Thank you for visiting my website! Here I share my love of American history and passion for teaching American history with a wider audience. Many people have told me over my 30-year career in teaching that they felt as if their history classes were a mindless, meaningless memorization of dates and facts, an endless parade of trivia to which they were made passive spectators. This has turned them off to learning about our country’s fascinating and vital past.
I’m not saying that all history teaching is poor. There are many fine teachers and programs across the country. Yet a great deal of our American history teaching fails to inspire curiosity and to develop the ability to connect what’s happened in the past to the issues of today.
Why should that matter? I think it is a crucial requirement for understanding the country’s problems today and for being a good citizen.
I call the problem: Amerinesia.
We’re suffering from Amerinesia in the U.S.!
Good history is about telling stories about people and places, not learning dates. We must look at problems in society, and then trace backward to see how we got to where we are. What can we learn from precedents? What lessons can be applied in the present to lead us to a more enlightened society? Historical stories are the fabric of our lives, and they matter to us. Stories give meaning to events, both in our nation and in our lives.
American history is made up of complex conflicts, stories with drama and untold impact on events to come.
I hope to bring love of storytelling, energy and enthusiasm to new generations of students, to aspiring teachers and finally, to people of any age who just want to understand more about the United States, whether you live here or abroad.
Why I’m not here to talk about my own views
Being a good citizen means informed, thoughtful voting. It’s not about choosing a political party, although there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe the goal should be to evaluate issues in light of one’s understanding of how government works and the philosophies of the founders.
It is my hope that Americans will choose candidates based not on personalities or slogans, but on reasoning about the issues. I strive to do justice to all sides. If I drop the ball on that, I hope you will correct me. Full disclosure: I voted for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. I’m not here to discuss my own leanings, however. I fire illumination rounds only.
- Draw parallels between past and present that open windows of understanding.
- Make complex ideas of philosophy, government and history accessible to everyone.
- Raise pivotal questions for your own exploration.
Some of these questions:
- What is the place of religion in democratic political society?
- How big of a military do we need and what is its mission?
- Is majority rule compatible with minority rights?
Of course, many questions are never answered; they are simply woven into the fabric of our society to play out as ferociously as if they had never happened before.
My teaching career was mainly in the public schools of Rumson, NJ, where I worked to develop the talents and the futures of all my students and to help them fall in love with a subject.
I’ll leave you with this:
Know something about everything, and everything about something.
Robert F. Galante, Jr.