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 Background:   As we read in Herbert Hoover’s “Rugged Individualism” Campaign Speech, the United States has been founded on the idea of rugged individualism and personal liberty. Yet, in Luis Rodriguez’s Always Running, we saw times when Rodriguez tried to bring about social change, often with the help of others. At the end of the day, though, it was Rodriguez who ultimately brought about change in his own life and left his past life in gangs behind.Social progress in the United States, like the more small-scale successes shown in Always Running, was also generally won with the help of many different people and groups.  In the short documentary films “The March on Washington: How the Movement Began” and “The March on Washington: The Spirit of the Day,” both by TIME, as well as March: Book 2, one of three books in John Lewis’ March Trilogy, we saw how an event led by a relatively small group of people could bring about great social change in the United States: the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Additionally, in the short documentary film “Sal Castro and the 1968 East LA Walkouts,” we saw the impact of Sal Castro and his students here in Los Angeles.  However, when reflecting back on the historical impact of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and the 1968 East LA Walkouts, many people often focus on the impact of one individual rather than the numerous people who participated. [For further context: Merriam-Webster defines rugged individualism as “the practice or advocacy of individualism in social and economic relations emphasizing personal liberty and independence, self-reliance, resourcefulness, self-direction of the individual, and free competition in enterprise,” or a system in which the individual is stressed.  It defines collectivism as “emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity,” or a group/groups of people is stressed instead of the individual.]Prompt:  Respond to the following using Always Running, at least two of the other readings or films from this unit, and your own personal experience(s): Do you believe success (whether it be on a smaller, more individual scale or something as large as achieving social progress) is largely a result of individualism or collectivism? The most effective essays will engage and synthesize the different sources specified from the unit and utilize the pre-writing activities completed for our class. 

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          In Spare Parts, by Joshua Davis, the author explains the story of four Mexican immigrant teenagers, three of whom are undocumented, who have to struggle to reach the American Dream. They attempt to reach this dream by competing in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) robotics competition. One of the teenagers, Oscar, an undocumented cadet in the JROTC program at an under-served West Phoenix high school called Carl Hayden, attempts to enlist in the military. Despite being a top cadet, he is unable to enlist because of his immigration status. Davis states: “He believed he was dutybound to give back to the United States. He was receiving a free education, and his family was able to afford a home that didn’t leak. The United States had been good to him and he wanted to show his appreciation. He had only been in the United States for about two years, but he viewed himself as an American now. Particularly after September 11, 2001, he felt that it was his obligation to defend and possibly even die for the country that was his new home” (51).  Oscar wished to enlist in the army due to his love for the country and his wish to protect it. Even though Oscar couldn’t enlist because he didn’t have a greencard, he continued to work hard to become the best of the best by helping the ROTC. Despite not being able to enlist, he felt that his duty to the United States did not stop. Like Oscar, my grandfather’s American Dream was to live a better life and fight for his country so he could give back to it. They both sought better opportunities and got them in the United States, consequently they both felt gratitude toward the country and wanted to fight for and work hard to protect it.

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