Sunday, November 20, 2011

History is a map, not a bunch of trivia questions

What academics have done to damage the teaching of history is nearly a crime. There are so many reasons why our society is in trouble, and the teaching of history is certainly one of them. In his "Notes on the State of Virginia", Thomas Jefferson has the following to write:(Page 160)

But of all the views of this law, none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times, and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume: and knowing it, to defeat its views. In every Government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and improve. Every Government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree. This, indeed, is not all that is necessary, though it be essentially necessary. An amendment of our Constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over Government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the Government will be safe; because the corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth: and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the people.

Now, that's not to say that history can't be trivia. Why congress is referred to sometimes as an upper house and a lower house, is because when Philadelphia was the US Capitol, the Senate was on the second floor and the House of Reps was on the first floor of Congress Hall.

But your children, and all of us were only taught History as a form of trivia; "On what date did blank say blank?" "on what continent or in what city did blank happen?" - they never teach children the utter disdain that Woodrow Wilson and other progressives have for our constitution and our way of life. They don't teach the context of history, why it's useful and relevant. They don't prepare us to defend our liberties against what can only be called a movement to restore tyranny.

1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    It is "nearly a crime" but it should be made official. Trouble is that most teachers don't know anything either.