Date of Publication

5-2010

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Salahuddin Malik, PhD

Abstract

Over two hundred years ago before the United States was officially formed, a unique American culture different from that of mother-land England had began to emerge. Starting with John Winthrop‟s idea of creating a society that would be “a city upon a hill” through a government created based on the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers, and through the civil rights era, America has prided itself on being a forward-thinking, civil rights champion and a role model for other societies. The Statue of Liberty warmly welcomes refugees from other countries, and we have often times referred to ourselves as the melting pot of the world. This unique American culture that has so proudly announced its acceptance of diversity, has actually used diversity in a negative way to unite American people against a common enemy.

In times of chaos and fear, American people have often looked to point the finger at a certain group, religion, or idea that far extends pass just women and African-Americans. American society continuously looks to blame others- a phenomenon the government actually uses to gain power and unite Americans. We will first look to history to see how the public and influential leaders during the Salem Witch trials, Japanese Internment, and McCarthyism all have placed blame on a minority under the leadership of the government as a way to answer social problems and as a way for the government to gain power. We will then look at the modern issue of how in the grand scheme of things, this continues today with the making of Muslim-Americans and terrorists to be synonymous and the role the government has played in uniting the American people against a common enemy. In a country that was supposed to be the land of freedom for those being persecuted, our society and government continues to persecute others.

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