Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why History Matters

So HBO is running a mini-series about the life and work of John Adams. Adams was an influential founding father of the United States serving as a member of the Continental Congress then later as the Vice President under George Washington and the 2nd President of the United States. While not as celebrated as Washington, Jefferson or Franklin, Adams clearly had a tremendous impact on the shape of this country. It reminds me of why I enjoyed teaching US History so much for the nine years that I did it. People often asked me why I taught history. It's boring and slow and has little impact on my life. My response was always the same. History, particularly US history, is full of important men and women facing tough moral and ethical questions and their choices impacted the course and shape of our nation for all time. Imagine what the United States would have been like if Lincoln had not been President to guide the US through the Civil War. Imagine what might have been had Franklin Roosevelt not met the Great Depression head on with a plan of action. What would our future be if Kennedy had not stood in front of the Berlin Wall and challenged the Soviet Union? Where would this country be if George Bush hadn't taken us into war? (okay so that's not a great example of leadership but will move on...)

The point is that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not study the past are robbing themselves of the collective wisdom of those who came before them. To do either is foolish.

(mp3) The Bell -- I Am History (courtesy of Discodust)
(mp3) Propellerheads -- History Repeating (courtesy of Lost In Your Inbox)
(mp3) The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- History Song (courtesy of Twelve Major Chords)

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