Grading freshman papers… 1983

For those of us who think Twitter will make us stupid, check out these lines from freshman history papers, originally published in 1983 by Anders Henriksson in Wilson Quarterly.

“Possibly as an act of vengeance, a history professor–compiling, verbatim, several decades’ worth of freshman papers–offers some of his students’ more striking insights into European history from the Middle Ages to the present.

History, as we know, is always bias, because human beings have to be studied by other human beings, not by independent observers of another species.

During the Middle Ages, everybody was middle aged. Church and state were co-operatic. Middle Evil society was made up of monks, lords, and surfs. It is unfortunate that we do not have a medivel European laid out on a table before us, ready for dissection. After a revival of infantile commerce slowly creeped into Europe, merchants appeared. Some were sitters and some were drifters. They roamed from town to town exposing themselves and organized big fairies in the countryside. Mideval people were violent. Murder during this period was nothing. Everybody killed someone. England fought numerously for land in France and ended up wining and losing. The Crusades were a series of military expaditions made by Christians seeking to free the holy land (the “Home Town” of Christ) from the Islams.

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