How the College Board Mangles the Teaching of History

The College Board is a not-for-profit company that has a great deal of influence over American education. Its Scholastic Aptitude Test (the SAT) is the most widely used test for assessing the college readiness of students, and its many Advanced Placement exams allow students to show that they have learned subjects well enough not to … Continue reading “How the College Board Mangles the Teaching of History”


Did You Know? The 1776 Report—a Half-Done Project

A short-lived report quickly torched by the new Biden administration provides a pathway for those who seek to return to a classical structure of higher education. The report, titled the 1776 Report, by President Trump’s appointees in the 1776 commission, called for a “return to the unifying ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence,” according … Continue reading “Did You Know? The 1776 Report—a Half-Done Project”


Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World

Countless students begin and graduate from college with an impoverished humanities education, a reality that should disturb any proponent of the liberal arts. According to a recent report by the Independent Institute entitled Is it Time for a “490 B.C. Project”? High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage, “schools are undermining the humanities” by … Continue reading “Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World”


Did You Know? Students Are Clueless About History

Colleges and universities across the country don’t require students to study history. Although students at many colleges are “technically” required to take a history course to fulfill their general education requirements, many institutions are extremely lenient about what counts as a foundational history class. For example, instead of taking a survey course in American history, … Continue reading “Did You Know? Students Are Clueless About History”


How to Renew Traditional Historical Study in Graduate Schools

I’m sometimes asked why it is so difficult for PhD students of a conservative bent to survive and flourish in history graduate programs these days. It’s not enough to say that conservative graduate students are red drops in a blue ocean, surrounded by people who hold political views antithetical to theirs. I have taught at … Continue reading “How to Renew Traditional Historical Study in Graduate Schools”


Higher Ed Is Stoking the Flames of the War on History

On July 4 at Mt. Rushmore, President Trump praised Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Louis Armstrong; it was a significant political and cultural speech, comparable to Trump’s speech extolling Western civilization at Warsaw in 2017. Trump also ordered a federal project called the Garden of National Heroes, mandating the artwork to be classical and “not … Continue reading “Higher Ed Is Stoking the Flames of the War on History”


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”


Social Justice Revisionism Comes for Washington and Lee

In the fall of 2018, the trustees of Washington and Lee University voted to paper over parts of the university’s history. On the recommendations of Washington and Lee’s “Commission on Institutional History and Community,” the board voted to close off the Recumbent Statue of Robert E. Lee in the university chapel that bears his name … Continue reading “Social Justice Revisionism Comes for Washington and Lee”


Why Students Should Still Pick a History Major

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the history field has seen a precipitous decline in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in American colleges. As Benjamin Schmidt, a historian at Northeastern University, reported in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives, the number of history degrees awarded fell by 30 percent—from 34,642 to 24,266 in just nine years … Continue reading “Why Students Should Still Pick a History Major”


What We’re Reading: Western Culture, Groupthink, and Queer Criminology

Jenna A. Robinson, President Jacques Barzun’s magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, has been a revelation—of my own inadequate history education. As the title says, the book covers 500 years of Western culture from 1500 to (almost) 2000. Barzun organizes the book around four important “revolutions:” religious, monarchical, liberal, and … Continue reading “What We’re Reading: Western Culture, Groupthink, and Queer Criminology”