Henry VIII’s flagship restored to glory; should universities teach their own institutional history?; Lost Cause in the classroom; Trump’s delegate count makes history

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This is totally cool. Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, is now on display after 34 years of preservation/conservation work. (It was pulled up from the bottom of the ocean way back in 1982). “After entering through an airlock, museum visitors on an elevated viewing platform can now come face-to-face with the historic ship without any obstructions, including glass.” Check out this picture.  This museum just got added to my bucket list.

Should universities and colleges have courses that teach their own history? This piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education makes a good case for it, but mainly from the perspective of creating loyal alumni (that donate to the school), institutional pride, and a sense of community. All good points, but I think it misses something bigger. An institution’s history can provide a remarkable window into larger historical questions (particularly at older ones) as we have seen lately with the nation-wide debate about campus building names and monuments. At the University of Alabama, for instance, we could use the school’s history as a means of exploring, in a VERY meaningful way, just about  every era of our nation’s history. Hmm.

And speaking of schools: The Journal of the Civil War Era’s latest blog posting helps remind us about one reason (among many) why the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War continues to linger. Because of pressure in some states, the glorification of the Confederacy continues in many high schools. This is all the more problematic because increasing numbers of students are skipping college history classes (where they would presumably be exposed to more well supported historical interpretations) by taking the AP exam (which has problems of its own). All true, which is one reason why I think the pop cultural assault that we have seen lately on the Lost Cause is all the more important.

Speaking of distortions: Trump likes to tout the fact that he got more primary votes than any other Republican in history (true), but he fails to note that he also got the most Republican primary votes AGAINST him in history. (13 million for, and 16 million against). Further, this was the highest percentage of the convention delegate total to oppose the nominee since the contested convention of 1976. Just saying’.

Which leads me to my video for today from the Historians on Donald Trump collection. Alan Kraut is a professor of History at American University and former President of the Organization of American Historians. Here, he focuses on nativism, invoking the Republican Party’s biggest icon, Abe Lincoln, to denounce Trump in this short video.

 

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