THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EMMA GOLDMAN
A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students
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Background to the Exhibits
Emma Goldman opposed involuntary
military service in part because of her childhood experiences
where state officials periodically seized young
men off the streets to serve in the army, and also because she
who believed in free choice in all aspects of
life. By 1917, she was vigorously involved in fighting America's
march toward war. Goldman believed Woodrow Wilson's campaign
to prepare the United States for war would result in a militarized
America. Goldman even attacked Wilson's position of neutrality,
stating: "It is not enough to claim being neutral; a neutrality
which sheds crocodile tears with one eye and keeps the other riveted
upon the profits from war supplies and war loans is not neutrality."
She protested the involuntary drafting of young men into the
military. Her anticonscription activities led to her arrest,
imprisonment, and, ultimately, her deportation. The excerpt from
"Preparedness: The Road to Universal
and her participation in the No-Conscription
League illustrate Goldman's opposition to conscription, her
concerns about military buildup, and the organized efforts to
- Collect newspaper or magazine reports on
current wars. Address these questions: What arguments for fighting
do the combatants offer? Are other nations or groups within the
country at war working to stop this war? What ideas can you offer
to bring an end to this conflict?
- Write for information from organizations
such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, US Marine Corps, Wheelchair
Veterans of America, Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom, Women for Peace, American Friends Service Committee's
youth militarism project, Vietnam Veterans against the War. Compare
information you receive, and use it to create posters presenting
the different points of view.
- Using one of Woodrow Wilson's public speeches
on preparedness and Goldman's preparedness pamphlet, hold a mock
rally in which speakers give speeches representing the views of
- Gather statements from conscientious objectors
in any of America's wars. Describe the circumstances and consequence
of the statements.
- Collect contemporary pro and antimilitary
cartoons from newspapers and magazines. Make your own cartoons
illustrating your view.
- Look into the origins of the philosophical
concept of a "just war." What American conflicts do
you think exemplify this concept?
- Research the experiences of AfricanAmerican
people during the World War I period. What led to the Silent
March on Fifth Avenue in New York City on July 28, 1917? Did
racism affect AfricanAmerican people's attitudes toward
the war? How have other domestic issues affected public views
of foreign policies?
- Using the sources listed in the bibliography,
research a variety of views about war espoused by contemporaries
of Goldman such as Eugene Debs, Jane Addams, Theodore Roosevelt,
Woodrow Wilson, and Randolph Bourne. Which wars were the following
individuals most closely associated with and what stance did they
take on those wars: General Douglas MacArthur, Richard Nixon,
Jean Kirkpatrick, Henry Kissinger, Martin Luther King, Jr., and
Daniel Ellsberg. Compare their positions with those of Goldman's
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