Thursday, May 9, 2013

Marty McFly meets Abraham Lincoln

Doc Brown and Marty McFly, Back to the Future. Photo from The Huffington Post.
Over the course of the semester, we've seen the United States go from a nation recovering from a bloody Civil War to an imposing superpower embroiled in a Cold War with the potential to destroy all nations and all people, to an empire with new enemies at home and abroad. Imagine you closed your eyes one day in 1865 and opened them again in 1990 (or vice versa). What is different about the world now around you? What is the same?

Monday, May 6, 2013

FDR and Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan became a conservative icon and was associated with the reduction of many federal social-welfare programs which originated with the New Deal. However, Reagan was an ardent supporter of FDR and the New Deal. Despite his anti-union role in the PATCO strike in 1981, he was an active member of the Screen Actors' Guild (a union representing film actors) and served as its president for six years. Reagan officially switched his party affiliation in 1952, and became a Republican governor of California in 1967 before his election as US President in 1980.

Read and/or watch both FDR's first inaugural address from March 4, 1933 and Reagan's first inaugural address from January 21, 1981. Consider the very different historical contexts of both speeches. What similarities and/or differences are there between the speeches?