This photograph from dcvote.org.
As the old saying goes, “all good things must come to an end,” and I suppose this internship (and, in turn, this semester at Centre College) is no exception to that rule. It’s been a lot of fun writing on this platform, writing that usually involved falling into quaint research rabbit holes (this post, for example, was the product of a well-intentioned plan to write about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson’s later years) and quelling personal historical topic obsessions. I appreciate any post that you took the time to read and consider, and I hope they have been useful to you in some way.
The study of history is far more than a collection of typed up dates and famous figures in a textbook (if I’ve learned anything during my time at Centre, it is this fact), but I feel that this expressed sentiment has become a bit of a classic history major catchphrase—a means of attempting to justify why studying history is a good or great or reasonable idea in our competitive world.
It is a justification that has never been needed. History is a most relevant way to engage with past and present society, to interrogate multifaceted ideas, to communicate with informed conviction, and to raise essential questions that often do not have clear answers. This internship has brought the applications of history ever more into focus in my mental landscape. I’ve developed a tool box, so to speak, of ways to think about historical topics, whether straightforward in nature or unusual or complicated or something in between. Most specifically, I’ve learned to ask questions, and to ask them about everything.
This website is an ever-important space in which these questions are raised—a place where history is celebrated and made accessible and fun. We can all think about history meaningfully if we are willing to read and listen and learn. History is viewing the multiple dimensions that make up every thing that has ever happened, from large to small details (like Thomas Jefferson’s penchant for ice cream). There is something for everyone.
Hopefully, with time, my voice on this screen has felt less like a ten-to-fifteen-page research paper and more like an inquisitive young adult. Both of these voices have their place, however, but cultivating accessible historical engagement is both enjoyable and vital. Though I will not be blogging on this website any longer, I know I’ll be interrogating historical ideas in a changed and improved way long beyond the scope of this internship.