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Monday, February 14, 2011

The enduring vision- A history of the American People

The enduring vision- A history of the American People

1. How did the industrial development of the United States from 1865 to 1900 change the country? (Make sure to talk about the rise of Corporate America and the impact it had on labor.)

Devastated after the civil war, it is lovely to realize that America started its industrial revolution at that very era. One good thing lead to another, thus, with the zeal to have continued source of cheap energy, which was the coal, it triggered other industries and businesses around.

It is very important to note that Americans had already, as early as the early beginning of the nineteenth century, been raising start-up capital for transportation enterprises such as turnpikes and canals (Boyer 405). This was made possible through a corporate-style of commercial entity or organization.

It may sound so far away, 19th century, and now it is the 21st century, it was about two hundred years ago but the corporate world back then, has been so active as ever. Corporations were utilizing stocks and bonds to raise money (Boyer 405).

The rise of corporate America was in perfect timing by coinciding this period with new inventions, specialty productions and innovations and marketing paving the way to colossal growth of the United States economy (Boyer 410). Labor conditions were greatly impacted by these changes as well. The rise of corporations triggered mass-production and that means the end of the artisans customizing orders from customers. Mass-production gave rise to non-skilled or semi-skilled labor; after all, skilled individuals were not needed anymore as there were machines available in helping them complete their jobs. In the modern age as of today, we do not feel the difference of the impact of these changes that happened before. We are born during this mass-production age but for those people living during that time, it was a big deal. For the people who cannot identify the individual who created their pair of shoes, it makes a lot of difference. It was even noted that the cultural values that accompanied the appearance of the business corporation have largely been lost in history, where managerial enterprise is often treated as something new, alien, and thoroughly opposed to principles of social reform and reordering. " (Lipartito and Sicilia 95)

Yes, the economy boosted from having a lot of people getting jobs than before but those were neither easy nor highly- paid labors earning lower than a dollar per day for mill workers (Boyer 417). Contract system was even the hype those days and I thought it is only the effect of liberalism in modern days!

2. How did the growth of cities and the influx of immigrants create a new awareness of ethnic and class differences? How were racial stereotypes used to reinforce these distinctions?

Identifying who made your shoes for you was impossible but at least it was best to stay being identified "who" you really are. Thus, migrant laborers stick to their culture and ethnic practices to stay clustered with each other. This is no different from normal human reaction because we ourselves would like to belong to something or someone or someplace that we have knowledge of or some attachment to. In the case of migrant workers, they stayed with their countrymen as possible retaining and practicing what they all together know such as culture, beliefs and traditions.

According to Boyer (416), Foreign-born English, German, and Irish workers setup ethnic trade organizations and joined affiliated benevolent associations, and being bound by ethnic and religious ties, they observe weddings and funerals according to old country traditions. This was even before the heavy influx of labor immigration hit the United States.

With the heavy influx of non-skilled migrant workers, stereotyping became even more emphasized. “Slums” and “ghettos” (Boyer 437) came into view and the stigma of these words remains up to the present. Although this attitude is not exclusive in American cities, as there are also “ghettos” and “slums” in many cities of the world, this stereotyping reinforced identity to those immigrants. It is sad though that in present times if you say “slum” or “ghetto” it connotes something negative in nature. And that’s how they Jews got it, they used to stay together and be identified with each other in their Jewish “ghettos” and for sure they never imagined that their aim to be with each other would result to the people’s current perception of the “ghetto”. Before these stereotypes, ghetto was typically walled, with gates that were closed at a certain hour each night, and all Jews had to be inside the gate at that hour or suffer penalties." ("Ghetto 19324") And sad to say, when you say “ghetto” these days, it does not refer to be exclusive to Jews anymore… it is something that denotes “danger, chaos and crime”, not necessarily committed by or related to the Jews but section of a city where members of any racial group are segregated.

3. How, where, and why did the United States get involved in territorial expansion in the late nineteenth century?

United States’ territorial expansion? How? Through and with the democrats having a strong zeal. Where? Beginning 1840 war with the neighboring Mexico, then with the Kansas-Nebraska act and later Cuba, The Philippines, etcetera as US planned to expand from North American continent, to the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Why? Because it is a “Manifest Destiny”! Such was the credo which encouraged American expansionists to conceive that the free rather than the meek would inherit the earth (Weinberg 129). The principle of this Manifest destiny, which became synonymous of territorial expansion, actually became even more convincing because American early settler, merchants, and messengers or missionaries were already on the move to far distant areas of North America. John L. O'Sullivan's first uses of the phrase Manifest Destiny in 1839 responding to the population movements that was already underway in Texas and in the Oregon Country.

It was such a bright idea and a very successful “brainwash” to both soldiers and the territory being engulfed by the United States. Can you imagine someone, pretending to be totally harmless, knocking at your door telling you he or she is offering you democracy, education, freedom, education and the likes? It sounds too good to be true, but that was the concept of the manifest destiny, the idea that Senator Douglas used in 1851, when he proposed Nebraska to be a “territory” (Boyer 404).

Although destiny and mission have a pedigree that predates the United States itself, it was not until the early nineteenth century that profound changes in American life were combined with the idealism of the nation's revolutionary beginnings and with currents of European Romanticism to produce a popular romantic nationalism that gave new meaning to the idea of progress (Haynes and Morris 3).

No matter what campaign it was done before in order to promote smooth colonization by the United States, there was always more to it than what the popular belief is. As I see it, although Manifest Destiny was easier to grasp and be understood and be seen, there would always be the specific and stronger motives behind the territorial expansion: political, economic and religious side to it.

4. Define progressivism and detail how and why this movement developed. (Be sure to discuss

progressive activity at the local, state, and national levels.)

Progressivism was a series of cultural and political responses to industrialization and its by-products (Boyer 479). It was a period that has taken its name from the American Progressive Party (1912-1924) and at the same time the name was taken from a common feeling that the earlier part of the 20th century was attentively directed on a sound body of democratic transformations that altered significant features of the American political system.

Progressive movements were both visible locally and in state level. In fact, the progressive movement began with grass-roots campaign at the local level from New York to San Francisco (Boyer 481).

Some of the local events and reforms related to progressivism include the following:

a. Reform of the political process – succession of political reform spasms in New York City when Protestant clergy rallied against Tammany Hall;

b. The 1907 shooting of the original prosecutor in San Francisco against Abe Reuf but he and his cronies eventually got convicted with Hiram Johnson as the new prosecutor. Johnson becoming governor of California and later the senate. He also introduced profit-sharing in his factory, established playgrounds and kindergarten and lodging for homeless transients:

c. Laws on utility rate regulation, equitable taxation and public ownership of utility companies; and

d. Various municipal reforms: political issues, immigration issues and public (municipal) services.

On the state level, following are some of the progressivism happenings:

  1. Institution of secret ballots to prevent manipulation of elections;
  2. Adoption of “direct primary” where party members and not leader select candidates for public office; and
  3. Various voter reforms: inaugurating the processes initiative, where voters can instruct legislature to consider a specific bill; referendum where voters can enact a law; and recall petition where voters can remove official from office by gathering enough signatures.

The period of progressivism has long been hailed for its democratic idealism, its governmental innovations, and its quest for social justice. “ (Southern 42). Although most of the reforms, especially in terms of voting and politics were eventually get manipulated again, it is such a beautiful feeling that American never stopped the quest for improvement and be the land of freedom.

Works Cited

Boyer et al. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Sixth Ed. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009.

"Ghetto." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2009. Questia. Web. 18 July 2010.

Haynes, Sam W., and Christopher Morris, eds. Manifest Destiny and Empire: American Antebellum Expansionism. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1997. Questia. Web. 18 July 2010.

Lipartito, Kenneth, and David B. Sicilia, eds. Constructing Corporate America: History, Politics, Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Questia. Web. 18 July 2010.

Southern, David W. The Progressive Era and Race: Reaction and Reform, 1900-1917. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2005. Questia. Web. 18 July 2010.

Weinberg, Albert K. Manifest Destiny A Study of Nationalist Expansionism in American History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1935. Questia. Web. 18 July 2010.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

American Literature: A Discussion

I. Introduction
American Literature has come a long way. It dates back as far as the pre-colonization-period America which is contrary to the current belief of almost everyone that English has always been the language in America. Although it was noted that "some fifty years after the political establishment of the United States, the concept of an American literature barely existed" (Delbanco), American literature did exist and is still existing.

Literature as a communication involving some degree of emotional or aesthetic response is both an independent discipline and one of the tools of anthropology. The latter is a description and explanation of social behavior in every possible environment-from the primitive to the sophisticated-in every part of the world.(Dennis and Aycock 41) In this regard, looking at how literature emerged and how it evolved, identifies the kind of society and the kind of people living in a certain era.

II. Evolution & Era
The discovery and/or development of a certain type of literature did not just happen in a flash. American Literature, the different types of it, sprouted in a seasoned manner. This means that there would not be political writings, or none of them would be popular, if there were no political issues looming around the corner.

It is quite amusing to know that American writing (in English) started not as a seriously intended literary piece but as a work “chiefly for the benefit of readers in the mother country." ("American Literature"). These were the English travelers and explorers who became Americans during those olden times, circa 1583 to 1763. Following is the timeline of the American Literature (Trent):

1. English Travelers and Explorers, 1583-1763 – retaining their own language as they travelled to America and became Americans while chiefly influencing the literature with this language: the heritage of the English race;
2. The Historians, 1607-1783 - this was the period of gentlemen adventurers writing about America’s colonies;
3. The Puritan Divines, 1620-1720 - again, Englishmen who gave their intellects to a strict scheme of doctrinaire theology, and gave up their freedom to the letter of the Hebraic Scriptures;
4. Edwards - was a special time when he, Edwards, inscribed a sequence of reflections, foundation to a great metaphysical discourse of his own;
5. Philosophers and Divines, 1720-1789 -a traditional categorization of the human ability giving reason for the American thought in the eighteenth century, which is believed to have led to the overthrow of high Calvinism: those who went after the intelligence were the rationalists, or deists; those who went after receptivity or sensibility were the "hot" men, or enthusiasts while those who went after the will were the moral or ethical reformers.
6. Colonial Newspapers and Magazines, 1704-1775 – the knowledge of and about Europe had erupted so commonly through colonial newspapers;
7. American Political Writing, 1760-1789 -- this was the period of “storm and stress”, of “revolution and evolution”, bringing forth a literature dominated by politically-themed content. Most of the topics involved “the nature of the British constitution, the formulation of colonial rights, and the elaboration of schemes of government and administration”;
8. The Beginnings of Verse, 1610-1808- the beginning covered early colonial verse starting in 1610 while in 1700 it began with transition in purpose, subject, and style and later on during, the beginnings of nationalism that is related to the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 ending with the publication of Bryant's Embargo in 1808.
9. Travellers and Observers, 1763-1846- this was the literature of travels, brand new, wide-ranging, and sophisticated, taking its magic from the sense of wonder;
10. The Early Drama, 1756-1860 –The American native drama, even though it antedated the novel and the short story, has arrived only during the latter half of the eighteenth century having Androborus in 1714, which was noted to be a satirical embarrassment.
11. Early Essayists-during this period the first essays that were in print in colonial newspapers were written with a cognizant ethical purpose.
12. The time of Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859)-a well-known American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century who authored "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle”;
13. The time of Bryant – an American who has the gift of poetic genius, and writing verses that last;
14. Fiction/Novels-the moment for literary lies;” that they served no virtuous purpose; that they melted rigorous minds; that they crowded out better books; that they painted adventure too romantic and love too vehement, and so unfitted…”

III. The Role of Printing Press
Taking into consideration the lack of other means of publication those days, early American literature succeeded with the big help of the printing press. Some Americans even had an undying zeal for literary outputs that they were “stimulated by a desire to render Washington City as well the seat of literature as of government, a number of gentlemen have formed themselves into a ' Printing and Bookselling Company" (McMurtrie 266). It may appear funny but it is true.

IV. Current Scenario & Conclusion
"Who in the four corners of the globe reads an American book?" (Edinburgh Review, cited Delbanco) Contrary to this insult, there are still the likes of Twain that many people all over the world know and many hunger for their literary pieces. Another noted American literary figure is Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize awardee for literature. She is noted to be “a public intellectual, she's influenced how we think about race and storytelling ... how we use language, what we do with language, how we keep language alive and well."("Toni Morrison Society Honors" 15). Thus, American Literature, no matter how it is being viewed, is sure to be existent, alive and persisting.

Works Cited
"American Literature." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2009. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.
Delbanco, Andrew. "American Literature: A Vanishing Subject?." Daedalus 135.2 (2006): 22+. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.

Dennis, Philip A., and Wendell Aycock, eds. Literature and Anthropology. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press, 1989. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.

McMurtrie, Douglas C. A History of Printing in the United States: The Story of the Introduction of the Press and of Its History and Influence during the Pioneer Period in Each State of the Union. Vol. 2. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1936. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.

"Toni Morrison Society Honors Nobel Laureate with 70th Birthday Tribute." Black Issues in Higher Education 29 Mar. 2001: 15. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.

Trent, William Peterfield, John Erskine, Stuart P. Sherman, and Carl Van Doren, eds. The Cambridge History of American Literature. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1917. Questia. Web. 19 July 2010.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Article Critique Guide

Following is a sample guide in making an article critic.

A. Title
1. Did the title describe the study? – Yes (very evident in the abstract, the methods and discussion that it is what the title is talking about)
2. Did the key words of the title serve as key elements of the article? - Yes
3. Was the title concise, i.e., free of distracting or extraneous phrases? - Not very concise but its being lengthy is necessary to be descriptive of its content/body

B. Abstract
4. Did the abstract summarize the study? purpose, methods, and findings? – Not everything. The purpose, data sources and conclusion/findings are presented but not the methods. The data source is different from the methods used, thus the abstract lacks the methods used.
5. Did the abstract reveal the independent and dependent variables under study? – The abstract is not very specific about it.
6. Were there any major premises or findings presented in the article that were not mentioned in the abstract? – No, the abstract, though a little bit vague, is very specific about the conclusion or the findings.
7. Did the abstract provide you with sufficient information to determine whether you would be interested in reading the entire article? – Yes, the information is sufficient.

C. Introduction
8. Was the research problem clearly identified? – Yes, the [cancer] patients’ problem when it comes to pain
9. Is the problem significant enough to warrant the study that was conducted? - Yes, very important.
10. Did the authors present a theoretical rationale for the study? - Yes, and they also repeatedly mention that such theory is never put in practice yet, thus, the evolution of the study. [Despite the availability of clinical practice guideline (CPGs) and their potential benefits on outcomes, such as pain, consistent adoption of guidelines into practice has not been achieved (Von Roenn, 2001).]
11. Is the conceptional framework of the study appropriate in light of the research problem? – Yes. (Hospitalized cancer patients theoretically should receive adequate treatment for their pain because of a controlled clinical environment.)
12. Do the author’s hypotheses and/or research questions seem logical in light of the conceptual framework and research problem? – Yes. (A/F represents an innovative way for nurse practitioners (NPs) to implement pain management guidelines and potentially improve hospitalized oncology patients’ pain experiences (Von Roenn, 2001).
13. Are hypotheses and research questions clearly stated? - Are they directional? The hypotheses are clearly stated. Although the problem is stated in the study, research questions are not clearly stated. There are implied statements though, leading a reader to assume what the research questions should be given the hypotheses and the problem mentioned in the text.
14. Overall, does the literature review lead logically into the Method section? – Not very smoothly but somehow, yes.

D. Method
15. Is the sample clearly described, in terms of size, relevant characteristics, selection and assignment procedures, and whether any inducements were used to solicit subjects? –Yes, the study is keen on these parts.
16. Do the instruments described seem appropriate as measures of the variables under study? – Yes, e.g., the BPI-SF. If it is described how it really functions, then it is a very appropriate instrument. (This tool was developed specifically for use in patients with cancer and is well validated with documented reliability (Cronbach alpha = .77 - .91). The BPI separately measures both pain intensity (sensory dimension) and how pain interferes with common daily functions (reactive
17. Have the authors included sufficient information about the psychometric properties (e.g. reliability and validity) of the instruments? Yes, as quoted in answer to 17.
18. Are the materials used in conducting the study or in collecting data clearly described? - Yes.
19. Are the study’s scientific procedures thoroughly described in chronological order? - Yes.
20. Is the design of the study identified (or made evident)? – Not very evident.
21. Do the design and procedures seem appropriate in light of the research problem, conceptual framework, and research questions/hypotheses? - They do seem appropriate.
22. Overall, does the method section provide sufficient information to replicate the study? – It is quite vague but enough to replicate the study.

E. Results
23. Is the results section clearly written and well organized? - Yes
24. Are data coding and analysis appropriate in light of the study’s design and hypotheses? – Yes
25. Are salient results connected directly to hypotheses? - Yes
26. Are tables and figures clearly labeled? Well-organized? Necessary (non-duplicative of text)? No. Not very well organized tables, at least how it is presented in the text.

F. Discussion and Conclusion
27. Are the limitations of the study delineated? – Yes.
28. Are findings discussed in terms of the research problem, conceptual framework, and hypotheses? – Yes.
29. Are implications for future research and/or rehabilitation counseling practice identified? – Yes, and very thoroughly. The study learned a lot from its own limitations.
30. Are the author’s general conclusions warranted in light of the results?-Yes.

G. References
31. Is the reference list sufficiently current? Sufficiently and generally yes. Most are published later than year 2000.
32. Do works cited reflect the breadth of existing literature regarding the topic of the study? Yes, and even the statistical interpretation reference is included.
33. Are bibliographic citations used appropriately in the text? – Following the APA format, yes.

H. General Impressions
34. Is the article well written and organized? - Well written yes, organization can still improve.
35. Does the study address an important problem in the lives of people with disabilities? – Yes, pain is a huge factor for patients and for the humanity in general.
36. What are the most important things you learned from this article? - Humans are always in search for a better way of living, in this case, reducing pain, resulting to a more comfortable feeling for cancer patients or at least, less discomfort for their already “not so encouraging” state.
37. What do you see as the most compelling strengths of this study? – That the subject and the purpose of the study is worthy of the efforts spent.
38. How might this study be improved? – Better organization of each section of the text, making it more appealing even to normal readers, thus, reducing jargons and technical words as much as possible.

Giving Feedback and Its Psychological Considerations

Given the scenario, being the president of the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) board, and having to give feedback to one HOA board member that is distressed and to other board members, in light of discussing whether a certain proposal is to be implemented or not, I need to consider some factors before sharing my thoughts.

First, “what is my purpose in giving feedback?” Indeed, before doing anything, it is important to know why we are doing such a thing. Being the president, empathizing with my fellow homeowner would ease out the tension. However, in the present situation, it is best to empathize with the one who is in worse situation: the board member that is heavily distressed by our discussion. Empathy is one of the positive psychologies that I can utilize in easing the feeling of the distressed board member and make him feel a better and positive so that a better decision can be made. Aside from making our discussion productive, empathizing with the distressed board member can “cultivate positive emotions in our own lives and in the lives of those around us not just because doing so makes us feel good in the moment but also because doing so will transform us to be better people, with better lives in the future. (Fredrickson, 2002, p. 131)

The second thing to ponder upon is, “what specific actions am I trying to change?” It is obvious that the situation is becoming too much for everyone who is attending the discussion. It is not only the “action” but also the situation need to be changed. By giving my feedback to the distressed board member, through empathy, I can change the current heated exchange of words and possible long-term misunderstanding that this discussion can lead to, not only today but also in the future.

The third consideration I need to think about is, “what will be the most helpful feedback I can give?” I would tell the distressed board member that I truly understand his position that such a proposition is reasonable that is why we, HOA board members and officers, are currently having this discussion. I would emphasize to him that he needs to take it calmly because so far, the proposition has not been decided yet. Who knows? What he opt to might even get implemented. I would advise him to compose his mind and ideas so that he can further put his input in the final discussion to conclude and decide the matter at hand: whether to have the security guard in the neighborhood or not.

Fourth, I have also to consider that my feedback does not have an assured 100% success rate. I still have to reflect and ask, “what are the potential problems with my feedback?” There are many things that can happen. The anger of the distressed board member might be redirected to me. This happens when his id overtakes his ego or superego. He will turn narcissistic especially if he will realize that I have reasonable feedback but he does not want to admit his mistakes at the same time. He will obviously do this as a defense mechanism. In fact this is one of the "most widespread and supple of the mechanisms of defense” (Newberger, 2000, p. 279), the denial. The board member hates to admit that he overreacted with the issue and that my feedback is rational.

Fifth, “how do I plan to overcome potential problems with this feedback?” As Clarke-Epstein, (2001) stressed, the truth in feedback is that, whether it is “positive or negative, given or received, feedback can be tricky". First, I should plan a very good timing in giving them. I would let the distressed board member calm down for a few minutes, engage him in a conversation that is not related to the subject that distressed him. One good example is something interesting and gives a sense of enjoyment from his side such as his latest vacation or his sailing activity or his upcoming family reunion. Then, I would get back to the issue at hand, look him straight into the eyes and give him my feedback. I should make sure though that no one is nearby who can unnecessarily join in our conversation giving unsolicited opinion that may irritate the board member again.

Sixth, I have to plan whether “all the feedback I want to deliver need to be done at one time?” As indicated above, I have to be in perfect timing to make things work perfectly. Thus, giving all the feedback in one time will not help. A set of procedures need to be followed: one step at a time and slowly but surely. Once the heated discussion is at its peak, I would call for a session/discussion break. In my experience, no one refuses a hot cup of coffee or tea in the middle of a heated discussion. Everyone simply wants to wind up a bit, refresh and free the mind and compose his or her ideas and thoughts better to better present his or her views.
Lastly, I have to ask, “what is the best time to give my feedback without a need to procrastinate?” The feedback that I plan to give should be given outright. It is best to hit the iron while it is hot. In psychology, "some researchers, following behaviorist tenets that reinforcements need to be given quickly to be effective, have thought that it is essential to give feedback immediately." (Metcalfe, Kornell & Finn, 2009) Thus, a ten to fifteen minute break is enough to implement my plan as mentioned in the preceding paragraph. My plan has a 97% success rate because the distressed board member is a close friend of mine and he is also a respected nice person. Once I have implemented my plan on him, my next feedback is for the whole board. If my feedback and advice to the distressed board member succeeds, everything will be better when the time to finalize the discussion comes and decision is to be rendered. Our discussion would be more productive and our personal relationships, with respect to each other, not tarnished by the heat of the discussion.

Clarke-Epstein, C. (2001, November). Truth in Feedback: Positive or Negative, Given or Received, Feedback Can Be Tricky. We Shatter Some Popular Misconceptions to Guide You. T&D, 55, 78+.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2002). 9 Positive Emotions. In Handbook of Positive Psychology, Snyder, C. R. & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.) (pp. 120-131). New York: Oxford University Press.

Metcalfe, J., Kornell, N., & Finn, B. (2009). Delayed versus Immediate Feedback in Children's and Adults' Vocabulary Learning. Memory & Cognition, 37(8), 1077+.

Newberger, E. H. (2000). The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.