
      • Repealed Chinese Exclusion Act
      • Barred LGBT and other “subversive persons” from entering the country
    • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
      • Abolished national origins quotas
      • Preferred immigration of professionals and skilled workers
    • Refugees Act of 1980- limit of 270K immigrants
    • Decreases in the cost of travel also contributed to the increase in immigration
  • Consequences:
    • Before the 60s, mostly white immigration– by 80s, more than three-quarters were from Latin America or Asia
    • Post-WWII immigrants include more women and skilled workers
    • Steady increase of immigrants since 45
    • Public concern about amount of immigrants (the classic stuff)
      • Anti-Immigrant sentiments build, especially against Latinos because of illegal immigration
      • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (Simpson–Rodino):
        • Granted amnesty to illegal immigrants arriving before 1982.
        • Penalised employers for hiring illegal immigrants.   
    • Added to cultural diversity of US


  • Causes:
    • 1944: GI Bill (loans for houses to veterans)
      • Also the need to build houses to house returning veterans
    • Demographic Trends: Marriage, Childbirth, ”the perfect family” (TV shows)
    • Levittown!!
    • Riots due to racial tensions increased white exodus from the cities
      • An unintended consequence of Brown v Board
    • Housing Acts of ‘49 and ’54
    • Federal Highway Act of 1956 boosted suburban growth
    • 1965: Department of Housing and Urban Development created.
    • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage loans
  • Consequences:
    • FHA policies led to discrimination against racially and economically mixed communities
    • A majority of middle-class Americans moved to suburbs within a generation
    • Loss of population in cities led to loss of business and public institutions
      • Due to lower tax base -> cities became poorer
    • Federal Highway Act of 1956 accelerated the decline of mass transit in older cities
    • Suburbs encouraged individual car use leading to things like drive-in theaters and drive-throughs
    • Gentrification of old urban parts by remaining high-income families (outed the poor)
    • Post-WWII conformity
      • People wanted to have the perfect family as shown in TV shows
      • focus on middle-class ideals
      • Reinvigoration of religion
    • More mobility=more house-moving
    • New Infrastructure like malls, parks, new schools etc for suburbs

APUSH Essay Prep Unit IX: Cold War

We got only got five essay prompts for this unit.

(1) Analyze the impact of TWO of the following on Soviet-American relations in the decade following the Second World War, 1945-1955.

The Yalta Conference    Communist Revolution in China

Korean War    McCarthyism

Synthesis: US-Soviet relations were never good to begin with. Then, with the Cold War came the Red Scare and America’s refusal to recognise the USSR as a legitimate nation. Then, in 1933, President Roosevelt ended this non-recognition in hopes of bettering the US’s economic situation during the Great Depression.

Contextualisation: You can use the Communist Revolution in China and how that excited more fears of communist expansion and power.

  • American efforts to prevent a civil war in China and the expansion of communism failed.
  • In 1949 the Communists won the battle against the Nationalists and Mao Zedong declared the existence of the People’s Republic of China, showing how he would align the country with the Soviet Union.
  • On February 15, 1950 a treaty of alliance between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union was signed. It was called the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance. – The Soviet Union recognised the People’s Republic of China while the United States did not as easily want to recognise the new regime.
  • The Communist Revolution in China affected Soviet-American relations seeing as though there was another communist world power when America was trying to obstruct the expansion of communism


Yalta Conference —

  • Stalin wanted postwar economic assistance for Russia and British and U.S. recognition of a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. Churchill wanted the protection of the British Empire but also clarify what would happen to Germany after the war. The United States wanted an agreement on the United Nations and Soviet agreement to enter the war on the Pacific Theatre after Hitler was defeated.
    • Churchill and Roosevelt promised the Soviet Union concessions in Manchuria and the territories it had lost in the Russo-Japanese War.
    • They also accepted Stalin’s pledge to include pro-westerners in the new Polish government and to allow elections as soon as possible. (in reality, Stalin installed a pro-communist regime and brutally subdued the anti-communist Poles)
  • The outcome of the Yalta conference did not satisfy all three leaders. None were able to reach an agreement on the future of Germany, but Stalin vowed to declare war on Japan after Germany’s surrender.
  • After Germany was defeated, Truman grew tired of waiting for the Russians to allow free elections in Poland and threatened to cut off lend-and-lease aid; on the other hand, Stalin strengthened his grip on Eastern Europe, ignoring the promises he made at Yalta.
  • The Yalta Conference brought to light the issue of postwar Poland. The Poland issue created mistrust and animosity between the Soviet Union and the United States. Roosevelt was later accused of “giving away” Eastern Europe to Stalin. (Very important)
  • The lack of peaceful agreements that satisfied all three Allied leaders during the Second World War led to Soviet-American relations suffering, which would eventually lead to the Cold War.

Korean War —

  • After WWII, U.S. and the Soviet Union temporarily divided Korea.
  • America supported South Korea and the Soviet Union supported North Korea; both wanting the sole right to rule all of Korea.
  • North Korean troops attacked South Korea, so Truman fought back seeing the attack as a Soviet test of U.S. will and containment
  • Truman did not want to be accused of “selling out” Eastern Europe as FDR had been before. He needed to stand up to the Russians and prevent the spread of communism.
  • As U.N. forces were crossing the 38th parallel, the Chinese intervened and at the end of the war, Korea had the same boundary as before. The war caused 800,000 Chinese casualties, more than 50,000 American lives along with thousands of U.N. troops, and the death of millions of Koreans.
  • The Korean War further showed how the United States had a commitment to prevent the spread of communism, further angering the Russians and causing American-Soviet relations to worsen.
  • Added “fuel to the fire” during the Cold War

(2) Analyze the successes and failures of the United States Cold War policy of containment as it developed in TWO of the following regions of the world during the period 1945 to 1975.

Southeast Asia    Europe    Middle East    Latin America

Synthesis: Wilson’s “Make the world safe for democracy” and “end all wars” in WW1→ failure due to idealism

Contextualisation: The failure to contain Communism was accompanied by a growing fear and suspicion of Communism within the nation, which eventually led to the McCarthyism and the Red Scare, where many, especially those working in government offices, were accused of being Communists.


Europe —

  • Stalin broke the promise he made at the Yalta Conference of 1945 that he would let Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria have democratic elections by establishing Communist governments in all three. This was the beginning of tensions between the USSR and the US through the lens of communism and democracy.
  • There was an “Iron Curtain” as termed by Churchill which divided Europe in two
  • We joined the UN in 1945 to be active in world affairs, especially to combat Communism
  • In the Truman Doctrine of 1947, it was established that the United States would support democracies in order to deter the Communism that the Soviet Union was spreading in Europe. Although it began by referring only to Greece and Turkey, it was later accepted generally and became the basis for the American containment policy.
  • The Marshall Plan (1948) later passed to help economies of countries in Europe in order to fend off the Soviet Union’s potential attempts to spread Communism
  • We believed that a European country with a stronger economy was less likely to fall under the communist pressures exerted by the USSR
  • There were two Germanys divided both physically as well as ideologically, which was made a physical division by the Berlin Wall in 1961; the West was democratic and had American support
    • Blockade and airlift
      • “The Berlin Blockade was an attempt in 1948 by the Soviet Union to limit the ability of France, Great Britain and the United States to travel to their sectors of Berlin, which lay within Russian-occupied East Germany.”
      • US Response: “Berlin airlift, 1948–49, supply of vital necessities to West Berlin by air transport primarily under U.S. auspices. It was initiated in response to a land and water blockade of the city that had been instituted by the Soviet Union in the hope that the Allies would be forced to abandon West Berlin.”
    • Led to NATO to establish collective security
  • We signed NATO in 1949 with Canada, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Portugal
    • Greece, Turkey, and West Germany later joined
    • The alliance successfully strengthened defences against the Soviet Union
    • Strengthened our security and prevented us from reverting to being isolationist
    • Therefore, it was a success

Southeast Asia —

  • Much of SE Asia was becoming Communist-for example, Mao Zedong led the Chinese Revolution and turned it “red”. As Communism grew, we became more and more vigilant and anxious to deter it.
    • We sent the Nationalists 2 billion dollars to support their cause
    • No avail
  • We demilitarised/disarmed Japan
  • Korean War
    • Americans saw the North Korean attack as a Communist campaign that could continue all over the world, and thought to help to fight against them was to prevent the spread of Communism
    • “If we let Korea down, the Soviet[s] will keep right on going and swallow up one [place] after another.” –President Truman
    • Our war aims were that we wanted to free North Korea of Communism as well
    • In the end, there we were not able to make any gains for South Korea and the communist North stayed communist, and there was status antebellum, but we did succeed in stopping possible spread of communism from North Korea at the expense of countless lives
  • Vietnam War
    • North Vietnam was Communist, unlike South Vietnam, and so we entered on the side of the South
    • Domino Theory
    • Involvement seemed logical and there did not seem to be any reason to think we could not “win”. That we did not was a consequence of overestimating what U.S. power could accomplish and underestimating the will of the Vietnamese communists.
    • Was generally unpopular among the public, and we withdrew troops in 1973 (effectively surrendering)
    • 58,000 Americans were killed and South Vietnam lost, so the Communist North Korea (with support of the Viet Cong) took over and united Vietnam
    • Was a failure

Analysis —

  • There were better results in Europe than in Southeast Asia: rather than losing innumerable lives only to bear little fruit, we strengthened ties with other democracies and supported them so that USSR efforts would not be effective.
  • In Southeast Asia, there was more violence involved whereas European dealings are mostly treaties, agreements, and support networks (though there were still some conflicts). In both major wars in Southeast Asia, we did not emerge as clear winners although the loss of life and other costs were enormous.
  • In Southeast Asia, we overestimated our military power
  • For these reasons, it can be said that we succeeded in our policy of containment in Europe but failed in Southeast Asia

(3) While the U.S. appeared to be dominated by consensus and conformity in the 1950’s, some Americans reacted against the status quo. Analyze the critiques of U.S. society made by TWO of the following:

Youth    Civil Rights Activists    Intellectuals

Synthesis: U.S. dominated by consensus due to prosperity during the 1920s but some Americans reacted against status quo by criticising America’s materialism (“Lost Generation”).

Contextualisation: Intellectuals rebelling against society (i.e.: Rachel Carson in “Silent Spring”). Until publication, few Americans knew about effects of pesticides on humans, plants, animals, etc and how they poisoned the environment. It warned of the dangers to all natural systems and questioned the direction of modern science.

Civil Rights Activists —

  • Jackie Robinson (first black MLB player) broke race barrier and triumphed despite racial abuse.
  • Truman, pressured by African-American supporters, ordered Executive Order 9981 which banned racial discrimination in the military and thus went against “Solid South’s” insistence on white supremacy.
  • Activists demanded perm FEPC (Fair Employment Practices Commission), outlawing of lynching, and poll tax
  • The FEPC was established in 1941 to enforce the order signed by Franklin Roosevelt that banned “discrimination in the employment of workers in defence industries or government because of race, creed, colour, or national origin.”
  • Thurgood Marshall helped end segregation in schools as Supreme Court ruled “separate but equal” (Plessy v Ferguson) unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. began civil rights crusade and advocated for justice but through nonviolent means in order to demonstrate evils of racism.
  • African Americans followed Dr. King and Rosa Park’s lead and boycotted segregated Montgomery buses and Supreme Court agreed by outlawing segregation on buses.

Youth —

  • Juvenile delinquency skyrocketed and embraced other “scandalous” activities like rock n’ roll.
  • Yet youth continued to listen to music and rock n’ roll sales skyrocketed thanks to the rise of Elvis Presley.
    • Rock and roll music dropped allusions to ideas such as disobedience and crime and was met with much opposition from older generations, calling the genre anything from “a plot to corrupt the youth” to “the devil’s music”
  • Beats (nonconformist writers) expressed revolt against middle-class society by scorning materialism and conformity.
  • Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road showed disdain towards the conformity and materialism seen in the United States. They mocked the “square” America.
  • Students protested capital punishment and demonstrated against HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). Others decried nuclear-arms race. (i.e.: in ’58-59, thousands participated in Youth Marches for Integrated Schools in Washington).
  • Salinger wrote “Catcher in the Rye”, a prominent book that was controversial due to it involving vulgar language, discussing sexuality in an open way, etc and thus sparked debate over censorship. However, it was applauded for showing a teenager’s alienation from the world and thus many saw Holden as a symbol of pure individuality in face of conformity imposed by society.

Because this is a complex theme, I will break away from the usual points system and just provide context and events in which case you need to determine what you need to write your essay.

(4) How do you account for the appeal of McCarthyism in the United States in the era following the Second World War?

Synthesis: First Red Scare

Contextualisation: Around the same time (the 1950s), a new wave of feminist and (especially) civil rights movements were starting to build. The US economy was the largest in the world. Communism also means fewer economic opportunities for the US which would limit capitalism expansion and many people were resentful because of that.


  • Origins
    • Red Scare
      • Reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution in the USSR and the emergence of Communism
      • Suspicions of leftist movements b/c of labor unrest, bombings attributed to unions and anarchists, and the incoming immigrants with socialist and anarchist ideas
      • Resulted in “aggressive Justice Department investigations, severe violations of civil liberties [Espionage and Sedition Acts], mass arrests and deportations, and several high-profile convictions”
  • Key Perpetrators
    • Dems vs Repubs
      • Dems have been in power for over a decade under FDR and the Repubs tried to link his New Deal with communist ideas while Dems fired back that the Repubs were linked with fascism. But during 1946 midterm elections, fascism is no longer a threat and by “red-baiting”, the Repubs managed to start winning back seats in Congress and also in the White House
    • FBI Under pressure for being soft on Communism, Prez Truman initiated a loyalty review program that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover presided over. With strong anti-communist views and loose standards of evidence, many people were accused without sufficient evidence. Hoover’s insistence on keeping sources secret meant that there was no way to verify the integrity of accusations and many didn’t know what they were being accused of or by whom. This apparent abundance of Communist sympathisers in the gov’t only fed into the fear of a Communist takeover of America.
    • HUAC (House Un-American Committee) conducted an investigation into Hollywood to see if their films secretly endorse communist ideas. The Hollywood elites have been supporting liberal policies and this was a way for conservatives to discredit them. Ten were singled out for resisting investigation by HUAC and tried before the House (the Hollywood Ten). All ten of them were cited for contempt of Congress and were either fired or suspended without pay (effectively blacklisted from Hollywood) by their company and jailed for one year.
      • This sort of attack on media figures saw the arrest of many writers, broadcast journalists, musicians, actors etc later on. It only intensified with the advent of Red Channels, a rightwing journal, that listed names of entertainers that were supposingly Communist. Red Channels had a lot of influence. People who were named lost their jobs and no one dared to hire them.
    • Sen. Richard Nixon Played a large role in the Alger Hiss Trial that helped reinstate the Republican majority in Congress that they had lost by 1948. The trial involved a gov’t official named Alger Hiss whose work primarily concerned liberal causes. A guy named Whittaker Chambers accused him of being a Communist. The HUAC held a hearing for Hiss and was satisfied with his presentation but Nixon pushed for deeper investigation. Information afterwards came out that Hiss had copies of official papers and in a later court case, he was convicted, giving Nixon and the Republican agenda a huge boost. With the success of the Alger Hiss Trial, Republicans pressured Truman and other Democrat officials into cracking down on communist sympathisers in the gov’t and suggested that Democrats were in league with Communists
    • Sen. Joseph McCarthy McCarthy gave his fateful speech Feb 9th 1950, where he claimed to have over 200 names of people who were “bad risks” working in the State Dept. When the gov’t denied such charges and demanded to see McCarthy’s source, McCarthy told them that he would let them see his list of names if they opened their loyalty files. In reality, he had an outdated list of names from previous investigations that were already known to the public but the public ate it up and bought into it, really believing that the State Dept had been filled with Communists. He used more outdated, biased and outright made-up information to sway people to his side and used his influence and his all-powerful list of names to get himself and his party more power by accusing more people. The media gobbled it up and printed headlines. This continued for four years.
      • Both Nixon and McCarthy were paranoid and insecure. They loved power and was very afraid that someone would take it away from them. These attributes would be part of the reason why they were driven to do all this.
  • Outside Threat
  • The military threat of the USSR along with the hostility between the US and the USSR meant that war had to be prepared for and the shoring up of the military, as a result, threatened the US
  • The takeover of western Europe by the USSR meant that people were disillusioned about the result of WWII, that is, the freeing of the people of Europe and this made people angry and afraid at the same time
  • The news of Russian spies surfaced (eg Elizabeth Bentley, who gave American intel to the USSR about Germany & Claus Fuchs, who leaked details of the Manhattan Project which helped to make the USSR a nuclear nation) to obvious result
  • Within months, the USSR successfully tested an atomic bomb (Aug 1949), the Chinese communists won their Civil War, forcing the (US-backed) Guomindang into modern Taiwan and instituted a communist gov’t in China (late 1949) and communist North Korea invaded South Korea (June 1950).
  • People feared the worst, that communism was spreading and can threaten their “democracy” or worse, their capitalism and contributed to the appeal of McCarthyism by giving them a physical enemy in front of them that they can accuse and attack for why Communism is spreading
  • Political Gain
    • The Republican party, though not as severe or flippant as McCarthy, nevertheless did nothing to stop his tirade. They allowed McCarthy to do their dirty work for them and they themselves took the high road and benefitted from the political gain.
    • The Democrats had both the presidency and Congress since 1930 and Republicans wanted a way to weaken them so the best way at the time was to sow suspicions that their more liberal policies meant that they sympathised with Communists.
    • This also gave Republicans the ground to attack progressive policies like the New Deal and connected them to Communism, also Truman’s various internal improvement plans were struck down in the same way

Summary: Basically, this threat of accusation was all-pervasive and God help you if you get accused and named in the Red Channels because your reputation will be ruined and no one will listen to you even if you don’t get convicted by the HUAC. The Republican Party used this to intimidate and discredit their opponents and one of the ways you can get immunity is to name more names. Any protestation against the govt was seen as being traitorous and if anyone dared propose reforms, then they were communistically-inclined and would be under suspicion and possibly accused. No one knew if and when their name would come up and no one knew who they could trust… Sounds Stalinesque, doesn’t it?

(5) Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods 1919-1928 and 1945-1950. 

Not much to compare so I chose to just say straight out that foreign policy changed a lot between the two time periods and focused on the changes.

Synthesis: George Washington’s Farewell Address establishes the precedent of remaining neutral and staying out of world affairs, isolationists who advocated for staying neutral after WWI supported this

Contextualisation: The Red Scare after WWI and McCarthyism after WWII – people became more increasingly afraid of communism and believed that the US had to intervene as a “policy of containment”, similar to the fear of foreign ideas during WWI


After WWI — 

  • Neutrality and Isolationism during the 20s and 30s – Americans had felt like WWI had been a mistake
  • International financing (Dawes and Young Plan for Germany)
  • Washington Naval Conference with Japan, Great Britain and France and Italy- an attempt to keep some power since the US was not part of the League of Nations
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact – wanted US help if Germany attacked France but the US didn’t want that. This act took 60 nations to not turn to war as a solution.

After WWII —

  • US becomes more involved in world affairs after WWII – as the founding member of the UN and participating in the Yalta Conference
  • More aggressive and intrusive
  • Truman Doctrine – the US would provide political, military, and economic assistance to other democratic countries that were threatened by communism
  • Cold War, Korean War – US supports democracy and comes to South Korea’s aid when North Korea invades (The US is an interventionist)
  • Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program)-try to keep countries from falling to Communism

APUSH Unit VIII Essay Prep: Early 1900s up to the Great Depression

(1) Compare and contrast the criticisms of American society in the 1920’s and 1930’s by American writers.

Synthesis:  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Frederick Douglass’ slave narrative criticised the brutality of slavery through their literary works, both hoping to have an impact on the existence of slaves in America. Although both works wrote their stories in order to change the perspectives of Americans and shed light on the deplorable conditions of slavery, Douglass’ literary style was different than Beecher’s. He was able to recount his true story as a slave, while Beecher’s novel was fiction. Both authors were anti-slavery but approached the subject differently.  

Contextualisation: At the same time, artists, architects and musicians were also evolving their style — Joseph Stella’s The Bridge, Edward Hopper with Hopper, Dorothea Lange’s photos during the Great Depression, the shift from modern cubism to photography.



Writers attacked the materialism and the disillusionment that many Americans were enveloping themselves around. They disliked the new business culture of America. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels criticise the increasing of materialistic, self-absorbed views that the wealthy had. His books had characters that rejected traditional beliefs.

  • This Side of Paradise
  • The Great Gatsby is a literary novel that captures the glamorous party-filled life of the wealthy, but also how they tended to disregard those they considered below them on the social scale.

Sinclair Lewis criticised small-town America and how it limited individuality. Many of the people in his books were foolish men and women that chased after money.

  • Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry, and Dodsworth


  • Mencken attacked American values and considered them to be fools and stupid. Traditional Americans opposed his work.  
  • Hemingway’s work was about the war and the materialistic culture of the postwar years, love, struggle, courage, and loss.


To put it simply, 1920s writers wrote about materialism and the lavish lifestyles of the urban population and the greed that pervaded the culture at the time. During the 1930s, writers wrote about standing up for oneself and working hard and not relying on the politicians to do anything for them because they’re not. They tried to reject traditional values in order to make people pave their own roads instead of following the institutions. The 1930s also saw more attention and criticism of the areas outside of urban centers for their complacency and inability to adapt to present difficulties.

(2) Analyze the ways in which TWO of the following New Deal measures attempted to fashion a more stable economy and a more equitable society.

Agricultural Adjustment Act                         The Securities and Exchange Commission

Wagner Labor Relations Act                           Social Security Act

Synthesis: The Affordable Care Act (2010)

Contextualisation: Social Security Act (1935)


Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA, 1933):

  • Protected farmers from price drops by providing crop subsidies in hopes of reducing production and educational programs to teach methods of preventing soil erosion
    • Subsidy came from a tax that was later declared unconstitutional, resulting in the second act
    • Evens balance of supply and demand
      • So that farmers only produce what the consumers can buy and not excess
  • Second Act set a parity price, and the government pays the difference if the farmers did not make at least that much
    • Essentially (in both) the government was paying farmers not to grow crops on a part of their land (the Domestic Allotment Plan)
      • Solves deflation caused by surplus of products
  • Improved economy:
    • solving deflation (see above)
    • Farmers would use their higher wages to buy consumer goods, which helps the economy overall
  • Improved society:  farming is now profitable
    • Makes society fairer because people have an equal opportunity

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC, 1934):

  • Regulated stock market and restricted margin buying
  • Protects people from fraud in stock market
  • Wanted accurate financial statements→ FASB
    • Financial Accounting Standards Board
  • Improved economy: curtailed dangerous practices like buying on margin
  • Improved society: helped to start to regain people’s confidence in the stock market, and makes it safer for consumers to buy stock

(3) How did TWO of the following help shape American national culture in the 1920’s?

Advertising    Mass Production     Entertainment 

Synthesis: The 1950s  – both periods after World Wars, inventions of new technologies for the common consumer (radios in the 1920s, TV in the 1950s), magazines and media influenced American culture, economies were doing well in both times due to the war

Contextualisation: Advertising – glorified consumer spending, the value of a person depended on what they had: having things were more important that social character, religion, morals; companies wanted to sell more and targeted women (household appliances, makeup, promoted the idea of women drinking and smoking)



  • Movies: silent films, Nickelodeon (Clara Bow – The “It” Girl, Charlie Chaplin)
  • Radio – radio shows – “Amos ‘n Andy”, Presidents could address the American audience directly over radio, 60% of American families had radios
  • Jazz Age & Harlem Renaissance – help establish the African American identity in America. (Louis Armstrong, Jacob Lawrence, Alain Locke’s The New Negro)
  • Literary works by Fitzgerald, Sinclair, Hemingway, Stein (The Lost Generation) – commentary on life in the 20s (America’s materialism and modernism), post-war cynicism
  • Impacts:
  • changing views of women (flappers, smoking, drinking, open sexuality)
  • deviation from the secular, traditional lifestyle;
  • promoted a culture of consumption and buying (after WWI where people willingly rationed)

Mass Production

  • Consumer products became more widely available and more affordable – changed home life (refrigerators, washing machines, cars)
  • Changed the household life with labor saving machines doing work which allowed more leisure time
  • Impact on Workers:
  • They became less skilled, with more machines being able to do the work and assembly lines requiring they do one task.
  • Decline of labor union membership and the need for cheap labor

(4) Historians have argued that Progressive reform lost momentum in the 1920’s. Evaluate this statement with respect to TWO of the following.

Regulation of business   Labor   Immigrants

Synthesis:  Reconstruction

Contextualisation: Immigrants from East Asia came into the US in bigger numbers, prompting backlash because of unfamiliar culture and language barrier.


  • Regulation of Business:
    • Reforms before the 1920s
      • Trust-breaking (Clayton Anti-Trust Act)
      • Quality Regulation (Pure Food & Drug, Meat Inspection etc)
      • Reduction of Tariffs (notably Underwood Tariff), less protection for US companies
      • WWI wartime regulation of businesses (War Industries Board)
    • After 1920s
      • Implication of regulating businesses as being communist or socialist (in light of the Red Scare and WWI)
      • Economic boom discouraged any sort of checking power (Calvin Coolidge:“The business of America is business. The man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there worships there.”)
      • Inventions (assembly line) exploded production and lowered prices and encouraged consumerism meaning businesses grew even bigger than what they were before therefore harder to control
      • Harding, Coolidge and Hoover were all hands-off presidents (Hoover himself was a businessman, owning silver mines. Fun fact: He and wife spoke Mandarin if they didn’t want to get eavesdropped on.)
      • Harding Administration’s corruption (Teapot Dome) meant that gov’t officials were often willing to look the other way if they got a little something under the table in return
      • Skyrocketing tariffs (eg Hawley-Smoot Tariff; highest peacetime tariff ever)
  • Labor:
    • Before 1920s
      • Regulation of wages, hours and condition by state governments
      • Incidents like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire brought awareness to both the long hours and unsafe conditions
        • Prompted the creation of regulatory institutions (New York State Factory Commision etc)
      • Stopped the use of Sherman Anti-Trust against strikers
      • Roosevelt performed the first go-between to resolve issues between owner and workers
      • Roosevelt and Wilson made their own headways into the issue
      • Headed by socialist-leaning reformers like Eugene Debs (who was a socialist)
      • Unions with widespread influence (Gomper’s AFL)
    • After 1920s
      • Renewed image of labor unions as communist and socialist, were seen as un-American
      • “Welfare Capitalism”, providing services to employees to stop the formation of independent labor unions (notable example being Henry Ford taking advantage of this by sponsoring stuff like sports teams, cafeterias, glee clubs and formed groups representing women, blacks and immigrants)
      • Open-shop movement- required people to work in nonunion places
      • Yellow dog contract–where the worker has to agree not to join a union
      • Gov’t started trying to break up unions again and struck down labor laws
        • 1922-federal troops broke up a railroad strike (The Great Railroad Strike of 1922)
        • Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Company (1922) struck down federal law regulating child labor  
        • Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923) struck down minimum wage law for women in Washington D.C.
        • Supreme Court weakened labor provisions of Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914) in 1921 and 1927

(5) Compare and contrast the ways that many Americans expressed their opposition to immigrants in the 1840s–1850s with the ways that many Americans expressed their opposition to immigrants in the 1910s–1920s.

Synthesis: BRACERO Program against Mexican immigrants

Contextualisation: Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)



  • Anti-immigration Attitudes
    • Ethnic neighbourhoods were seen with suspicion, poverty, crime
    • Immigrants inherently inferior to “real” Americans
    • Immigrants steal jobs from honest Americans
    • Whigs complained that immigrants (who were overwhelmingly Dems) would corrupt the political process
    • Taxpayers would have to pay for programs that would support immigrants and that wasn’t fair because the immigrants aren’t paying for themselves.
  • The Irish were targeted (in particular in Boston where some places put up “No Irish Need Apply” signs, seen as non-white, were looked down on for being a drinking culture
  • A lot of immigrant groups were Catholic and anti-Catholic views mixed with anti-immigrant prejudice
  • Nativism
    • 1850s-The American Party
      • 1854-membership at one-and-a-half million
      • Supported extension of period for naturalisation from 5 to 21 years; ban on naturalised citizens’ holding of public office
      • Declined in 1856 when divided over slavery question
      • Accused immigrants of plotting with Catholics to overthrow U.S. democracy
  • Germans were better off being better educated, financially stable and settled further West in more sparsely populated areas
  • Chinese
    • 1854 People vs. Hall (California Supreme Court)- extended a previous law saying non-whites can’t testify against whites to the Chinese
    • 1855 & 8-California passed laws stopping Chinese immigration, overturned by SCOTUS
  • Mexicans also saw discrimination, especially as more Anglos moved into the annexed Texas and the far West


  • Progressives did not want more immigrants as they thought  that would increase economic problems  
  • World War I propaganda influenced American’s views on Germans that they were barbaric. (anti-German and anti-Irish)
  • Red Scare – linked socialism and radicalism with immigrants (Palmer Raids – revealed the fear for foreign ideas and immigrants in the government)
  • Sacco and Vanzetti – foreign-born anarchists (reinforced the idea that immigrants were radicals), they were executed despite little proof for their crimes.
  • The KKK came back – reinforced the ideas of white supremacy; had power in the Democratic Party; supported violence against Jews, Blacks, and other immigrants who got jobs or didn’t assimilate to American culture
  • Ozawa v US (1922) and US v Thind (1923) – Japanese, Indian, and Asian immigrants couldn’t assimilate and were unable to obtain citizenship
  • Hidemitsu v. the US — Japanese were rejected naturalisation for being “alien” racially and ethnically
  • National Origins Act of 1924- showing discrimination toward immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and excluded Asians.- Coolidge said America must be kept American.

(6) Analyze the origins and outcomes of the intense cultural conflicts of the 1920s. In your response, focus on TWO of the following.

Immigration   Prohibition   Religion

Synthesis: 1960s

Contextualisation: Prohibition

  • Temperance movement originally began with the 2nd Great Awakening but there was revival of its importance now
  • WCTU was part of the temperance movement
  • Anti-Saloon League
  • However, in 1920s culture, there was much bootlegging and illegal acts and the Amendment did not stop it — impossible to enforce


Immigration conflict

  • Origins
    • Increase in immigration before 1920
    • Generally poor
    • Prior nativism
    • Progressives thought that fewer immigrants means better off public
  • Outcomes
    • Discrimination continues
    • KKK expanded
      • Wants 100% Americanism
      • Violence
      • Preserve America as a “white” nation
    • Emergency Quota Act
      • 35700 immigrants/year is maximum
    • Ozawa v. the US — Japanese so racially different/inferior that they cannot get citizenship
    • Hidemitsu v US- Japanese cannot be naturalised
    • US Border Patrol was established in 1925 to decrease Mexican immigration too

Religion conflict

  • Origins
    • The Fundamentals – influenced people to return to literal interpretations while others persisted with metaphorical interpretations
    • More against Catholics and Jews
  • Outcomes
  • Fundamentalism movement
    • Literal interpretation
    • Response to beliefs during changes in 1920s lifestyle
    • William Jennings Bryan was leader of it
  • Some Southern states don’t want to teach evolution
    • Scopes Trial
    • Shows general discontent about religion

APUSH Unit VII Essay Prep: Early 1900s up to WWI (1890-19

Once again, a couple of questions have been left out because of incomplete information.

(1) How successful were progressive reforms during the period 1890-1915 with respect to TWO of the following?

Industrial Conditions   Urban life   Politics

Synthesis: Reforms after 2nd Great Awakening: women & temperance (these two are similar to Progressive reforms that resulted in the 18th and 19th amendments)

Contextualisation: Politics- Removing party corruption, the idea of the Secret Ballot – but did not include many immigrants, 17th and 19th Amendment


Industrial Conditions

  • Square Deal
    • Conservation of natural resources, controlling corporations, protecting consumers
    • Roosevelt = “trust buster”
    • Elkins Act→ makes rebates from railroads to companies (like Standard Oil) illegal
    • Sherman Anti-Trust Act(1890) & Clayton Anti-Trust Act (Clayton was passed under Wilson in 1914)
      • Restrict trusts and help consumers
      • Clayton strengthens Sherman – not to be used vs labor unions, more specific, etc
      • Northern Securities Case
        • 1902- Roosevelt attacked the Northern Securities Company, a railroad holding company organised by financial titan J. P. Morgan and empire builder James J. Hill (they sought to achieve a virtual monopoly of the railroads in the Northwest); Court held up Roosevelt’s antitrust suit and ordered the company to be dissolved
        • Angered big business, but greatly enhanced Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust buster
        • Under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
  • The Jungle→ Meat Inspection Act
    • “Hit America in the stomach instead of the heart”
    • Reforming the meat industry and making it more sanitary
    • Pure Food and Drug Act
      • “For preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes.”
  •  Triangle Shirtwaist Company → NY reforms
    • Workplace disaster→ Inspired reforms in NY by Florence Kelley and Frances Perkins to better conditions for women

Urban Life

  • How the Other Half Lives-Jacob Riis
  • Crowded and unsanitary/disease- slums and tenements
  • inspired President Roosevelt to close the worst of the lodging houses and city officials to reform and enforce the city’s housing policies
  • His book shed light on the deplorable conditions that the underclass lived in
  •  Jane Addams and Hull House→ Settlement houses
    • Opened doors to newly arrived immigrants
    • Good conditions
  •  Sewage improvement– more efficient infrastructure and tech (like modern toilets)
  • Air pollution concern begins to show—
    • Women also played a pivotal role in the antipollution movement of the Progressive Era. Alice Hamilton increased public awareness of toxic chemicals and their health effects. The Settlement House movement, led by women like Jane Addams, worked to better city services and conditions within immigrant neighborhoods. Smoke pollution also greatly concerned women at this time. Reacting to their increased laundry load in filthy conditions, as well as concerns about their husbands’ and children’s health, women dramatically altered the general public’s conceptions of smoke. Up to this time, many had conceived of smoke as either a disinfectant or the necessary cost of progress. Women educated their fellow citizens on the health dangers of smoke, and their activism led to smoke-pollution-control laws in every major city in the United States by 1912. Men took control of this issue within legislative circles, stressing technology as a way to reduce smoke or burn the coal more efficiently.”  (taken from
      • Though this was not as successful in terms of reforms, it marked the beginning of concern of air pollution
    •  Environmental standards were passed and in general, awareness was raised
    • Parks were made to help preserve natural resources

(2)  Compare and contrast the foreign policies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Synthesis: Washington and Adams: Washington’s Farewell Address emphasised the need for to stay out of foreign affairs versus Adams who was involved with the XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War. Both George Washington and John Adams emphasised the need to stay out of foreign affairs by wanting to follow the same non-intervention policies and circumstances; however, Adams had difficulty maintaining the same neutrality as Washington.

Contextualisation: You can compare and contrast how each president approached domestic issues differently. Wilson went after the institutions while Roosevelt personally went in to solve problems. An example of be Wilson’s passing of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 compared to Roosevelt’s handling of the Northern Securities Case



  • Gentlemen’s Agreement: Japan would stop Japanese immigration to America if Roosevelt got rid of segregation against them in schools
  • Big Stick diplomacy: the use of military force to intimidate other countries
  • Roosevelt Corollary: gave US the right to intervene in Latin American politics if their international debts weren’t paid
  • Panama Canal: exploit Pacific/Asian markets through invasion of Panama
  • China’s Open Door Policy: opens free trade in Asia and basically subjugates the Chinese into letting foreigners have free reign within swathes of their territory


  • Fourteen Points/League of Nations: advocated for free trade, open seas, open treaties
  • “Make the world safe for democracy”
  • Moral Diplomacy (ex. the US supporting democratic Latin American countries)
  • Wilson had tried to stay neutral until the Zimmerman Telegram – cause Wilson to propose war to Congress the next day


  • Roosevelt’s policies tended to lean toward the economic benefits. Wilson’s foreign policy was dominated by WW1, focusing more on alliances and negotiating the end of the war versus Roosevelt’s economic foreign policies.
  • Wilson was more of an idealist, while Roosevelt was more aggressive in his policies (ex: sending the US Navy around the world known as the “Great White Fleet; also as Secretary of Navy under McKinley, Roosevelt wanted to engage with Spain in the Philippines)
  • Both Presidents wanted to establish America as a world power and advance the nation
  • Both were progressives and encouraged federal intervention the economy and in their opinion, saw that Congress was incompetent in the matters of foreign policy

(3) Assess the relative influence of TWO of the following in the American decision to declare war on Germany in 1917.

German naval policy                     American economic interests

Woodrow Wilson’s idealism          Allied propaganda

Synthesis: War of 1812- caused due to the British attempts to seize  American ships made Jefferson believe that British were trying to restrict American trade with Napoleon.

Contextualisation: Wilson’s Idealism– He believed that the war had to be ended, in order for their to be peace in the world and in his war address to Congress he said: “ the world must be made safe for democracy.” Example: His Fourteen Points and within it, the League of Nations.


German Naval Policy

  • The sinking of the Lusitania, Arabic and the Sussex led to innocent Americans dying and it showed how Germany had no qualms about sinking ships without warning, even if they held no contraband (Sussex Pledge)
  • Germany announced resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare (they knew they would lose the war without it, and were willing to risk America entering. They were suffering from the British naval blockade)
  • Zimmerman Telegram (which the British made public in hopes of persuading America to enter the war)
  • German naval policy and their constant promising to no longer harm passenger ships, only to go against their word and torpedo ships, made it difficult for America to remain neutral

American economic interests

  • U.S. had loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to the Allies (more than the Germans, so it would benefit them more if the Allied Powers won)
  • Wall Street supported the war (selling of arms)
  • Congress supported the war because it benefited the economy
  • (could include how some believed America was becoming imperialist/capitalist & how the wealthy were gaining more wealth and becoming richer while the American government exploited people)
  • Debs said that the United States were “tyrants, autocrats, red-handed robbers and murders… disloyalists and traitors ”- Ohio State convention of the Socialist Party.
    • He believed that the United States was under plutocratic rule, interested in capitalism, imperialism, exploiting people and causing war to make money.

(4) Analyze the roles that women played in Progressive Era reforms from the 1880s through 1920. Focus your essay on TWO of the following.

I didn’t include it, but remember to analyse like what it says in the question.

Politics    Social conditions    Labor and working conditions

Synthesis: Industrial Revolution

Contextualisation: The social change within the era. For example, the flapper culture and increasing independence of women from the sphere of the home.


Labor and Working Conditions

  • Women in the Knights of Labor– wanted equal pay
    • Two women were leaders in the Knights of Labor: Leonora Barry, the general investigator for women’s work, and Elizabeth Rogers, head of the Chicago Knights assembly.
    • 10% of members = women
    • Not allowed in AFL
  • National Consumers League of 1890- concerned with improving working and living conditions of women in the workplace
  • Muller v. Oregon: protecting women and children in workforce
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911: girls worked 12hrs/day in cramped place and because emergency supplies weren’t right, they died in the fire
    • Inspired reforms in NY by Florence Kelley and Frances Perkins to better conditions for women


  • Men still dominated politics but women were advancing
  • Western states had started to grant women suffrage in local elections (Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho had done it late 1800s and even more states were catching on)
  • There were a few female Muckrakers — Ida Tarbell, Francis Keller, Helen Hunt Jackson
    • Ida Tarbell- exposed corrupt Rockefeller oil industry
    • Francis Keller- as above
    • Helen Hunt Jackson- wrote A Century of Dishonor
  • Women’s Christian Temperance Union
    • Advocated social reform in favour of temperance
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association
    • Advocated for the right to vote
  • 19th Amendment ratified in 1920
  • Women’s Peace Party 1915
    • By Jane Addams & Carrie Chapman Catt

(5) Analyze the impact of technological innovations on the lives of TWO of the following groups. Confine your answer to the period 1865–1920.

Only had the synthesis and contextualisation points for this one.

Factory workers    Middle-class urban residents    Midwestern farmers

Synthesis: The modern information age and everything that entails.

Contextualisation: Farmers — Allowed for commercial farming by reducing the tiresome, hard work on the farms. The railroads that were connected to markets in the East also helped farmers in giving them a bigger market to sell their produce. It negatively impacted them by causing them to have more debt from bank loans and overproduction; and led to the emergence of the Populist movement. (If you’re good, you can connect the Panic of 1893 to some of the disadvantages of technology during this time period.)

Here’s the link to the CollegeBoard page for this prompt.