Revisionist History: Encore Performance

One of the joys of teaching is to see what my students are learning.  Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like they are attending a different class from the one I am teaching.  In any case, their answers on exams are occasionally enlightening (and entertaining), as these excerpts show.  By the way, I’m not even including the most fascinating one–the lovely scholar who answered a question that wasn’t asked on a take home exam.  Apparently the three choices on the exam weren’t adequate.

And away we go…

Coney Island: Coney Island was an amusement park by the beach, it was a place where anyone could go for vacation, rich and or poor. It was a place of live entertainment and illegal activities like prostitution. The amusement park well used Tomas Jeffersons lights, the park was covered in them you could see the park from miles. Coney island was a place were hard working people would go and relax, it was a place to play.

Works Progress Administration:  It was established during the Second New Deal and had much bugger work relief to unemployed than those before.

The first two decades of the twentieth century saw many faces of interaction with Latin America.

National Origins Act of 1924:  established a new immigration quote of 2% of each national group from the 1890 consensus were allowed into the country.

The key event that took place in Pennsylvania was in Philadelphia at Pennsylvania Hall where the founding fathers met in the hot summer months of 1776 to draft and form the United States Constitution and then later on the Bill of Rights in 1789.

Valley Forge:  encampment where the British tried to capture Washington but he escaped in time.

Allegheny Uprising was led by General John Wayne who wanted to get rid of the Iroquois so they could not aid the British.

The Tea Act also had it’s problems.  Britain kept taxing upon taxing the colonies because it needed money for the war against France.  People were tired of paying taxes and finally said no.

In the Divesting Act, William Penn was to lose all territories that he claimed but were not surveyed.

Britain placed vertical representation on the Pennsylvanians, while most Pennsylvanians were used to true representation.

The writing of Independence took places in the City of Phil.  A big battle took places in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania had a camp where they trained African Americans called Camp William Peen.

Andrew Carnegie was a leader for the candy industry.

When Andrew Carnegie’s family came to the colony they had very little to their name.  Once he turned 17 he got a job at a caramel candy store.  He worked himself to the top.  He ended up buying the candy store.  He traveled overseas to see how to make chocolate candy.  After some time Andrew sold the candy store.  He opened Herary’s chocolate company a few towns over.  He made this company a big one.  He opened the door for immigrants to do well in any industry.  If he could start a big company then any one could.

South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club:  was a club to protect animals so that people would not hunt out one pertular animal.

Through hard work and cunning, Carnegie soon held a majority of stock in Drake’s oil company rising to become a steel baron.

He preached the Social Gospel whereby the wealthy had the morbid obligation to provide for those of lesser means.

The Anti-Masonic Party was Andrew Jackson’s party during the election of 1812 and was basically the Whig Party that ran against the Democrats.  It espoused anti-semitism, Catholicism, and masons.

Carnegie was a model of what could be to immigrants and truly what you would call living the American Dream.  Aside from that he was a scumbag to work for and pitted friend and worker against one another to make amends for his actions he established what was known as the Bible of truth, and established fund for libraries, schools, and education.

Candidates didn’t even have to run on a plate form times and they would be voted into the white house.

Nat believed that he was a prophet that was sent to free his people just like Mosses.

When one looks back into the history of Hopewell Furnace they see a living breathing part of history that gives them a peak through the window of time.

Books like Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, and The Last of the Mohicans gave a focus on forest life and creating American tails.

The portrait of George Washington was the inspiration for the one dollar bill.

Men like Jared Sparks, George Bancroft, and Thomas Hart Benton wrote histories praising the gory of the United States.

Finally, a quick survey.  One of the questions on the exam in History of Pennsylvania asked students to identify four events of the American Revolution that took place in Pennsylvania.  And survey says:

Battle of Brandywine (14)

Yankee-Pennamite War (12)

Battle of Germantown, Valley Forge (11)

Declaration of Independence (5)

Sullivan’s Expedition, Capital at Philadelphia (3)

writing Constitution (2)

Battle of Saratoga, capital at Lancaster, Battle of Paoli, Battle of Trenton, occupation of Philadelphia, Divesting Act (1)

I guess the next step is explaining the boundaries of Pennsylvania, because the last time I checked Saratoga is in New York, and Trenton is in New Jersey.


About Karen

History Professor. Baseball fan. Author of two books, one of which I force my students to buy and read. You want me on your Trivial Pursuit team.
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7 Responses to Revisionist History: Encore Performance

  1. Larry Collins says:

    Wow Dr. Guenther! Thanks for sharing. As being a teacher that is still new and learning more and more, I am certainly getting some of these myself that are in the Science field. Some teachers say you should still give partial credit on answers if they just write something down. In my opinion, I think that statement might depend on the grade level and the degree of their answer. What are your thoughts? Do you give any partial credit on short answer questions that “entertain” you just for writing something? I know some Professors I have had do that and some do not. What have you found that works best in these types of situation? I hope I communicated my question clear enough.

  2. Karen says:


    It depends on the situation. For the student whose answer didn’t relate to any of the questions asked–I did give him half credit, because he did allude to what I was looking for in the answer (even if his answer didn’t completely relate to the question). For some of these, the information was close enough that they got partial credit (for instance, Coney Island was an amusement park). Sometimes, it’s just a matter of knowing how to spell (not necessarily using the wrong word, which is a different issue…just wait for the next blog).

    And I have been known to give a point for humor, even if the answer is totally wrong.

  3. Jeannie says:

    I’m looking forward to your reply to Larry Collins’ comment above. It is quite baffling that there is such blatant misunderstanding, spelling, and grammar contained in these answers. I was happy to hear my son tell me the other day that when he texts or posts on Facebook that he always fully writes out the word instead of using the common shortening techniques used today. His reasoning is so he won’t forget proper spelling and grammar. I’ve recently realized that he is telling the truth, unfortunately, he doesn’t apply the same standard to capitalizing the first word of a sentence and proper punctuation. Be assured, though, that there are bright individuals in the up and coming generation. (At least I hope).

    • Karen says:

      Oh, good! There is hope for the future. It’s not just young kids who “speak twitter” when they are posting on Facebook; one of my friends from high school uses it in her posts.

      And I did get some outstanding exams, so I do know there is hope for the future. The scary part, though, is that a few of these responses come from prospective social studies teachers, who I think I will have to spend a little more time mentoring in their content knowledge than I would like. There is nothing worse than cringing when you observe a student teacher blatantly screw up content (saw it a few times last semester).

  4. Beverly Tomek says:

    I’ve got a huge problem now — I think I’m going about my Pennsylvania Hall book all wrong. I didn’t find any of this stuff in my research. I guess it’s back to the drawing board!!

    • Karen says:

      I just figure I should demand a refund for my education. I never learned any of this stuff when I was in college; I had to wait for my students to teach me about it.

      General John Wayne–I do wonder if he was related to “Mad Anthony” Wayne.

  5. Beverly Tomek says:

    Also, I’ve got to look this Carnegie guy up. The one I’ve read about before is much less interesting. 🙂

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