Study of American History

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What is the purpose of studying American history? What do we gain from doing so?
How does scholarly history differ from other ways of understanding the past, such as patriotic symbology, national mythology, and popular memory?
Before responding to these questions, read both of the following brief documents about the study of history:
=Doyle, D. A. (2003). Historians protest new Enola Gay exhibit. Perspectives Online, 41(9). Retrieved from http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2003/0312/0312new4.cfm
=Stearns, P. N. (1998). Why study history?. American Historical Association. Retrieved from: http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/WhyStudyHistory.h