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Senate “doves” included George McGovern (D-South Dakota), Frank Church (D-Idaho), Eugene McCarthy (D-Minnesota), John Sherman Cooper (R-Kentucky), Mark Hatfield (R-Oregon), Clifford Case (R-New Jersey), Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin), Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), Edmund Muskie (D-Maine), Alan Cranston (D-California), Al Gore Sr. (D-Tennessee), Joseph Clark (D-Pennsylvania), Harold Hughes (D-Iowa), Charles Goodell (R-New York), and Stephen Young (D-Ohio), with moderate support from Mike Mansfield (D-Montana), J. William Fulbright (D-Arkansas), and George Aiken (R-Vermont). The two foremost critics of the war in earlier years, Wayne Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska), were defeated in the November 1968 Congressional elections. Goodell was defeated in 1970.
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Howard Jones, Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations from 1897 (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001, p. 292. An earlier version of the “domino theory” was written into National Security Council memorandum 64, adopted February 27, 1950, which stated that “the threat of Communist aggression against Indochina is only one phase of anticipated communist plans to seize all of Southeast Asia.”
Thomas D. Snyder, ed., National Center for Education Statistics, “120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait,” January 1993, pp. 83-84, ; Joseph A. Fry, “Unpopular Messengers: Student Opposition to the Vietnam War,” in David L. Anderson and John Ernst, The War That Never Ends: New Perspectives on the Vietnam War (Lexington: Univ. of Kentucky Press, 2007), p. 221; and Harris and Gallup polls, October and November 1969, cited in DeBenedetti, An American Ordeal, p. 264.
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Most of us grew up thinking that the United States was a strong but humble nation, that involved itself in world affairs only reluctantly, that respected the integrity of other nations and other systems, and that engaged in wars only as a last resort…. But in recent years … the development of a more aggressive, activist foreign policy have done much to force many of us to rethink attitudes that were deep and basic sentiments about our country. The incredible war in Vietnam has provided the razor, the terrifying sharp cutting edge that has finally severed the last vestige of illusion that morality and democracy are the guiding principles of American foreign policy … The further we explore the reality of what this country is doing and planning in Vietnam the more we are driven toward the conclusion of Senator Morse that the United States may well be the greatest threat to peace in the world today. That is a terrible and bitter insight for people who grew up as we did – and our revulsion at that insight, our refusal to accept it as inevitable or necessary, is one of the reasons that so many people have come here today.
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Demonstrations, despite difficulties, were of great value to the antiwar movement. They fostered camaraderie, stimulated learning, encouraged activism, made a public statement, and gave people a sense of being part of something important and larger than themselves. They also fostered hope that the wheels of democracy would turn in favor of the protesters, that citizen advocacy would compel a recalcitrant Congress to put an end to the war. That hope was the source of much frustration as neither protest in the streets nor lobbying on Capitol Hill seemed to affect the administration’s relentless escalation of the war for three years running.
Viet Minh soldiers, 1954 (Agence France Presse)
The first campus teach-in on Vietnam took place at the University of Michigan on March 24-25, 1965, the same month that U.S. troops landed in Danang. Over 3,000 people showed up on the Ann Arbor campus for lectures and discussions that ran through the night. The purpose, as one flyer put it, was to focus attention “on this war, its consequences, and ways to stop it.” The educational venue quickly spread to other campuses. Within one week, thirty-five more had been held; and by the end of the year, 120 had taken place. Some were organized locally, others by the Universities Committee on Problems of War and Peace, a three-year old group based at Wayne State University. For Doug Dowd, a Cornell University professor, lifelong leftist, and activist organizer, the teach-ins were an exhilarating experience. He had gone through the Red Scare period when “you couldn’t get anybody to say anything about the Korean War…. Everybody was scared.” The teach-ins aimed to both educate people on the issues and inspire greater confidence in questioning political authorities and foreign policy experts.
Saigon, April 30, 1975 (Agence France Presse)
In the most serious incident, 20 to 30 demonstrators slipped through lines of U.S. marshals and military policeman and into a small vestibule inside the office of the Pentagon’s Mall entrance. Once inside they encountered heavily armed troops. The troops, carrying rifles with sheathed bayonets, used gun butts to force some outside and carried others out bodily. Blood was spotted on the floor. Outside, the big crowd surged forward and began throwing what they had at hand – picket signs, magazines, leaflets, sticks and at least one rock which crashed through a Pentagon press room window…. Throughout the afternoon there were sporadic encounters between small groups and the troops. Several demonstrators were clubbed when they pressed too close to troop lines or refused to move out of forbidden sectors.