View on History

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     When studying a subject such as American history one can easily define the importance it has in schools. Not only is it an amazingly interesting subject, it also outlines our future. History easily aids in predicting the future, and most importantly, allows us to look at the past 100 or so years, as a whole and not year by year. This is an advantage in learning our mistakes and making sure history doesn't repreat itself. American history is very important in schools because it shows students what life was like where we live only a few generations ago. It helps me to understand what it was like for my grandpa growing up, and depending on the source can change my opinion on a certain subject entirely. On example of this is the J.F.K. assasination, before taking this class my opinion on the assasination was completely different. I believed strongly in Oswald's guilt, but after taking a bit of a history lesson, I have leaned my opinion more toward governmental involvement.
     Another great thing about history is how it can show a change in opinion by the United States public over time. One example of this is during the Vietnam War people in the United States due to ignorance, had no idea what our soldiers were going through, therefore the public opinion of an American soldier was bad. On the other hand now that time has passed, more people's eyes are opened to the hardships and innerchanges that a war such as Vietnam could cause. History shows this change in opinion very adequately.
     To me, things don't change, people do. History is a third person look at the way the people who were in charge at the time, ran our country. To me each president ran the country differently than the next. History allows me to look back at exactly the way things were when each president was in office.
     One disadventage history allows for, is the fact that history can be slanted by the reporter of the news. For example, four eyewitnesses to an occurance could have seen four different things. The reason this is such an amazing disadvantage is because this allows for bias in something that should be completely unbiased; a history book. So in all honesty I think this small factor could change any account of history, however as long as the main idea isn't lost, history is still one of the most imporatant tools to a human being.

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     As for the Vietnam War, I believe that it was the only choice for the United States at this time. Granted, this was a very costly war: over 58,000 Americans were killed, 500,000 wounded, and 1,000,000 North and South Vietnamese were killed; all in all the United States had to keep thier word and maintain thier goal of preventing a 'domino effect' in Asia. I think that this war shouldn't have lasted ten years, however maybe the mass killings in Cambodia wouold have never taken place if we hadn't pulled out. I don't believe the United States lost this war in any way, only the fact that Vietnam became a Communist country and still is one today can raise any uncertainty. The domino effect did not take place and overall, AMERICA LOST NO MAJOR BATTLES! To me, the only war lost was the war fought by the American protesters.
     All in all I have met all my goals for this class, just short of mantaining a stellar grade all year. I believe I have left with a definite understanding of the way the United States is now, to how it has been shaped for the past one hundred years.


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