US History Midterm Questions

Link to Google Doc

Foreign Policy – Semester 1 – US History – What did you learn?

1) Personal Reflection Question: (15 minutes)

What lessons has history taught you?  What are the most significant or enduring lessons you will remember 10 years from now?

2) Short Essay Questions:  (45 Minutes)

Please answer as many of the following questions you can, with as much detail as you can.  Feel free to ask questions, consult your notes, or conduct brief additional research.

  • * How do you feel about politics in America?  How have your thoughts about politics changed as a result of this class?  What questions about politics or the political system do you continue to have?

  • * What are some of the largest problems facing our political system?

  • * If nations were people, what kind of person would the U.S. be?  How do we treat others in the world and why do we choose to treat them that way? Please use specific historical examples to back up your claims.

  • * What is the military-industrial-congressional complex and what advice do you think President Dwight D. Eisenhower would give to the American people if he were alive today?

  • * According to Thomas Friedman, what were the main causes of the terrorist attacks of 9/11?  be sure to discuss the Three Rivers of Rage that he references in his film Searching for the Roots of 9/11.

  • * What was the Cold War? Who started it?  Is the war still being fought?

  • * What methods did the CIA use to overthrow Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran?  Or, write an instruction manual on how to overthrow a burgeoning democracy.

  • * What blowback to the U.S. resulted from this coup?  Be sure to define the word ‘blowback’ in your response and discuss why most Iranians distrust the U.S. government?

3) One Additional Activity (60 minutes)

Choose one of the following topics and submit the challenge

A.) Exploring U.S. Political Ideologies

Challenge: Answer as many of the following questions as you can:

The American Political Spectrum – What is the difference between the following political ideologies:

  • Communism (i.e. Revolutionary Socialism)

  • Democratic Socialism

  • Progressivism

  • Populism

  • Modern Liberalism

  • Paleoconservatism

  • Modern Conservatism

  • Libertarianism

  • Neoconservatism

  • Fascism (i.e. Authoritarian Capitalism)


You may wish to use some of the following spectrums to help explain the differences between these ideologies…

  • economic beliefs (socialism ——  capitalism)

  • political beliefs (democratic —– autocracy)

  • social or cultural beliefs (individualism —– collectivism)

  • foreign policy beliefs (multilateralism —– unilateralism)

  • foreign policy beliefs (isolationism —– internationalism)

  • trade and globalization (protectionism —– free trade)


Political Charts


What is the difference between multilateralism and unilateralism?

What is the difference between idealism and realism?

What is the difference between a Hawk and Dove?

What is the difference between an internationalists and an isolationist?

B) Questions about the U.S. Political System and Militarism

Challenge: Answer as many of the questions as you can.

Which body of our federal government has the power to declare war?  Which body has the power to declare a military action? How are these two different? How can one or the other often lead to the other?

What is gerrymandering and how did this practice help contribute to the recent government shutdown?

What was the ruling in the Citizen’s United Supreme Court Case.  What impact has this decision had on our political system?

What is American Exceptionalism and is it a legitimate belief?  In what ways is the U.S. exceptional?

Who is more powerful the corporate elite or national politicians?  Who is the puppet and who is the puppet master?

Why do we fight?

If nations were people, what kind of person would the U.S. be?

What should we do about military spending?  Increase, stay the same, decrease?

C) Iraq War – ‘Why We Fight’ and ‘Uncovered: The Truth about the War in Iraq’

Challenge: Answer as many of the following questions as you can.

What are some differences and similarities between how George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama dealt with countries in the Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, etc)?

It has been argued that the Bush administration manufactured the War in Iraq, what evidence do these people use to make that claim?

What claims were made to justify the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration? Which of these claims turned out to be valid and reliable reasons?

What other reasons might there have been to invade Iraq? What do you believe were the real reasons for the invasion and which reasons do you feel were simply pretexts (false reasons) for the invasion?

How did the Bush administration imply that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

How was the Iraq war fought and what impact did it have on American soldiers and the Iraqi population?

What is preemptive war?

What role did the media play in promoting or preventing the Iraq War?

Was the Iraq war profitable for America? Was the Iraq War profitable for particular US corporations?

What role did the Project for a New American Century (a neoconservative think tank) play in promoting the War in Iraq?

D) Cold War

Challenge: Answer the following questions.

What was the Cold War?

Who started the Cold War?

Is the Cold War over?

Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s Doctrine about why the U.S. Supported Authoritarian Regimes


E) US Media

Challenge: Answer the following questions.

How is the media manipulative?

What methods does the media employ to persuade viewers to believe a certain way?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the American media?

How can you find the truth about an event or issue?

Challenge: Analyze the following media resources:


F) Consider Policy Options in Iran

Challenge: What should our foreign policy toward Iran be?  Explain in detail using evidence, examples, logic, and reason.