Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Read History?

Why read history?

History interests me for many reasons, not the least of which is that I am a gossip.  Reading history is an honored way for a good Christian woman to receive gossip with the gloss of academia and acceptability applied.  There are other reasons, but the most honest one is that I'm nosy busybody not content to know merely what my contemporaries are thinking and doing.  I want to know what all people, everywhere, at all times were up to.  And why.

This evening, I began Andrew Jackson v. Henry Clay:  Democracy and Development in Antebellum America by Harry L. Watson.  This girl knows how to have fun on a Friday night, hunh?

I'm only a few pages in and it's the type of book best read with highlighter in hand.  Thoughts of inflicting it on unsuspecting home schooled teenagers begin to surface.  Visions of essay questions dance in my head.

Tea parties and Wall St. Occupiers are so 1831.  Don't think so?  Take it from my dear Watson:

Jackson and his supporters tended to think that the growing wealth and power of the business community might erode the equality and independence of ordinary citizens.

Sound familiar?  How 'bout this:

Henry Clay and his followers often wondered if strict deference to the uninformed opinions of ordinary voters might somehow undermine the businesses that generated U.S. prosperity.

What do you think we've learned in the ensuing 180 years?

How well do you think most folks know their history?



  1. This is one of the many reasons I love you, Holly! You forgot to mention that you read the history book on a Friday night AFTER you were the judge for the home school science Olympiad. (Did I get at least half of those words right?) :)

  2. Well, I'm the coach, not the judge. Mostly I organize the kids and their plans. I try to dazzle them with process so that they don't notice I know nothing of the content.

    BTW, I went in to a Charming Charlie today, in your honor. It was completely overwhelming. I wandered around for a few minutes and then left. I'm sure there might be a few of the trillion baubles in there that would look ok with my clothes (such as they are), but I have no idea how you begin to narrow the field. I can't do accessories. I can barely do clothes--as evidenced by me buying a dress off the Sears clearance rack exactly 42 minutes before I had to leave for a wedding today.