What historical period do you wish you knew more about?

Students in the public schools and political figures on the national stage have drawn poor marks for their understanding of history. Today’s Question: What historical period do you wish you knew more about?

  • Hiram

    The 2000’s.

  • Gordon

    Pre-colonial Africa

  • Neil

    I spent a lot of my life knowing how the country was founded and a lot about post WW2 America. I didn’t really know how the country evolved from 13 tiny eastern seaboard colonies to becoming a world power. Recently I have done lots of reading about that period and now know America much better.

  • GaryF

    The Rise of Islam through the Middle Ages to today.

  • Karl


  • Greg

    year one common era to year 800 common era. it was then that the sources of the two greatest antagonists were warped, solidified and codified into religo-political factions. there’s a history I’d like to stop repeating.

  • Larry M.

    I would like to know more about our founding fathers many who were deists and Free Masons and wealthy business men. How they were rebelling against not only of the tyranny of Great Brittan but also religious tyranny and why they decided that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” and how the idea of self determination was truly revolutionary in an era of religious oppression and fatalism.

  • Jessica

    I would loved to have known more about Minnesota history, so many places carry their names.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The question presumes people know where the gaps in their knowledge are. Most Americans I talk with on a daily basis are so clueless about history that they don’t know what they don’t know.

  • mtwords

    I would wager to say that Sarah Palin would like to know more about Paul Revere.

  • Rachel

    Asian history during the Age of Exploration and US history from 1950 to present. My frustration as a student (back in the stone ages, or 1980’s) was that our classes in school only went to WWII since we ran out of time at the end of the year. We are reaping the rewards of having a lack of knowledge about the Cold War and it’s implications for US foreigh policy .

  • I’ve often thought it would make more sense to students if we taught history backwards–we’re here now, how did we get here? Running out of time in the school year leaves too many gaps in the recent history we need to be informed citizens.

  • Donovan

    The Renaissance and Wars of Religion in Europe. Much of the foundations of Christian thought that we (esp. Protestants) take for granted were established during that time.

  • John

    I would like to know more of the history surrounding the Holocaust. Figure out the numbers and religions of all those killed.

    Nice thing is you can still do that in the good old USA but they put you in prison for 5 years if you try questioning that history in European countries.

  • Lawrence

    I would like to know more about colonial North America, starting with the Spanish presence in the American Southwest, the French and British presence in Canada, and the British/America presence in the Thirteen Colonies. I think our country over simplies the causes of the American Revolution and over romanticizes the so-called American pioneering experience. From the little pieces I’ve been reading lately, there seemed to be a mad scramble for America among the European powers, including Russia, Sweden, and the Dutch, similar to the one in Africa in the 1800s, This scramble to me, was the motivation for our American Revolution.

  • on the road to grand marais

    So we don’t remember history. Is it because we don’t use it in daily discussions and context. I took physics and calculus in college, did well in it, but today couldn’t tell you differences between fractals and derivatives and logarithms (sp) – I just don’t use it in context every day.

  • Professor Thomas

    I teach history is change over time. Studying how change happens — especially “history from below” or how ordinary people make changes — empowers students and gets them interested. Period everyone needs to know more about right now: the Founding Fathers, the Article of Confederation, and why the Constitution almost wasn’t approved. Founding Fathers and the men who fought the Revolution did not agree on what form a republican gov’t should take! It was farmers who moved this country to Democracy. (I got 100% on the quiz.)

  • Neil

    I’ll second Karl’s answer. I also found Hiram’s to be poignant and funny.

    I’d like to know more about post-Roman empire civilizations. It seems like such a jumble of kingdoms, tribes, and players that I can’t get a handle on how they all coalesced into the people and nations we recognize today.

  • Cheez

    The future.

  • Jason

    History, shmistory. I only want to know what’s important, like who’s gonna win on American Idol.

  • Jeff

    I would like to learn more about antiquity, especially the Greek and Romain regions. The more I learn about that era the more I realize how close we were to starting the industrial revolution at least 1000 years sooner and how we were just a few scientific discoveries away from key advancements in technology. During this era calculus was nearly created and there was at least one steam powered device but it wasn’t applied to other uses due to slavery, which supplied cheap and abundant labor.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Steve the cynic- “they don’t know what they don’t know.” C’mon. You’re really Donnie Rumsfeld, aren’t ya. Speaking of history and not learning from it, give us the inside scoop. What are the new wars we can look forward to?

  • Lee

    I think we should all know more about Tony Sutton, and the power that he has over the Minnesota republican party and it’s policies. His minions in the state house and senate, don’t make a move without his nod of approval. This unelected, quasi official, has been the source of the agenda that’s pushing the state into a governmental shut down. More Minnesotans need to know the why and how, this man can run the legislature to his wishes, while not being publicly elected to any office.

  • Bonnie Balach

    No. While I have some sympathy for providing services at the cheapest rate for the highest quality, the private sector sells services cheap because they can pay their employees less. Then taxpayers have to pick up the slack with public programs to subsidize housing, healthcare and food. Is that anymore fair than requiring property tax payers to foot the bill in paying higher wages for public services than to have the public sector pay for services later when wages are insufficient?

  • Carl

    Whenever I hear of some conflict in the world I like to check out the history of the region or people to see how they got to where they are. It’s fascinating to see how historical events from centuries ago still have repercussions today, that few issues are ever really put to rest.

  • Minnesota in the era before we became a state, the 1840s and 1850s. This is a fascinating era, populated by those who were of combined Indian and European heritage. Decisions and events of this era created our state today, and also created the Dakota War, from which we have not yet healed.

  • EAL

    Strictly from an American perspective, three pivotal points in reverse order. First, WWII, a period where the world was at its lowest in all of history. How things could be so out of control that an estimated 60 million people were killed. Second, to be in the midst of the Civil War from a social, military and political perspective. The general media today uses the term divisive flippedly. Divisive is when approximately 625,000 Americans kill each other. Finally, to be a fly on the wall during the founding of this country to hear the discussion on life liberty and pursuit of happiness and the development of the Constitution. Unique in the annels of history, we just do not appreicate what so many do not and we do.

  • Michael

    Reconstruction-a counter-revolution? A period of chaos and lawlessness? A tragic retreat from the promise of a more just society? A Confederate victory 10 years in the making?

  • Greg Chester

    I would like to learn more about the United States historic and treaty relations with Indigenous nations, especially in Minnesota. I want to know historic/legal foundation to the land I live on.

  • Janet Rose

    I would like to know more about the British Empire’s impact on the Middle East and how that affects events today.

  • Amy

    I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but in high school my American History Class started with the colonization of American and ended right around World War II, so I don’t know a whole lot about what happened in the US after the 1950’s, i.e. the Civil Rights Movement. I’m doing my part and educating myself but its kinda sad that schools, at least my high school, didn’t teach recent history.

  • suzie

    For those of you who REALLY want to know and our history and remember how to use this – try the LIBRARY. They have tons of books on all aspects of history. For those of us who have children – read to them and with them and then discuss what you have read. So pick a subject in history that you want to know more about and then go to the library – and as they say “read more about it”.

    ps – I’m a library volunteer and was lucky enough to have parents who read to me and with me. I love to read and when reading history – I sometines wonder how we as a people have survived ourselves. And unless we know where we have been, how will be know how to do better on our way into our future.

  • Connie

    Lately, I’ve wanted to know more about the collapse of civilizations and the breakdown of governments into near lawlessness. Rome, Maya, etc.

  • Jennifer

    I wish we knew more about historical period surrounding the deceptive criminalization of the world’s most useful and versatile plant, Cannabis/Hemp and the cowardly yellow journalism that re-labeled it as “Marijuana”.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Jim Shapiro – “We don’t know what we don’t know” is an expression that long predates Rummy. He just popularized it by using it inelegantly. As for future wars, I think it’s a safe bet there will be some, and that our involvement will be every bit as much of a mistake as most of the past ones, because we won’t have learned from history.

  • Michelle

    The period when humans first learned to use psychedelic mushrooms and cannabis for food, fun, socializing, sexuality, prayer, meditation and communion would be very interesting.

  • Sue de Nim

    I’d like to know more about the Neanderthal genocide.

  • Kevin VC

    History was one of the things I studied a lot in college… But there are many gaps in our records.

    Like the dark ages, or if the idiot romans had not burned down the great library of Alexandria…..


    So for me I would say anything I do not know about or wish humanity was not so foolish with its history.

  • Mathew

    The 60’s man…. They were a lot harder on me than I remember……

  • steven boyer

    The 22nd century. We can’t seem to learn from the past; maybe the future…

  • From the Civil War to the First World War.

  • Eric Ringham

    This one. Link

  • maya

    i would like to know about the historical period in the book the boy in the stripped pyjamas

  • NickyG

    this is a really nice piece. it does make you think about that emotionally open moment. and when we’re at our most open, sometimes awful things can happen but mostly great things do. it’s nice to call attention to the great things that usually accompany those moments. thanks.

  • This is a really well written, well expressed piece. I have come to to expect no less from Tom Weber. He put everything out there for all to see. The fact that it was also a personal experience several years ago certainly gave it a special look and unless I miss my guess Tom will find himself out there again running or helping with other events in the future. Thanks Tom for your excellent vision of the things,and people that will still run this event and others.