“We do not make history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The presidential election cycle of 1892 was on the surface not that extraordinary, however, the resulting changes that were proposed at the end of the year would alter the course of education in this country. The presidential campaigns of Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison were notably superficial and sometimes unsavory through the course of the election cycle. Both men and their campaigns strategically avoided a majority of the toughest issues facing Americans at the time. Perhaps it was coincidental then, that after the election cycle had ended, the Committee of Ten‘s subcommittee on history (including Woodrow Wilson) proclaimed ‘the need for all high school students, whether or not they were college-bound, to take four years of history courses about America and the outside world.‘ Why? The study of history, they said, best prepared the student to exert ‘a salutary influence upon the affairs of this country,’ because it best promoted ‘the invaluable mental power which we call judgement.’ (National Council for History Education)
History class is often perceived by students and parents as a useless and a boring school requirement. However, upon closer review, history class teaches a multitude of skills that can elevate the student into a more educationally well-rounded and better-prepared adult in the work force. Here is a list of notable people who majored in history.
The ability to communicate ideas clearly, fluently and confidently both orally, by giving presentations, and in writing, via the production of essays and reports
The ability to critically evaluate texts, information and arguments, as well as, the ability to offer informed and reasoned arguments of their own
The ability to conduct research using different types of tools and sources, gathering, sifting, interpreting, analyzing and organizing information
Ability to work effectively without direction; organize work and manage time and resources effectively.
Ability to participate in and contribute to group activities and to use material derived from these to inform written assessments
Awareness and tolerance
Ability to work effectively without direction; organize work, manage time and resources effectively
Confident in exploring different approaches and exercising personal responsibility and initiative
Learn computer and technology skills required for the handling of textual and graphical information, including the use of the Internet and a variety of appropriate computer software
Ability to read and analyze texts and information to solve problems including complex problems
Can work effectively with others to prepare, present and evaluate a project
Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of situations. The ability to formulate independent and informed judgements
Rational and balanced. Ability to make well researched and considered decisions which take the needs of others into account. Ability to respond constructively to debate and criticism
Ability to integrate into a new setting and learn from the experience
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