Most of us are familiar with a certain perspective of American history. Although we’ve had our share of negative events and scandals, ideals of American exceptionalism (the idea that Americans are exceptional or have a divine hand over us) run heavily through the history courses we are taught in school. However, the patriotic bend on such things as the American Revolution, the Vietnam War, and even our current affairs of policing the world have another side to the story that is rarely revealed to the general public. Citing historian, author, and social activist Howard Zinn (along with Saul Alinsky and Noam Chomsky), this course would discuss the events leading up to the American Revolution and compare the traditional perspective we’re all familiar with to some little-known realities of how this country came to be. Topics include capitalism, the politically-driven creation of a Middle class, the United States as a Republic vs. a Democracy, and forced recruitment into the Continental Army. The basic overtones of the class discuss the media’s long history of creating a perspective in order to control opinion, and how a rich, ruling elite has historically dominated both the media and the government for economic gain.
The goal of this class is to broaden perspectives and raise awareness of America’s past, so as to depart from the strictly sentimental and patriotic approach, and move towards a better understanding of our history in a less-biased, more grassroots vision of America.
We’ll meet at the Museum of American History and share self-guided tours of the exhibit, then walk over to the Washington Monument to discuss our reactions.
National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Neighborhood: National Mall