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Is History A Lost Art?

I was watching a 60 minutes interview with historian David McCullough. In the interview, he said: We are children who are historically illiterate.  He goes on to say that a student at a mid western university said to him, Until your talk today, I didn't know that the original 13 colonies were on the East cost.  I have talked to students who didn't know who America fought in the Revolutionary war, or why America entered world war two.  I remember my first history lessons were a home, mostly from my father and other members of the family.  Maybe this is a lost part of our culture.  McCullough believes that talking over the dinner table would do a great deal towards restoring at least the basic lessons of history to our young people.

holloway64 holloway64 46-50, M 1 Response Nov 15, 2012

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I am a history nut and interested in everybody's history, and I need to say that Americans (despite their heritage) are not fully aware of their history because it didn't have any "value" for young Americans today, as well as for the majority of Americans, who can be prosperous by working and being street smart. Meanwhile, I think that American historians need to try better to let Americans know why history matters.



In my opinion, the quote of Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, reflects the majority of Americans' perspective on history, young or old. He once claimed "[we] don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today". In America, you don't need to learn history to play sport, find a proper jobs, or become prosperous; you don't need to know history in order to be respected.



I agree with Mr. Ford that history of our time is more important for people that care about your daily lives. However, we do learn lessons about today from history. Let's never forget that Mr. Ford made many horrible mistake: he supported Prohibition and National Socialism, and failed to invest in his Amazonian colony (in which you requires a lot of knowledge; it is not as simple as that Michigan farmer thought).



Today, Ford's automobile empire is gone and Mr. Ford become a history. Should we forget him? No. We don't want to repeat the mistake of him. But how? Through learning history properly.



For me, histories are more about stories; it is the past experiences of people around us. I remember my first arrival of the United States, and thought American history was simply about Revolutionary War, Civil War, Wild West, two world wars (which has become a popular genre of films...), and all the dramas of the Cold War. After I stayed longer and met Americans outside California, I noticed that my American friends from different states have completely different histories, and how they have shaped their mindsets. For instance, my African American friends told me that he had a harsher time in Midwest than in Alabama, his birthplace; my encounter of New England friends taught me about the history of colonial America. I learn that, even though America is known as "One Nation Under God', there are differences everywhere shaped by history.



For me reading history is like knowing about the past of my friends from different background and relate to people around me.I am sure that everyone likes good stories, and history is a collection of stories that relates to us and people around us...it is about how we should tell it and let young Americans know that history is more than the past; it is about the present.