At Riley’s Farm, we are in the business of teaching history, and it is said that learning is half of teaching, and we routinely learn all sorts of delightful historical tidbits from the students who visit us. For instance, as you well know, George Washington was our first president, but were you aware that Abraham Lincoln took office next? Naturally, because Obama was then promptly inaugurated. Regardless, it all happened very quickly, of course, because America declared her independence in 1950. Amazingly, the Declaration itself was signed in 1215 and ratified by an indignant Thomas Edison.
So it’s plausible to deduce, according to various common answers we hear, that we’ve had only three presidents after separating ourselves from the oppressive tyranny of the pioneer of the electric light bulb scantly more than half a century ago, despite an elegantly scripted and courageous document sitting around somewhere for an agonizing 735 years.
History is an amazing thing, rife with the best stories one can imagine, but I didn’t think so when I was a kid, and I would have fared worse in answering any of the above questions. My view at that age was that history was stagnant and dull, because I had only seen it presented in heavy, inert, thousand page volumes I was sentenced to lug around and read under the threat of poor grades. That did little to impress my young mind as to how wonderfully rich our world story is, let alone some of the greatest America offers: the Revolution, California Gold Rush, and Civil War.
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This post was written by Jim Riley