Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Re: the List of American History People

Just happened to be doing some schoolwork for next year, rereading some stuff and came across this nugget, related to my past entry regarding "the list" of 10 Americans. From Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen:

"For twenty-five years now, Michael Frisch has been conducting an experiment in social archetypes at the State University of New York in Buffalo. He asks his first-year college students for 'the first ten names that you think of' in American history before the Civil War. When Frisch found that his students listed the same political and military figures year after year, replicating the privileged positions afforded them in high school textbooks, he added the proviso, 'excluding presidents, generals, statesmen, etc.' Frisch still gets a stable list, but one less predictable on the basis of history textbooks. Most years, Betsy Ross has led the list. (Paul Revere usually comes in second.)"

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