Friday, January 30, 2004

World History in the Secondary School Curriculum.

World History in the Secondary School Curriculum. Should world history be taught in American secondary schools? Yes!

From the site:

Since 1980 an increasing number of state and local education agencies have reintroduced a world history requirement into their secondary curricula. These mandates have raised important questions about the nature of such a course and its role in the curriculum. This ERIC Digest looks at some of the key questions in the debate over world history. It examines (1) the background for issues of curriculum reform in world history, (2) the choice between Western and "world" history, (3) the trend toward social history, (4) the viability of the traditional historical survey, and (5) the issue of whether world history should be taught over more than one year.

WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND TO CURRENT DEBATES ABOUT CURRICULUM REFORM IN WORLD HISTORY? In 1963, world history was the second most commonly taken high school social studies course. Although called "world" history, the course dealt almost exclusively with Western political history, typically a chronological survey of the actions and contributions of great men.

By the mid-1970s world history had fallen from favor. Most states and local school districts had dropped this decades-old requirement to give students greater academic freedom. Many schools offered alternative "world studies" courses, usually based on cultural geography.

The standard world history course also changed. By the end of the decade more attention was being given to social history and the non-Western world. As a result the threads of the old political survey were frayed. The course seemed to be a mishmash of conflicting goals and unrelated content.

The movement toward academic rigor in the early 1980s gave new impetus to world history. The easiest way for most schools to respond to outside pressure was to re-establish the world history requirement. Today states as diverse as Kentucky, New Jersey, Arkansas, and Oregon have some kind of tenth-grade world studies requirement. But the shape of that course differs greatly from one place to another. The once uniform image of "world history" no longer exists.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The First Persian Gulf War

The First Persian Gulf War This is a brief overview of the course of the First Persian Gulf War.

From the site:

On August 2nd, 1990 Iraqi military forces invaded and occupied the small Arab state of Kuwait. The order was given by Iraqi dictatorial president Saddam Hussein. His aim was apparently to take control Kuwait's oil reserves (despite its small size Kuwait is a huge oil producer; it has about 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves ). Iraq accused Kuwait, and also the United Arab Emirates, of breaking agreements that limit oil production in the Middle East. According to Saddam Hussein, this brought down world oil prices severely and caused financial loss of billions of dollars in Iraq's annual revenue.

Saddam Hussein had the nearly hopeless task of justifying the invasion. He plead the fact that Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman province of Basra, a city in the south of Iraq. However, the Ottoman province collapsed after World War I and today's Iraqi borders were not created until then. There was also a further and more obvious blunder in a bid to justify this illegal invasion. Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, had namely recognized Kuwaiti independence in 1963. Furthermore, Hussein claimed that Kuwait had illegally pumped oil from the Iraqi oil field of Rumaila and otherwise conspired to reduce Iraq's essential oil income.

By invading Kuwait, Iraq succeeded in surprising the entire world. The USA ended her policy of accommodating Saddam Hussein, which had existed since the Iran-Iraq war. Negative attitude toward Iraq was soon a worldwide phenomenon. The United Nations Security Council passed 12 resolutions condemning the invasion. The ultimate decision was to use military force if Iraq did not withdraw unconditionally by January 15, 1991. Then, when the deadline was set, it was time to start preparing for the worst-the war.

President George Bush confronted little difficulty in winning Americans' support for the potential war against Iraq. However, the government found it difficult to decide upon and state one overriding reason for going to war. Was it to oppose aggression or was it just to protect global oil supplies? Other powers were more directly concerned as consumers of Persian Gulf oil, but they were not as eager to commit military force, to risk their youth in battle and to pay for the costs of the war. Critics of President Bush continued to maintain that he was taking advantage of the issue of energy supplies in order to manipulate the U. S. public opinion in favor of war.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton This is a brief biography of American President Bill Clinton.

From the site:

William Jefferson " Bill " Clinton (born August 19 , 1946 ) was the 42nd ( 1993 - 2001 ) President of the United States .

Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas . He was named William Jefferson Blythe IV after his father, William Jefferson Blythe III, a travelling salesman who had been killed in a car accident just three months before his son was born. Billy, as he was called, was raised by his mother and stepfather Roger Clinton, using the last name "Clinton" throughout elementary school, but not formally changing it until he was 15. Clinton grew up in a turbulent family. His stepfather was a gambler and alcoholic who regularly abused his wife, and sometimes Clinton's half brother Roger , Jr. (born 1956).

Clinton excelled as a student and as a saxophone player. At one time, he considered becoming a professional musician.
As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, he met President John F. Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The encounter led him to enter a life of public service.

He rose from poverty to graduate from Georgetown University with a degree in International Affairs, attending England 's prestigious Oxford University ( University College ) on a Rhodes Scholarship , and receiving a law degree from Yale Law School . At Yale, Bill Clinton met Hillary Rodham , and they married in 1975 . They have one daughter Chelsea , born in 1980 .