Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Remembering" History

Whenever Hollywood (Steven Spielberg's Lincoln in this case) makes a movie "based on history", I read a book, Google search "information", or even listen to myself lecture...I caution my students to think about "how they remember" and as much as possible to rely on Primary Sources as "their lens" to history.

Why do we remember certain stories?

1. The story that is told usually "wins".  For example:
  • The Great Emancipator: Abraham Lincoln "freed the slaves."
  • Gettysburg Day 2: Little Round Top...what about Culp's Hill...The First Minnesota?
  • The Civil Rights Movement started with Rosa Parks and Dr. King.
  • "Weapons of Mass Destruction."
2. Those who have power can manipulate history.  For example:
  • Government
  • News Media
  • Publishers
  • Teachers...ouch!
3. We tend to "choose the positive" and the "comfortable myth".   For example:
  • The North and South "fighting for noble causes" during the Civil War.
  • "Remember the Maine!"
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
  • Lee Harvey Oswald...

Geoffrey Barraclough quote..."to make anything out of history one must read, and consider, and reconsider, and than read some more." ...and maybe watch alot of college football to escape reality!

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