Part of How I Study History in 14 Points

1. When studying the United States’s past, no question, inquiry, problem, etc, can circumvent the all important question: how does it help “old White guys”?

2. If United States History reveals few constants one of them is that all too often despite on-going grassroots efforts demanding change very little changes in the way of the prejudices created and enforced by the White, Protestant, Heterosexual, western-European-in-origin cis-Male elite that vastly curtail the opportunities available to every one else, especially political and social minorities.

3. “Reality” is always more complex and multifaceted than historical memory.

4. Everything is deliberate; therefore, everything must be questioned and analyzed.

5. Questions are important, especially if we don’t or can’t know the answer.

6. Everyday artifacts—e.g., food, clothing, movies, cars—tell us much about associated hopes, fears, and experiences.

7. The “Constitution” is much more of a metaphor per se than an actual document. Metaphor might not be the best word to describe my idea, but there is a HUGE gap between the document as written, the document as it is believed to have been written, as it is interpreted, etc. All of these feelings and interpretations are always changing. What was “Constitutional” in 1900 in terms of the Culture of Segregation, for example, was not “Constitutional” in 2000. 

8. Laws are responses to something.

9. Gaps always exist between laws and “reality”/”realities.”

10. History is all about studying the realms of illogic. It’s not supposed to “make sense.”

11. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is a social construction.

12. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is relative.

13. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e makes history, but only a few make History.

14. Consciously and unconsciously we are learning and making decisions all day, every day.

See also: