The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Musings: A little history changes everything

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Sep 21, 2009 9:45:00 AM


Do you recognize whichparty held to these political positions in the 1870′s?

  • Promotion of Civil Rights for all races
  • The advancement of rights for women
  • Advocacy for the establishment of public schools
  • Separation of church and state, including the removal of religious instruction in public schools
  • Advocacy for pardons for those guilty of treason and terrorism

These were the policies of the U.S. Grant Adminsitration and the Republican Party.  Ironically, it was considered the Conservative agenda.

And what were the positions of the Radical Republicans and the Democratic Party that stood in opposition to the Grant White House?

  • White Supremacy
  • Denial of women’s right to vote
  • Opposition to public school funding
  • Widespread expectation of political self-dealing

Where the Radical Republicans differed from the Democrats is that the Radical Republicans wanted former Confederate leaders tried and executed for treason.

(For more information see Grant, by Jean Edward Smith, Simon and Schuster, 2001)

A little history changes perspective doesn’t it?

What does a backward look tell us about the change of issues in religion, sociology, global relations or even the philosophy of education? For instance, my wife and I were forbidden under penalty of expulsion to bring calculators to school. Now, as parents, what kind of parents are we if we don’t provide hi-tech calculators and software for our children?

I remember terrible, heated conflicts between people over whether or not to acquire an updated hymnal for use in worship services. Now, it is a reasonable debate whether or not a hymnal is even needed.

Such a list goes on and on.

We do well, I think, to not be so pompous as to speak as if we know everything and as if the nuance of cultural shifts would never lead us to adjust our thinking or response. We are not on as solid a footing as our rhetoric pretends to believe.

I do not know as much as I used to think I did. That much is certain. Perhaps it is the only certain thing.

-mark l vincent

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