Why Students Have Turned Away from History

I taught history from 1976 through 2013 at Harvard, Carnegie-Mellon, the Naval War College, and Williams College. The 37 years of my career coincided with a drastic change in the nature of history as it is taught in our colleges and universities. That led to an extraordinary decline in student interest in history, reflected in … Continue reading “Why Students Have Turned Away from History”


A Radical Pseudo-historian Meets His Match

Historians tend to be skeptical about the influence of books and ideas upon important historical developments, preferring to draw upon material or broadly social and cultural causes as the best explanations of large-scale change. But it would be a grave mistake to neglect the singular influence that a single 1980 book, Howard Zinn’s A People’s … Continue reading “A Radical Pseudo-historian Meets His Match”


Reinvigorating the Teaching of American History

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. —Cicero It’s no secret that many of today’s students are ignorant of American history and of how American democracy works. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, only 1 in 3 Americans would … Continue reading “Reinvigorating the Teaching of American History”


Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges

Modern universities are ignoring their civic duty to teach their students how to become engaged citizens. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni released a report in 2018 that showed only 18 percent of universities required students to take a history course before graduation. This number is indicative of a growing historical ignorance among students. … Continue reading “Did You Know? The Disappearance of Civic Education at Elite Colleges”


A History Textbook that Inspires, Not Lectures, Students about America

From the very beginning, it’s clear that Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story isn’t a typical textbook. The title alone alerts readers that McClay’s book will not be the kind of history text that has become so popular in today’s high school and college courses—a diatribe against America’s … Continue reading “A History Textbook that Inspires, Not Lectures, Students about America”


Colleges Reject Duty to Teach Liberty’s Framework

Though college leaders constantly remind the public about the value of a college degree, graduates sometimes leave without important knowledge. As Americans celebrate the 4th of July holiday, it’s a good time to reflect on just how little college students know about the Declaration of Independence and American history. The data are depressing. A 2016 … Continue reading “Colleges Reject Duty to Teach Liberty’s Framework”