Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jimmy Carter Malaise Speech

In 1979, Jimmy Carter gave what came to be called his Crisis of Confidence speech (or, his Malaise Speech).  Seems like Carter is speaking from his heart here: this is what he really thinks and feels.

That does this speech tell you about America in 1979?  What problems is the country facing?  Does Carter seem to have a clear solution to those problems?  If so, what is it?

This speech Carter gave Carter a slight boost in his poll numbers in 1979, but, in the 1980 presidential debates Ronald Reagan turned the themes of the speech to his advantage.  Listen to some of Reagan's debate comments.  What do you see in Reagan's presentation that helps explain his ability to convince Americans to move in a different direction than Carter advocated? 

Reagan 1984 Ads, Clinton 1992 Ads

Ronald Reagan's Morning in America ad was probably one of the key factors in earning him his huge election victory in 1984.  Basic theme: long live the conservative revolution!

Eight years later,  Bill Clinton ran campaign ads calling for an end to the Reagan Revolution. These ads probably helped Clinton defeat George H.W. Bush (Bush 41), a man who most Democrats thought was unbeatable.

If you had been a voter in  1984 or 1992, would these ads have influenced your vote?  Why, or why not?  In what way are these ads similar?  What's the major difference?

McGovern vs. Nixon

A couple of commercials from the 1972 Nixon vs. McGovern campaign.  Please take a look at both.  Which do you think is more effective? Why?

Humphrey vs. Wallace vs. Kennedy vs. Nixon

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, young people today can watch the awful television commercials of the 50's, 60's, and 70's--including the campaign commercials. Lucky you! Please take a look at a one or two of the 1968 presidential campaign commercials I link here:
What was the main theme of the commercial/commercials you watched? What issues were the candidates using to try to sway voters? Did the commercial/commercials seem to you at all likely to be effective?

The Watts Riots

The advent of television had a major affect on the way Americans viewed their nation and the political issues confronting America. Please watch this video clip of the 1965 Watts riots. What would your own reaction have been after seeing clips like this on the evening news? Remember that the riots broke out just days after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a supplement to the earlier Civil Rights Act of 1964. Do you think this is just a coincidence, or do you see a possible connection?

Duck and Cover

This Duck and Cover video will give you a great feel for what is was like to grow up during the Cold War era with its constant worries about impending nuclear war.

What do you think of the video here?  Would you have favored showing this and similar videos to students? 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Eugenics Movement (extra credit)

If you want to improve a country, perhaps one way would be to improve the people who live in that country. Some among the "progressives" hit on a novel way to bring about such improvement: breed better people. The attempt to improve the genetic heritage of America (and to hasten the evolution of the species) led to what's called the eugenics movement. Please read through the Wikipedia summary of the eugenics movement. What do you see here that suggests that there is a dark side to the progressive movement?