Section D Examples Written by Sturgis Students

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NOTE: The investigation question is: This investigation will assess to what extent the 1960s reforms of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi achieved his aim of improving the lives of Iranians in the 1960s and 70s. 

The footnote numbers (citations) have been removed.

     The land and health reforms discussed in my investigation were part of a larger series of reforms called the White Revolution. In this historical context, the two reforms simply act as a sample of the Shah's reforms.  Also during the 1960s, an economic recession worsened living conditions for the Iranian working classes. A later economic boom, which began in 1963, greatly improved conditions for the wealthy, but did not help the lower class. This caused a sense of dissatisfaction and a need for reform.  
 
    According to The White Revolution, the government's objective in establishing the land reform and distribution law of 1960 and the Health Corps was to improve the lives of Iranians, particularly those of Iran's lower classes.
 
      To some extent, the reforms achieved this aim. The evidence suggests that health care reform was relatively successful in making healthy living more possible for the working class. For example, the health corps gave 17,000 lectures to villages and worked with villagers to built or repair 190 clinics by 1966. The land reform, although not quite as effectual, benefited about 17 percent of the rural population and mechanized Iran's farms. Keith Watson, a researcher and journalist, suggested the reforms were a success in a 1976 article. He wrote, "Initially, the reforms were greeted with some cynicism...but as land reforms began to bite...during the past ten years..., the standard of living has begun to rise,[and as] investment in...social services increases...,the cynicism has been displaced by respect and expectancy." According to Watson, not only did the reforms improve the lives of Iranians, but they were unquestionably successful.
 
    On the other hand, in A Modern History of IranAbrahamian compares the conditions of the countryside to the opportunities of the city in the 1960s and 70s and concludes that the reforms were only marginally successful because even with the rural reforms, urban Iran was a more desirable place to live. This suggests that the reforms did not significantly contribute to improvements. Abrahamian wrote that the reforms failed at their objective of providing land to the bulk of the rural population. The evidence suggests that this lack of land forced the rural population into worse living conditions. In the case of health care, even with the decrease in infant mortality, the infant mortality rate of Iran was one of the worst in the Middle East. He also states that the reforms of the White Revolution "did not touch much of the countryside," while the cities, especially Tehran, contained much of the nations' resources,
    
    The 1960s reforms of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi improved the lives of Iranians in the 1960s and 70s to a minimal extent. The evidence suggests that a minority benefited from the land reform and steps were made towards better public health; however, the methods used to achieve the Shah's aims were mainly inadequate and contradictory. The 1960 land reform law, meant to make farmers into land owners, was compromised by mechanization reforms which lessened the need for farmers' labor, depriving many of their jobs. The aim of the law limiting landlords to one village each was to prevent the landlord-peasant relationship, but the fact that the law allowed the relationship to continue was a contradiction of its aim. The law could also be easily avoided by landowners. The Health Corps, though more successful than the land reform, was unable to significantly increase the medical aid available to the rural population. The infant mortality rate remained high and about half of Iran's medical resources remained in just one city. The reforms helped some Iranians, but the ineffective methods of the reform prevented widespread improvement.


Examiner Comments: Historical context established, sources from Sec. C analyzed and a clear judgment made based on the question.