Integrating History and Government

Short and sweet but no less accurate.

Why is American democracy an amazing thing?

A history full of psychos, sociopaths, and morons who exercised absolute power is the answer.

When a country was fortunate to get a good leader, things were good. Government ran well, the people prospered, and there was peace. Absolute power does that.

But very few leaders in the history of the world can be labeled as good and we tend to remember the horrible ones. Emperors and kings slaughtered people, burned their capitals, robbed the treasury, lived excessively because they could. When it is bad, it is really bad. Absolute power does that.

But during the Enlightenment, it became popular to talk about a different way. Then America came along and decided to experiment with democracy. A government of elected officials that the people pick. So far, we’ve made it 241 years and the American people seem proud of our democracy.

However, why is it so amazing? Why should future generations care so much about preserving our democracy?

Learning the history of governments is key but unfortunately, government is not a main focus of teachers. Using common terms like absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, fascism should be common place.

Students should be able to define a variety of governments, give features of each, and name examples throughout history and in our current world.

I am convinced that if government studies are integrated with history, students will be more interested in learning the details of our democracy when they get to the mandatory course their senior year.

How does a bill become a law? Might not be the most glamorous lesson but students might have more intrinsic interest if they understand why it is so unique and so important to preserve.

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