The History Blog

Past and Present

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High School history deficiency–ignorance, or something else?

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Here is an interesting opinion piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education, with comments that follow, on the issue of how to improve the historical knowledge of secondary school students. What do you think? [BP] December 01, 2009, 07:00 AM ET History Outside the Classroom By Mark Bauerlein On the 2001 NAEP US history exam […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The 1960s or the 1980s??

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Malcolm X vs. Spike Lee… JFK vs. Reagan… The Fugitive vs. The A-Team… The Beatles vs. U2… ? This article bemoans the tendency of college students in 2009 to still take courses on the US in the 1960s, while they (and their professors) ignore the 1980s. What do you think? And who thinks the 1970s […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Historians and ethics

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Here’s a career option for History majors–working for tobacco companies! (?) This article discusses controversy over the companies’ use of historians who testify in their favor in court and in depositions. An interesting ethical issue. [BP] [Read More]
Categories: General

Upstate New York and Political Parties

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As you may have heard, there was an unusual special election for a U.S. House seat in upper New York State last Tuesday. The Democratic candidate won. As this article shows, portions of the current district (which sprawls across the Adirondack mountains) have been represented in Congress only by Republicans ever since the 1850s, when […] [Read More]
Categories: General

John Brown – “The Meteor of War”

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This article notes the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry. The author (as well as the National Park Service) assumes that the raid was “the opening salvo” in the American Civil War. Was it really? Or did the conflict instead start earlier (Nat Turner revolt, Mexican War, Bleeding Kansas), or later (Fort […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Don’t Know Much about History

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Bad news: about a third of the students in my introductory American history course don’t know who was president during the Civil War. An equal number don’t know who Warren G. Harding was, either, which is easier to overlook. But the absence of historical knowledge raises serious questions for those of us who love history. […] [Read More]
Categories: General

“Paul McCartney is Dead”

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40 years ago this week a student newspaper started one of the most notorious rumors of the 1960s.  Check it out here. [BP] [Read More]
Categories: General

Feeling a Little too Clever

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Feeling Clever. One of the perils of being a professor is that it can encourage you to think you are clever. I’m sure there are other professions where this is true, but it is definitely the case here. This is the story. As a life-long resident of the northeast and a person with specific view […] [Read More]
Categories: General