World History Essay Questions

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Five paragraphs which answer the questions based on text provided in the attachment...

  1. On what basis do the authors of these documents claim authority? In whose name do they speak? What goals do they seek to attain?
  2. What does justice mean from the perspectives of these three documents? Do the authors agree or disagree on what is just?
  3. What is the relationship between individual and col-lective rights in these documents? To what degree does each text consider individual liberties essential or harmful to the common good? Pay special attention to differences between the first document and the next two

The Power of Grassroots Democracy Pages 796–797 Despite the enormous economic and technological advances of the past 200 years, famine and dire poverty remain problems in many places. These problems have been particularly severe where unrepresentative, authoritarian leaders prevent foreign aid from reaching the needy and ordinary people from achieving self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency has been further undermined by pervasive discrimination against women, which has limited their access to education and therefore compromised economic growth for everyone, men and women alike. The three selections presented here all call attention to the importance of grassroots democracy and equality in responding to economic and ecological disasters and achieving at least a measure of autonomy. On January 1, 1994, a group of mostly Amerindians living in a jungle region in Chiapas, Mexico, took up arms against the government, calling for a restoration of the principles of the Mexican Revolution and protesting the confiscation of their land rights. The first document, from the General Council of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN), sought international support for their conflict with Mexican authorities. In the second selection, "Using Subsidies to Close Gender Gaps in Education" (2000–2001), researchers for the World Bank found that better education, and especially better education for girls, improves economic development among the poor. The final selection, from the Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen, "Democracy as a Universal Value" (1999), argues that no major famine has occurred in a democratic country with a free press. Primary Source 21.1 Declaration of War against the Mexican Government (1993), EZLN We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, during the War of Independence against Spain led by the insurgents; afterward to avoid being absorbed by American imperialism; then to promulgate our constitution and expel the French Empire from our soil; and later the Porfirista dictatorship denied us just application of the Reform laws, and the people rebelled, forming their own leaders; . . . we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a decent roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food, or education; without the right to freely and democratically elect our authorities; without independence from foreigners, without peace or justice for ourselves and our children. But TODAY WE SAY, ENOUGH! We are the heirs of those who truly forged our nationality. We the dispossessed are millions, and we call on our brothers to join in this call as the only path in order not to die of hunger in the face of the insatiable ambition of a dictatorship for more than 70 years led by a clique of traitors who represent the most conservative and sellout groups in the country. They are the same as those who opposed Hidalgo and Morelos, who betrayed Vicente Guerrero, the same as those who sold over half our territory to the foreign invader, the same as those who brought a European prince to rule us, the same as those who formed the dictatorship of the Porfirista "scientists," the same as those who opposed the Oil Expropriation, the same as those who massacred the railroad workers in 1958 and the students in 1968, the same as those who today take everything from us, absolutely everything. To prevent this, and as our last hope, after having tried everything to put into practice the legality based on our Magna Carta, we resort to it, to our Constitution, to apply Constitutional Article 39, which says: "National sovereignty resides essentially and originally in the people. All public power emanates from the people and is instituted for the people's benefit. The people have, at all times, the unalienable right to alter or modify the form of their government." Therefore, according to our Constitution, we issue this statement to the Mexican federal army, the basic pillar of the Mexican dictatorship that we suffer. . . . In conformity with this Declaration of War, we ask the other branches of the Nation's government to meet to restore the legality and the stability of the Nation by deposing the dictator. . . . PEOPLE OF MEXICO: We, upright and free men and women, are conscious that the war we declare is a last resort, but it is just. The dictators have been applying an undeclared genocidal war against our people for many years. Therefore we ask for your decided participation in support of this plan of the Mexican people in their struggle for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, liberty, democracy, justice, and peace. SOURCE: General Council of the EZLN, Declaración de la Selva Lacandona, 1993 (, January 1, 1994). Primary Source 21.2 Why Gender Matters (2000), World Bank Evaluations of recent initiatives that subsidize the costs of schooling indicate that demand-side interventions can increase girls' enrollments and close gender gaps in education. A school stipend program established in Bangladesh in 1982 subsidizes various school expenses for girls who enroll in secondary school. In the first program evaluation girls' enrollment rate in the pilot areas rose from 27 percent, similar to the national average, to 44 percent over five years, more than twice the national average. . . . After girls' tuition was eliminated nationwide in 1992 and the stipend program was expanded to all rural areas, girls' enrollment rate climbed to 48 percent at the national level. There have also been gains in the number of girls appearing for exams and in women's enrollments at intermediate colleges. . . . While boys' enrollment rates also rose during this period, they did not rise as quickly as girls'. Two recent programs in Balochistan, Pakistan, illustrate the potential benefits of reducing costs and improving physical access. Before the projects there were questions about whether girls' low enrollments were due to cultural barriers that cause parents to hold their daughters out of school or to inadequate supply of appropriate schools. Program evaluations suggest that improved physical access, subsidized costs, and culturally appropriate design can sharply increase girls' enrollments. The first program, in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, uses a subsidy tied to girls' enrollment to support the creation of schools in poor urban neighborhoods by local NGOs. The schools admit boys as long as they make up less than half of total enrollments. In rural Balochistan the second program has been expanding the supply of local, single-sex primary schools for girls by encouraging parental involvement in establishing the schools and by subsidizing the recruitment of female teachers from the local community. The results: girls' enrollments rose 33 percent in Quetta and 22 percent in rural areas. Interestingly, both programs appear to have also expanded boys' enrollments, suggesting that increasing girls' educational opportunities may have spillover benefits for boys. SOURCE: Reproduced with permission of the World Bank from "Using Subsidies to Close Gender Gaps in Education," World Development Report 2000–2001, p. 122, Box 7.2. Copyright 2000 by World Bank. Permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. Primary Source 21.3 "Democracy as a Universal Value" (1999), Amartya Sen [I]n the terrible history of famines in the world, no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. We cannot find exceptions to this rule, no matter where we look: the recent famines of Ethiopia, Somalia, or other dictatorial regimes; famines in the Soviet Union in the 1930s; China's 1958–61 famine with the failure of the Great Leap Forward; or earlier still, the famines in Ireland or India under alien rule. China, although it was in many ways doing much better economically than India, still managed (unlike India) to have a famine, indeed the largest recorded famine in world history: Nearly 30 million people died in the famine of 1958–61, while faulty governmental policies remained uncorrected for three full years. The policies went uncriticized because there were no opposition parties in parliament, no free press, and no multiparty elections. Indeed, it is precisely this lack of challenge that allowed the deeply defective policies to continue even though they were killing millions each year. . . . Famines are often associated with what look like natural disasters, and commentators often settle for the simplicity of explaining famines by pointing to these events: the floods in China during the failed Great Leap Forward, the droughts in Ethiopia, or crop failures in North Korea. Nevertheless, many countries with similar natural problems, or even worse ones, manage perfectly well, because a responsive government intervenes to help alleviate hunger. . . . Even the poorest democratic countries that have faced terrible droughts or floods or other natural disasters (such as India in 1973, or Zimbabwe and Botswana in the early 1980s) have been able to feed their people without experiencing a famine. Famines are easy to prevent if there is a serious effort to do so, and a democratic government, facing elections and criticisms from opposition parties and independent newspapers, cannot help but make such an effort. Not surprisingly, while India continued to have famines under British rule right up to independence (the last famine, which I witnessed as a child, was in 1943, four years before independence), they disappeared suddenly with the establishment of a multiparty democracy and a free press. . . . When things go fine and everything is routinely good, this instrumental role of democracy may not be particularly missed. It is when things get fouled up, for one reason or another, that the political incentives provided by democratic governance acquire great practical value. SOURCE: Amartya Sen, "Democracy as a Universal Value," Journal of Democracy 10, no. 3 (1999): 3– 17, passages from pp. 6–9.

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The authors of the documents have claimed authority over issues which involve equality
and the matters of power. They have touched on the issue of girl child education and as well as
the rights of the people who are not in power. Famine is one of the disasters which has brought
people together due to the misrepresentative contributing to citizens in need of not receiving the
aid from foreign countries. The authors have claimed authority over the issues claiming that
power always comes from the ordinary people since the...

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