Final Project: The G.I. Bill

As WWII came to a close, the United States faced new obstacles.  With the impending return of over fifteen million Americans, a plan for postwar recovery was vital. Twenty-five years earlier, after the First World War, insufficient government planning would contribute to the Great Depression and lead to the Bonus Army Conflict. In an effort to avoid falling back into an economic depression, government leaders passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The law, which passed by one vote, would become the single greatest reform in American higher education.

Bonus Army Encampment from Anacostia Flats

Events Leading to the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944:

Following World War I, the United States neglected many of its veterans; who, in return for their service, were promised financial compensation. In 1925, Congress voted to give them $1.00 for each day served stateside, up to a maximum of $500, and $1.25 for each day served overseas, up to $625. However, the newly passed legislation came with a catch; bonuses wouldn’t be paid in full until 1945. Before then, veterans were permitted to borrow up to 22.5% of their bonuses, and in 1931, congress voted to increase the amount to 50%.  Despite the increase, demands for full bonus payments intensified as the Great Depression worsened. The following year thousands of veterans from across the nation, led by former Army sergeant, Walter Waters, descended on Washington D.C. The protestors, known as the Bonus Army, setup an elaborate camp in Anacostia Flats.

By the end of June, the situation would reach a tipping point. Eleven days after Senate voted against the Bonus Bill, President Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur and the 12th Infantry Regiment to clear out Bonus Army encampments in Washington. By late afternoon they reached the Anacostia Flats; after giving protestors twenty minutes to evacuate camp, MacArthur ordered his men to burn it down. In the end, a few lay dead; current data suggests there were anywhere between 50 and 100 casualties in total. In the weeks following the attack, stories and images of the army attacking its civilians spread across the nation. Four months later President Hoover lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Link for interactive map below

Bonus Army Conflict: Important Locations – Washington D.C.

The Bill:

World War II gave the economy a much-needed boost; it provided jobs for millions of Americans, both at home and abroad. By 1944, an allied victory appeared increasingly likely, and the nations goals began to shift. For President Roosevelt, the postwar effort had two primary objectives: “first, how to adjust wartime production into peacetime economy, and second, how to avert the civil strife of disgruntled military veterans who arrived home without jobs or good prospects” (Thelin, pp 262).  Just a decade earlier, Roosevelt won the presidency on the heels of a national crisis caused by the federal governments inadequate care of its WWI veterans. He understood the importance of taking care of America’s veterans.

Throughout the first half of 1944 Congress worked on developing a bill that met President Roosevelt’s expectations. Initially the main idea behind the bill was to reintegrate veterans into the workforce over the period of one year. During that time, every veteran was eligible to receive $20 of weekly unemployment. However, through the influence of several lawmakers, educational benefits were incorporated into the bill. On June 22, 1944, in a joint conference, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 passed by just one vote. The law, also known as the G.I. Bill, guaranteed “a year of education for 90 days’ service, plus one month for each month of active duty, for a maximum of 48 months” (Keister, pp 128). It paid academic costs, including tuition, books and supplies, of up to $500 per year. Additionally, they were allocated a monthly living allowance; $50 for single veterans and $75 for married veterans (Thelin, pp 262).  

Impact of the G.I. Bill of Rights:

From the beginning expectations for the bill were low. People thought returning soldiers were more likely to enter the workforce than go to college. In the summer of 1945, the most optimistic expectations estimated that less than 10% of veterans would use the bill’s educational benefits. According to A History of American Higher Education, during the fall of 1945, eighty-eight thousand veterans had already been approved for participation. One year later, the number multiplied more than ten-times, surpassing one million participants. The G.I. Bill changed the nature of higher education in a way that was unprecedented (Scimecca, 2012). It was available to every veteran who met the eligibility requirements (which mostly dealt with time in service); there was no limit on the amount of people who could use it. Additionally, it could be used at the institution of his or her choice as long as the government recognized it. The G.I. Bill of Rights became the most significant piece of legislation for the improvement of higher education in America.

Prior to World War II, higher education was seen as a privilege reserved for the rich. College was expensive; outside of a scholarship there was very little chance for working-class families to afford it.  With the creation of the G.I. Bill, young adults who previously would have never dreamed of going to college were encouraged to do so. The G.I. Bill was pivotal in the emergence of the American middle-class. Many of those who used their benefits were first generation college students. Generally they recognized the values and importance of an education; in turn, they would instill the same values in their children. Besides education, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act provided financial benefits such as low interest mortgages for homes and businesses. “Loans helped give momentum to an already-booming housing market. By 1956, the rate of homeownership was 60 percent, up from a prewar level of 44 percent” (Leddy, 2009).

By the time the benefits of the initial bill ended, it is estimated that over 50% of World War II veterans used their educational or educational-training benefits (Mettler, 2012). During the 1920’s, enrollment in higher education between 18-24 year olds increased by about .5% every year. Surprisingly during the Great Depression, enrollment remained steady every year except one; from 1933-34 there was a .7% drop (National Center for Education Statistics, pp 77). One possibly reason for this: many people in the upper class remained unaffected by the economic decline; they continued sending their children to college. From 1941-42, when America began entered the war, college enrollment dropped from 9.1% to 8.4%; the following year it dropped 1.6%. During these years enrollment was down in both men and women (NCES, pp. 77).

In the first academic year after World War II enrollment rates (18-24 age group) jumped from 6.8% to 10%. By 1949, 15.2% of 18-24 year olds were registered in higher education. There is no doubt the rapid, postwar increase is attributed to the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944.

It is important to note that the G.I. Bill, despite its advertised all-inclusiveness, was much less accessible for many African Americans and women. In the South, Jim Crow laws were still prevalent, making it difficult for black servicemen to attend a large number of institutions. In the five years following the war, enrollment among women increased only slightly. In fact only 2.9% of eligible women took advantage of the bill. The reasons for this are twofold: first, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that it was culturally acceptable for women to go to school, and second, most women had no idea they were eligible to use the bill.

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 was an enormous success. In addition to reintegrating the veterans of World War II into society, it created a foundation for the economic boom of the 1950’s. Prior to their return, generous estimates predicted that only 8-10% of veterans would use their benefits. However, by the time the bill expired, over 51% of eligible veterans used it for education. Despite having a few drawbacks, which were really more a result of the era, the bill was a huge success. Since it expired in the 1950’s, a number of similar “G.I. Bill’s” have been passed; in fact it is still in use today.

Number of Institutions of Higher Education: 1925-1950

After Bill was passed, FDR addressed the public on the details of it.


Scratch is a programming language that allows people to create stories with animations. It was created by The Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. The Scratch website includes video tutorials and a step-by-step set of instructions that explains the basics to the user. In addition to video tutorials, you can view videos made by other users. Scratch is also educational, it promotes creativity and computer programing concepts.

I personally think scratch is an excellent idea; it appeals to a large audience because it is easy to use, and it is free. Scratch doesn’t use code, eliminating annoying text-errors that can discourage people from using computer programming editors.

I played around with scratch for over an hour.My first project was based off of the “Getting Started with Scratch” instructions, then I created my own animation.

Wizard vs. Troll

Corpus of Time Magazine

I was really impressed with the Time Magazine Corpus of American English. Time is probably the most iconic magazine ever published, and has been in print since he 1920’s. I played around with the site for awhile, typing in people from Al Capone to Ronald Reagan to Adolf Hitler. Just by typing random keywords that had some historical significance over the past century you are able to find a good amount of information.

The following are some facts I found to be interesting in my searches

Kennedy: 10,078 uses in the 1960’s. I’m not too surprised here, with a president and a senator (who was running for president) who were both assassinated.

Computer: mentioned more in 1980’s (2302) than in the 1990’s (2032)

Negro: In the 1960’s, it was used 4,383 times, more than any other decade. The next decade had an enormous drop off with only 196 uses.

Vietnam: was only used 47 times in the 1960’s but in the 1990’s it was used 999 times.

The results for “negro” shows the dramatic change from the civil rights movements of the 1960’s very well. The decline in the words usage was immediate, which to me highlights an increased awareness of racial issues in short period of time.

In addition to seeing the amount of times a word was used,  you can see the context the word was used in. In my opinion this is what takes Corpora from a interesting database, to a database that is very useful for research.

“PowerPoint is Evil” – Over-the-Top

In 2003, Wired magazine ran an article called “PowerPoint is Evil” by Edward Tufte. In the article, Tufte made a couple of solid points, but as a whole, it was over-the-top. My opinion on Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the same as it was before I read this article. I agree with Tufte in that students and teachers alike have become increasingly reliant on PowerPoint’s bulleted format. This format can hurt a students understanding of using complete sentences, especially those students in grade school. However, PowerPoint presentations like research papers in general can be redundant and boring. These factors are relative to the audience and the assignment, not the format of presentation. They should be used in addition to a research paper or essay, not as a replacement for them. A PowerPoint slideshow is beneficial in that it is easier for the audience to maintain interest as well as understand the information presented.

In his conclusion, Tufte agrees that PowerPoint is beneficial as an aide to an essay or paper, but goes on to say, it isn’t used that way. I completely disagree with his generalization. Like many of my peers, I’ve been using PowerPoint for about 15 years. I have made and seen more slide shows than I can remember. In these countless presentations, PowerPoint was almost always used a supplemental part of the assignment. It allows the audience to see major points and/or important photographs, helping them understand the material better.

In addition to disagreeing with Tufte’s main argument, his analogies make him seem like a lunatic making me question his legitimacy. He attacks PowerPoint and Microsoft as if it is a ruthless totaliterian regime, whose aspire to brainwash Americas young. He compares it to an addictive perscription drug, with frequent side effects causing stupidity and a bunch of other non-sense. His claim that Microsoft, a major corporation, is essentially getting rich by devaluing education, is certainly a rational thought. Unfortunately his intensity and over-the-top examples make him seem like a lunatic.

if he focused more on the facts and less on his over-the-top analogies.

I think he sees microsoft as a major corporation that is exploting cchildren  that a major corporation is adertising its product as a means of educating and at the same time is exploting

The idea behind his argument, that a major corporation, Microsoft, is advertising PowerPoint as an effective way of presenting information

-Look Ed, we get it, you don’t like PowerPoint.




Feltron Reports

Prior to this assigned reading, I had never heard of the Feltron Reports. I looked at the first 3 years available on his Blog, from 2005-07 because I wanted to see how it evolved in consecutive years. I think the way Mr. Felton presented his information is unique, and, even though the information in the reports is trivial, it is interesting to read about. Most of the information he presents is relatable to many younger Americans, such as iTunes songs played, world travel, favorite types of alcohol, etc.

In the three articles from 2005-07, I keyed in on specific facts that were somewhat consistent in each. From the information provided, I assume Mr. Felton enjoys traveling at home and abroad, logging about 150,000 miles traveled in three years. Felton probably made a lot of use of iTunes during his travels, and included his play count in each Annual Report. From 2005-07, he played 16,862, 26,059, and 25,247 songs, respectively. Not surprisingly his music tastes remained consistent throughout the 3 years; Radiohead and solo artist Cat Power were mentioned in all three reports.

In addition to traveling, and frequently using iTunes, Felton drank a wide array of alcoholic beverages. Anyone who reads a couple of his reports would come to this same conclusion. Stella Artois was his personal favorite beer in 2005 and 2006, however in 2007, he reported his Stella consumption decreased by 46%. His consumption of one beer (Stella) went down, perhaps he had so many, he got tired of them. The fact he presented numerous facts about beer, wine and bars, I assume he is a social person who enjoys a night on the town (or two).

The information presented in Nicholas Felton’s Annual Reports is insignificant, but also creative and interesting. The reports are well designed; his facts are presented in bullet form, with graphs, charts, and maps. In my opinion, if the same information was presented in complete sentences, or in a list, no one would read it. In addition to the excellent presentation, the author uses facts that many 20 to 40 somethings can relate to, such as iTunes, traveling, and dining.


Interactive City Sites

I think the interactive city-web sites on Philadelphia and Cleveland are very interesting. The PhilaPlace site was my personal favorite. The map itself had a colonial appearance, and was very detailed. There are numerous icons to explore, each one tells the historical importance of that location and includes photos and videos. This type of site is a great tool, not only do interactive city-sites give residents a new way to learn about their city but they also help promote the cities lesser known history to tourists. PhilaPlace also allows residents and visitors to share their personal experiences for the entire community to see.

The map for Euclid Corridor History Project, about Cleveland, Ohio, is a solid web site but I don’t like it nearly as much as PhilaPlace. There is only one tab that is interactive, the Art History tab, the other three are plain and need improvement. Compared to PhilaPlace, Euclid Corridor has significantly less icon-links, making me think Cleveland doesn’t have much to offer as tourist destination. In the end though, it still blows non-interactive city web sites out of the water.

Google Maps & Earth

Google has revolutionized the way we use the Internet. They continue to develop and update cutting edge technology that keeps its users on its toes. I use Google Maps on a weekly basis, not only for directions but for creating running and biking routes. Its absolutely remarkable how detailed google maps is. Users can see real-life satellite photos of millions of places throughout the world. 

Google Earth is similar to Google Maps, however I am not well versed with former. The major difference is that Google Earth allows you view 3-D images of cities, buildings, bridges, etc. Google Maps can be used through your web browser whereas Earth can be downloaded (a premium version is available for a yearly fee) to your computer. Earth uses Keyhole Markup Language (KML), which I believe is a specific markup language for Google Earth. Both of these technologies have very practical uses, and allow people to see the world like never before.

Despite the fact that technologies such as these are remarkable and have numerous practical uses, there is a major issue that people have with them, privacy. Google Earth has photos of your home and yard. It is hard to deny that these programs are extremely creepy. For many, especially people who grew up before the Internet age, Google Earth makes people paranoid and is an invasion of their privacy. Mostly because anyone can use it, and in the age of the Patriot Act people are very protective of their privacy.

Hacking Blog Post

Matt Honan’s articles in wired magazine about hacking opened my eyes to the fact that hacking can happen to anyone, and that I need to be more careful with my personal information online. The Hackers were able to break into many of Honan’s systems by knowing the last four digits of his credit card, and his address. They found bits and pieces of his information from various sites, put them together and successfully accessed many of his personal accounts.

In talking to some of my friends and family, it seems to me, most people never even stop to consider the reality that they could be hacked, or how much of an impact it would have on them. I know prior to reading this article I never thought twice about getting hacked. Like many people, I try to use as few passwords as possible so there is less chance that I forget my login information. I have three base passwords, and occasionally use variations of them depending on the requirements of the site I am making an account for.

It would be one thing, if Mr. Honan was hacked because he was using some sketchy website with poor security, but that was not the case. The sites, hackers pulled his information off of are well known, and have excellent reputations.


Resources I Found Using Proquest

On the research question I am most interested in, the resurgence of vinyl records, I was unable to find any information from Proquest or Archive Finder. However, in searching Proquest on information regarding the G.I. Bill I found pages of resources. I was able to find useful sources from every decade since the G.I. Bill has been in effect.

The first article I read, published in 1945, informed the general public what the bill involved and who exactly would be eligible. Initially there seemed to be confusion due to the “wordiness” of the bill. The second article I read, from 1971, discusses the Veterans administrations pitch to post-Korean and Vietnam war veterans regarding their eligibility for the G.I. Bill.

In another article from the 1970’s, a photo shows a group of men swearing in to the armed forces just prior to the expiration of the old G.I. Bill.

Article One: GI Bill May Seem Wordy But it All Spells Education 

Research Questions

1. Why have vinyl-records become relevant again? How has there resurgence significantly reshaped the recording industry?

2. Why was the GI Bill the single greatest reform in American higher education?

3. Did the counterculture of the 1960’s significantly alter the course of United States involvement in Vietnam?