Thursday, January 11, 2007


A Deficiency in my Education

When I was in High School (1936-1940) every student was required to take a course in Civics. The subject matter of the course was the American government. It included the federal constitution, elections, who is qualified to be a Representative, a Senator, or a President. It included a description of the State government (Michigan, in my case). It was a rather dull, unexciting course. I doubt that many high school graduates remembered much or thought very much about the course in Civics.

I recall that the Civics class did cover some of the difficulties of our federal system. Andrew Johnson was impeached but not convicted. Ulysses Grant was elected as a war hero but his administration was troubled by corruption. Details of the corruption were not included in the course. There was a brief mention of one of the scandals in the administration of Warren Harding. His Secretary of the Interior was sent to prison over some scandal involving oil fields. Again, there were no other details - at least none that I remember. I remember that the offending official's name was Albert Fall.

The coming investigations of the transgressions of the present Bush administration should be a treasure trove for whoever writes the next textbook for high school courses in American government.

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