Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

“Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote.”

Many young people may not realize it wasn’t until 46 years ago that teenagers gained the right to vote. The voting age started to become a controversy during World War II when President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the minimum age for the military draft to 18. Many young people felt it was unfair to be required to fight in the war without the right to have a say in the policies of the nation through voting. The youth voting rights movement began with the slogan, “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”

From 1942 to 1971, Rudolph Jennings of West Virginia, as a congressman and later as a senator, brought 11 pieces of legislation to Congress to lower the voting age to 18 but was unsuccessful. Only a handful of states lowered the voting below 21 and only Georgia and Kentucky allowed voting at age 18.

The 1960s brought the issue to a head at a time when young people were at the center of civic involvement. They often participated in marches, sit-ins, and other forms of protest on civil rights issues for blacks, women, and to end the war in Vietnam. Again a war was the impetus to fuel the movement.

On June 22, 1970, Congress voted to extend the Voting Rights Act to apply to age and allow voting at age 18. After challenges to the law and a ruling at the Supreme Court in Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress could only regulate the age in federal elections not State or local, support swelled for an amendment that would set a uniform voting age of 18 in all elections.

On March 10, 1971, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted in favor of the 26th Amendment and it went to the states for ratification. On June 30, 1971, the amendment was considered officially ratified. On July 5, 2017 the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified and signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

The youth turnout was 55.4% in 1972 but then declined over the years reaching 36% in the 1988 election. The tide dramatically turned in the 2008 election of Barack Obama with a youth vote turnout of 49% which is the second highest in history.

The Current Debate

The current controversy with voting age is a call to reduce the age further to 16. As young people have access to more information than ever before, many teens and youth advocates are calling for lowering the voting age. Some countries, such as Austria and Nicaragua, have reduced their minimum voting age to 16.

Proponents say a lower voting age would focus attention on issues of particular interest to young adults. But some say younger teens are still learning about the democratic process and may not yet know how to be responsible citizens. These critics argue that, at 16, children are too immature to vote.

Educators, find the latest coverage of this issue in the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue: Voting Age and in the eLibrary Research Topic: Voting Age.

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CultureGrams: New Interviews Added!

Interviews Gallery

Over the past month, CultureGrams has added 8 new Interviews! And there are even more coming soon! The 8 we added are

These interviews by country natives are not only interesting and fun to read, but they also give students insider knowledge into what life and culture in the country are really like.

Here’s an example from the Thailand interview, in which Saichai, age 51, talks about general Thai attitudes and how she feels about being Thai:

Saichai, ThailandI’m proud of being Thai. I like the way of life here, the way people usually deal with each other, and that everyone tries to be easy going. Of course, that’s not always possible, and there are many problems as well, but it’s the way people deal with that. Sometimes people complain that many things go wrong in this country, but isn’t that the case in every country of the world? Our culture is also a lot about accepting the circumstances and not letting them get you down. Because the only thing that will happen is that you feel bad about things you cannot change anyway. I have never been abroad, but when I see foreigners who come to Thailand, I feel that sometimes they worry too much about little things.

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Vietnam War Resources in eLibrary

Vietnam War Research Topic via Proquest eLibrary

Vietnam War Research Topic via Proquest eLibrary

March 8, 2015, marked 50 years since the first American ground forces arrived in Vietnam. American military advisers had been in the country since 1950 and the First Indochina War, which saw the French attempting to retain colonial control in the face of a Chinese-backed insurgency that had raged since shortly after World War II. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, a 1964 skirmish between U.S. and North Vietnamese warships, was used as justification for greater American involvement, and over the next ten years, more than 58,000 Americans and more than a million others were killed in the conflict.

Along the way, the Tet Offensive, the Battle of Hamburger Hill and the My Lai Massacre would shock the public, make the Vietnam War synonymous with quagmire and prompt massive protests across the U.S. and elsewhere.

While the April, 1975 fall of Saigon ended American involvement in the conflict, the difficulties were not over for many. Veterans of the war faced tough times dealing with their experiences and their return home, and the families of those who were were presumed killed and unrecovered or declared missing in action were denied closure.

Today, the Vietnam War is seen as one of the darkest times in American history, and debates still rage about all aspects of the conflict and the lessons that were, or were not, learned.

If you followed the links above, you saw that eLibrary has a wide range of resources on the Vietnam War and related topics–our Research Topics pages, articles, entire books, videos and more. Of course, all of these can be found by searching eLibrary, but here are some resources to get the research started on this topic:

Research Topics, including those above (Research Topics are retrieved during searches in eLibrary and can also be found here.):
First Indochina War
Battle of Dien Bien Phu (ended french involvement in Indochina)
Vietnam War
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Viet Cong
Battle of Hamburger Hill
Battle of Khe Sanh
Tet Offensive
My Lai Massacre
Fall of Saigon
Vietnam War Protests
Vietnam Prisoners of War/Missing in Action
Vietnamese Immigration (U.S.)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam War: A History in Documents
Catastrophe in Vietnam (chapter from The Cold War: A History in Documents)
Vietnam War chapters from the Defense Information School’s U.S. History


Subject browse sections (Click on underlined words to widen or narrow the scope and click on “View Results” to see eLibrary resources. Items with stars next to them will display Research Topic pages.):
Vietnam War
Military History

Spring Rolls Recipe

This delicious spring rolls recipe–called Cha Gio–hails from Vietnam, where rice is a staple. Find more recipes from Vietnam and every other country in the world here!

vietnam_cha gio

The spring rolls are the dish on the bottom right.


2 ounces cellophane noodles
2 tablespoons tree ears
1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots or white part of 3 scallions, finely chopped
7-ounce can crabmeat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
20 sheets round dried rice papers
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups peanut oil, for frying
Fish sauce
2–3 mint leaves
2 cucumber slices

  1. Soak noodles in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Soak tree ears in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and chop finely and then set aside.
  2. To make filling, combine noodles, tree ears, ground pork, onion, garlic, shallots, crabmeat, and black pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut a round rice paper sheet into quarters. Place rice sheets on a flat surface. With a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg over the entire surface of each piece. Let stand for 2 minutes.
  4. When the wrapper looks soft and transparent, place about 1 teaspoon filling near the curved side, in the shape of a rectangle. Fold the sides over to enclose the filling and then roll.
  5. After filling all the wrappers, pour oil into a large frying pan. Place spring rolls in cold oil. Turn heat to medium and fry for 20 to 30 minutes, until spring rolls turn a golden brown.
  6. Set out a bowl of fish sauce for dipping. To serve, add a bit of lettuce, 2 or 3 mint leaves, some coriander, and 2 cucumber slices to a bowl. Add 1 or 2 spring rolls and sprinkle with fish sauce.

Hint: Using peanut oil for frying keeps spring rolls crispy.


50 Years Later: Remembering the War on Poverty

SIRS Issues Researcher values historical research and remembrance. That’s why poverty is such an important issue affecting past and present-day economic discussions.

"Lyndon Johnson." Photo credit: Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M / Foter / CC BY

“Lyndon Johnson.” Photo credit: Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M / Foter / CC BY

Fifty years ago today, Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty  (1964-1968). With his declaration came a slew of legislative improvements he signed and designed to prevent poverty and lift the economy.  Job Corps, the Office of Economic Opportunity, Welfare Reform and Earned Income Tax Credit were just some of the efforts put forth by president Johnson to help struggling families. The “Great Society,” which emerged as the 36th president’s running theme for the late 1960s, encompassed the heart of his good intentions.

Detracting from his American vision and economic efforts was the Vietnam War (1959 — April 30, 1975). During the Vietnam War, troops became angry and resentful, often turning to drugs. They were unprepared for the dangerous ambushes in the jungle of the Viet Cong. The Vietnam War later proved to be a prominent symbol of what not to do in wartime because of the disorganization, length of time overseas and expense. After the war was over, Americans had a very different perspective on what mattered to them most at home.

Fifty years later, poverty is still a problem. The impoverished and working poor still look to the government for aid, while middle and upper class earnings get stretched apart more each year. Economic inequality is prevalent throughout the U.S. and minimum wage rarely gets increased.

Kickstart a research paper on the war on poverty by browsing for inspiration from Drawing the Line or the Poverty Timeline. Utilize the keyword search for finding graphics and websites. A streamlined design and user-friendly navigation menu make searching SIRS Issues Researcher simple.

CultureGrams: Birthdays Around the World

When I was growing up, the Thanksgiving holiday season always opened with a birthday celebration. Today is both my dad and my brother’s birthday. My family’s birthday tradition was always that the birthday person got to choose what to eat for our family dinner, and my dad and brother usually chose to have turkey and mashed potatoes, followed by cake and ice cream and opening presents. That meant that my family often had the traditional Thanksgiving meal twice within the period of a week or two.

Birthdays are special occasions throughout the world, and many countries have their own unique traditions. For instance, in the Netherlands, a person’s 50th birthday is often called “seeing Abraham” (or “seeing Sarah for a woman). The birthday person is given special presents, including a cake that is in the shape of an elderly person. A puppet of an elderly person is placed in their front yard to let neighbors and friends know of the birthday celebration. Another example is in Vietnam, where everyone celebrates their birthday on the same day during the Lunar New Year. In many European countries, such as Slovakia or Macedonia, people celebrate an event that is similar to a birthday: their name day (a personal holiday that commemorates the saint after whom a person is named).

Learning about birthday traditions is a fun way to learn about different cultures. Check out some photos of birthdays around the world from the CultureGrams online photo gallery, and let us know what birthday celebrations you find interesting!

-Liel Rowley