we discussed how diplomacy was an important part of the Congress of Vienna
. In fact, it was the entire purpose of the meeting to "fix" the changes that Napoleon brought to Europe. At the Congress, the Great Powers of Europe talked out their differences and ideas for Europe instead of resorting to war, something the continent had been stuck in for almost 20 years. As we mentioned in class, diplomacy is still as important to world affairs today. Countries struggle to find the correct balance of diplomacy and war to solve global problems. The United States has adopted different strategies to deal with different countries. One strategy has been to not interact with nations that the United States disagrees with. One of those nations is Myanmar, or Burma, which is located in Southeast Asia.
In our last World History II unit,
Aung San Suu Kyi with Hillary Clinton. (NYT)
Myanmar was formerly known as Burma until a military regime took power in the 1960s. Since then, the country hasn't had a democratic government, and has jailed protesters like Aung San Suu Kyi for demanding more rights. In response, the United States cut diplomatic ties with the country and banned trade from America to Myanmar.Last year, Myanmar allowed for the first democratic elections in over 20 years, and a new civilian government has taken some more responsibility. Additionally, Ms. Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest, a sign of progress. In response to these changes, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently made a trip to the country to begin to re-establish diplomacy between the countries. Could this be the beginning of a new relationship between America and Myanmar? Will there be more reforms because of this?Extra Credit:1. When do you believe a country should stop diplomacy with another nation? Or, should countries always have a diplomatic connection, even when they don't get along?2. Do you think sanctions like cutting off trade and diplomatic relations are an effective punishment for nations we don't agree with, or does it just make the situation worse?Upload your answers to me using the link on your class page!
As we have discussed briefly in American Government & Civics, the census conducted every 10 years is used to redistribute seats in Congress based on population shifts. This is also true of state legislature seats. The committee in charge of drafting the new districts released their proposal today
. Take a look at the 12th Bristol district, which currently holds 2 of 3 Lakeville precincts, 1 in Freetown, 1 in Middleboro, 1 in New Bedford, and 1 in East Taunton
. The new 12th Bristol would be comprised of all of Lakeville, all of Berkley, one third of Middleboro, and East Taunton.
Freetown would mostly join the 8th Bristol district.
(Town borders are in white, districts are by color)
So what makes this new map different? Take a look at the recent election results for the 12th Bristol special election last month. Newly elected State Representative Keiko Orrall
, a Republican, had her largest margins of victory
in Lakeville, East Taunton, and Middleboro. Although there was low turnout, New Bedford was her weakest area because of its heavily Democratic population and strong union presence. In the new 12th Bristol, that region of New Bedford is gone, and Berkley is added. Assuming that Berkley is like its neighbors, this would actually strengthen the advantage that Republicans currently hold in this district. Considering the super majority that Democrats currently have in the Massachusetts State Legislature, traditional politics would say that they should make the seat harder for the opposition to keep, not easier. So, what do you think? Is there a benefit for Democrats in a surrounding district? Do you think this had more to do with the changing demographics of other communities such as New Bedford?
Is it better to be geographically more concentrated or more spread out?One thing is for sure, it would be great to ask Ms. Orrall her thoughts about this next time we meet!
Click on each link to read more about the story!
Earlier this year, we learned about the Industrial Revolution in World History II. The two big ideas that we focused on were new methods of production (and their impact on labor) and the emergence of a big middle class (and the ensuing class tensions!). Ultimately, we concluded that there was a cause and effect: new technology led to an explosion in production, causing a boom in labor and a growing middle class, and eventually this led to reforms such as workplace safety and labor laws.Well, that was the 19th century. During the Imperialism unit, I ranted about how China and India are currently going through their own industrial revolutions, and here's some fascinating news to support it. According to this Christian Science Monitor article, there will be more people in the middle class than in poverty by 2022. While this is a big development, what is more interesting (to me, at least) is the notion that India and China will have the largest percentage of middle class consumption on earth by 2050:
There's much to ponder about all of this, but what I'd like to know is, how will this impact the working class of these nations? Remember, in the European Industrial Revolution, class tension gave rise to Marxism and the push for labor reform. Will the factory workers of India and China demand better conditions and pay as their countries become wealthier? Will this be a threat to the United States, or an opportunity? After all, what middle class-er doesn't love American technology like ipods and Windows?! Never the less, this is certainly a modern day connection to what we've learned in class!
Feeling crowded in Freetown and Lakeville? You may not have noticed, but both towns gained population over the last decade!
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin released census data today for all 351 Massachusetts communities. Overall, the state's population grew by over 4%. Some towns gained residents while other lost.
According to this really cool map from Boston.com
, Lakeville's population increased 8% from 9,821 to 10,602. Freetown also gained 4.7%, going from 8,472 to 8,870.Check it out for yourself! What happened to the cities and towns around us?
Think your homework load is unbearable? Tired of school by June? It may not be as bad as you think! China has a very limited amount of spots for its many students. Because of this, students must perform well on a test called the Gaokao
, which is a test used to determine which colleges you may or may not attend. Basically, your entire future is decided by the outcome of this one exam.Because of the pressure of the exam and the one child policy, students are pushed very hard to succeed. Students will often attend school 12 hours a day and pay for weekend tutors to prepare for the test. PBS' "China Prep" documentary follows five students during their senior year at one of the most competitive high schools in China. Wide Angle - "China Prep" videoWatch Parts 2-6 and answer the following questions for extra credit:1. What struck you most about the lives of these students?2. Do you think you could cut it at this school?3. Do we push students hard enough in the United States?
C Period had some AWESOME thoughts on how the uprising in Egypt relates to the French Revolution, Napoleon, the Revolutions of 1848, and Romanticism v. Realpolitik. Here's some main ideas:
- Mubarak's control of cell phones and internet is a lot like Napoleon's censorship of the press
- The French Revolution, like the uprising in Egypt, started as a peaceful movement for democracy
- While the U.S. should take the romantic pro-democracy viewpoint, it's hard to ignore the realpolitik relationship with Hosni Mubarak.
In light of those ideas, here's the latest on Egypt. After Mubarak's speech last night where he announced he wouldn't resign, but also wouldn't run for re-election, violence has started to break out. Pro-Mubarak protesters have entered Tahrir Square and clashes with other protesters began. CNN is reporting
at the time of this post that at least 3 people have died and 600 have been wounded. Some people, like the New York Times' Nick Kristof
, are inclined to believe that these violent pro-Mubarak protesters were organized on purpose against the people.Questions to consider:1. Is this a new phase of the revolution? Will this be the end?2. Should the United States speak up against Mubarak and his supporters?3. Do these new developments change your thoughts on the issue?Drop a comment to this post with your thoughts!
It's night five of the uprising in Egypt, and there's no indication that this conflict is close to being resolved. If you had a chance to view my prezi
below, here's a quick update:
- The military has been deployed, but has neither attacked the people nor turned on Mubarak. They seem to be keeping peace while allowing the protests to continue.
- Mubarak forced his advisers to resign and replaced them, but continues to stay in power. This has not been enough for the protesters to stop.
- Moments ago, there was a gathering in a square in Cairo where Mohammed ElBaradei spoke and pledged that the protests will not end until Mubarak resigns. There's also talk that the Muslim Brotherhood is getting behind ElBaradei to lead the creation of a new government.
The internet has been cut in the country, but tweets and calls are getting out. It sounds like things are very tense, and almost 100 people have died so far. If you want to know more and follow along, try these links:Nicholas Kristof
is a columnist for the New York Times
and he is tweeting from the streets of Cairo.Al-Jazeera
is a Middle Eastern news network, and their English version is covering the events live.
Also check out this GREAT clip from today's Meet The Press that explains why this uprising is important in the Middle East, and how Twitter is impacting this movement:
For the past four days, the people of Egypt have been protesting in the streets, demanding change from their government. Check out this Prezi to learn the basics about the conflict!