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Select reviews on Politics & Society

Reflect on what you gained from each of the below reading assignments in relation to the responsibilities of each individual to contribute toward the development and improvement of society.

Associations in Civic Life (Alexis de Tocqueville)
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (The United Nations)
Easing Political Cynicism with Civic Involvement (Derek C. Bok)
George Washington's Farewell address (Use internet)
Second Thoughts on Civil Society (Gertrude Himmelfarb)

Explain what Washington was trying to tell all Americans in his Farewell Address in relation to our responsibilities toward our society as citizens in order to protect both our individual and collective freedoms. Provide examples about how well (or not) we have followed his guidance.
300-500 words per topic will suffice.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Here is your solution. The essays/readings on the list are much more concise in their nature and I am sure needed no historical background for you and I have done no more than what I think is necessary: A review and reflection within the maximum word limit. The quick summary of the important aspects of the readings can be found on the first paragraph while the 'reflections' come after on the paragraphs after. Note that since this is a reflection it is partly based on mine. I urge you to reconsider them and work on your own ideas that had been shaped by the articles. Use mine as a guide. Once again, if you need to write an essay based on this posting, let me remind you to use your materials for reference and citation. It is important to do so to avoid plagiarism. The ideas I have come up on here are based on the readings and as such are within the theme of your studies. The attachment is a word version of the solution. I advise you to print it for review. I hope that this solution has been helpful. If you need clarification on it, please send me a message. Thank you for using Brainmass.

OTA 105878

George Washington's Farewell Address

Washington, as the first American President greatly influenced the formation and early conception of American civic values, national identity, patriotism and social responsibility. Among the Founding Fathers he was a military leader and politician and is seen as a symbol of Republicanism in American History. He wrote his Farewell Address in 1792 after his first term but faced unanimous objection from his Cabinet until he agreed to stand for another term. The address, more like an open letter to the nation was published as a speech. The major themes of the address centered on political factionalism, foreign alliances and religion and morality. Washington saw the emergence of factionalism first hand while he president over the nation's first cabinet. He urged American unity despite divisions. The Federalist and Republican parties polarized issues in the cabinet as they attempted to shape the new nation according to their thoughts. Washington was keen to stay out of permanent foreign alliances and urged the nation and the cabinet to look into the needs of the young nation instead of taking sides with the then wars between France and Britain as Federalists & Republicans took sides. Religion and morality, Washington declared where 'indispensable supports' of the young nation where morality was that influence from where politicians and Americans can look to as they seek to live in harmony, reason, justice and relative peace. Washington's address became a political document and became a symbol of Republicanism, America's political philosophy especially when foreign alliances became the centre of debate. It was only in 1949 that a permanent alliance happened with NATO after American experience of the 2nd World War when the global political landscape became about ideology. In the 130th of Washington's birth his Address as a commemoration of his political philosophy was read out loud. It has now become an annual tradition.

A Reflection

Washington's address, though a few centuries old is still as relevant today as it was in the day he conceived it. America is a Republic whose freedom was hard won. Despite the change in social climate America still symbolizes to the world that nation where political, democratic, social and economic freedoms are key. Is America not living up perhaps to the expectations of the 1st President? Washington knew that factionalism is a reality. He understood the nature of politics therefore he warned against it should it be that barrier that instead of uniting divides. We can see it in America today --- issues at times are not addressed directly because of the Democrat/Republican divide. Washington in his address wanted Americans, past, present and future to remember that they are Americans first before anything else. Individual freedoms and collective freedoms can coexist together under the rule of law. In place, when reason and morality guiding instead of personal interests, America and it's people can expect to forward the nation born out of a desire for freedom and now, democracy. America as seen in the eyes of the world today takes on various images: a military might keen on conquering the world, an economic behemoth that is central to world markets, a leading nation in world ...

Solution Summary

The solution looks at key readings from the works of Alexis de Tocqueville, Derek Bok & Gertrude Himmelfarb. Included in the discussion-based reviews also is a look at the UN's Universal declaration of HUman Rights & Geogre Washington's farewell address. Each key reading is debated & discussed providing key viewpoints for use in expanding the ideas in essays & class-based discussions.

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