By Beth Darrow<br />America Compared Articles<br />
Chapter 6: “Why is there no socialism in the U.S.?”<br />Chapter 14: “The meanings of American Jazz in France”<br />Chapter 16: “Roosevelt and Hitler”<br />Chapter 19: “The American and Soviet Cold War Empires”<br />Chapter 23: “Imperial Denial”<br />Table of ContentsArticles chosen from America Compared<br />
The founders of communism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, could not decide whether the United States was ahead of or behind other capitalist societies on the path to socialism.<br />The combination of free land on the frontier and progressive social legislation rendered socialism irrelevant to American workers.<br />American Exceptionalism was the idea that American history has been exempt from the ills that plague other countries.<br />Ch. 6 by Aristide A. Zolberg<br />
Aristide A. Zolberg, the author of this article, reminds us that the American labor movement was more militant and had more socialist presence than many people realize.<br />Conservative trade unionism of the American Federation of Labor became the dominant thrust of American labor activism. <br />Immigrants learned quickly that to be an American worker was to be a trade unionist and a Democrat or Republican, not a Socialist.<br />Ch. 6 continued<br />
Jazz developed in the late nineteenth century out of a long tradition of African American musical expression that included work songs, marches, dance music, and spirituals.<br />Spontaneous, emotional, and improvisational, jazz blended African harmonic and rhythmic elements with American themes.<br />Only when white orchestras adapted or imitated it in the late 1930s did jazz become popular with America’s mass public.<br />Ch. 14 by Jeffrey H. Jackson<br />
Especially in Paris, where crowds flocked to cabarets and clubs in the bohemian districts of Montmartre and Montparnasse to drink, dance, and revel in the wild and exotic sounds, jazz took over the music scene.<br />Europeans experienced a “revolution in manners and morals” in the 1920s.<br />The American “Roaring Twenties” were paralleled by the “Crazy Years” in France, and the two were described in strikingly similar language.<br />This chapter was especially interesting to me, because I saw a famous jazz pianist play a few months ago. His name is Brad Meldau and he is American, but his jazz career started in France!<br />Ch. 14 continued<br />
Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler had personalities and programs that were unique to themselves and influential on their countries. <br />Both leaders came to power at almost precisely the same time, following unpopular predecessors.<br />Because of the Great Depression, America was very hopeful to have a president like Roosevelt. They needed someone that they could depend on and he was that man.<br />Because of how Germany was demolished after World War I, the Germans needed to see a light in their darkness. Hitler fulfilled that need. <br />Ch. 16 by John A. Garraty<br />
Hitler was an inspiring man through his speeches. He was very convincing to many people.<br />New Deal and Nazi economic policies were very similar says Garraty.<br />From government work programs to youth camps, both combined deficit spending on modern improvements with an old-fashioned idealization of rural life. <br />Both leaders approved of government cooperation between business and labor.<br />Ch. 16 continued<br />
The end of the Cold War after nearly a half-century of excruciating tension eased Americans’ fear of perishing from an atomic bomb.<br />The opening of the Kremlin archives began to reveal the secret motives of Soviet policymakers, while declassification of American records provided new information about matters of nuclear policy.<br />Gaddis acknowledges the revisionist insight that American foreign policy was rooted domestically in the expansionist ambitions of corporate capitalism.<br />Ch. 19 by John Lewis Gaddis<br />
Beginning with the Soviet Union, he shows how dictator Joseph Stalin updated old-fashioned Russian imperialism by fusing it with Marxist ideology, so that the expansion of Russian territory and power was provided the cover of righteous anticolonialism.<br />At first, American leaders preferred a “multilateral” approach to international affairs in which the United Nations, the World Bank, and similar institutions would ensure world peace and prosperity.<br />Gaddis talks about the Marshall plan and explains that it was an effort for the United States to allign itself with foreign countries in order to maintain the Soviet Union.<br />Ch. 19 continued<br />
Ferguson’s essay examines if the United States, as other imperial powers before it, was on the decline.<br />The United States’ share of world production has begun to fall.<br />Ferguson writes that Clinton committed the United States to a multilateral strategy of pursuing international alliances with partners and negotiating global protocols on the environment, chemical weapons, and nuclear testing.<br />He writes about how the United States forced other nations to join its “War on Terror”.<br />Ch.23 by Niall Ferguson<br />
America’s aggressive unilateral turn opened a public debate over the prospect and the morality of an American empire. <br />The United States had moved unmistakably toward a new version of empire not built on colonies and conquest but based on enforcing order in the world, promoting American values and interests, and exempting itself from international rules.<br />Ch. 23 continued<br />
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