Based on our conversations in class today, your prior experience, and the “Guideposts to Historical Thinking” handout, which historical thinking question do you believe is the most important to consider for a vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience this year? Why?
Although all six of the different questions of historical thinking are of importance in social studies, I believe that historical perspective is the most important when discussing history and their impact on us today. In modern society, many of us stand against beliefs such as unequal rights in gender, ethnicity, and of those groups in the minority. However, when we look into history, we often make a judgement towards those in the past who discriminated against people who are part of the minority. For example, it is easy for us to say that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were bad people and even today we put negative labels associated with Donald Trump. However, in doing so, we are wrong, and we are being hypocritical toward ourselves. We cannot form an opinion on someone without realizing or understanding them wholly, which we can never truly do. Yes, Adolf Hitler did things that were unforgettable, perhaps to the point of evil, but we must remember that we shouldn’t look at people in the past with only one perspective, one lens. If we questions why Hitler did the things he did, one might find that as a German solider who lost in WW1, he felt angry, his pride was crushed, and looked for a scapegoat in Jews. Although this does not give a sense of justice to Hitler in any form, it does give us a reason on why Hitler decided to become the person he is. We can understand that, albeit his mistake was terribly big, Hitler is just another human in the past that we have no right to judge. By understanding Hitler’s motive behind his actions, we can see historical events with different eyes, and apply these understanding to modern values to stop ourselves from making the same mistake again. Nobody makes “wrong” decisions; every single person in the past makes decisions they see in their mind “right”; and only when we look at those decisions with multiple lenses, can we truly figure out why people behave in the way they did and understand the effects history has on us today.