February 9, 2012 | By Sandy Waters | Impressions: 25 |
More from Sandy Waters
Civil Liberties in Wartime TIMELINE Japanese Internment Camps Authorized Restrictions on Japanese Americans Upheld Hollywood Scrutinized for Communist Ties 1942 1943 1947 Citing national security, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues two executive
Reason One: History and Social Studies Help Students Understand People and Societies Dr. Stearns’ analogy of the laboratory in this instance is a powerful one. When a scientist steps into a laboratory he does so having formulated a hypothesis to be tested. The scientist predicts what will be the outcome of a series of steps then tests his theory. If his experiment fails then he knows that his hypothesis was flawed and takes a different course. Statesmen have no laboratory where they can test their hypothesis. Nevertheless, statesmen formulate hypothesis regarding the potential outcome of their policies all the time…and the stakes if they are wrong can be extremely high; involving even life or death. While there are no perfect repeats, history provides no shortage of examples of how similar results stem from similar catalysts, motivations and circumstances. If decision makers do not consult history, they make decisions without all of the facts. Furthermore, it is essential that we remember that while not everyone is a statesman, we are all decision makers each and every day of our lives. History and Social Studies Help Students Understand Change and How the Community, Nation and World We Live in Came to Be Integral to utilizing history to aid in decision making is adding the social studies elements of understanding and appreciating difference and diversity. In his new book, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present author Michael Oren explains that at the root of the long troubled history of American Middle East foreign policy is the fact that America has consistently viewed the Middle East through the lens of American culture, ideals and values. In other words, when the United States formulates its Middle East policy, it consistently does so based on the flawed assumption that people in that part of the world think just as we do in America. Each person’s world view is shaped by individual experiences, as well as the experiences of the group to which he or she belongs. If we are ignorant of the contemporary and historical experiences of a variety of cultures, then we cannot hope to understand why people, communities or nations behave the way they do or make the decisions they make. The simple, undeniable fact is that understanding history and social studies improves judgment. More specifically, understanding history and social studies arms each of us with the necessary tools to make good decisions and wise choices. “Any subject of study needs justification: its advocates must explain why it is worth attention. Most widely accepted subjects—and history [and Social Studies] are certainly among them—attract some people who simply like the information and modes of thought involved. But audiences less spontaneously drawn to the subject … need to know what the purpose is.” Dr. Peter Stearns, Historian “History must serve as our laboratory, and data from the past must serve as our most vital evidence in the unavoidable quest to figure out why our complex species behaves as it does in societal settings. This, fundamentally, is why we cannot stay away from history: it offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives.” Dr. Peter Stearns, Historian Why Our Students Must Learn Social Studies
U.S. History – Causes of the Civil War I. Sectionalism caused rifts because both the North and the South placed the needs of their section of the country over the needs of the whole nation.