Presentation on theme: "What is America? Poli 110J 06 With malice toward none, with charity for all."— Presentation transcript:
What is America? Poli 110J 06 With malice toward none, with charity for all
Midterms Yay! HARD COPY due at the START of class, Tuesday, Oct pages Prompts posted at course website: adamgomez.wordpress.com/teaching/110JFA 2010
Midterms Your paper must have: A thesis statement One to three sentences, in the first paragraph Clearer is better. Thesis should be argumentative: – In this paper I will discuss the causes of the Civil War. -- NOT a thesis statement. – Slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War. -- Acceptable. – The primary cause of the Civil War was slavery, which produced economic, political, and moral conflicts between North and South that ultimately could not be resolved by peaceful means. -- Better.
Midterm Page numbers 5 page minimum, less will count against grade Paragraphs. – Seriously, you have to have paragraphs. Also, no swearing or text abbreviations. – For heavens sake, people. Citations – Ok to cite lecture. Refer to it by lecture number (for example, lecture #6 for today) – MUST cite & quote the texts appropriate to your chosen prompt. Page numbers, sections, articles, issue numbers, etc.
Midterms Standard margins, font size, line spacing, etc. – We were undergraduates once, we know about Courier New. While grammar is not a major element in your grades, it does matter. – If your grader does not understand what youre saying, your grader does not understand what youre saying. Papers MUST be submitted to turnitin.com – Class ID: – Enrollment password: PowerUSA
Midterms Your graders: – Aaron Cotkin – Andrew Bruck Extra office hours this week TBA on website
1. America is a community of belief, and the shared political beliefs of Americans are the foundation of their political identity. Support or refute this statement, with reference to three authors in the class so far, one of whom must be Reinhold Niebuhr.
2. It has been argued in this course that the definition of the political community is in itself an act of power. Agree, disagree, or modify this argument with reference to three authors from the course so far.
3. On page 171 of The Irony of American History, Reinhold Niebuhr describes Lincoln as an almost perfect model of an American leader. To what extent does Lincolns view of American history fit Niebuhrs description of that history as ironic?
Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863, after Lees invasion of the North 95,000 Union soldiers, 75,000 Confederate – 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate casualties Myth of Lees invincibility broken, major turning point in the war – Picketts Charge
Gettysburg Address Main Themes: – America is a nation founded in and directed toward equality – Americans can succeed or fail in this charge – The Union is the definitive test case for democracy – Redemptive potential of the current crisis – Central metaphors of birth, death, and rebirth – Giving the war meaning by embedding it w/in greater narrative
Gettysburg Address Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. – Biblical method of dating – Language of conception & birth – Equality the central ideal of American politics, it is the telos. – Defining the American community
Gettysburg Address Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. – The war is an ordeal, a test – The case of the US is determinative. Can democratic republican governments endure w/o succumbing to anarchy or tyranny?
Gettysburg Address They came to dedicate the cemetery, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live – Gave their lives – Died so the nation might live – Martyrs
Gettysburg Address It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us---that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…
Gettysburg Address The living must show greater devotion even than the dead The great task is not the war, but the national pursuit of equality.
---that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain---that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom- --and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Gettysburg Address By the blood of martyrs, the US will be born anew, purified of its gravest sin. But we can fail, we must show necessary resolve. Under God – Religious authorization of refounded Republic, but also chastened by knowledge of its higher accountability
Gettysburg Address All of the people, the polity includes all Americans regardless of whites. The community is defined by its belief in equality, not in particular origins or racial classes
Gettysburg Address perish from the earth – Jeremiah 10 – Promise of divine retribution – The fallibility of human works
Second Inaugural Powerlessness of human effort Spiritual equality political humility, forgiveness Spiritual unity of the US Critical position on self, politics, the war
Second Inaugural 4 years before, there was cause for extented remark. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the nation, little that is new could be presented. – The binding power of history over the present
Second Inaugural The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. – The present is uncertain, the future utterly opaque The limits on human action
Second Inaugural On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded itall sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without warseeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
Second Inaugural All or both said four times: emphasis on fundamental national unity Passive voice: While the inaugural address was being delivered War emphasized, it is inevitable: war said 7 times (9 if you count it)
And the war came. – abolitionist Wendell Phillips, January 8, 1852: Revolutions are not made; they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. It comes out of the past. Its foundations are laid far back. – But for Lincoln there is nothing natural here. It comes like lightning out of the sky.
Second Inaugural All knew that this [slave] interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. – Slavery the wars cause – South more responsible
Second Inaugural But the plans of all have failed: Neither party expected for the war the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
Second Inaugural Neither/neither/each: the sections are joined in their failure Lincoln includes himself in this failure: his plans have had results that he never predicted The results are fundamental, astounding. The US has been transformed. – Though he led, he was not in control any more than anyone else
Second Inaugural Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare ask a just Gods assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other mens faces, but let us judge not that we not be judged
Second Inaugural Shift to the present, here and now Again, emphasis on unity Genesis 3:23 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. – The curse of God for disobedience – Slaveowners disobey Gods will
Second Inaugural Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged – From Sermon on the Mount – Suggests both the mercy and judgment of God – While the South bears more responsibility, the North is not without flaw. Universality of sin means that a people should always first criticize themselves. Equality and forgiveness
Second Inaugural The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. God the major actor in the drama of the war Both sides could not win Neither side has truly gotten what it wanted Gods will over all history, distinct from human plans and desires – Humans rendered equal in this way
Second Inaugural Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Matt. 18:7 Gods will controls history, nothing can go against the will of God. Yet individuals remain responsible for their sins
Second Inaugural If we shall suppose that American Slavery is once of those offences which, in the Providence of God, must needs come, but which having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?
Second Inaugural American Slavery was – An offence to God – Allowed by God – Willed by God to end now North and South EQUALLY guilty before God, though not before humans – Divine justice vs. human justice – Perfection a dichotomous variable
Second Inaugural Fondly do we hopefervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. – Humans can do nothing to alter Gods will. They must humble themselves and pray that Gods mercy is greater than his justice – Distilling moral & religious meaning from the bewildering events and destruction of the War
Second Inaugural Shared moral community of Americans – Both guilty in their shared failure to uphold equality – Both powerless to resist the will of God Transcendence of God – Not some tribal deity – His justice and purposes are very much different from those of humans.
Second Inaugural Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmans two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still must it be said the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.
Second Inaugural The US is guilty enough to deserve destruction – Slavery a mortal transgression against American obligation to equality – Affirms the perfection of divine justice over human claims to justice – Though the justice of God is inscrutable, it is nonetheless perfectly just three thousand years ago: these ideas predate the US, & may outlast them by as much Just as the war is not the product of human agency, neither will be its end
Second Inaugural The judgments of the Lord – Psalm 19 – Lincoln must somehow act ethically within a context beyond his comprehension with outcomes that are impossible to firmly predict and be judged by the inscrutable mind of God according to standards that he cannot fully understand humility as political good
Second Inaugural With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in – Forgiveness motivated by recognition of moral equality – Act firmly in the right, as God gives us to see it Moral conviction & moral humility
Second Inaugural to bind up the nations wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphanto do all which may achieve a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. – Atonement between North & South – Atonement between America & its God – Political humility: dont strive for utopia, strive for a better world – Equality demonstrated in a commitment to alleviated suffering
Second Inaugural Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. – If God is always on your side, is he really there?
Second Inaugural It is a truth which I thought needed to be told; and as whatever there is of humiliation there is in it, falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it. – Why does the humiliation fall most directly on him?
Long-term outcomes of the Civil War Federal government decisively rendered superior to state governments Blacks being citizens, racial equality becomes civil rights issue Necessities of war lead to dramatic expansion, bureaucracratization of federal govt Push to homogenize law across states Expanded power of corporations, closer ties to government