Paper. Due at the exam, or 12-19 by 11.55pm via email. The goal here is to get you thinking about, and critically analyzing, the documents. You should bring in other reading that you've done for class; but you should not do any outside research beyond the documents linked below. All papers must present an argument and make ample use of the primary sources below. The paper should run roughly 10-ish pages; you can go longer if you need to.
1. To what extent did the British/American war aims during World War II, as embodied in the Atlantic Charter, reflect the thinking of either (or both) nations during World War I? Compare and contrast the charter with Wilson's ultimate statement of war aims--the 14 Points--and a similar document offered by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
2. Should historians consider the New Deal a "constitutional revolution"? Compare and contrast the legal reasoning behind two key decisions that upheld the New Deal agenda (West Coast Hotel and Erie Railroad, Brandeis opinion only) with the legal reasoning behind two key decisions reflecting the more conservative Court doctrines of the pre-1937 period (Bailey and Schechter). How significant is the change between the two sets of cases?
3. The historian William Leuchtenburg has published a book arguing that postwar US Presidents as living in the "shadow of FDR." Does this framework adequately explain the policies of the Truman administration? Using documents from the Whistlestop site, compare and contrast Truman's agenda (regarding desegregation of the armed forces; recognition of the state of Israel; or the Marshall Plan/Truman Doctrine response to postwar Europe) with that of FDR--in terms of policy, and in terms of presidential leadership.
4. The US decision to drop the bomb remains one of the most controversial foreign policy actions ever taken by the United States. What motivated US policymakers to act as they did? Begin with this review article, and then examine the historiographical controversy around the Alperovitz thesis, complete with ample documentation, including material from the Truman Library. (Warning: This topic is an interesting one, but there's a decent amount of supplementary reading, especially in the second site.)
5. How wide an ideological gulf separated the three sides in the League of Nations/Versailles debate? Compare and contrast the perspectives of Wilson, Lodge, and Gronna (uplink soon).
More questions to be posted next week.