We know now as we always should have known that we can make no deeper penetration into history than through the lives of the wisest and most sentient individuals who have themselves shaped our world.
Page Smith: John Adams, Introduction to Volume I, 1735-1784
History is not impersonal forces; it is the outworking of human decisions. If we fail to teach it that way, we fail to utilize one of the most effective tools available to equip our children to make sound decisions, whether in community or in private life.
Therefore, I advocate teaching history as the study of a series of decisions:
- Should Caesar have crossed the rubicon?
- Should Truman have fired MacArthur?
- Should Napolean have attacked Moscow?
- Should Athens have attacked Syracuse?
Teach it this way and you won’t need to talk about “bringing history to life” because this is the life of history.