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Re: Ch. 8 - Watching Big Brother: What Textbooks Teach about the Federal Government
Chapter 8 Discussion Questions
1.) How much do you believe the US government has changed since its inception in 1789? Loewen makes it clear he feels the change has been huge, but unremarked by high school history texts; why do you feel there is a drive to maintain the fantasy/reality of the unchanged state?
2.) History textbooks (like a lot of people in the US) disproportionately emphasise the presidency and presidents over the faceless federal government and the other branches of the federal government. Why do you think this is? Do you think it is damaging to effective US government? Is this the reason the president of the US is blamed for/credited with/takes credit for so many of the actions of the entire federal government? Further, of the people you know, how many know who their senators are? How about their congressperson?
3.) Do you agree that corporations have an unduly high influence on American politics? To what is this owing? Should corporations be granted the right of an agent/actor/person in legal dealings? Is the US unique in its treatment of corporations? Would curtailing the influence of corporations curtail the free market and the economy as a whole? Why or why not?
4.) Salvador Allende’s murder was a US action which led to the rise of Augosto Pinochet, a military dictator who oppressed and persecuted leftists and left-leaning people in Chile. Why does the US’ replacement of “undesirable” leaders seem to often result in replacement by “indefensible” leaders in foreign countries? What other examples in US-international history play out this way? Does this mean leaving a potentially communist ally in power during the Cold War was advisable? Ultimately is the policy of US-sponsored regime change a self-defeating policy?
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