I’m not sure when this way of teaching American history began, but it was definitely prevalent throughout my education. Textbooks would present events, not as simple linear moments but as stories with beginnings, middles, and endings; each with their own book or chapter.
Consider, for example, how we look at the Civil War: The Civil War has a beginning with the election of Lincoln and Fort Sumter; a middle with Gettysburg; and an ending with Lincoln’s assassination. Everything else that occurs is seen in the context of that storyline. You can do this same trick with other wars and major events and you will see how it has affected your view on history as well. We all do it, we were taught to do this; we probably just didn’t realize it at the time that is what was going on. Continue reading