you do for your country?"
2. Explain to students
that the current war on terrorism has led Americans, both young and old,
to reexamine their views on military service. Although there are not large
numbers of ground troops currently in Afghanistan, as of November 7, 2001,
over 50,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists have been mobilized for
the war on terrorism. Previously, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
had told President Bush that the U.S. would only need to mobilize 50,000
troops, so it seems likely that additional enlisted military personnel
will be called to serve in this war.
3. Ask students how they perceive the U.S. military. What is the role of the military in our society? (Students should think about issues such as protection of territory and boundaries, protection of freedom, as well as the appearance of strength in the international community).
4. Ask students if they know the branches of the armed forces. Why does America have multiple branches? Go to the military history handout. Which branches came first? Students can also go to the following armed forced Web sites to learn more.
Information on the founding of the Navy can be found at: (http://www.history.navy.mil/birthday.htm)
Information on the
of the Army can be found at:
the founding of the Air
Force can be found at:
5. Ask students how they think Americans have responded in the past to being drafted into military service and if they know the difference between enlisting in the military and being drafted. What are some reasons why people choose to enlist in the armed forces during peacetime? Do people join the armed forces for different reasons during times of war?
6. In the past, when
the demand for U.S. military personnel has exceeded the supply of enlisted
personnel, the U.S. has resorted to drafting civilians into the military.
Students should go to the handout on the history
of conscription in order to learn more about when and why America
has enforced a draft. More information about the Selective
Service System can be found at (http://www.sss.gov).
7. Students should create a timeline with the major American wars and the role of the draft in each conflict. On the timeline, students should write the goals of the war and why do they think Americans might be proud to serve and why do they think some Americans might have resisted service. Explain to students that in conflicts such as World War II, many Americans were eager to join the armed forces and serve their country. In more recent wars such as Vietnam, however, many civilians protested the war, identified themselves as Conscientious Objectors, or fled the country to avoid being drafted.
8. Ask students to read the article about teenagers and their views on the military at [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec01/war_thoughts.html]. Which of the teenagers' views most closely resembles their own? Who do they identify with? Why? Ask the students if they have any family members who have enlisted in the armed forces or been drafted to serve in a war. Would they consider joining the armed forces when they were older? How would they feel if they were drafted to fight in the war on terrorism?
9. Ask students if they think that the current war on terrorism is supported by patriotism. Do they think that people are going to volunteer to enlist in the armed forces? Do they think that there are people protesting the war? How do they think the American people would respond to a draft?
10. Explain to students that many foreign countries have required military service for all men and sometimes women over a certain age. Ask students why they think the United States doesn't require military service. Have them look at the handout that lists countries with required military service and additional information about the military service laws in certain countries (Israel, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey). Students can also go to the CIA Factbook for statistical information on these countries. (http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html)
11. In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1960, John F. Kennedy stated "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country." Ask students what they think Kennedy meant by this statement. What are the various ways it could be interpreted? Might Kennedy have wanted mandatory military service? What are other ways someone could serve the nation or their community?
Students will conduct a debate in class over the issue "Should there be mandatory military service in the U.S.?" Students will use historical facts and opinion to frame their arguments. Each side will present its opinion, and then the students will be able to ask questions of the opposite side. Students can use a poster as well to express their main ideology. Students should take into account:
Is the military a
necessity for protecting our freedom?
After the debate, the students will come back together as a class to discuss the merits of both sides. Which side had more factual support? Which side had more conviction? Did they believe in one argument more than another? What do they think the U.S. government will do about military service in this war on terrorism?
Students may continue the discussion online in the "Sept. 11, Five Years Later" forum at http://www.newzcrew.org between August 28 and September 25, 2006. Students may report back to the group the views of other students as they relate to the in-class debate.
Contributions to class
· Understands the social and economic impact of the Revolutionary War (e.g., problems of financing the war, wartime inflation, hoarding and profiteering; personal impact and economic hardship on families involved in the war)
· Understands how the Civil War influenced both military personnel and civilians (e.g., the treatment of African American soldiers in the Union Army and Confederacy, how the war changed gender roles and traditional attitudes toward women in the work force)
· Understands how different groups of people shaped the Civil War (e.g., the motives and experiences of Confederate and white and African American Union soldiers, different perspectives on conscription, the effects of divided loyalties)
· Understands how the Civil War influenced Northern and Southern society on the home front (e.g., the New York City draft riots of July 1863, the Union's reasons for curbing civil liberties in wartime, Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus during the war)
· Understands events on the U.S. home front during World War II (e.g., economic and military mobilization; the internment of Japanese Americans and the implications for civil liberties)
· Understands the impact of the United States involvement in World War I (e.g., U.S. military and economic mobilizations for war and the role of labor, women, and African Americans in the war effort; World War I military engagements and the campaigns in which the American Expeditionary Force participated; the impact of the war on American troops; Wilson's goals in recommending the establishment of a League of Nations)
the events that influenced U.S. foreign policy from the Carter to the
Bush administrations (e.g., Reagan's efforts to reassert American military
· Understands the social issues that resulted from U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (e.g., the composition of American forces recruited in the war, why the Vietnam War contributed to a generational conflict and concomitant lack of respect for traditional authority figures)
· Knows various means used to attain the ends of United States foreign policy (e.g., diplomacy; economic, military, and humanitarian aid; treaties; trade agreements; incentives; sanctions; military intervention; covert action)
Author Stephanie Schragger has been teaching American and European history for seven years. She has taught at The Lawrenceville School, and currently teaches at York Preparatory School in New York City. She has an A.B. in History from Princeton University and a M.A. in History from Yale University.
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