Document Set 2 - History 109 Summer 2010 Document Set#2...

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History 109 Summer 2010 Document Set #2 Chapter 23: War and Society, 1914-1920 2. Americans have generally mistrusted standing militaries for several reasons. The first and most important reason stems from the oppression that colonists fought against in the Revolutionary War. Even though Americans saw the advantages that the redcoats had in the Revolutionary War, they placed a higher value on maintaining their liberty and viewed a standing militia as a danger to individual rights and freedom. Therefore, they favored a voluntary militia. Another event that added to American’s fear of standing armies the War of 1812 in which America was once again at a disadvantage to the British and their standing army. Also the Civil War served to reinforce American’s reluctance toward war in general and standing militias. This is evident in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which limits how militias can be used by the federal government. Roosevelt asserted that preparing for fighting usually averts war and he was critical of Wilson and others who didn’t want to offend other powers by having an army. The Spanish American war is significant because it validated America’s claim that the purpose of our militia was to defend, not to conquer. Roosevelt used an effective analogy in making his point that having a fire department doesn’t mean there won’t be any fires – it just means you will be prepared to handle a fire when it happens. He favored the strategy of the Swiss who were democratic, least militaristic and best prepared for war. He wanted America to be ready and able to not only defend ourselves, but also any other country who shared our ideals of liberty who was being attacked or wronged by a power not sharing these ideals. I do agree with Roosevelt’s view and I think the Cold War is a good example of how the perceived force of America can be a deterrent against aggression. 5. Attorney General Palmer thought that the “Reds” were an extremely serious threat to America’spower and liberty. The Reds were Communists who wanted to spread Bolshevism throughout the world, including to America. He claimed that the Communist Party of America was a branch of Communist Internationale controlled by Lenine and Trotzky and that they wanted to implement the ideals outlined in the manifesto of Moscow. To him, these criminal aliens were guilty because all of their communist literature including the manifesto demanded the overthrow of the government. He argued that the goal of the communists war to disrupt the order of society and to usurp property that they had not earned. Communists were luring people into their criminal philosophy by promising that they would be rich if they stole. He saw immigrants as particularly susceptible to their way of thinking. Palmer made no distinction between a communist’s thoughts and actions. So he found people guilty for simply reading or discussing communist principles, even if they were not carrying out the communist philosophy through their action.
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