America: new trends in the college classroom

hcc (Small)August always brings about an opportunity for me to study the new trends of the younger generation. It marks the beginning of a new academic year and for many young people, the change to reinvent themselves as they enter what they consider the adult world. Over the past seven years I have seen several trends that made me question the future of our nation. This semester I began to notice something new – two distinct sets of new trends that should make Americans become more serious about what we are teaching the younger generation of Americans.

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Understanding the future through our past

a6_1024pixelUnderstanding the future and what awaits us as a people can be done if we truly understand our past. This is one of the reasons why the modern university system has followed in the traditions of Aristotle and has included the study of history as a part of the core requirements for almost every degree. From our vantage point in the 21st century, the Enlightenment Era was the time in human history where the foundation of our nation was laid. The men and women that began to contemplate the weightier issues of life, such as the origins of individual rights and liberties, how governments form, and the origins of national wealth and prosperity had questioned everything that had formed the traditions of church, state, and life in Europe for as it had existed for millions of people over nearly a thousand years of human history.

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The distortion of history

279_civil-war-soldiers2eeeWithin the records of history, no nation or empire has ever survived a war declared on its own history. One of the earliest examples that easily comes to mind is the Roman Empire. Although English historian Edward Gibbons, author of the multi-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire presents the thesis that Christianity was one of the catalysts for the eventual collapse, he also presents that by the time of the appearance of Christianity within the empire, the intellectuals had already declared war on the empire’s own history. It had become frowned upon by the Roman authorities and intellectuals to study ancient Greece or anything related to that ancient pre-Roman civilization. As anyone who seriously studies the ancient Mediterranean world will know, Roman civilization, as great as it was, was nothing more than a latinification of what had existed at the heights of the ancient Greek civilization.

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