Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issuies in 20th Century American History / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


This debate-style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in global issues through readings that reflect a variety of viewpoints. Each issue is framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. The Taking Sides readers feature annotated listings of selected World Wide Web sites. Taking Sides is supported by our student website at www.dushkin.com/online/.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073111629
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 3/25/2005
  • Series: Taking Sides Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

PART 1. The Response to Industrialism and America’s Emergence as a World Power, 1900-1919 ISSUE 1. Did the Progressives Fail? YES: Richard M. Abrams, from “The Failure of Progressivism,” in Richard Abrams and Lawrence Levine, eds., The Shaping of the Twentieth Century, 2nd ed. (Little, Brown, 1971) NO: Arthur S. Link and Richard L. McCormick, from Progressivism (Harlan Davidson, 1983)

Professor of history Richard Abrams maintains that progressivism was a failure because it tried to impose a uniform set of values upon a culturally diverse people and never seriously confronted the inequalities that still exist in American society. Professors of history Arthur S. Link and Richard L. McCormick argue that the Progressives were a diverse group of reformers who confronted and ameliorated the worst abuses that emerged in urban-industrial America during the early 1900s.
ISSUE 2. Did Booker T. Washington’s Philosophy and Actions Betray the Interests of African Americans? YES: W.E.B. Du Bois, from The Souls of Black Folk (1903, reprint, Fawcett Publications, 1961) NO: Louis R. Harlan, from “Booker T. Washington and the Politics of Accommodation,” in John Hope Franklin and August Meier, eds., Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century (University of Illinois Press, 1982)
W.E.B. Du Bois, a founding member of the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People, argues that Booker T. Washington failed to articulate the legitimate demands of African Americans for full civil and political rights. Professor of history Louis R. Harlan portrays Washington as a political realist whose policies and actions were designed to benefit black society as a whole.
ISSUE 3. Was Early Twentieth-Century American Foreign Policy in the Caribbean Basin Dominated by Economic Concerns? YES: Walter LaFeber, from Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (W.W. Norton, 1983) NO: David Healy, from Drive to Hegemony: The United States in the Caribbean, 1898-1917 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988)
Professor of history Walter LaFeber argues that the United States developed a foreign policy that deliberately made the Caribbean nations its economic dependents from the early nineteenth century on. Professor of history David Healy maintains that the two basic goals of American foreign policy in the Caribbean were to provide security against the German threat and to develop the economies of the Latin American nations, whose peoples were considered to be racially inferior.
ISSUE 4. Was Woodrow Wilson a Naive Idealist? YES: Henry Kissinger, from Diplomacy (Simon & Schuster, 1994) NO: William G. Carleton, from “A New Look at Woodrow Wilson,” The Virginia Quarterly Review (Autumn 1962)
Former national security adviser and political scholar Henry Kissinger characterizes President Woodrow Wilson as a high-minded idealist whose views have made it difficult for later presidents to develop a logical foreign policy based on national self-interest. William G. Carleton, who was a professor emeritus of history and political science, believed that Woodrow Wilson understood better than his nationalistic opponents the new international role that America would play in world affairs.
PART 2. From Prosperity Through the Great Depression and World War II, 1919-1945 ISSUE 5. Was the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s an Extremist Movement? YES: David H. Bennett, from The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History (University of North Carolina Press, 1988) NO: Stanley Coben, from Rebellion Against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920s America (Oxford University Press, 1991)
Professor of history David H. Bennett argues that the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s was supported mainly by fundamentalist Protestants who were opposed to the changing values associated with the Catholic and Jewish immigrants. Professor of history Stanley Coben believes that local Klansmen were solid, middle-class citizens who were concerned about the decline in moral standards in their communities.
ISSUE 6. Did the New Deal Prolong the Great Depression? YES: Gary Dean Best, from Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938 (Praeger, 1990) NO: Roger Biles, from A New Deal for the American People (Northern Illinois University Press, 1991)
Professor of history Gary Dean Best argues that Roosevelt established an antibusiness environment with the creation of the New Deal regulatory programs, which retarded the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression until World War II. Professor of history Riger Biles contends that, in spite of its minimal reforms and non-revolutionary programs, the New Deal created a limited welfare state that implemented economic stabilizers to avert another depression.
ISSUE 7. Did President Roosevelt Deliberately Withhold Information About the Attack on Pearl Harbor from the American Commanders? YES: Robert A. Theobald, from The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor: The Washington Contribution to the Japanese Attack (Devin-Adair, 1954) NO: Roberta Wohlstetter, from Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford University Press, 1967)
Retired Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald argues that President Franklin D. Roosevelt deliberately withheld information from the commanders at Pearl Harbor in order to encourage the Japanese to make a surprise attack on the weak U.S. Pacific Fleet. Historian Roberta Wohlstetter contends that even though naval intelligence broke the Japanese code, conflicting signals and the lack of a central agency coordinating U.S. intelligence information made it impossible to predict the Pearl Harbor attack.
PART 3. American High, 1945-1963 ISSUE 8. Was the United States Responsible for the Cold War? YES: Thomas G. Paterson, from Meeting the Communist Threat: Truman to Reagan (Oxford University Press, 1988) NO: John Lewis Gaddis, from Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States: An Interpretative History, 2nd ed. (McGraw-Hill, 1990)
Professor of history Thomas G. Paterson argues that the Truman administration exaggerated the Soviet threat after World War II because the United States had expansionist political and economic global needs. Professor of history John Lewis Gaddis argues that the power vacuum that existed in Europe at the end of World War II exaggerated and made almost inevitable a clash between the democratic, capitalist United States and the totalitarian, communist USSR.
ISSUE 9. Did Communism Threaten America’s Internal Security After World War II? YES: John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, from Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (Yale University Press, 1999) NO: Richard M. Fried, from Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (Oxford University Press, 1990)
History professors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr argue that army code-breakers during World War II’s "Venona Project" uncovered a disturbing number of high-ranking U.S. government officials who seriously damaged American interests by passing sensitive information to the Soviet Union. Professor of history Richard M. Fried argues that the early 1950s were a "nightmare in red" during which American citizens had their First and Fifth Amendment rights suspended when a host of national and state investigating committees searched for Communists in government agencies, Hollywood, labor unions, foundations, universities, public schools, and even public libraries.
ISSUE 10. Did Lee Harvey Oswald Kill President Kennedy by Himself? YES: President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, from The Warren Report: Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (September 24, 1964) NO: Michael L. Kurtz, from Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historian’s Perspective, 2nd ed. (University of Tennessee Press, 1993)
The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy argues that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of President Kennedy and that he was not part of any organized conspiracy, domestic or foreign. Professor of history Michael L. Kurtz argues that the Warren Commission ignored evidence of Oswald’s connections with organized criminals and with pro-Castro and anti-Castro supporters, as well as forensic evidence that points to multiple assassins.
PART 4. From Liberation Through Watergate, 1963-1974 ISSUE 11. Was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Leadership Essential to the Success of the Civil Rights Revolution? YES: Adam Fairclough, from “Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Quest for Nonviolent Social Change,” Phylon (Spring 1986) NO: Clayborne Carson, from “Martin Luther King, Jr.: Charismatic Leadership in a Mass Struggle,” Journal of American History (September 1987)
Professor of history Adam Fairclough argues that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a pragmatic reformer who organized nonviolent direct-action protests in strategically targeted local communities, which provoked violence from his opponents, gaining publicity and sympathy for the civil rights movement. Professor of history Clayborne Carson concludes that the civil rights struggle would have followed a similar course of development even if King had never lived because its successes depended upon mass activism, not the actions of a single leader.
ISSUE 12. Was America’s Escalation of the War in Vietnam Inevitable? YES: Brian VanDeMark, from Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (Oxford University Press, 1991) NO: H.R. McMaster, from Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam (HarperCollins, 1997)
Professor of history Brian VanDeMark argues that President Lyndon Johnson failed to question the viability of increasing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War because he was a prisoner of America’s global containment policy. H.R. McMaster, an active-duty army tanker, maintains that the Vietnam disaster was not inevitable but a uniquely human failure whose responsibility was shared by President Johnson and his principal advisers.
ISSUE 13. Has the Women’s Liberation Movement Been Harmful to American Women? YES: F. Carolyn Graglia, from Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism (Spence, 1998) NO: Sara M. Evans, from “American Women in the Twentieth Century,” in Harvard Sitkoff, ed., Perspectives on Modern America: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2001)
Writer and lecturer F. Carolyn Graglia argues that women should stay at home and practice values of "true motherhood" because contemporary feminists have discredited marriage, devalued traditional homemaking, and encouraged sexual promiscuity. According to Professor Sara M. Evans, despite class, racial, religious, ethnic and regional differences, women in America experienced major transformations in their private and public lives in the twentieth century.
ISSUE 14. Was Richard Nixon America’s Last Liberal President? YES: Joan Hoff-Wilson, from “Richard M. Nixon: The Corporate Presidency,” in Fred I. Greenstein, ed., Leadership in the Modern Presidency (Harvard University Press, 1988) NO: Bruce J. Schulman, from The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2001)
According to professor of history Joan Hoff-Wilson, the Nixon presidency reorganized the executive branch and portions of the federal bureaucracy and implemented domestic reforms in civil rights, welfare, and economic planning, despite its limited foreign policy successes and the Watergate scandal. According to Professor Bruce J. Schulman, Richard Nixon was the first conservative president of the post–World War II era who undermined the Great Society legislative program of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and built a new Republican majority coalition of white, northern, blue-collar workers, and southern and sunbelt conservatives.
PART 5. Postindustrial America and the End of the Cold War, 1974-2005 ISSUE 15. Did President Reagan Win the Cold War? YES: John Lewis Gaddis, from The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations, Provocations (Oxford University Press, 1992) NO: Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, from “Who Won the Cold War?” Foreign Policy (Summer 1992)
Professor of history John Lewis Gaddis argues that President Reagan combined a policy of militancy and operational pragmatism to bring about the most signigicant improvement in Soviet-American relations since the end of World War II. Professors of political science Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry contend that the Cold War ended only when Soviet President Gorbachev accepted Western liberal values and the need for global cooperation.
ISSUE 16. Should America Remain a Nation of Immigrants? YES: Tamar Jacoby, from “Too Many Immigrants?” Commentary (April 2002) NO: Patrick J. Buchanan, from The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002)
Social scientist Tamar Jacoby maintains that the newest immigrants keep America’s economy strong because they work harder and take jobs that native-born Americans reject. Syndicated columnist Patrick J. Buchanan argues that America is no longer a nation because immigrants from Mexico and other Third World Latin American and Asian countries have turned America into a series of fragmented multicultural ethnic enclaves that lack a common culture.
ISSUE 17. Environmentalism: Is the Earth Out of Balance? YES: Otis L. Graham, Jr., from “Epilogue: A Look Ahead,” in Otis L. Graham, Jr., ed., Environmental Politics and Policy, 1960s-1990s (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000) NO: Bjorn Lomborg, from “Yes, It Looks Bad, But...,” “Running on Empty,” and “Why Kyoto Will Not Stop This,” The Guardian (August 15, 16, & 17, 2001)
Otis L. Graham, Jr., a professor emeritus of history, maintains that the status of the biophysical basis of our economies, such as "atmospheric pollution affecting global climate, habitat destruction, [and] species extinction," is negative and in some cases irreversible in the long run. Associate professor of statistics Bjorn Lomborg argues that the doomsday scenario for earth has been exaggerated and that, according to almost every measurable indicator, humankind’s lot has improved.
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