Question 2 – Connect: Base your answer to this question on the two assigned readings within the lesson – the interview with a Yale Professor and the blog on Hawaiian Food. (Note: Hawaii itself is part of the U.S.)
What did Freedman mean by when he said there are “three characterizes of American cuisine” are “regionalism, standardization, and variety”? How did each change over time? Does Hawaiian cuisine, as discussed in the PBS article, go along with Freedman’s definition of American cuisine? Explain your answer.
Formatting: 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, one-inch margins. Points will be deducted if not formatted correctly.
File format: Submit as either a .doc, .docx., or .pdf. Avoid “Shared” documents since they also do not work with the Blackboard system. The assignment will earn a zero if not submitted in the correct format.
Length: Two paragraphs for the section. Each paragraph should be at least six sentences long. Points will be deducted if sentences appear to have been intentionally shortened to meet the required number of sentences.
Editing: Be sure to proofread your answer and use spellcheck before submitting. Points will be deducted for not doing so.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism of any kind will result in automatic failure. Use of outside sources counts as plagiarism.
American Nation, American Empire Sway Lesson
Note: This Sway lesson contains links to additional required readings. As you go through the lesson,
be sure click on the relevant links to read the sections in Yawp, the interview with the Yale Historian
on food history, and the blog on Hawaiian food. If you have any questions, let your professor know.
The American Nation-State & Imperialism
The Civil War (1860-1865) challenged the idea of a single American nation-state at the same time
that the idea of modern nationalism (the alignment of the nation with the state) was popular across
the Atlantic. The Union’s win in the Civil War helped to create a single nation-state (although by
force). To be clear, let’s go over what nation and state mean. The nation is a people or an imagined
community. It is larger than a city or region. A state is a political entity – a government with borders
that is sovereign. The idea of a nation-state is that a people have their own sovereign country. After
the Civil War, people started to use The United States (instead of These United States) more often.
Once they did – once they thought of the United States as a nation-state – then people began to debate
exactly who was part of the American nation. American national identity is based around the
founding ideals such as the right to self rule (democracy), liberty (individual rights), and equality.
The cartoon below, School Begins, was created in 1899, just after the Spanish-American War and
during the Filipino-American War. These imperialist wars sparked a debate over who America was –
was it okay for a nation that had fought for independence from Britain to hold other nations as
colonies? Was it okay to proclaim liberty and self-rule while forcing rule on weaker nations? The first
part of this lesson focuses on U.S. imperialism with regard to Hawaii and the former Spanish
colonies gained through the Spanish-American War.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the United States joined the other imperialist powers in
nation-state competition over territory. The U.S. annexation of Hawaii and its victory against Spain
in the Spanish-American War prompted a debate within the U.S. over the meaning of liberty and
American democracy. Read American Yawp Chapter 19, parts II, III, and IV (Click Here to access
Next, look at the School Begins cartoon – what message is the artist trying to display? What do the
different scenes represent? The information in Yawp and the Crash Course should help you decipher
the reason that “Uncle Sam” (representing U.S. policy) is “instructing” the 4 children in the front. The
other images in the cartoon help the artist make his point. See the explanation and evidence below to
help decipher the cartoon.
The political cartoon above, School Begins, appeared in Puck magazine in January, 1899. The center
of the cartoon is Uncle Sam “teaching” four frightened children, who are symbolic of the U.S.’s
newly acquired territories, about the “First Lessons in Self Government,” as the book on his desk
suggests. The cartoonist, Dalrymple, was being satirical. His cartoon was a critique of U.S.
imperialism and the U.S. rhetoric that went along with imperialism. Pro-imperialists argued that they
were not taking over other territories for financial gain or other selfish reasons. Instead, they claimed,
they were spreading civilization and democracy.
Dalrymple’s cartoon sought to highlight the hypocrisy of imperialists’ claims to be spreading
democracy and civilization by including the image of a blackboard with the following scribble across
it: “The consent of the governed is a good thing in theory, but very rare in fact. — England has
governed her colonies whether they consented or not. By not waiting for their consent she has greatly
advanced the world’s civilization. — The U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their
consent until they can govern themselves.” To Dalrymple, and other critics of U.S. imperialism, he
viewed U.S. imperialist actions as counter to the ideals of the U.S., namely self-government.
The first part of this lesson provided an introduction to the rise of the American empire, with a focus
on the annexation of Hawaii and the Spanish-American War, which will provide the historical
context for the image of the four “children” in the front of the image. The scenes in the background
of the cartoon – the black child washing the window, the Native American child next to the door, and
the Chinese boy standing outside – represent other aspects of U.S. domestic and foreign policy. By
including these other scenes, Dalrymple is trying to drive home his point. Let’s look at the other
images to help us decipher Dalrymple’s message.
Our lesson on the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow from the previous module provides
the historical context for the black child washing the window. Consider why Dalrymple would
include a black child washing a window in a classroom full of students? (Note that this was not a
depiction of a real life scene. Instead the boy washing the window is symbolic.) Why would he
include the image of a Chinese boy standing outside the door?
To understand the historical context of the Chinese boy standing outside of the door, and thus be able
to decipher what the artist was commenting on, read the following summary by the Library of
Congress on Chinese Immigration (c. late 19th and early 20th centuries):
The door to the Chinese American dream was finally slammed shut in 1882, when Congress passed
the Chinese Exclusion Act. This act was the first significant restriction on free immigration in U.S.
history, and it excluded Chinese laborers from the country under penalty of imprisonment and
deportation. It also made Chinese immigrants permanent aliens by excluding them from U.S.
citizenship. Chinese men in the U.S. now had little chance of ever reuniting with their wives, or of
starting families in their new home.
For all practical purposes, the Exclusion Act, along with the restrictions that followed it, froze the
Chinese community in place in 1882, and prevented it from growing and assimilating into U.S.
society as European immigrant groups did. Later, the 1924 Immigration Act would tighten the noose
even further, excluding all classes of Chinese immigrants and extending restrictions to other Asian
immigrant groups. Until these restrictions were relaxed in the middle of the twentieth century,
Chinese immigrants were forced to live a life apart, and to build a society in which they could
survive on their own.
End of summary.
Next, let’s turn to the imagine of the Native American student sitting inside the classroom, but on the
other side of the door from the other children who represented the then new states and new colonies.
What is the symbolism of the Native American sitting inside the classroom? He is sitting down, but
he is on the other side of the classroom – separated from the other students. The following is an
excerpt from an article published in History Today. Read the exerpt included below to find out about
the historical context, which will help you be able to explain what Dalrymple was trying to show.
Here is the assigned excerpt:
“Native Americans and the Federal Government” by Andrew Boxer (History Today, 2009)
At the start of the twentieth century there were approximately 250,000 Native Americans in the USA
– just 0.3 per cent of the population – most living on reservations where they exercised a limited
degree of self-government. During the course of the nineteenth century they had been deprived of
much of their land by forced removal westwards, by a succession of treaties (which were often not
honoured by the white authorities) and by military defeat by the USA as it expanded its control over
the American West.
In 1831 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, had attempted to define their status.
He declared that Indian tribes were ‘domestic dependent nations’ whose ‘relation to the United States
resembles that of a ward to his guardian’. Marshall was, in effect, recognising that America’s Indians
are unique in that, unlike any other minority, they are both separate nations and part of the United
States. This helps to explain why relations between the federal government and the Native Americans
have been so troubled. A guardian prepares his ward for adult independence, and so Marshall’s
judgement implies that US policy should aim to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream US
culture. But a guardian also protects and nurtures a ward until adulthood is achieved, and therefore
Marshall also suggests that the federal government has a special obligation to care for its Native
American population. As a result, federal policy towards Native Americans has lurched back and
forth, sometimes aiming for assimilation and, at other times, recognising its responsibility for
assisting Indian development.
What complicates the story further is that (again, unlike other minorities seeking recognition of their
civil rights) Indians have possessed some valuable reservation land and resources over which white
Americans have cast envious eyes. Much of this was subsequently lost and, as a result, the history of
Native Americans is often presented as a morality tale. White Americans, headed by the federal
government, were the ‘bad guys’, cheating Indians out of their land and resources. Native Americans
were the ‘good guys’, attempting to maintain a traditional way of life much more in harmony with
nature and the environment than the rampant capitalism of white America, but powerless to defend
their interests. Only twice, according to this narrative, did the federal government redeem itself:
firstly during the Indian New Deal from 1933 to 1945, and secondly in the final decades of the
century when Congress belatedly attempted to redress some Native American grievances.
There is a lot of truth in this summary, but it is also simplistic. There is no doubt that Native
Americans suffered enormously at the hands of white Americans, but federal Indian policy was
shaped as much by paternalism, however misguided, as by white greed. Nor were Indians simply
passive victims of white Americans’ actions. Their responses to federal policies, white Americans’
actions and the fundamental economic, social and political changes of the twentieth century were
varied and divisive. These tensions and cross-currents are clearly evident in the history of the Indian
New Deal and the policy of termination that replaced it in the late 1940s and 1950s. Native American
history in the mid-twentieth century was much more than a simple story of good and evil, and it
raises important questions (still unanswered today) about the status of Native Americans in modern
The Dawes Act
Between 1887 and 1933, US government policy aimed to assimilate Indians into mainstream
American society. Although to modern observers this policy looks both patronising and racist, the
white elite that dominated US society saw it as a civilising mission, comparable to the work of
European missionaries in Africa. As one US philanthropist put it in 1886, the Indians were to be
‘safely guided from the night of barbarism into the fair dawn of Christian civilisation’. In practice,
this meant requiring them to become as much like white Americans as possible: converting to
Christianity, speaking English, wearing western clothes and hair styles, and living as selfsufficient,
Federal policy was enshrined in the General Allotment (Dawes) Act of 1887 which decreed that
Indian Reservation land was to be divided into plots and allocated to individual Native Americans.
These plots could not be sold for 25 years, but reservation land left over after the distribution of
allotments could be sold to outsiders. This meant that the Act became, in practice, an opportunity for
land-hungry white Americans to acquire Indian land, a process accelerated by the 1903 Supreme
Court decision in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock that Congress could dispose of Indian land without gaining
the consent of the Indians involved. Not surprisingly, the amount of Indian land shrank from 154
million acres in 1887 to a mere 48 million half a century later.
The Dawes Act also promised US citizenship to Native Americans who took advantage of the
allotment policy and ‘adopted the habits of civilized life’. This meant that the education of Native
American children – many in boarding schools away from the influence of their parents – was
considered an essential part of the civilising process. The principal of the best-known school for
Indian children at Carlisle in Pennsylvania boasted that his aim for each child was to ‘kill the Indian
in him and save the man’.
End of Article Excerpt.
Optional: If you are interested, you can read the full article, available online through the following
Food & National Identities:
What is American? In this lesson we saw a debate over what American values were – empire and/or
democracy. In other lessons we see the repetitive theme in U.S. history of who is an American. Here
we will take a minute to think about what is American food. Is there an American cuisine? In
exploring American cuisine, we can get a better idea of what characterizes America – what is it that
makes American different or exceptional compared to other nations?
Associations of a particular nation with a particular food (like the potato and Ireland) resulted from
the rise of modern nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. The potato, for example, originates in
Peru, but we tend to think of it as Irish because of the Irish Potato Famine and the potato’s role as a
dominant food source in Ireland by the 19th century. The tomato that we associate with Italy also
originated in the Western Hemisphere. The Columbian Exchange (discussed in AMH2010) included
the exchange of plants and animals between the New World and the Old. The rise of national
identities, in Europe, occured mainly in the 19th century. Although items or food might have been
part of the local markets before the 19th century, the association of an item/food with a nation was
explicitly cultivated and linked during the 19th century. (Italy only became Italy in 1860. Before
then, multiple states existed. Even with unification people were far more likely to identify with their
local area – the Venetians, the Milanese, the Romans, etc.)
Idenitifying a national food for the United States is particularly difficult. Instead, we tend to think of
U.S. cuisine as regional, eclectic, and/or fast. Indeed, as you will see in the two (brief) readings
linked to below, Americans “melting pot” or “salad bowl” (multicultural) history contributes to a
uniquely American take on cuisine.