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detailed knowledge of the particular event; and they train the critical faculty most effectively. With these comparisons as concrete illustrations of the kind of critical work he is expected to perform, the student views his report in a new light; he inserts footnotes ungrudgingly; and consequently the majority of the reports are admirably critical as well as conscientious. III. Results. Respecting the practical results of the laboratory work in current topics—or as we prefer to call it, contemporary history—we have every reason for gratification. Some of the reports, to be sure, are hastily and carelessly done. The poor student we have with us always. Some of the reports betray the exuberance of immaturity; I recall, for instance, a football man who entitled his very bulky report, “Mexico, the Alpha and Omega of Chaos,” and prefaced it with a Latin couplet. Glowing perorations sometimes attach themselves to otherwise soberly historical chronicles. The general level of performance, however, is remarkably high. Most of the reports show a degree of carefulness which can hardly be inspired by anything other than a genuine interest in the subject. A few of the best reports are fully on a par with many of the articles printed by standard monthly magazines; in fact, one of our students not long since had his report on Germany accepted for publication by the “Forum.”
IV. SYSTEMATIC READING AND LECTUREs. Thus far I have dwelt on the central feature of our laboratory work, the painstaking preparation of a report on the historical significance of recent events in some one country. In the course on contemporary history at Columbia it has been found advisable to supplement the laboratory work by required reading, in order to give each student a general knowledge of the recent history of all nations, in addition to his intimate familiarity with the affairs of one nation. About twenty pages are assigned to be read each week, so that the political institutions, the parties, and the principal political and social problems of each country may be studied and discussed in the light of recent history. For many of the countries, just the right sort of a summary will be found in such a book as Hayes “Political and Social History of Modern Europe,” vol. II, or Hazen’s “Europe Since 1815,” or Robinson and Beard, “Outlines of European History, Part II.” A few pages in the “Annual Register,” the “American Year Book,” or the “New International Year Book,” or the brief record of political events now published . annually by the “Political Science Quarterly,” are occasionally required for recent events. Moreover, every student is expected to familiarize himself with the news of the week, and for this purpose some periodical like the “Independent,” or the “Literary Digest " is recommended, since even a careful perusal of the daily newspapers leaves in the mind of the average student too chaotic a jumble of unsorted trifles.
It may seem that what with the compilation of a pretentious report, what with readings on the various nations, what with the study of a weekly magazine,
the student will be overwhelmed by the tremendous mass of detail. He will not see the wood for the trees. To avoid this danger, the instructor gives a series of interpretive lectures, one a week, in which he endeavors to seize upon the salient features, the fundamental principles, of present times as some historian in a future age might delineate them. One week the instructor directs the attention of the class to the potent sentiment of nationalism, which has been rudely remaking the map of Europe ever since the Congress of Vienna, and is still at work. The next week, he sketches the rough outlines of the Socialist movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Another hour, he briefly recapitulates the story of the growth of Democracy, and connects it up with current events, with the demand for franchise reform in Prussia, and in England, with Chinese Republicanism, and with American Progressivism. Or again, the lecture will trace the subtle operation of modern imperialism in the Far East.
V. EQUIPMENT. The methods of which I have now completed my description have all of them stood the test of experience. They are certainly practical at Columbia. Nor need the question of equipment stand in the way of the adoption of a laboratory course at other institutions where perchance one lacks the advantages of a large library and plentiful files of domestic and foreign newspapers and periodicals.
One may start out with only a few indispensable reference works for equipment—an up-to-date encyclopedia, a “Who's Who,” a “Statesman's Year Book,” and a good history of recent times. Let us add a few good wall-maps, inasmuch as constant reference to the map is necessary to correct the amazing ignorance of most college men regarding geography. With this modest equipment, the laboratory course would depend largely upon the newspapers and periodicals purchased by the students individually; clippings therefrom would be all the more carefully filed away for future reference, and the reports, although based upon limited sources, might still be critical and illuminating. If the appropriation is larger, a file of the “New York Times,” with its quarterly index should be started, the weekly magazine of the London “Times '' ordered through some good bookseller, and a small but usable historical library created, comprising recent histories of the United States, of Great Britain, of France, of Germany, etc., as well as books on international affairs, on Socialism, on Imperialism, and on the war.
If a princely sum is available, then the ideal equipment may be gradually acquired. In addition to the works already mentioned one should receive the “Congressional Record,” and copies of all laws passed by Congress. The proceedings of the British Parliament and the “Journal Officiel,” of France, are costly, but valuable. All the standard year-books, and new historical works should be added as they appear. In purchasing war-books, discrimination is preferable to prodigality. Copies of the British White Paper and of the other nations' vari-colored apologies for the war should be placed on reference; “Nelson's History of the War" is very useful; and the London “Times " serial “History of the War ” is a veritable storehouse of historical information. The “Review of Reviews,” the “World's Work,” the “New York Times Current History " (monthly), the “North American Review,” the “Political Science Quarterly,” and perhaps other American periodicals should be kept on file; among British periodicals, the “Contemporary Review,” the “Nineteenth Century,” the “Fortnightly,” and the “Liberal Magazine’’ suggest themselves as invaluable; in French, “La Revue Politique et Parlementaire" is very useful indeed; German periodicals are at present not allowed to pass the blockade, and the new “Mexican Review " might be added for a roseate view of conditions in our sister republic.
As for newspapers, rather than multiplying American journals, I should have in addition to the “New York Times" (with index), the “London Times " (also with index), the great French daily, “Le Temps;” the Italian daily, “Corriere della Sera;” and the admirable Latin-American journal, “La Prensa.” The Austrian “Fremdenblatt,” and German papers like “Worwaerts " or the “Frankfurter Zeitung,” would of course be valuable were they available.
The laboratory method of teaching current topics and contemporary history has this advantage, that even when reduced to lowest terms it may still be immensely interesting and educative. One may simply require the students to compile a report such as I have described, on some current topic, in connection with the general course in European history. Even when thus simply conducted, the experiment will, I am confident, be richly rewarded by intensified interest in the general course. Then the instructor may gradually expand the work, adding informal conferences, or introducing lectures, or requiring regular reading.
Unless my eyes are strangely deceived, the future is full of promise for this kind of work. Our colleges are just beginning to realize—and as yet only vaguely—the possibilities of instruction in current topics and the use of periodicals, not only for history, but also for politics, for economics, and for the foreign languages. At Columbia the teachers of politics and of economics already do some work with current topics, and the German department has discovered that a practical reading knowledge of the language may be acquired by reading German newspapers and periodicals as well as by studying Goethe or Schiller. Am I unduly optimistic in believing that the day will soon come when these various departments of the college will co-operate in conducting the laboratory of the future; in which the same newspapers, magazines, and recent books will be used by the historian, by the economist, by the political theorist, and by the teacher of modern languages, each with his special interests; a laboratory in which the college man will learn to apply his theories and his knowledge of the past to the living problems of the present.
As members of the teaching guild, we must ever be mindful that the college men of to-day are the citizens of to-morrow. This may be a truism, but it is a truth we too often forget. Upon us lies the responsibility of teaching the coming generation to approach its social and political problems with a calm and critical judgment, with a helpful knowledge of the past, and with a sincere interest in the present, and thus to perpetuate and ennoble our democracy. With a humble realization of this heavy responsibility, I have ventured to lay before you the methods and results of our laboratory work at Columbia, in the confident hope that by your criticism and suggestions we may learn more worthily to fulfil our duty to the future.”
2 A paper read before the History Teachers' Association of the Middle Atlantic States and Maryland, December 2, 1916.
Changing Emphasis in Europeam. History in the High Schools of California
BY GEROID ROBINSON, LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY, CAL.”
Whether or not the tendency toward increasing emphasis on modern history at the expense of ancient and medieval history is a wholesome one, this tendency is certainly widespread among the high schools of California. If information obtained from eighty
three high schools forms an adequate basis for gen-.
eralization, the process of uniting ancient and medieval history in a single year's course is well under way, English history as a separate subject is losing
* Mr. Robinson is an undergraduate in Leland Stanford Junior University, and his report was prepared in connection with the Teachers' Course in History.—ARLEY B. SHOW.
its grip, and modern history of pronouncedly social and economic type is the new El Dorado of the text-book makers.
From the figures that follow it will be very apparent that history teaching in California has come out of that Egypt of self-satisfaction in which the Committee of Seven left it, and is seeking a new “Promised Land.” It is the purpose of this paper to show how far along this new journey the high schools under consideration have proceeded, what has been the manner of their traveling, and whither, in the estimation of the teachers themselves, the road is likely to lead.
The facts and opinions herewith presented were gathered from eighty-three responses to a questionnaire sent to all the high schools of California having an enrollment in excess of one hundred. The principals or teachers of these schools were asked to write on the following topics:
“ (1) Courses now offered in European history; (2) Important changes in European history courses in recent years, with reasons for such changes; (8) Other ways in which history teaching in your school shows tendency toward change as to subject-matter, emphasis and proportion, and so on.” These being the topics under discussion, such subjects as civics, economics, and ancient, English and American history are touched upon only incidentally, and the discussion for the most part is confined to the European field about as treated within the limits of the standard course in medieval and modern history.
Although sixty schools report courses in medieval and modern European history conforming, at least, approximately to the standards set by the Committee of Seven, the trend of the times is undoubtedly away from, rather than towards uniformity of program. In the answers to the questionnaire thirtyfive changes of program were described, and almost without exception these changes were in the nature of departure from the Committee's four-block system.
EMPHAsis on THE MoDERN PERIOD.
The tendency most in evidence is that toward increasing emphasis on the modern period of European history. Eighteen schools now devote more time to modern history than was possible within the limits of the blocks as defined by the committee. Of this number, sixteen give one year, and two give more than a year to the modern period. One school from the group of sixteen retains the ancient, and medieval and modern blocks, but replaces the third block with a course in “Modern Europe" open to second and third year students taking history for the first time. The remaining fifteen schools of this group cover the ancient and medieval periods in a single year. Five of them give no definite information as to the chronological limit of this first course, five begin the work in modern history with the year 1500 or thereabouts, and with the other five the break comes in the time of Louis XIV. Not all the changes incident to the establishment of these courses were described in the answers to the questionnaire, but in at least eight cases the change of program has involved the abandonment of English history as a separate course—a subject to be discussed later.
Of the two schools that give more than a year to the modern period, one has replaced ancient, medieval and modern and English history with a year of ancient and a year and a half of medieval and modern history, and the other offers, in addition to the regular ancient and medieval and modern courses, a half year's work in the “European Background of American History.’
It should be added that four schools not yet con
sidered have combined ancient and medieval history in a single year's course without expanding modern history beyond the half year formerly allotted to it. The changes in the program of studies already actually effected are hardly more significant than those in prospect. In eight schools the decision has already been reached to adopt in the near future the two-year course in European history, in three other cases the move is being seriously considered, and still another school is about to substitute for the ancient, medieval and modern, and English blocks a three years’ course in the history of Europe as a whole. Even where a rearrangement of the program of studies is neither completed nor in contemplation, there is a strong tendency to shift the emphasis within the old blocks to the more modern aspects of the subjects. Statements as to emphasis and proportion vary and overlap in every possible way and any attempt to summarize the results cannot be overwhelmingly successful. However, it may be said that in twenty schools which have not yet forsaken the old blocks, there is a conscious emphasis upon the modern period; twelve answers tell of special efforts to relate the past to the present; and, at the apex of the whole movement, nineteen schools give special attention to current events. Again it must be said that any one school may appear in all three of the groups just mentioned. A few practical suggestions are offered as to how the shifting emphasis within the old blocks may be accomplished: this, for instance, “Certain topics formerly taught in the second year have been put into the Ancient history course; such topics as Feudalism, the Crusades, the Rise of the Universities;” and again, “Beginning this year, the ancient history work will be carried to about the twelfth century, in order to allow more time for eighteenth and nineteenth century European history and also for present-day tendencies;” and lastly, in a school with a large library, “ancient history is to be completed in three quarters, and the last quarter is to be devoted to library reference work in medieval history. In the matter of establishing relations between past and present, two teachers follow approximately the same method. To quote from one of them: “We try to select a list of topics which are vital to present-day living, e. g., city government, the lot of the common people, . . . . relation between capital and labor, public health, etc., etc., and we have the students take notes in their notebooks of points of interest under these topics. They start these notebooks in ancient history and carry them right through medieval and modern history and American history,
This gives at all times an opportunity to make com
parisons and to note the progress of man along the several lines of endeavor outlined.” Many of the teachers who are concerned with the problems of relationship also have something to say regarding the value of the study of current events and the methods of handling the material. Six schools devote one day a week throughout one year to this work, one extends the work through two years; four use the “Literary Digest,” and two “The Independent’’ as a text-book, and one offers a special course in current history.
Bringing together all the data obtained as to the progress of the movement for modern emphasis, we find that eighteen schools have changed their courses of study with the object of gaining time for modern history, twenty other schools have accomplished the transfer of emphasis by a redistribution of time within the standard blocks, and nineteen schools have found time for the study of current events.
Many of the teachers enlarge upon their reasons for emphasizing the modern period, but only a few of their statements can be quoted. One teacher says: “I try to retain only that matter which seems to have a bearing on the future . . . . I intend this year, more than ever before, to hasten to the Europe of the last fifty years. So far as the experience and ability of my students permit, I mean to make this a modern European year"—and all this is to be accomplished within the limits of the old blocks. Another teacher writes, regarding the adoption of the two-year course in European history: “The new system gives the student more knowledge of the affairs of Europe to-day; he is able to read comprehendingly in magazines and newspapers.” Another says, “Our students want what seems vital and present. They do not care so much what happened a thousand years ago. The definition of scholarship seems to be changing.” A single statement summarizes the ideas back of the whole movement toward the modern and the practical: to quote, “We believe that history work [in high schools] should be primarily for those who do not go to college, and that we should present those things which most intimately touch the life of a citizen . . . . There is altogether too much ignorance regarding the economic and social changes now in progress, which are so closely related to the life of the voters of a democratic country.”
In sharp contrast with all this are several earnest protests against the modernizing tendency. The head of a large history department deplores the disposition of his teachers to place great emphasis on recent history. He says, “While the writer would welcome more time for recent modern history, he feels medieval history to be so important to an understanding of the development of our present institutions, that the relative time devoted to it should not be greatly diminished.” Another teacher writes, “Students find medieval history hard enough without beginning it in the middle of the ninth year,” and adds, “It is true that the medieval and modern course is too crowded: tell us some way out of it.”
From another large high school comes the following: “The actual and practical results of the effort to give more attention to modern European history is to fall back upon the old and condemned plan of a weak and worthless ‘general' course for the
early period of European history.” Another protesting teacher wants to carry the fight into the enemy's country: he says, “Personally I am hoping to see some day the properly equipped history workshop or laboratory, with all that that would mean. If high school teachers would work consistently to that end, there would be less need for concern about whether the European history course should begin with 800, or 1500, or 1648, and more would be accomplished in the end.”
Passing now from the modernizing tendency in general to consider the growth of socio-economic emphasis, we find that in eighteen institutions special stress is laid upon this aspect of history and that in many instances the establishment of new courses in sociology, economics or civics is either accomplished or under consideration. One teacher writes, “I try to emphasize especially the struggle between labor and capital, because it is along this line that our government is developing—in fact, it is here that the world-problem lies.” In another large school the climax of the movement has been reached; to quote: “We now call our history department the Department of Social Sciences, because ultimately our four years' course will include two years of historical social science and two years of civics, economics and sociology . . . . [Already, with the transition partially accomplished] we are attracting many new students to the department and are giving them work that is more worth while than the old courses.”
In the fight for a place in the high school program, sociology, economics and civics, like modern history, find English history their weakest opponent. Six schools have substituted a half year of economics and a half year of civics for the traditional year of English history, and four of this number now give American history in the junior year and follow it in the fourth year with the new work in economics and civics. Two schools have replaced English history with a full year's course in economic and industrial history, another divides the third year evenly between English history and economics, and still another makes room for a full year of economics by allowing but half a year each to ancient history and English history. Finally one large school gains time for economic and social history by offering, as an alternative to ancient and medieval and modern history, a two years' course in the history of Europe divided as follows: early Europe, one year; modern Europe, one-half year; England, one-half year.
The defense for these changes is more often a pro- . test against a disproportionate amount of time devoted to English history than a plea for economics or civics. Any change that relieves the pressure on United States history by removing civics to another year seems doubly welcome.
THE CAse of “GENERAL History.”
The fear sometimes expressed that the pressure of “practical" subjects would result in a reinstatement of “general history " seems to be groundless, since only four high schools offer the subject. In one case general history has been substituted for English history “for the benefit of those students taking business courses, or preparing for engineering or scientific courses.” Another school has substituted general history for ancient and medieval and modern, because “history is not worth one-fourth a student's time unless he wishes to specialize in the subject.” The work in social and economic history seems in some measure to take the place of general history, and one teacher distinctly states that her course in commercial and industrial history is intended to serve as a short course in the ancient and medieval and modern fields.
A PLACE for ENGLISH History.
Through all these changes English history has suffered most. In eighteen schools the separate course in this subject has been crowded out completely in favor of economics or civics or modern history or some combination of these subjects, and in one case in favor of general history.
Seven teachers volunteered information as to how they provide within the new courses for the study of English history. One instructor lays emphasis upon England's part in medieval and modern history, two others also study at length England's connection with the American colonies, and in four schools time is found to emphasize English history as a part of a two-year course in the history of Europe. At a glance all this may appear to be in harmony with the recommendations of the Committee of Five, but it must be remembered that these teachers expect to find a place for English history in a two years' European history course, and not in a three-year course as the committee recommended.
That English history is not everywhere on the downward road may be proved by the fact that in two schools a differentiated course in this field has recently been added to the program; one of the teachers concerned says that the addition was made “with the idea of allowing students to study the European country most important to America, more intensively than was possible in the medieval and modern course.” Another schoolmaster states that the English and medieval and modern courses are now given every year instead of alternately as formerly, due to increasing demand.
In closing, the statement made in the beginning regarding the growth of emphasis on modern history and socio-economics may be repeated, and it may fairly be added that the ultimate goal of the chovement is a program something like this:
1st year-Early European history.
2d year—Modern European history, with special attention to the background of United States history.
*d year-United States history and current events.
4th year—Economics or sociology or civics or some combination of these three subjects. The last two years to be required of all students.
Arguments for and against this program form a part of the everlasting discussion regarding the merits of the “present and practical" as distinguished from the “distant and cultural.” No man living can hope to still this tempest with a word, or with a book of words. Still it may not be out of place to ask a few questions that cannot be answered without some realization of what is involved in the proposed redistribution of time. Such questions as these must be faced: Where within the last three centuries is there to be found a national culture comparable to that of Greece in its influence? What is the comparative importance to us of Roman and British imperialism, of the barbarian invasions and the Napoleonic wars? Is divine-rights-absolutism more important than feudalism? Are the Roman Church, the Holy Roman Empire, the Renaissance and the Reformation of small importance as compared with Nationalism, Democracy and the Industrial Revolution?
American Historical Review
The leading article in the January number of the “American Historical Review” is Professor George L. Burr's “The Freedom of History,” the presidential address delivered at the Cincinnati meeting of the American Historical Association. Mr. Herbert C. Bell contributes a paper upon “The West India Trade Before the American Revolution; ” Mr. Victor Coffin writes upon “Censorship and Literature Under Napoleon I; ” and Mr. Carl R. Fish upon “Social Relief in the Northwest During the Civil War.” The original documents printed in this number consist of reports in the Senate in 1804 upon the Breckenridge Bill for the government of Louisiana. These reports, contributed by Everett S. Brown, are taken from the private journals of Senator William Plumer, of New Hampshire, two volumes of which are in the Library of Congress, and one volume in the State Library of New Hampshire. The three volumes cover the period, October, 1803, to April, 1807. The review pages show twenty-five books on American history, and only eight on all other fields of history. There are the usual interesting and valuable personal and literary notices. The annual list of doctoral dissertations in history now in progress at the chief American universities appears in this number of the “Review.”