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Eugene Lieber Audio

Bio
"As a freshman undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, I was an English major, who, if I failed to write the Great American Novel, would become an English teacher.  An American Literature course taught by a brilliant teacher convinced me that I did not have the imagination to teach that subject.  To teach history, a subject I loved, was a natural fallback.  Exciting history teachers and exciting history books confirmed this worthy endeavor.  The political and social upheavals of the Sixties added to my growing attachment to history.

As a teaching assistant in graduate school at Rutgers University, my normally shy demeanor seemed to change in front of a classroom.  To use the traditional lecture format in order to bring the past to life and show its relevance to the present and provide an inkling of the future--this would be my life's work.  From that moment on I regarded the teaching of history as a calling that I have hopefully fulfilled."
 


My view of history

History, a study of the past, is based on facts.  Of the innumerable facts in the past, the historian selects which are significant.  Then comes an interpretation of these facts.

Is the historian objective?  Objectivity is an ideal to aspire to, but it is never quite reached.  Be immediately suspicious of one who claims to be completely objective.  We all have our preconceptions, our prejudices.  The best we can do is be up front
about them.  Do our interpretations make sense?  Never assume the historian has some final truth.

Is history a science?  In the way physics or mathematics may be considered a more exact science, the answer is no.  History cannot predict the future with any exactitude.

So can anything be understood?  Some argue that we are dealing totally with unexplainable chaos.  I disagree.  There is a view that all history is accident -- an earthquake here, a premature death of a leader there.  Indeed, these things happen.   But are we therefore left clueless?  I would say no.

History studies causation -- what led to events occurring.  What are the various causes?  One argument is call the Great Man Theory of History.  All we need to study are the lives of great men in history.  That there are figures with powerful personalities who had a great impact on a society, I do not dispute.  The problem I have with this idea is that it usually excludes women, over half of the given population of the time.  It also tends to exclude the social forces at work that brought such figures to great influence.

Another view of history is to see it as the story of progress -- from the Stone Age to the present.  That is certainly one way of looking at it.  But progress is often in the eyes of the beholder.  In the days of American slavery, the slave master might see history as progress.  The slave probably would not.  After the Civil War, the ex-slave master might see history as going downhill.  The ex-slave might now see progress.  When England had a mighty colonial empire, that English upper class might see history as progress; the conquered peoples might not.  The reversal of viewpoint might accompany the collapse of that empire.  Progress may therefore be a relative term.

Allowing for all of the above, I must place human beings at the center of the story of history, what they have been capable of, for better or worse, in their relationship to nature and each other.

Facts such as names and dates may seem dry and boring.  The point is to bring them alive in the interpreting of them.  I believe history is inherently a dramatic story, and I hope to convey that.

                         -- Prof. Eugene Lieber

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by Eugene Lieber
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Absolute divine right monarchy. French Enlightenment. 1st, Moderate Phase. 2nd, Violent Phase. 3rd, Moderate Phase. Defeat of France. “White Terror. Lasting effects.

2.
by Eugene Lieber
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1st political party. 19th Century. 2nd American party system. Republican Party. Civil War. 20th Century. World War II. Reagan 1980s.

3.
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Impact of World War I. Treaty of Versailles & League of Nations. Russian Revolution's Profound Effect on World. Impact of WWI. Prelude to WWII.

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by Eugene Lieber
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Rule of Louis XIV. Enlightenment. French Revolution. Napoleonic Era. WWI. Vindictive peace. WWII. Occupation Vietnam. Algeria. Economic crisis of 1960s.

5.
by Eugene Lieber
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Rise of Fascism. Bitter Aftermath of WWI. Why U.S. & England Do Not Turn Fascist. WW II starts. Turning Point. Origins of the Cold War.

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by Eugene Lieber
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Prelude Marx. Revolution. Return of Lenin. Civil War of 1918-1921. Turning point. The Cold War. Stalin’s death in 1953. End of Communism.

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Always a Capitalist Nation. 19th Century. 20th Century, 1st 1/2. 20th Century, 2nd 1/2 The Reagan revolution of 1980s.

8.
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Salon's Code. Consequences of Salon's Code. Athenian Democracy Limitations. Cultural outpouring. Sparta. Athenian Science & Philosophy. History as a serious discipline

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Irish sense of tragedy…The English invade. rebellions Potato Famine of 1840. Irish immigrants are a despised minority in U.S. Class differences within U.S. Irish.

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Origins. 50 yr period of 1780-1830. Modern Industrial Age Agricultural contribution. Capital accumulation. The slum… Religion. Resistance. Laissez Faire.

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