The Robin Hood Dilemma and the Importance of Studying 20th Century US History (A.K.A.: Why History Matters!!)
Why did Dr. Klein give the Robin Hood Assignment? • 1) To demonstrate that history revolves around our different perspectives of past events and of those who helped shape them. • 2) These perspectives profoundly influence the way we look at the world, ourselves, where we are now and where we want to go in the future. • 3) Moreover, even when the body of evidence is agreed upon, different (and often contentious) interpretations can emerge. [Q.O.D. “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”~ Henry David Thoreau] • a) Flag by Jasper Johns (1955) • B) Was Lyndon Johnson victorious in the “War on Poverty” (1964-68*)? Did President Reagan’s “Supply Side/Trickle Down” policies (1981-89*) benefit everyone? (see graphs)—The differences between Liberal, Conservative & Revisionist historians.
4) It reveals that in the study of history, the way we view evidence is influenced by our core values as well as by our own personal and collective experiences. • --a) Personal context: Alex vs Rob • --b) National context: BoorstinvsZinn [Q.O.D] “Show me a man who says he’s objective and I’ll show you a man who is deceiving himself.”~Walter Lippman • --c) QOD: “Either we run towards our past or away from it.” DK • --d) QOD: “You can’t remain neutral while riding on a moving train.” Zinn • 5) It reveals that history does not occur in a vacuum—context and sequence matter! i.e. The Tet Offensive (1968) Victory or Defeat? • 6) To demonstrate the challenging nature of crisis decision-making. i.e. JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
The Purposes of This Course!! • To strengthen your ability to think critically and creatively. • To help you strengthen your ability to construct and defend historical arguments. • To help you in your own personal development • ---to strengthen your leadership skills in both your professional and personal lives especially in the area of decision-making. • ---to develop, expand and clarify your own core values by appreciating different viewpoints and reassessing your own.