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The Causes of the American Civil War

Problems in American Civilization
Edited by Edwin C. Rozwenc
Amherst College

Lessons from High School and History

When I was in High School - the Pebble Hill School that was, the MPH of today - I had an American History teacher who was famous for his never-ending pipe ceremonies (he would empty, refill, tamp down, light and smoke his pipe while teaching class) and for teaching me one of the best history lessons I ever learned: read original sources. For an historian, this will come as no surprise, and a friend I met years later shared with me his adventures in original documents in ancient Spanish - mastering not only the language, but the handwriting and lack of a formal grammar and spelling,so that he could learn what the Spanish were thinking at the time. But for many students, history books are a long, boring slog through somebody's lists, interpretations, and analyses.

Another teacher in that same school, Art History this time, would quiz us by showing us a piece of art we ha…

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