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    Vassar College
  Feb 18, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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EDUC 369 - Social Citizenship in an Urban Age

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
(Same as HIST 369  and URBS 369 ) During a 1936 campaign speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that in “1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy.” Since then “the age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production and mass distribution—all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem … . For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality.” Therefore, the President concluded, government must do something to “protect the citizen’s right to work and right to live.” This course looks at how Americans during the twentieth century fought to expand the meaning of citizenship to include social rights. We study efforts on behalf of labor laws, unemployment and old age insurance, and aid to poor mothers and their children. How did these programs affect Americans of different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds? How did gender shape the ways that people experienced these programs? Because many Americans believed that widening educational opportunities was essential for addressing the problems associated with the “new civilization” that Roosevelt described, we ask to what extent Americans came to believe that access to a good education is a right of citizenship. These issues and the struggles surrounding them are not only, as they say, “history.” To help us understand our times, we look at the backlash, in the closing decades of the twentieth century, against campaigns to enlarge the definition of citizenship. Miriam Cohen.

One 2-hour period.

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