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Blog Post 6 (9/29)


Zinn talks about how America is involved in making affairs with other nations and the need to economically expand in his chapter, “The Empire and the People”. The first line instantly catches one’s attention as it says that ‘Theodore Roosevelt’  said that he would “welcome any war” which would be considered to solve the economic crisis the country was going through as it was believed that it would unite the people against the external enemy. America portrays this image of war as a good thing for the nation, an act that brings people together. The author describes the Spanish Cuban American War and how the United States used force to enter Cuba and fight the Spanish people. Such wars happened for more financial and economic development for the country with no consideration of the effects they have on the middle and lower class citizens as well as minority groups. This annoys me as it seems more important for the leaders of the country to start a war that would benefit the rich wealthy elites instead of fixing the injustices and the social issues existing in the country.

The fact that this country would do anything to support the economy and to be seen as the ‘greatest’ links directly to the idea of American exceptionalism which I feel that a lot of people in this country believe is true. This assumption that America is the best and is superior to all other nations due to its history of being the first to break from colonial governments is dangerous and creates sort of a superiority complex among its citizens. I believe that such a problem would also create other social issues like xenophobia; the only way for a government to actually keep progressing is by acknowledging that it has flaws and issues that need to be solved. This issue can still be seen nowadays especially with doing anything to maintain a stable economy as the President refused to shut down the country in the current pandemic which resulted in the loss of thousands of Americans. Many other lives are still in risk just because of greed and the capitalist system which only sees the money.

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  1. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    I agree with your point about the overemphasis on the economy. In my opinion, it seems so easy to understand that when you work to fix economic inequalities and injustices that are inherent in our economic and political systems, all people benefit, and the economy is able to grow strong and benefit even more people. The fight of the elites to keep using the economy as a machine to fuel their wealth and keep others oppressed at their own benefit grows more obvious with each crisis, and is frustrating and disgusting.

  2. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    I have a very similar perspective on the Cuban War, and I think you make a really great point about its ties to American exceptionalism. To further expand on your argument, I think part of what also contributes to American exceptionalism is the notion that the American military intervenes in foreign conflict to “liberate” oppressed nations, when in reality, as we see in the case of Cuba, colonized nations have quite often been used as pons in the American quest for economic expansion.

  3. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    I think you make a very valid point. Due to capitalism and the belief of American Exceptionalism within the United States, the economy is constantly a driving motivating factor behind many decisions within our country. I agree that this is problematic because the United States fails to address the social injustice issues in our country by constantly making decisions that will enhance our economy.

  4. Sophia Picozzi Sophia Picozzi

    Your points about the economy are really sound and it is unfortunate to see history blatantly repeating itself with the common language of both President Roosevelt and President Trump. People look back on the history of Roosevelt and are disgusted by the words and phrases he used that condone war for the sake of economic growth, yet don’t condone the same language and vernacular that our current president uses. When will society wake up and realize these patters and put a stop to them?

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