In the past semester, I completed my research on the development of Communism in Cuba and began to study the Cambodian Communist Revolution. Within the Cuba unit, I have had opportunities to understand the impact of the Cuban Revolution on various parties involved: Cuban-Americans, local Cubans, and the U.S. government. My analyses from reference articles, an interview, and a documentary helped me construct my own understanding of the revolution. Similarly, I have gathered information on the Khmer Rouge Movement in Cambodian from reading newspapers published during the revolution, statistical reports on the development of the Cambodian economy, examining case studies of the Cambodian education system, and viewing the last interview with Pol Pot. Continue reading
As promised in my last post, this week’s blog begins exploring the second unit: Communism in Cambodia. My interest in Cambodia’s Communist regime was sparked by my trip to Cambodia in 6th grade. Having Angkor Wat as the sole impression of the country before traveling, I was absorbed in learning more about Cambodian history during the visit. Our tour guide’s horrific accounts of the Khmer Rouge first introduced me to its violent communist era, and made me question historical backgrounds inducing such an appalling chapter in Cambodian history. In this unit of my independent, I will trace the origins of Cambodian Communism and examine the contexts that shaped the Khmer Rouge’s radicalized interpretation of Communist ideologies. Continue reading
Robert F Kennedy was born into a wealthy family in 1925. Although they were in the Great Depression, his family never faced poverty like many Americans around them. The reason behind how exactly they got their fortune is very interesting. It would later be a surprising turn of events that Kennedy would focus on the country’s poverty problem when it had never affected him personally. Although the country was struggling financially, WWII was a major success for the economy. Before, there was concern that the economy would not get better after its plummet in 1929. Similar to Lyndon Johnson’s accomplishments being blinded by the Vietnam War, Herbert Hoover’s legacy as a president was overshadowed by the Great Depression. Poverty rates decreased by 21% between 1935 and 1950. It would decrease by another 6% from 1950 to 1960. Because of the prosperity, not much attention was paid to the country’s poverty. Although poverty had been significantly reduced over the 25 years, much of it was disproportionately racialized. There was a direct correlation between race and wealth. More black families were below the poverty line than white families. However, when it came to racial issues, many politicians did not think much about them, instead deciding to focus on foreign relations. Kennedy was one them, especially during the 1950s. Continue reading
Medicine in the Renaissance Era
My initial plan for the first semester was to finish studying the timeline of medical history– from the simple but ingenious tools used by the Neanderthals to the highly advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies used in modern-day hospitals. However, as I moved along the timeline, I found that there are many aspects intertwined with the progress of medicine: religion, culture, politics and many more. It is such a rich field of study that I am only able to reach the Renaissance period by the end of the semester. In this blog post, I will be looking at medicine during the Renaissance era in Europe, the Middle East and China, and touch upon medicine during the Early Modern Age. Next semester, I will pick up from here and move forward. Continue reading
As I mentioned in my last blog, I looked at how Lyndon Johnson planned to alleviate poverty and the related racial discrimination through his programs. Soon into his presidency, he created the Office of Economic Opportunity and under it, the Economic Opportunity Act was created in 1964 and contained different government funded programs to combat domestic poverty. Although he had other initiatives such as Head Start, and the Job Corps, I wanted to look more into the economic side of his thinking.
Lyndon Johnson giving his State of the Union address; 1964
Economic Opportunity Act:
The Economic Opportunity Act was passed in 1964 and would pave the way for the rest of the decade. Funding was given to each state with no specific regulations about how they were to spend their money which was to attack the root of the problem, local poverty. Different areas had differing economic needs, for example inner cities would need more funding than suburban areas. The equitable funding would allow for customized programs based on the needs of the area. This would allow the federal government to focus on the widely spread segregation in the US. Poverty was decreased during this time.
The Act gave birth to almost a dozen programs to help with poverty. A focus was on education and volunteer programs. Johnson had emphasized that education was at the core of aiding poverty, so the Economic Opportunity Act initiated programs to provide further education in low income neighborhoods, and even a program which would educate adults whose illiteracy hindered their ability to find jobs.
Did it work?
There are very differing opinions on whether the Economic Opportunity Act, or even the War on Poverty worked. Although billions of dollars were put into the EOA, there was no significant change in poverty. On the other side, some of the programs it created would have lasting effects on the US and are still in progress today. It is true that poverty has declined since 1964, and some of that can be attributed to Johnson. One of the reasons the War on Poverty does not have a long lasting legacy is because of the Vietnam War. With the US involving itself into the War despite much criticism, many people focused on the negatives of what Johnson was doing, instead of his anti-poverty initiatives. His legacy has been the Vietnam War, as opposed to what he did to aid the US.
Demonstration of Learning Starting Point:
As of a few weeks ago, I have a plan for my Demonstration of Learning. I am going to create a small exhibit in the school library using the ends of the bookshelves to have posters displaying the research I have accumulated over this semester. I am in the process of figuring out what information I will put on each poster and the aesthetics of it. I will wait until I have all the pieces I need for the “pre-RFK” Lyndon Johnson era, and then move to Kennedy’s ideology, before I can fully map out the plan. I will be working closely with the librarians to figure out what it will look like, and will hopefully have another update soon.
Bailey, Martha J., and Duquette, Nicolas J. “How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity.” The Journal of Economic History, vol. 74, no. 2, 2014, pp.351-388. ProQuest, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1524968046?accountid=5746, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022050714000291.
Davies, Gareth. “War on Dependency: Liberal Individualism and the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.” Journal of American Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, 1992, pp. 205–231. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27555646.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. “The Divided Legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson.” The Atlantic, 7 Sept. 2018, http://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/the-complicated-legacy-of-lyndon-johnson/569068/. Accessed 18 Nov. 2018.
Muncy, Robyn. “Great Society.” American Governance, edited by Stephen Schechter, et al., vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2016, pp. 362-366. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3629100311/GVRL?u=west66701&sid=GVRL&xid=1913d588. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
Ushistory.org. “Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society.'” US History, 2018, http://www.ushistory.org/us/56e.asp. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
Uncredited. LBJ State Of The Union. Edited by XMB, Dec. 2012. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&db=apg&AN=595487ff19d4485cac3740000c33cf6c&site=ehost-live.
Studying China’s one-child policy has long been my aspiration because of its unparalleled uniqueness to other population control policies. As a country with the world’s second-biggest economy and the largest population than any other nations existed in human history, China’s domestic affairs have tremendous effects also on international affairs (“GDP, current”). Therefore, understanding China’s demographic trend, as well as the reason behind the country’s recent decision to end the policy in 2015, not only enriches my learning of global demography but also educates me as a citizen of the international community.
Continuing from my last blog post on medicine during the High Middle Ages, this blog post still follows the similar format, covering medicine during the Late Middle Ages in Europe, the Middle East and China. While doing my research, I was surprised by the extent of which Islamic Medicine influenced Western medicine. Therefore, a significant portion of this blog post is about medicine in the Middle East. Continue reading
Over the past week, I successfully incorporated an interview and a documentary, Cubamerican, into my analysis of the Cuban Revolution’s impact on Cuban Americans. Inspired by my last post examining the history of Cuban immigrants to the U.S. and the diverse social and political affiliations within Cuban American communities, I decided to interview T. Maria, who came to the U.S. from Cuba with her family at the age of two, and gain second-hand understanding of Cuban refugees’ experience during the Revolution. Cubamerican also offered me insights into specific Cuban Americans’ interpretations of their identity as an emigrant in the U.S. This post will be less informational than previous ones, centering on my reflections while serving as a conclusion to the unit on Cuba. Continue reading
To capture a firm understanding of the effects of Cuba’s Revolution on Cuban Americans, I decided to first explore the history of Cuban migration to the U.S. and the dynamics within Cuban American communities established in the U.S.. In the last three weeks, I focused my research on specific historical conditions that induced waves of Cubans to leave their country, the social makeup of the Cuban population involved in different migration movements, and potential factors that caused divisions within Cuban American communities. This blog post and the following one will be devoted to sharing my interpretation of the Cuban Revolution and Castro’s Communist rule through the lens of Cuban Americans. Continue reading
Since my last blog post, I have decided to take my independent in a different direction. Two weeks ago, I sat down and watched a documentary on Robert F Kennedy’s life, which is what my last post was summarizing. I watched it for myself to understand who he was so I could later dive into his assassination and the effects of it. While watching it, I found the politics around him intriguing. He grew up in what I would call a comfortable upper middle class family, and throughout his political career, he became increasingly involved in the War on Poverty, and in America’s racial relations, something I would not have expected. While watching the documentary, I realized I wanted to know more, so with some help, I have decided to take my research in a different direction. Continue reading