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A Documentary History of the United States: Expanded & Updated 8th Edition Mass Market Paperback – October 6, 2009
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Richard D. Heffner graduated from Columbia University and taught history and political science. He is a Professor at Rutgers University since 1964, and also produced and moderated "The Open Mind" for public television. The sixth edition was published in July 1999. The `Contents' list its thirty chapters and the References. There is no `Index' to its 513 pages. The `Foreword' tells these sources are presented as written (with slight editing). Each reader can be his own historian. Written history records the opinion of the meaning of certain events; which can change over time. [But certain facts and views remain the same.] These chapters begin with an introduction by the author followed by the selected documents. Given the limitations of space and time I will only comment on Chapter 30, which happened only twenty years ago. Remember? Most students weren't even born then.
William Jefferson Clinton was elected President in 1992. Clinton's attempt to reform the health care system failed. [Until "Obamacare".] In 1994 Newt Gingrich created a campaign document "Contract With America" to propose legislative changes. The Republicans won control of the House and Senate in 1994. [No mention of Clinton's Gun Control law.] How many were actually implemented? Were they all worthy of enactment? Are campaign promises always fulfilled? Clinton won a second term in 1996. In 1998 President Clinton was impeached by the House by acquitted by the Senate. Was this "The End of the American Century"? America's foremost standing began after WW I, increased after WW II, but went into decline with Reagan's Presidency. Domestic problems such as "education, Social Security, race relations, crime and punishment, the environment, campaign finance reform, immigration, and universal health insurance" cannot be "solved" given human nature and contending social and economic rivalries.
Reading the "Contract With America" twenty years later should expose the frauds in these proposals. For example, a "$500 per child tax credit" does nothing about the devaluation of the dollar, the financial control by the private "Federal Reserve Bank", or outsourcing jobs. The latter probably caused the current "Great Recession" and the decline of the United States. Aren't many of the other points also hoaxes? A term limit for Congressmen does nothing to prevent the influence of millionaires in their campaign finances. The need is to double the number of Representatives to allow smaller and more representative districts. Each state will decide the Congressional District, but smaller sizes makes it harder to misrepresent voters who voted for the opponent. If one party wins with 60% of the vote that disenfranchises the 40% who voted for the other candidate(s).
Item # 7 is a farce. It doesn't remove taxation from Social Security benefits, which is a return of previously paid taxes (like medical insurance benefits). Taxation should occur only when income exceeds a higher amount, such as $75,000 single, $100,000 married. Reagan repaid those who voted for him by a new tax on retired people. There is nothing wrong with taxing Social Security benefits for anyone still working at a good paying job, one that is far over the minimum wage. But the Republican controlled House and Senate didn't do this, or even raise the taxable limit! Item # 10 is a farce. If you want "citizen legislators" you should pick them from a list of voters (like for jury duty). This fraud doesn't mention the length of a term limit. This is like a swindle that sells an over valued product!
However, the update, by the original author's son, is shameful. In his commentary on Barack Obama's campaign, he notes that Sarah Palin attracted conservative supporters who were "uncomfortable with the idea of an African-American being president." No -- it couldn't have been that conservatives were uncomfortable with the idea of a liberal Democrat being president! It must be because he was black! -- How shameful. Keep the partisan political BS out of this history book.
The original author's commentary isn't like this, and the book is great if you ignore the additional tripe. Still, three stars for allowing this shameful smear to go through.