The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

History and Thinking

The below article describes how history and critical thinking aids problem solveing in today’s environment.  This goes to heart of why we teach history here at CGSC.

Historical Ignorance and Economy

August 29, 2012 - Posted by | H100 | , , , , ,


  1. The momentum of “Why?”

    Critical and creative thinking skills seem more evolved in those who ask the why question (“Why?”). Historians tend to ask a lot of why questions: “Why did a battle turn out the way it did?” or “Why did the world sink into a depression?”.

    The thirst for knowledge starts at an early age. Children love asking “Why?”. As parents and educators, we normally give a short answer for something that deserves a complex answer, not realizing the skill the child is trying to develop. Instead, in the interest of time or lack of knowledge, we share what we know or to a degree in which we feel will satisfy the question and then wait for the next barrage of “Why?”.

    If we as parents and educators took the time to answer the “Why?” in-depth and challenged our children to think about our answer, the child would start using the creative and critical thinking skills Mr. Augustine mentions much earlier in life. Some children may not understand our responses. However, it does not mean they are not processing the information. If you have ever looked into a child’s eyes after explaining something in-depth, they usually aren’t glossed over. Instead, you can see the mind working, trying to comprehend what was just said and trying to make the information fit into their understanding of the world. This reaction is a similar reaction that Mr. Augustine says makes people successful in the business world.

    Mr Augustine believes it is a person’s ability to take a set of facts and process them in such a manner as to come to a conclusion. Once the conclusion is made, the person is able to defend the conclusion, because it is an end state they created. With practice and confidence, those critical/creative thinkers will be able to communicate their end state and effect change or spark the enlightenment of another who will then depart in the quest for knowledge.

    Therefore, parents and educators need to go beyond the basics when it comes to giving our children an education. We need to encourage our children to think and draw conclusions and support those conclusions. We should not give answers away, but ask the children what they think the answer is and let them explore the world and find the facts. Once they give us that answer, then we can then ask them “Why?”.

    Comment by Bryan J Dutcher | September 7, 2012

  2. History is not what happened, but a story of what happened. And there are always different versions, different stories, about the same events. One version might revolve around a specific set of facts while another version might minimize them or not include them at all.

    When reading and studying history it is important to view the information from the perspective of the writer. Think of its purpose. Does the information attempt to persuade, to inform, or to mislead. It is also, important to place the information in the time, which it addresses to ensure the accuracy of the words and events presented. A reader can determine biases and omissions of facts when placing data on a time line.

    We must understand that history has influenced our environment. This influence of our environment has affected our ideas. Our ideas represent images, concepts, values and all of those things that influence how people think of themselves and the world around them.

    What all of the above means are the people who influence history and our ability to think literally control the mind of the people within the environment of those ideas. Therefore, it is imperative for one to maximize control of their ideas so they are able to influence their environment.

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santay). This has always been the case, but why it is so difficult to learn from the past? Why must we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? The answer is simple – disregard based on apathy and pride, together with an ever-present denial. Disregard and its denial will, sad to say, lead us down the same road as it did in the all past history.

    As we continue to connect the dots to our past, we will all become students of the past to ensure our development and success in tomorrow’s world.

    Below you find some of our greatest teachers of history and its purpose. As you read each, it is with confidence you will come to understand the place of history, how it has shaped our thinking, and why it is important to approach history critically.

    “History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. The role of history is to tell a people what they have been, and where they have been, what they are and where they are. The most important role that history plays is that it has the function of telling a people where they still must go and what they still must be.” – Dr. John Henry Clarke

    “If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” ― Dr. Carter G. Woodson

    “A poor man cannot rival the rich in luxury of life, but he can in luxury of knowledge. He cannot furnish his house as the wealthy can, but he can furnish his head. He cannot found a house of note, but he may found a mind of mark. Though some kingdoms may be adorned or afflicted with kings, learning has always been a republic, where all are equal who know.” –
    G. J. Holyoake

    Comment by Kevin Caesar | September 10, 2012

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