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Off Key


This is an independent column and may not necessarily agree with CRIMSON editorial policy.

Mr. Conant's new idea about studying American history is a fine, fine thing. For one thing, it will provide a little more work for the idle undergraduate, and for another, it may teach him something. And for another, it may make some people look upon change as at least a semi-natural phenomenon in life.

Skier's Paradise

It is certainly true that American history is sadly neglected by Americans. How many know anything about the history of their own town, or state? Who was the man from Maine? When was the last Indian war? Who was Lincoln's vice-president? When was the war of 1812?

And the eternal verities, such as they are, seem best to be apprehended by the historical method. Such study can counteract the isolating effects of scientific or philosophical concentration. The laboratory concentrator may gain the scientific ideal of truth, but the garish light of day, outside of the walls of Mallinckrodt, may color anew the values he has learned by lamp-light. And philosophy, as it is taught at Harvard, cannot even do that, but produces an intellectual dry rot, crumbling when touched.

Certainly American history as a study to prepare the youth for the great big world is superior to Vassar's course in marriage and allied problems, which is supposed to bridge the gap between "Shakespeare and having a baby." Or to Columbia's course in "wrestling, judo, and self-defence." Probably our skiing president hopes for too much when he hopes to "inoculate the student body with the educational virus," but it is a worthy aim." A sound historical backing helps a good deal in accepting free love or a liberal Supreme Court.

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