This I Believe

Mike - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on October 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Greater Focus on World History Needed in Public Schools

As a high school student , I believe schools should place a much greater emphasis on world history. Currently, one year of American History is required, and although some schools now require two years of World History, the content of the courses tends to have a Western Civilization focus, with an emphasis on the United States’ experience of world events. Some high schoolers are taking two years of American History and one year of World History. In elementary and middle school the focus is mainly on American and State History. I believe that American History is important, but that World History is also important.

I believe that by sufficiently learning World History American citizens will increase their knowledge of not only the history of other countries, but will also gain insights regarding the religion, culture, and customs of other peoples. By understanding the mix of history, experience, tradition and religion that make up the cultural identities of people around the globe, the United States will be in a much better position to secure its international objectives.

For example, if future generations of Americans are provided with a more in-depth and broader education with respect to regions like the Middle East, we will improve our chances for peace and security. The United States declared war on Iraq because our government claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could harm the United States. However, no weapons of mass destruction were found. The United States government has made a terrible mistake, and the price being paid is the lives of American citizens. With more insights and education by our country as a whole, it is possible that the Iraq War would not be blazing on. Our leaders might have realized Saddam Hussein was bluffing in order to prevent military advances by Iran.

A better understanding of the world will help future generations maintain a prosperous United States. For example, if our leaders wanted to help ensure economic prosperity with secure access to Iraqi oil, they might have realized, with a deeper understanding of the region, that starting a war would not provide a solution to this issue.

Iraq is just one example of why the people of the United States need to be more thoroughly educated in World History. The United States is already the most powerful country in the world. The United States can maintain this position and advance the goals of peace and security with a more thorough understanding of our neighbors around the globe.