Thursday, September 24, 2009

WH II: 25 September 2009


On Quiz or Test days, we will take exams directly after opening prayer. This is Quiz day; you need a pencil.

If finished early, cover up your answers until all the Quizzes/Tests are collected. You may sit quietly without talking and take out other books or materials while you waiting for others to finish.

Current events:

The issues to consider, based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights we enjoy in the U.S. as a heritage of the Enlightenment, is the role that the military plays in the life of American civilians.

Should we have a military presence in the ordinary, day-to-day life of American civilians? Should we have military checkpoints as other countries do? Should the military be involved when there are no riots, demonstrations, or other extraordinary circumstances? Should the U.S. deploy combat troops in the U.S.? Who should decide, or should there be a separation of powers, to calling out combat troops? What has happened before when the National Guard was called out to counter the actions of citizens?

In any case, since 1 October 2008, the US Army announced that combat troops will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command (NORTHCOM), as an on-call federal response force for emergencies.

This marks the first time an active U.S. Army unit will be given a dedicated assignment to NORTHCOM, where it is stated they may be "called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control."

Since October 2008 combat troops returning from Iraq are deploying across the U.S. The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 according to Pentagon officials.

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction. The Act prohibits the federal uniformed services, the military, from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain "law and order" on non-federal property.

Except in extraordinary circumstances, such as during the Los Angeles riots in 1992, or when necessary quelling riots in the late 60s, military forces are not to be deployed in the U.S.

However, soldiers have been appearing in everyday events, this past year at the Boston Marathon, at the Kentucky Derby, at the last Inauguration, and in routine murder investigations.

On August 4, 2009, the Illinois National Guard deployed combat vehicles in Springfield.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Becker told the AP that people shouldn’t be afraid.

“No, they shouldn’t be afraid — they need to let the idea sink in that it is normal for armed troops to be on the streets. After they get used to military vehicles on the roads, they will need to get accustomed to military checkpoints like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In Kentucky and Ohio military checkpoints appeared around the downtown area on 6 September 2009. Officially, this was done for traffic control purposes during the annual Riverfest celebration that is held on both sides of the Ohio River.

The officers interviewed at the festival stated that they were on duty to help the local police. They did make it clear that they would follow orders, whatever they may be. They are simply soldiers doing their duty.

On 29 July 2009, The Onion produced a parody of the news. It is not real, however, they are suggesting something that could be possible. This is something to think about, and, as one student put it after viewing the clip, this is a real "head-scratcher."

For the parody of the news, this is supposedly a heavily classified clip that ran on C-SPAN. The words and phrases released include:

"80% of population effected"









"darkest nightmares"

"body disposal actions"

"underground protected centers"

"new bill of rights drafted and approved by . . . "

As reported on 14 August 2009, "The Pentagon Wants Authority to Post Almost 400,000 Military Personnel in U.S."

As a point of contrast, the highest number of troops stationed in Iraq during wartime conflict was about 162,000.

In classes about the Enlightenment, we have been discussing liberties, bill of rights, and the relationship between people and the government. Now we have troops in the streets, possibly in preparation for civil disorder, and a pandemic.

Today's lesson plan and HW is available on the blog:


The Shanawiki page ( has updated class information.

The online version of the Textbook is available.

LibraryThing has bibliographic resources.

I moved the "Blog Archive" to the top right on the blog page so it should be easier to find the daily lesson, HW, and other class material.

The Enlightenment thinkers knew civil disorder and the conflict brought on by the English Civil War. Can they provide guidance for us today?

Voltaire was a passionate defender of individual freedom.

Voltaire Defends Freedom of Thought

Probably the most famous of the philosophes was François-Marie Arouet, who took the name Voltaire. “My trade,” said Voltaire, “is to say what I think,” and he did so throughout his long, controversial life.

Voltaire used biting wit as a weapon to expose the abuses of his day. He targeted corrupt officials and idle aristocrats. With his pen, he battled inequality, injustice, and superstition. He detested the slave trade and deplored religious prejudice.

Voltaire’s outspoken attacks offended both the French government and the Catholic Church. He was imprisoned and forced into exile. Even as he saw his books outlawed and even burned, he continued to defend the principle of freedom of speech.


Montesquieu Advances the Idea of Separation of Powers

Another early and influential thinker was Baron de Montesquieu (mahn tus kyoo). Montesquieu studied the governments of Europe, from Italy to England. He read about ancient and medieval Europe, and learned about Chinese and Native American cultures. His sharp criticism of absolute monarchy would open doors for later debate.

Born to wealth, Charles Louis de Secondat (1689–1755) inherited the title Baron de Montesquieu from his uncle. Like many other reformers, he did not let his privileged status keep him from becoming a voice for democracy.

His first book titled Persian Letters ridiculed the French government and social classes. In his work published in 1748, The Spirit of the Laws, he advanced the idea of separation of powers—a foundation of modern democracy.

In 1748, Montesquieu published The Spirit of the Laws, in which he discussed governments throughout history. Montesquieu felt that the best way to protect liberty was to divide the various functions and powers of government among three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial.

He also felt that each branch of government should be able to serve as a check on the other two, an idea that we call checks and balances. Montesquieu’s beliefs would soon profoundly affect the Framers of the United States Constitution.

Diderot Edits the Encyclopedia

Denis Diderot (dee duh roh) worked for years to produce a 28-volume set of books called the Encyclopedia. As the editor, Diderot did more than just compile articles.

His purpose was “to change the general way of thinking” by explaining ideas on topics such as government, philosophy, and religion. Diderot’s Encyclopedia included articles by leading thinkers of the day, including Montesquieu and Voltaire.

In these articles, the philosophes denounced slavery, praised freedom of expression, and urged education for all. They attacked divine-right theory and traditional religions. Critics raised an outcry.

The French government argued that the Encyclopedia was an attack on public morals, and the pope threatened to excommunicate Roman Catholics who bought or read the volumes.

Despite these and other efforts to ban the Encyclopedia, more than 4,000 copies were printed between 1751 and 1789. When translated into other languages, the Encyclopedia helped spread Enlightenment ideas throughout Europe and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas.

Rousseau Promotes The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (roo soh), believed that people in their natural state were basically good. This natural innocence, he felt, was corrupted by the evils of society, especially the unequal distribution of property.

Many reformers and revolutionaries later adopted this view. Among them were Thomas Paine and Marquis de Lafayette, who were leading figures of the American and French Revolutions.

In 1762, Rousseau set forth his ideas about government and society in The Social Contract. Rousseau felt that society placed too many limitations on people’s behavior.

He believed that some controls were necessary, but that they should be minimal. Additionally, only governments that had been freely elected should impose these controls.

Rousseau put his faith in the “general will,” or the best conscience of the people. The good of the community as a whole, he said, should be placed above individual interests.

Rousseau has influenced political and social thinkers for more than 200 years. Woven through his work is a hatred of all forms of political and economic oppression. His bold ideas would help fan the flames of revolt in years to come.

Women Challenge the Philosophes

The Enlightenment slogan “free and equal” did not apply to women. Though the philosophes said women had natural rights, their rights were limited to the areas of home and family.

By the mid- to late-1700s, a small but growing number of women protested this view. Germaine de Staël in France and Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft in Britain argued that women were being excluded from the social contract itself. Their arguments, however, were ridiculed and often sharply condemned.

Wollstonecraft was a well-known British social critic. She accepted that a woman’s first duty was to be a good mother but felt that a woman should be able to decide what was in her own interest without depending on her husband.

In 1792, Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In it, she called for equal education for girls and boys. Only education, she argued, could give women the tools they needed to participate equally with men in public life.

HW, if and when you have written work, you can email the answers to me

Its Friday, nothing written; however,

you can look ahead as we are moving to Section 3 The Impact of the Enlightenment.